15 thoughts on “Why worry about global warming?

  1. It’s not “warming” it’s “changing”. I don’t disagree with man’s ability to negatively impact nature. I do disagree with the scale and scope of the alleged impact we are having on the climate. And I strongly disagree with nearly all of the proposed solutions.

  2. Chris, I also think we may have an impact on it. As for Climate Change, there is always climate change whether mankind is involved or not. Ice Ages and Warm periods of the past prove that.

    I’m not convinced that a warming of the planet is necessarily a bad thing. Historically, cool periods have brought on famine and disease. The Black Plague came right in the middle of the Little Ice Age. That same ice age forced the Norse out of Greenland, making that island an inhospitable land of ice.

    My point is, Al Gore has screamed about global warming for years; now using the new term climate change as a cop-out so they can blame any and all weather patterns on man. Their expensive solutions, which show minimum impact, if any, will not be needed in the middle of a global cooling that will last 30 or more years due to the Sun’s sunspot activity going into hybernation.

  3. That seems about right based on the limited understanding I have. I’m still a huge proponent of solar for self reliance reasons though. I’d think it would be a much bitter thing in Utah considering the amount of sun and the degree to which Mormons desire to be self reliant. Sure it’s expensive, but so is food storage… I think (hope) solar will become a big thing in Utah and other sunny states if viewed from that perspective.

    Sometimes I can imagine Brigham Young, the great colonizer hearing about this thing called solar power and jumping for joy. I’m pretty sure he would have been calling for large scale factories and immediate production as soon as he got wind of something that could lesson the Saints reliance on the outside world for power. It might not be cost effective, but it does cut one more cord holding us back from self sufficiency (ultimately though we’re all reliant upon the Lord regardless of how physically prepared we make ourselves). Sorry for the tangent… solar on every rooftop would make (most of) the green politicos happy so I think the interests of the church members and the environmental lobby really can align in this area even if the greens get most of their conclusions and proposals wrong anyway.

  4. Bruce N had a series of posts about this issue a year or so ago. After studying the issue for several (dozen?) hours, he came to what he felt was the only logical conclusion which was that rising CO2 levels are having some impact on the climate and we should take some measures to prepare for a possible eventual catastrophe. He was a bit thin on possible solutions, but his position seemed to be it was reasonable to take preventive measures. I of course strongly disagreed, primarily for three reasons: a)history has shown us the climate appears to be self-correcting b)history has also shown us the technology usually resolves catastrophes (take that Malthus!) and c)there are way too many variables in the Earth’s climate for us to make any accurate predictions about the future. A year later, I believe the evidence bolsters my three points even more.

    I have been very concerned about a debt crisis, which Bruce has compared to the coming climate change crisis. There are many significant differences. 1)We already know what a debt crisis looks like; it has happened in Greece, Argentina, Ireland, etc, etc. We do not know what a global climate change crisis caused by manmade CO2 increases looks like because it has never happened before. We DO know what global climate change caused by natural increases in CO2 looks like, and the record shows that the Earth self-corrects. 2)The solutions to the coming debt crisis are relatively painless and healthy for the economy in the long-run, while the global economic strangulation prescribed by a carbon tax and cap and trade would have horrendous long-term negative effects on the economy and worsen the existing trends toward corporatism and rent seeking. 3)The record shows that the people playing up global climate change have a long history of exaggerating for political impact, whereas the people worried about the debt crisis are downplaying the potential for crisis for the most part (although some people on the fringe of the debt crisis movement may be politically motivated).

  5. Chris, I have seriously studied solar for my house in Colorado, where it is sunny 300-plus days of the year, and even with all of the subsidies the payoff would take 20-30 years. Not worth it by any standard.

    I have heard some reports by McKinsey that solar technology is improving at something similar to Moore’s law (double of capacity every 18 months), so I am hopeful that within 5-6 years the technology will improve enough to make it economical at my house.

  6. Chris,

    It may be that Brigham Young would have embraced and pushed such technology as solar power. That said, Brigham Young did not live in 2011 with all the huge environmental and other regulations that make the cost and effort prohibitive. BY would want to fill the desert with solar panels, but a liberal environmental group would have halted it because it affected some lizard’s living space.

  7. I just read an online article from Newsweek about climate change. Bjorn Lomborg notes how technology and the drive to fix/improve things in the past has always trumped the problems. For example, London is cleaner now than at any time since the Middle Ages, because of tech improvements.

    We have vast numbers of people out of poverty because of technology. In 1900s, average lifespan was 30 years worldwide. Now it is 69 years.

    He gives lots of other evidence that cutting back on CO2 emissions is the wrong methodology, as it will only cause developing nations to not grow nor pull their people out of poverty.

    A Roadmap for the Planet

  8. Actually Geoff,
    One of my fears is not that the carbon taxation scheme will be horrendous and cause collapse of the economy but it will just act as an invisible hand holding the economy back and no one will know any better. Kind of like how Europe has become used to relatively high unemployment even with 25% of the population working for the state. The “costs” of many European like policies are nearly invisible. I think we’d see a lot of the same with a carbon tax. We’d be worse off, but we wouldn’t be able to pin it down exactly because there are just so many variables.

    And I agree solar is not presently worth the economic benefit. But being about as independent as possible is really better I think. We Later-day Saints don’t just do things because they make economic sense. The confidence (to refer back to another post!) and peace that comes from being prepared both physically and spiritually is a valuable thing that you can’t put a price tag on. I think a very strong feeling of reassurance would come about with the knowledge that the power could go out for the next 15-20 years (let alone a day or week) and you’d barely notice a thing!

  9. I have seriously studied solar for my house in Colorado, where it is sunny 300-plus days of the year, and even with all of the subsidies the payoff would take 20-30 years. Not worth it by any standard.

    By any standard? A straightforward cost analysis doesn’t capture the benefit of self-reliance and emergency access to power.

    If you compare the costs of going solar to the costs of buying a back-up generator, the numbers look a little better.

  10. Hey, if you want to get a full-house solar unit and pay $50-100k (which is what it would cost for my house), be my guest. My electrical bill averages less than $100 per month. The systems I have looked at would still require that you be hooked up to the grid for some power, so my $100/month bill doesn’t disappear, it goes down to $30/month instead. There are schemes that allow you to sell power back to the power company, which helps the business case, but overall it makes no sense at all.

    I come from hurricane country, so I’m familiar about living on generators for weeks on end. You can get a pretty good backup generator to run your refrigerator, fans/heater and freezer for $500. (Our furnace is gas, so we save nothing on heat by moving to solar). Even with gas at $4/gallon, the generator can run for months and be less expensive than spending $50k (at the very least) on a solar system.

    Even in the world of total self-reliance, cost-benefit analyses count for something. We can plant a half-acre of corn in our back yard and spend $1000 watering and spraying pesticides, or we can go buy corn at the store for $10/bushel. If you want to lose thousands on solar, go for it, but the numbers don’t work for me.

  11. Whether there is Global Warming or not, or whether man is to blame on it or not should be an adjacent issue for debate. What should matter are the conditions and quality of living.. meaning, been good stewards of this earth. Assuming that those for Global Warming are right, at the living by their suggestions will heightened our standards of living. better solutions are out there. Global Warming has worked as an incentive tours that direction.. without it, there would be very little incentive to jump on advanced solutions alongside further research and technology that would heightened our standards of living. It is true that poor nations that become industrialized more than likely go through that pollutant phase, but to give in that easily to those standards rather than seeking alternate solutions to the problem it’s not the BEST approach, especially when there is better out there. The Best never comes easy.

  12. While I believe there may be man-made climate change, the Global Warmers seem to act as if it is the only thing impacting the climate and globe. And some of them insist that any and every weather event is caused by global warming, even when science shows much of it caused by other factors (El Nino/La Nina, etc).

    I agree we need to be good stewards of the earth. But it is senseless to spend time and energy towards something that may not make any difference in the long run. Better for us to focus on things that actually make a real difference in the environment, rather than just placate liberal environmentalists with feel good nothingness.

  13. It may be cheaper to learn to be self-reliant by learning not to rely on electricity. My family has in storage ways of doing everything we need to do without electricity. That way, if something happens, we can just continue living as normal (with a few small lifestyle changes).

    People lived thousands of years without electricity. Perhaps we should learn how to do the same. That way, although we use electricity, we won’t rely on it. Then we don’t have to spend 100k on solar panels in order to survive in the event of a crisis.

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