Perfect…. They Don’t Suspect a Thing

A friend of mine forwarded me a bunch of interesting research around
global warming and solar activity correlation over the years. Much of it
appears to have decent science and legitimate correlation behind it. He
then also forwarded me an
interesting link
to what can best be described as a far right-wing
American blog.

Let’s be clear. I’m not a left-wing activist. But I have kids, and I’d
like them to live in and experience a healthier world than the one I’ve
grown up in, and here in Canada, that world is pretty good to begin
with. But our modern society is still rooted in some pretty bizarre
ideas of what progress is.

So essentially, this blog (this post by Timothy Birdnow) dismisses
global warming as unrelated to CO2 levels being released into
the atmosphere. And then he extrapolates, from his limited frame of
reference and perception, that the Kyoto accord is designed to cripple
and limit the US economy. Uhhh….. ok. Sure. Whatever you say.

Let me propose an… alternate reasoning for Kyoto. Let me, in my
naive and optimistic way suggest it’s rooted in sustainable development,
and perhaps in the thinking from the very, very excellent book,
Cradle to Cradle.
So if you think along the lines that perhaps global
warming is not the reason, but simply being more efficient, effective,
and causing less of an impact through our industrialized society might
be the core reason, then you arrive at an alternate situation.

The world will move to sustainable development with or without the US,
despite what they may believe. Already, Europe is arguably ahead in some
ways for renewable energy. What Kyoto is doing is pushing everyone to
make a leap forward, and like it or not, we are very, very good at
creating and using oil and gas. So moving over to any other source will
take time, and to get started, you do need a fairly solid nudge. Global
warming may or may not be a factor, but there’s acid rain, oil prices,
air quality, energy security, and a large number of other aspects that
Kyoto actually assists. The point is that it reduces the consumption and
consequently the reliance on fossil fuels.

So let’s say it’s a really blundering attempt to cripple the US economy.
I for one can’t think of a single reason to even want to do that,
but let’s just assume that’s because I’m Canadian, and I like a lot of
the people down there. So let’s say the US doesn’t follow Kyoto. What is
likely to happen?

Well, some of the US is still pushing forward (a million solar roofs in
California) and such, so it’s not like they won’t have some capability
in new energy. But the expertise, the core competency and the best
capabilities in the production, generation, and manufacturing of these
systems will be in those Kyoto adherents, and in the countries that
manufacture for them. Those countries will enjoy less smog, less acid
rain (well, in areas not close to the US and others), and a lower cost
of energy over time than the US will. Let’s face it, if we get more
efficient fuels, and specifically fuel that has lower initial cost like
wind, solar, tidal and others, the cost of the energy will eventually
get below the cost of today’s fossil fuels. At that point, the Kyoto
adherents will be in a better economic position and likely have a higher
quality of life than the US will at that time.

Now this is based on some big assumptions, some fairly major
extrapolations, and a bit of thinking. So by no means is this a solid
prediction, just a possible scenario. So think what you want. I like
the idea of Kyoto, as there’s a small chance of that wish for my kids
coming true.

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