sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

......Yet another interesting discussion over at Cone's, this time on global warming.

I'll start with this post about Gregg Easterbrook's NYT opinion piece. What I found interesting was the fact that after Eastbrook states that he's switching sides on global warming from "skeptic to convert," he offers a free market solution to the problem, offering evidence that such solutions have worked in the past:

"In 1991, Congress created a profit incentive to reduce acid rain: a system of tradable credits that rewards companies that make the fastest reductions. Since 1991 acid rain emissions have declined 36 percent, and the cost has been only 10 percent of what industry originally forecast.

"Today no one can make money by reducing greenhouse gases, so emissions rise unchecked. But a system of tradable greenhouse permits, similar to those for acid rain, would create a profit incentive. Engineers and entrepreneurs would turn to the problem. Someone might even invent something cheap that would spread to the poorer countries, preventing reductions here from being swamped elsewhere. Unlikely? Right now reformulated gasoline and the low-cost catalytic converter, invented here to contain smog, are becoming common in developing nations."

It turns out that's exactly the cap and trade program President Bush announced last year to reduce mercury emissions, which predictably drew fire from environmental groups.

Then there's yesterday's post, which discusses Pete duPont's WSJ op-ed.

Cone writes:

"I do know that the WSJ's position is, in essence, 'our opponents have been correct and effective to date, but don't believe them now.' And that just isn't very convincing."

Obviously, the environmental lobby has been effective over the last 36 years. duPont presents the evidence supporting such effectiveness, as do other air quality experts. But based on the scare tactics on which environmental groups rely, it just doesn't seem like they believe it themselves. And that doesn't make their arguments very convincing right now.

Nor does blatant politicization.


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