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Comment: Re:A wake up call (Score 1) 313

by kenorland (#42380809) Attached to: Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations

So why are you for government funded stuff when e.g. germany clearly shows the industry and society can handle it alone?

Germany's energy sector is extensively subsidized, directly, through tax breaks, and through price controls. I think those subsidies are bad policy:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-addresses-problems-with-renewable-energy-subsidy-system-a-852549.html

I'm for some "government funded stuff", namely when it makes economic sense. That's either because it produces a public good, or because it accounts for some externality, or because it compensates for other government interference (like, for example, patents and subsidies on fossil fuels) that politically can't be eliminated by other means.

Why do you care about global CO2 certification trade or emission limits? It costs you nothing. You should not care at all. But you believe it is somehow bad?

First, until low-GHG energy is as cheap as oil and coal, imposing emission limits must necessarily cause prices to go up, and that makes me poorer. Once low-GHG energy is as cheap as oil and coal, you don't need emission limits because producers and consumers will switch voluntarily.

Second, in order for trading or emission limits to be meaningful, they would have to be global and uniform. They can't be based on population or historical usage, they'd have to be structured like a global auction for a limited number of carbon credits. If you don't do it that way, GHG-intensive production will simply move to countries outside the regime. But China isn't going to agree to that, and it would be economic suicide for lots of other nations. So, certificates and carbon trading as proposed by all the protocols to date amount to nothing more than corporate welfare and international financial aid, but often to corporations and nations that don't even need it.

Comment: Re:-1, Lung cancer? Why your analogy fails totally (Score 1) 313

by kenorland (#42376769) Attached to: Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations

People in Country A don't get an increased risk for lung cancer because Country B has a lot of smokers.

It's not my analogy, it's someone else's analogy. And the analogy was about risk taking, not responsibility and harm to others.

You mean like the Montreal Protocol? That 'ineffective' and abusive regime?

That's a false analogy. The Montreal Protocol was quite limited in its economic effects because there were good substitutes for CFCs.

Cooperation has to bring competitiveness to heel on this issue, so that anyone taking an 'If they don't do it, we will' attitude to high-GHG modes of production will be made to feel the pressure.

And that is precisely why many people reject more aggressive international action on AGW. If it came down to it, many of us would much rather live in a world of 4C higher temperatures than in a world in which any organization is able to bring that kind of pressure on any country.

But I don't think that's even necessary. Just because AGW activists like you are not convinced of the competitiveness of low-GHG energy and are speaking out of both sides of their mouth about it doesn't mean that that everybody is. I think R&D investments in renewable energies, elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, as well as government efforts to promote nuclear energy, would get GHG emissions to fall naturally and quickly, and countries will do it voluntarily. But I also predict that's the best compromise AGW activists are going to get.

Comment: Re:A wake up call (Score 4, Insightful) 313

by kenorland (#42375013) Attached to: Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations

It's not up to peope to self assess and choose a position they are comfortable with - if I were more comfortable with believing there is no link between lung cancer and smoking, would my position make me less likely to get lung cancer?

Let's stick with that example. You are implying that because smoking causes cancer, everybody must come to the conclusion that they don't want to smoke. But that is obviously not the case: lots of people smoke despite knowing about the substantial (and it is substantial) increase in risk. It's the same for many other risky activities: investing, emigrating, motorcycle riding, etc. Many people engage in those activities because they think the potential rewards justify the risk. You are free to disagree with them, but there is no objectively right choice about the level of risk people are willing to accept. (A second point is that a link at the population level does not imply that a link exists for any individual; I may have information that makes it rational for me to smoke even if it wouldn't be rational for you.)

So, continuing to emit CO2 without any kinds of imposed limits has some risks, and they are well documented. Many people have looked at those risks and said they can live with them, because they consider the alternatives of not taking those risks are far worse.

Your risk preferences may be different, but your preferences don't imply that there is a single, objectively correct policy vis-a-vis AGW.

Personally, I'd like to see government investment in research in renewable energies, increased taxation of oil and coal, and investment in nuclear power plants. But I strongly object to multi-national carbon trading schemes or global emission limits, because I think they would be ineffective and subject to massive abuse.

Comment: Re:Good Grief. (Score 1, Interesting) 313

by kenorland (#42374855) Attached to: Coral Reefs In Grave Danger, Say Climate Simulations

Doesn't it bother you that the news is starting to look like the introduction to Sunshine or similarly apocalyptic movies? That there are very serious issues with our entire food chain? That there are very serious issues with the ability to sustain our current standards of living if we go on like this?

No, it doesn't bother me in the least. People have predicted mass starvation and the collapse of civilization for a long time (cf Malthus), and technological progress has always prevented that. In fact, it was the challenge caused by hitting resource limits that forced humanity to make progress and improve its living standards, and it has done so every time. I do not want to live in a sustainable society, and I have confidence that human ingenuity is up to the task of solving whatever problems global warming may cause.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 133

by kenorland (#42205767) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

If Deutsche Telekom bought Yahoo, Yahoo would be a US branch of Deutsche Telekom. You're suggesting that Yahoo then wouldn't have to comply with US laws anymore. That's crazy.

A "US branch" is a US corporation, like any other US corporation. The fact that some foreign entity owns the shares makes no difference. If US law enforcement makes a lawful request for information, they have to comply or face the consequences. And that works no differently anywhere else.

Comment: Re:Is humanity "too big to fail"? (Score 1) 453

by kenorland (#42196891) Attached to: Over 1000 Volunteers For 'Suicide' Mission To Mars

We keep hearing about how banks, firms, etc. that were "too big to fail" have ...failed.

You misinterpreted that. People weren't saying that these banks "couldn't" fail, they were saying that they "shouldn't" because they were so big that if they failed, a lot of people would actually have to face the consequences of their stupid decisions. "Too big to fail" was mostly an excuse for Bush and Obama to shove vast amounts of tax dollars into the greedy hands of bank managers.

The interest in Mars seems less about exploration and more about looking for another planet to inhabit. Taken as a whole, this one may be about done, or rather, the human civilizations on it appear to be teetering over the precipice of internal disaster.

Humanity is doing better than ever before in its history, no teetering and no looming disaster. Even the naysayers and Luddites are actually going down in numbers (much to the chagrin of religious nuts of both the Christian and the global warming persuasion).

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 133

by kenorland (#42196715) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

Sorry, but no other country tries to extend their laws outside their borders as US does. US seems to think that their laws trump any local laws of any other country whenever they see fit.

US law applies exactly when the US is in a position to enforce it, just like German law, French law, Russian law, and North Korean law.

That is a delusion of grandeur that may still prove to be its downfall.

It's not a "delusion" if you can make it stick.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 133

by kenorland (#42196673) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

1. Enforcing judgements is not the same as knocking on some business' door in Brussels and saying give us your data, or else.

Actually, the set of laws you can meaningfully pass is the same as the set of laws you can meaningfully enforce.

2. Yes, exactly like that. It was bad then, it's just as bad now.

Nonsense. Europeans forced other nations to comply with their self-serving laws at the barrel of a gun. The US is engaged in law enforcement and anti-terrorism activity, and any company that doesn't want to comply simply has to close its US subsidiary.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 133

by kenorland (#42196521) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

Or, to use a car analogy, how would you like it if the government of Saudi Arabia could stop your car from working, in case a woman drove it, because that was the price for allowing the car company to also sell cars there?

If the Saudis want to impose this condition on Ford, Ford has a clear choice: sell cars in Saudi Arabia and comply with their laws, or sell cars in the US and comply with US laws. It can't to both. Where's the problem?

And I certainly intent to blame America for that.

You can join everybody from Hitler to Putin in blaming America for everything; Americans don't give a damn.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 0) 133

by kenorland (#42194125) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

Do US laws apply to EU companies, IN the EU, just because they have a US branch?

Yes, they do, because if they have a US branch, the US can enforce judgments against those companies. That's how laws and jurisdictions work. It works the other way around too.

Just in case you're unclear, try switching the US and the EU, see how that feels.

You mean, the kind of self-serving arrogance with which Europeans have been imposing their cultures, languages, laws, and businesses on the rest world since the 15th century? I don't need to imagine, it's in the history books.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 0) 133

by kenorland (#42192079) Attached to: Researchers: PATRIOT Act Can 'Obtain' Data In Europe

Basically, the Americans are saying their laws trumps everybody else, and the cost of doing "systematic business in the United States" is that their laws trump everybody else. Sadly, the US has decided that, the laws of other countries be damned, if you do enough business here you have to do what we say.

Yes, if you do business in the US (any business) you need to comply with US law. It works the same for Europe and other places. The only difference is that the US market is so important that companies can't ignore it, but that's not America's fault, and the US is under no obligation to weaken its laws just because Europeans can't get their act together on competitiveness.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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