Once slow-moving threat, global warming speeds up, leaving litt...

Full story: Newsday

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore.

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J Connor

Dallas, TX

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#33700
Jan 20, 2013
 

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We make decisions and those decisions have consequences. Look at the smog in Beijing this week and how much manufacturing they had to close down when they hosted the Olympics. We decide to buy things that are made in a country with no democracy (the opposite of Communist Dictatorship is democracy, not communist -capitalism)and no environmentalist group has a chance at changing anything over there...consequently from 1993 to 2013 global warming has gotten a lot worse. Buy American, where the average person can have something to say about how much pollution the manufacturing process creates, because you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. John C. UnitedAmericanConsumer dot com

“fairtax.org”

Since: Dec 08

gauley bridge wv

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#33701
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
You seem to place no reputational value on refraining from posting bullsh!t strawmen.
Homo sapiens has been exploiting resources for essentially short-term gain over long-run consequences for millenia, and will continue to do so indefinitely. It's what the species does, and why it has been so fabulously successful as a species. I do not judge - I merely observe.
So you're attacking my character and blaming me personally for the behavior of an entire species, merely because I make this simple observation?
Not guilty, your Honor.
Which is why we will head into space on a massive scale. Too many resources out there. Too much money to be made.
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33702
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Fair Game wrote:
<quoted text>
Sometimes human beings pull up an put the long term consequences over short term gains.
The latest example:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment...
Before that, acid rain and CFCs.
Will human beings take the short term gains and screw up the environment for their grandchildren?
Well, there are plenty of greedy lying bastards who'd like to do so.
Yep, fair point. And there are certainly other examples - global treaties and agreements on protection of fisheries, e.g.- but it must be recognized that in each of these cases,

a) real and severe consequences (minimata disease, ozone depletion, dead lakes in the Northeast) were being demonstrably and inarguably experienced in the immediate present, not speculatively 50 or 100 years down the road, and

b) the "fix" was relatively simple and low-impact - remove some specific compounds from commercial use that each represented a trivial percentage of the total economy, and for which technology/product substitutions were readily available.

c) acid rain in particular doesn't represent an encouraging example of the kind of global cooperation required to address AGW, merely one of a single country - the US - mandating a readily-available technology (FGD) on power plants at minor incremental cost. Coal plants around the world continue to spew unregulated megatonnes of sulfur and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere causing acid rain around the globe in places like most of eastern Europe from Poland northward into Scandinavia, southeastern coastal China, and Taiwan.(And let's not miss the opportunity the acid rain story affords to be reminded yet again how dangerously incompetent well-intentioned Governments are in picking and mandating technology; the US government's mandating catalytic converters on autos to cut unburned HC emissions and smog has had the undesirable side effect of substantially _increasing_ emissions of nitrogen oxides,_worsening_ the acid rain problem. Not to mention increasing releases of N2O, a greenhouse gas over three hundred times more potent than CO2, as I know you're aware).

So these examples of enlightened collective action on a global scale really don't even approach the kind of leap required to address AGW to any substantial degree - asking 6 billion people to stop combusting carbon-based fuels for which no adequate substitute presently exists or is even on the horizon, and just take the hit on their living conditions and economic well-being, to avoid conjectured predictions of bad consequences generations from now?(Yes, I know you're seeing red over my use of the term "conjecture" - An opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information - but however certain and complete the scientific community may consider the science behind these predictions re: AGW to be, they are not 100% complete or certain, and an true scientist speaking honestly with integrity must and would freely admit they are properly said to represent conjecture, albeit highly reliable conjecture. Political activists and anti-globalist ideologues riding AGW as a stalking horse for other agendas, of course - not so much ...).

All of which is just to explain why I don't find in these examples much reason to think the kind of unprecedented leap in enlightened collective human action on a global scale required to bend the global T curve down to any significant degree is within the realm of reality. Experience tells us whatever action does manage to emerge from the well-intentioned global collective is as likely to create even bigger unanticipated woes in other areas ...

So - will human beings take the short term gains and screw up the environment for their grandchildren? Yes, Virginia - I'm afraid the preponderance of all the millenia of evidence says they probably will.

And yes, sadly greedy lying bastards have always been in plentiful supply in the real world, and always will be.

Since: Jan 13

Fairfax, VA

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#33703
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
a) real and severe consequences (minimata disease, ozone depletion, dead lakes in the Northeast) were being demonstrably and inarguably experienced in the immediate present, not speculatively 50 or 100 years down the road,
It's MUCH more than "speculative" say virtuall ALL THE WORLD RENOWN SCIENCE AGENCIES.

Here is NASA stating how we know:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence

Here is the ROYAL SOCIETY of England and this is typical

http://royalsociety.org/policy/climate-change...

<<It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these green house gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years.

Whilst the extent of climate change is often expressed in a single figure - global temperature - the effects of climate change (such as temperature, precipitation and the frequency of extreme weather events) will vary greatly from place to place.
Increasing atmospheric CO2 also leads to ocean acidification which risks profound impacts on many marine ecosystems and in turn the societies which depend on them.

The Society has worked on the issue of climate change for many years to further the understanding of this issue. These activities have been informed by decades of publicly available, peer-reviewed studies by thousands of scientists across a wide range of disciplines. Climate science, like any other scientific discipline, develops through vigorous debates between experts, but there is an overwhelming consensus regarding its fundamentals. Climate science has a firm basis in physics and is supported by a wealth of evidence from real world observations.
The problem is the OIL and COAL companies are starting a misinformation
campaign on global warming.

Here is Scientific American:

<< There is, in fact, a climate conspiracy. It just happens to be one launched by the fossil fuel industry to obscure the truth about climate change and delay any action...

As physicist and climate historian Spencer Weart told The Washington Post: "It's a symptom of something entirely new in the history of science: Aside from crackpots who complain that a conspiracy is suppressing their personal discoveries, we've never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance. Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers." Well, probably they did, but point taken.>>

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.c...

Since: Jan 13

Fairfax, VA

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#33704
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>

Homo sapiens has been exploiting resources for essentially short-term gain over long-run consequences for millenia, and will continue to do so indefinitely. It's what the species does, and why it has been so fabulously successful as a species. I do not judge - I merely observe.

So you're attacking my character and blaming me personally for the behavior of an entire species, merely because I make this simple observation?
Not guilty, your Honor.
It appeared to me you were condoning it. If I erred in that view, then I do profoundly apologize.

Regards, Wallop

Since: Jan 13

Fairfax, VA

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#33705
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Wallop to Teddy R:
By the way: Did you know:

Acid rain did not just go away on its own. There was this thing called cap and trade that was put into place by the Clean Air Act.

<<Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act established the allowance market system known today as the Acid Rain Program. Initially targeting only sulfur dioxide, Title IV set a decreasing cap on total SO2 emissions for each of the following several years, aiming to reduce overall emissions to 50% of 1980 levels. The program did not begin immediately, but was implemented in two stages: Phase I (starting January 1, 1995) and Phase II (starting January 1, 2000).[2]

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 set as its primary goal the reduction of annual SO2 emissions by 10 million tons below 1980 levels of about 18.9 million tons. To achieve these reductions by 2000, when a nationwide sulfur dioxide emissions cap of 8.95 million tons per year began, the law required a two phase tightening of operating restrictions placed on fossil fuel fired (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas) power plants. The operation and pricing of a market for emissions allowances would not be viable in the absence of an effective regulatory cap on the total number of allowances available.

...
Overall, the Program's cap and trade program has been hailed as successful by the EPA, industry, economists and certain environmental groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, while skeptical environmentalists have argued that reduction in emissions occurred due to broad trends unconnected to the program.[30] The EPA has used what is called the Integrated Planning Model (IPM) to estimate the effect of the Acid Rain Program (ARP). The output from the model says that annual emissions of sulfur dioxide were reduced by 8 million tons (from 17.3 to 9.3), nitrous oxide by 2.7 million tons (from 7.6 to 5), and mercury by 10 tons (from 52 to 42). However, it is difficult to estimate the emissions which would have occurred without the ARP. For example, the EPA updated its analysis to reflect the effect of low-sulfur coal becoming more economical due to reduced transportation, leading the EPA to reduce its estimate of the impact of ARP by sulfur dioxide emissions by one million tons.[31]

Since the 1990s, SO2 emissions have dropped 40%, and according to the Pacific Research Institute, acid rain levels have dropped 65% since 1976.[32][33] However, although it reduced emissions by 40%, the US Acid Rain Program has not reduced SO2 emissions as much as the conventional regulation applied in the EU which reduced SO2 emissions by more than 70%[34]. Therefore, the effectiveness of the emissions trading element as a mechanism has been criticised, since the EPA also used regulations to achieve the reductions, as all areas of the country "had to meet national, health-based, air quality standards that are separate from the Acid Rain Program’s requirements" [35].

In 2007, total SO2 emissions were 8.9 million tons, achieving the program's long term goal ahead of the 2010 statutory deadline.[36] In 2008, SO2 emissions dropped even lower—to 7.6 million tons[37].

The EPA estimates that by 2010, the overall costs of complying with the program for businesses and consumers will be $1 billion to $2 billion a year, only one fourth of what was originally predicted.[32]

A general issue with cap and trade programs has been overallocation, whereby the cap is high enough that sources of emissions do not need to reduce their emissions. ARP had "early overallocation" during Phase I, and this allowed emission sources to "bank" their allowances for future years. In Phase II, emission sources drew down their banked allowances. In 2006, emissions were again below the cap, leading to further banking.[38]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_Rain_Progra...

Cap and trade on CO2 is meant to parallel the success seen on acid rain.

Since: Mar 09

Wichita, KS

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#33706
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
...
the US government's mandating catalytic converters on autos to cut unburned HC emissions and smog has had the undesirable side effect of substantially _increasing_ emissions of nitrogen oxides,_worsening_ the acid rain problem. Not to mention increasing releases of N2O, a greenhouse gas over three hundred times more potent than CO2, as I know you're aware).
...
Properly maintained catalytic converters have not increased the emissions of NOx.
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33707
Jan 20, 2013
 

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flack wrote:
<quoted text> Which is why we will head into space on a massive scale. Too many resources out there. Too much money to be made.
Yes, if you're talking about money, machines, and commercial activity. I think that's more likely than not to happen - eventually. But humans? Never in any huge numbers.

I don't see it happening anytime this century, either ... some initial commercial forays on a limited scale, yes - but not "on a massive scale."

“fairtax.org”

Since: Dec 08

gauley bridge wv

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#33708
Jan 20, 2013
 

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There is enough water on the moon to fill all the Great Lakes combined. We are finding out that there is water almost everywhere. Where there is water the most likely is life.

“fairtax.org”

Since: Dec 08

gauley bridge wv

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#33709
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, if you're talking about money, machines, and commercial activity. I think that's more likely than not to happen - eventually. But humans? Never in any huge numbers.
I don't see it happening anytime this century, either ... some initial commercial forays on a limited scale, yes - but not "on a massive scale."
There are ten countries and at least 5 businesses with plans to have bases on the moon and in earth orbit by 2024. Also one that plans to drag asteroids and meteors into lunar orbit to be mined. Once it starts it will mushroom like people coming to American. A few at first but look where we are now. The greatest nation ever on the planet Terra.
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

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#33710
Jan 20, 2013
 

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In defense of us, humans -

Space travel is very dangerous to us.

We love peace. Here's the first known peace treaty in our history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Treaty_of_K...

The peace treaty was recorded in two versions, one in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the other in Akkadian using cuneiform script; fortunately, both versions survive. Such dual-language recording is common to many subsequent treaties. This treaty differs from others, however, in that the two language versions are worded differently. Although the majority of the text is identical, the Hittite version claims that the Egyptians came suing for peace, while the Egyptian version claims the reverse. The treaty was given to the Egyptians in the form of a silver plaque, and this "pocket-book" version was taken back to Egypt and carved into the Temple of Karnak.

The Treaty was concluded between Ramesses II and Hatusiliš III in Year 21 of Ramesses' reign[3](c.1258 BC). Its eighteen articles call for peace between Egypt and Hatti and then proceed to maintain that their respective gods also demand peace. It contains many elements found in more modern treaties, although it is perhaps more far-reaching than later treaties' simple declaration of the end of hostilities. It also contains a mutual-assistance pact in the event that one of the empires should be attacked by a third party, or in the event of internal strife. There are articles pertaining to the forced repatriation of refugees and provisions that they should not be harmed; this might be thought of as the first extradition treaty. There are also threats of retribution, should the treaty be broken.

This treaty is considered of such importance in the field of international relations that a reproduction of it hangs in the United Nations headquarters

Since: Apr 08

"the green troll"

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#33711
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
Yep, fair point. And there are certainly other examples - global treaties and agreements on protection of fisheries, e.g.- but it must be recognized that in each of these cases,
a) real and severe consequences (minimata disease, ozone depletion, dead lakes in the Northeast) were being demonstrably and inarguably experienced in the immediate present, not speculatively 50 or 100 years down the road, and
b) the "fix" was relatively simple and low-impact - remove some specific compounds from commercial use that each represented a trivial percentage of the total economy, and for which technology/product substitutions were readily available.
The possible catastrophic consequences of CFCs were of course vigorously denied by the industry, which also claimed that the cost of action would be prohibitive, right up to the time it became obvious that the consequences were going to be catastrophic without action, at which time it also became apparent that the cost of action was not prohibitive.

http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate...

The difference this time is that if we wait and see, it will be too late to act.
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33712
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Wallop10 wrote:
<quoted text>
It's MUCH more than "speculative" say virtuall ALL THE WORLD RENOWN SCIENCE AGENCIES.
Here is NASA stating how we know:
http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence
Here is the ROYAL SOCIETY of England and this is typical
http://royalsociety.org/policy/climate-change...
<<It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these green house gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years.
Whilst the extent of climate change is often expressed in a single figure - global temperature - the effects of climate change (such as temperature, precipitation and the frequency of extreme weather events) will vary greatly from place to place.
Increasing atmospheric CO2 also leads to ocean acidification which risks profound impacts on many marine ecosystems and in turn the societies which depend on them.
(trimmed)
Please - climb back down off the battlements. I'm not taking issue with the scientific consensus.(The rest of the tinfoil-hat political stuff about conspiracies, etc. I have little interest in).

I am merely farting in the AGW Church of Political and Anti-Globalist Ideological Jihad by pointing out the obvious - that none of these scientific bodies are claiming the scientific knowledge is 100% complete - merely that is very solid - solid enough to support many propositions/statements about climate change and the role of anthropogenic forcings with a very high degree of confidence, and adequate to support making some real-world policy and resource allocation decisions. I fully agree.

It's right there in their language you've quoted - "... it is very likely that" ... "which risks profound impacts" ... incomplete knowledge ...

Now, if my use of the term "speculative" offends, perhaps "conjecture" is more correct, i.e., an unproven proposition that appears correct; based upon incomplete knowledge. The knowledge on which an AGW statement may be 99.9999% complete - yet it remains conjecture nonetheless.

That we can be so supremely convinced and confident in the science and the conjectures and hypothetical predictions we are making from it about AGW, and yet at the same time so FEARFUL of admitting the simple and obvious scientific truth that these are conjecture that anyone who dares point it out must be damned and demonized as an AGW DENIER and excommunicated from the AGW Church of Political and Anti-Globalist Ideological Jihad should be very troubling to the true scientist.

Most troubling is that it's INEFFECTIVE. This kind of behavior only damages the credibility of the scientific voice in the public arena. The scientist who freely and truthfully admits to the limits of their scientific knowledge immediately becomes the most powerful, credible, and trusted voice in the public mind. I have witnessed some very compelling examples of this in person, and know it to be true - so it is a bit frustrating to see scientists squandering their true power to affect public opinion by allowing themselves to be drawn into the mosh-pit of half-informed demagoguery and political activism - for which they are untrained, and at which they generally suck.
SpaceBlues

Houston, TX

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#33713
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Scientists are trained to translate the significance of their findings to the public, including each other.

Have you heard of "conclusions" in science literature?
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33714
Jan 20, 2013
 
Wallop10 wrote:
<quoted text>
It appeared to me you were condoning it. If I erred in that view, then I do profoundly apologize.
Regards, Wallop
No apology necessary.

I don't see much percentage in my condoning or damning the historical record of human societies' behavior - it is what it is.

Since: Mar 09

Wichita, KS

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#33715
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Teddy R wrote:
<quoted text>
Please - climb back down off the battlements. I'm not taking issue with the scientific consensus.(The rest of the tinfoil-hat political stuff about conspiracies, etc. I have little interest in).
I am merely farting in the AGW Church of Political and Anti-Globalist Ideological Jihad by pointing out the obvious - that none of these scientific bodies are claiming the scientific knowledge is 100% complete - merely that is very solid - solid enough to support many propositions/statements about climate change and the role of anthropogenic forcings with a very high degree of confidence, and adequate to support making some real-world policy and resource allocation decisions. I fully agree.
It's right there in their language you've quoted - "... it is very likely that" ... "which risks profound impacts" ... incomplete knowledge ...
Now, if my use of the term "speculative" offends, perhaps "conjecture" is more correct, i.e., an unproven proposition that appears correct; based upon incomplete knowledge. The knowledge on which an AGW statement may be 99.9999% complete - yet it remains conjecture nonetheless.
That we can be so supremely convinced and confident in the science and the conjectures and hypothetical predictions we are making from it about AGW, and yet at the same time so FEARFUL of admitting the simple and obvious scientific truth that these are conjecture that anyone who dares point it out must be damned and demonized as an AGW DENIER and excommunicated from the AGW Church of Political and Anti-Globalist Ideological Jihad should be very troubling to the true scientist.
Most troubling is that it's INEFFECTIVE. This kind of behavior only damages the credibility of the scientific voice in the public arena. The scientist who freely and truthfully admits to the limits of their scientific knowledge immediately becomes the most powerful, credible, and trusted voice in the public mind. I have witnessed some very compelling examples of this in person, and know it to be true - so it is a bit frustrating to see scientists squandering their true power to affect public opinion by allowing themselves to be drawn into the mosh-pit of half-informed demagoguery and political activism - for which they are untrained, and at which they generally suck.
Western civilization depends upon our scientific deductions and logical conclusions we project from them. If we destroy the philosophy, we destroy our civilization. I am not understanding why so many are chipping away at the foundations of our society by rejection the processes of scientific investigation. Is the conservative movement a move towards a more mystical religious philosophy? Exactly what will they base their philosophy upon?
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33716
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Wallop10 wrote:
Wallop to Teddy R:
By the way: Did you know:
Acid rain did not just go away on its own. There was this thing called cap and trade that was put into place by the Clean Air Act.
(trimmed)
Cap and trade on CO2 is meant to parallel the success seen on acid rain.
Yes, I'm familiar with the CAA and cap-and-trade, thanks.

Good for the US - but with China and India several time more coal than the US there is of course a long road ahead in terms of effecting global control on SO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions. Cap-and-trade may not be the mechanism for a command-and-control economy such as the PRC's.

As for CO2, sure, cap-and-trade or Pigovian tax schemes might have some marginal success in decreasing US CO2 emissions - but you need to recognize that it's a far, far leap from putting a cash value on merely removing a fuel contaminant and/or its combustion products to removing the combustion product of the fundamental fuel itself, i.e., CARBON.

Methinks you expect too much of EPA and policy magic.

Regardless of how cleverly EPA formulates its policy mechanisms, there remain hard economic and political limits, and reducing carbon emissions is just not going to happen substantially except by flat-out fuel substitution - and even that's just not going to happen quickly. We're going to be burning coal (albeit more and more efficiently every year, yes) in quantity for a long time to come - and more importantly for global climate change, China and India are going to be burning it in ever-increasing quantities for the foreseeable future.

Better hopes lie elsewhere ...
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33717
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Patriot AKA Bozo wrote:
<quoted text>
Properly maintained catalytic converters have not increased the emissions of NOx.
Caveats:

1) "Properly maintained ... " The US automotive fleet is, of course, not 100% properly maintained.

2) Today, yes. But when originally mandated in 1975,(which is the policy action I was referring to) the initial cat converters most definitely did increase automotive SOx and NOx emissions, which were unregulated at that time. Yes, this mistake was recognized and has been progressively addressed over the years through further engine and cat converter technology improvements and regulatory controls.

3) Modern 3-way cat converters prevent engines being operated lean; thus increasing specific fuel consumption and consequently carbon emissions vs. lean-burn ICEs.

There are always unintended consequences to every action, they are often bad, and generally given inadequate consideration by those in a sweat to "act now."
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33718
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Fair Game wrote:
<quoted text>
The possible catastrophic consequences of CFCs were of course vigorously denied by the industry, which also claimed that the cost of action would be prohibitive, right up to the time it became obvious that the consequences were going to be catastrophic without action, at which time it also became apparent that the cost of action was not prohibitive.
http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate...
The difference this time is that if we wait and see, it will be too late to act.
Yes.

Although the REAL difference this time is that we're talking about (or - you are, I assume; correct me if not) mandating changes by governmental authority that will have sweeping cost and behavioral impacts on every individual and business in society across the entire economy, not just a relatively narrow industry sector and a minor number of affected interests, none of whom were crucial to keeping anyone in Washington in power.

CFCs got regulated _when_, as you say, it became easy to do so without substantial economic impact on a wide cross-section of interests.

We're still very, very far away from being in a comparable position when it comes to banning CO2.
Teddy R

Mclean, VA

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#33719
Jan 20, 2013
 

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Fair Game wrote:
<quoted text>
The difference this time is that if we wait and see, it will be too late to act.
Yes, agreed.

Sadly, however, I do expect that's what we will do - and then as and when the expected consequences are experienced, we'll get busy dealing with them.

Too late to act? It could be argued we're already well past that point ... the truth is it's never too late to act, only that acting sooner is probably better - certainly in retrospect.

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