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Sustainability, Equilibrium, Prosperity

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Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill. As a contributor to Repower America, I was invited to be on a conference call the previous Monday afternoon with former Vice President Al Gore. He was incredibly inspirational in his delivery and message. He encouraged everyone to engage in whatever form of grass-roots activism they could. Following that call, I sent an email to my entire address book (about 1,500 people) urging them to call their congressman and demand passage of the bill.

As it turned out, the bill passed by only a razor-thin margin, and faces a very uncertain future in the Senate, because the fossil industry mounted a furious pressure campaign. Phones were running 9-1 against passage. So the congressmen who voted in favor had to buck tremendous political arm-twisting. I also received a fair amount of mail questioning the bill. It was largely based on the overwhelming attitude of Americans that the government should not be setting energy policy, but letting the “private sector work it out.”

Here’s a representative email:

It appears that you are on fire for the environmental cause. You continue to be an articulate and passionate spokesman for what you believe in. You’re certainly not the lukewarm type.

I agree with a number of the points you make. There is one major flaw that leads to other minor flaws in your argument, as I see it; and that is, your expectation that the Federal Government can and should legislate and execute our way to what should be free market solutions to our energy and our environment.

You seem to be ignoring that it’s Big Government Crony Capitalism that is to blame for the oil industry energy monopoly, corruption and the suppression of efficient technologies, such as Nikola Tesla’s, for example. I believe it is naïve to believe that the solution to this can be brought about by more Big Government actions, like this "climate change bill."

Compared to life before fossil fuels, I don’t see how historians in the future will see mankind’s use of them as "disgraceful." I struggle to see how using fossil fuels can be compared to slavery or the oppression of women, except that the free market has been abused by the energy monopolists and cronies of the banker-run Federal Government. But, you make no mention of these abuses in you email.

Thanks for including me in your email list on this issue. It’s a very important one for our time and we all have a responsibility in a self-governed society to be properly educated and to help properly educate our elected officials.

Hi _____,

It’s not environmentalism, per se, but sustainability that’s the key. The only reason we’ve been ruining the environment is that we take more from it than we put back. It’s like a bank account.
Prior to the wide use of fossil fuels, human population and food production was severely limited. Once coal, oil, natural gas were discovered, it wildly accelerated progress, living standards, and industry. We have received many benefits. But we have to consider where the fossil fuels came from. They are stored solar energy, having accumulated over 100-200 million years. We’ve burned them about a million times faster than they were formed. We’ve also released carbon stored over millions of years into the atmosphere all at once, leading to CO2 levels more than double as high as they’ve been for all of human history. This is rapidly warming the planet, which will set into motion a number of irreversible processes. As the planet warms, positive feedback ensues:

  1. Polar ice reflects the sun much better than the ocean. Once the ice melts, the water absorbs more of the sun’s rays on an ongoing basis, leading to a further increase in warming.
  2. Ocean acidification (CO2 mixed with water forms carbonic acid) kills corals which form the basis of the marine food chain. If the marine food chain collapses, it will have devastating effects on economies and populations. We also need to consider that the ocean is earth’s biggest carbon sink, (it now absorbs about half what humans produce every year).
  3. Permafrost melting releases further carbon and methane, which will lead to further warming. It is estimated that 1.5 trillion tons of carbon are locked into the permafrost, an amount double all of the present atmospheric carbon. That figure does not include the methane, a greenhouse gas prevalent in decaying plant matter, and 20 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat.

If all that runaway positive feedback occurs, it will melt the polar icecaps completely, and the Greenland ice sheet. No one knows precisely where the tipping points are in this system. But what’s important is that we are talking about our very life-support system on this planet. Not because of the animals, other species, nature, etc. It is vitally essential to human life. So it’s not an environmental issue, but a human one. The human race might survive 60 meter (200 foot) sea level rises by mass migrations, but the political order won’t. What new world wars would be in store under such a scenario? Half of humanity lives near coastlines, where expected sea level rises would devastate cities and agriculture. Long before cities were inundated, water tables would fill with brine and exacerbate the suffering of already strapped populations already living in incredibly difficult conditions.

So the comparison to slavery and oppression of women has to do with the old ways of thinking that make people believe it’s OK to live unsustainably, to take these kinds of risks. That it’s OK to benefit now, pay later. Slavery was profiting at the cost of dehumanizing a person’s labor. Oppression of women was dehumanizing women by using them for what men wanted without giving them a chance to be self-realized. Both were short-term strategies that were bound to backfire. Right now, the industrialized world has benefitted tremendously at other people’s expense. We deplete and pollute the world by our tremendous consumption while billions of people live at the subsistence level. Half the world has mighty industry and unbelievably productive mechanized farming, much of which goes toward meat and biofuel production–while billions are dehumanized by performing these same tasks with manual labor just to feed themselves. It’s resource slavery, to coin a phrase. Unlike American slaves, today’s impoverished are not likely to have the resources to become emancipated. That is, unless the world embraces sustainable practices.

Short term thinking is also what brought about the banking crisis you speak of: the failure to “pay as you go.” Nature doesn’t do bailouts. We are in control of the planetary ecosystem now, and we’re running a dangerous experiment with ourselves and our children in the test tube.

Please do not kid yourself that there is any controversy as to whether or not climate change is happening. Take a look at the positions of NASA, the AAAS, the NAS, the British Royal Society, insurance companies, people whose reputations and fortunes are on the line. The earth’s climate is the most extensively studied system in history.

The naysayers are in many cases on the payroll of the fossil energy companies, or contrarians who see an opportunity to gain publicity by being a “climate change skeptic.” But that doesn’t really matter. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I want to see people look at the facts, independently of their wishes. Unfortunately, the climate change issue will affect everyone, and it will be challenging and difficult to address. So of course people want to deny it. People are grieving the loss of what they perceived as an infinite planet with infinite resources where we could just let the free market sort it out. That day is long past. And after all, denial is the first of the five stages of grief.

The earth has never been infinite. Man was just too insignificant to have much effect. Until he discovered fossil fuels. The atmosphere, like the ocean, is a commons. For example, Los Angeles cleaned up its air, but now receives 25% of its smog from China. We are all connected. Everything each one of us does affects everyone else on the planet. The US has lived in a privileged position for many decades, consuming a disproportionate share of planetary energy and resources. With 5% of the population, we consume 25-30% of the world’s energy and minerals. Long term, that is a prescription for war, instability, and ultimately collapse.

And that’s all before the threat of climate change, which many in the U.S. may perceive as “someone else’s problem.” But we cannot escape the fact that we in the first world have gotten all the benefits of industrialization that other countries now desire. We cannot lead and still remain hypocrites on this issue. If we want China to stop building coal plants, then we have to seriously embrace alternatives like wind and solar. We can do that by agreeing to restrain our carbon output and improving our clean and green technology. That would give us moral authority.

It is the opportunity of the century, and the U.S. should not miss out. If we deny, delay, and waffle, we will be left behind by other countries who see the writing on the wall and are already innovating. And if we act, we can move the world.

This subject can’t be understood quickly or briefly. It took me about 5 years of studying to wrap my head around it. The reason why most people misunderstand energy policy is because it is extremely complicated. Fossil fuels have been encouraged and subsidized to a huge extent by the world’s governments. They’ve been a way of life for so long people can’t envision a world without them. The vast subsidies they receive are in addition to the tremendous blood and treasure expended pursuing Middle East wars. These have only been necessary because of huge U.S. oil imports and the oil intensity of the U.S. economy.

New government policy is needed precisely to reverse decades of bad policy. It’s not a choice between the government and the free market. The government has been neck-deep in the energy market since the beginning, granting dirt cheap oil leases to companies who became fabulously wealthy by drilling a public resource and selling it back to the public. What the government should have done long ago is to establish an oil depletion trust fund, knowing that the supply would eventually run out. US oil production peaked in 1971. Once we realized that, we should have responded accordingly with taxes and fees to encourage conservation and to pay for the inevitable energy transition. We did at first, with the oil intensity (barrels per dollar of GDP) dropping by half between 1973 and 1985. Then, the Reagan administration failed to keep up conservation efforts and allowed U.S. imports to rise dramatically as we began to live off the last orgy of cheap imported oil. Cars got bigger as people switched from compacts to SUVs, which were exempt under CAFE regulations because they were built on truck chassis. That era came to a close last year with $148/barrel oil slamming the international economy into steep decline. We may have been overleveraged, but it was the oil shock that pushed us into insolvency.

Which brings us to where we are today. We are living entirely unsustainably. Meaning that if we wanted to keep our current levels of consumption, we would need 2-3 earths. If everyone lived like Americans, which is where many nations are headed, it would take 12-15 earths. It is something that goes way beyond the petty problems of the bankers. Their swindling ways are just a sideshow compared to the gross warfare that’s being waged on the biosphere. Don’t take my word for it. Please, do your own research.

We should be living in a way that allows humanity to grow and prosper indefinitely–not with the constant fear and anxiety that we will hit the proverbial wall. The train wreck will happen in our lifetime, and our children will be directly and deeply affected. They will not have the opportunities we did, and it will be our fault and the fault of previous generations who contributed to the global inertia we now face.

That is why I am passionate. We must reverse this situation, and that starts with confronting the problem squarely and courageously. It is possible to have growth and sustainability at the same time.

It’s not just fossil fuels, but deforestation and loss of biodiversity that are a major threat. A billion people also now lack adequate clean water, and that number is projected to double in the next 15 years due to deglaciation. Darfur was the first “climate genocide” (it was largely about access to water, not just a murderous Islamic regime) and there will be many more. Global fish stocks have been 75% to 90% depleted. Governments subsidize deep-sea overfishing and they need to stop. If we curtailed fishing right now, it’s conservatively estimated it would take 20-50 years for the marine ecosystem to rebound. And that’s if the coral doesn’t collapse. About 15% of the world’s population eats mostly fish and would die without it. It doesn’t take a genius to understand we can’t continue along this treacherous path.

We will add at least another 2 billion to the world’s population in the next 40 years–if some ecosystem-induced dieoff disaster doesn’t kick in before then. It’s hard to imagine gigadeaths, I know. It’s hard to believe that with all our technology we can’t save these people, many as yet unborn. The mind recoils and immediately enters the safety of denial. But that’s where we’re headed (which is not a matter of opinion, but fact) if something is not done. Most of us have been sleepwalking into this perilous future. Our daily decisions will affect the outcome.

The best solutions are those following the Bright Green model, meaning applying technological innovation to spur growth and transition to sustainability. Putting a price on carbon emissions is the surest way to spur universal economic interest in this vital innovation. It’s the best way to get to win-win, rather than seeing progress vs. the environment as a zero-sum game, or the other false dichotomy of free market vs. government control.

Further Reading:

WWF Living Planet Report (.pdf) 4.3 MB

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

Collapse, by Jared Diamond

Natural Capitalism, Amory Lovins et al

World Changing: A user’s guide to the 21st Century by Alex Steffen et al

Film:

The Home Project


Comments (34 comments)

BUlldada / July 4th, 2009, 8:35 pm / #1

I think NPS ecologist David Graber sumed up the enviromental movement perfectly when he said, "I am not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have more value -to me-than another human body, or a billion of them. Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are a part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line-at about a billion years ago, maybe half that- we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the earth." He then concluded by saying, "Until such a time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Sick stuff you people are into…

Andreas Mannal / July 4th, 2009, 11:05 pm / #2

Excellent exposition and WORK! My heart is opening…

peter / July 5th, 2009, 7:45 am / #3

"Sick stuff you people are into… "

Not as sick as thinking you can pump billions of tons of CO2 in the atmosphere without any effect.
Not as sick as thinking you can cut down forests, one of the carbon capture machines, all over the planet without
any ill effect on the environment.
Not as sick as thinking you can throw palstic crap and pollutants in rivers and not expect damaging effects on
marine life.
Not as sick as removing whole mountain tops and then, not dealing with the tailings, expecting healthy rivers and
groundwater.
Not as sick as overfishing the oceans, indiscriminately removing predators and prey at whatever skewed ratio and
then expecting fishing to continue at present rates.
If you really think that what we are doing right now will not effect us and the livelihood of future generations, than
you are blind to the consequences of the actions of any industrialized society and are part of the problem that will lead to economic and agricultural collapse.

Yes, we have abandoned all reason in our pursuit of an ephemeral economy of almost unlimited consumption and
wasteful consumption on the backs of all other species sharing this planet with us.
I am however not concerned about the survival of the ecosphere and biosphere – that has suffered major devastation before,
and within several hundred thousand to million years ago found a new balance and helped to develop new species.

Do not think that we, with a fairly finely tuned economic system of energy, materiel and food production will
survive. We are part of the ecosystem, even if we operate against our own survival with our economies.
And we will, as any other species that have evolved and subsequently vanished, pay the price.
There is no one to help us but ourselves.

BlackSun / July 5th, 2009, 10:46 am / #4

Bulldada, I disagree with Graber. He's more aligned with Dark Green environmentalism than the Bright Green. I'm a humanist rather than an environmentalist. I'm interested in a livable planet for human beings. I think I've made that position as clear as crystal.

BUlldada / July 5th, 2009, 9:10 pm / #5

Thomas Friedman (Hot, Flat and Crowded author) wished that, "our government could get its act together and launch a green revolution with the same persistent focus, stick to the same direction that China does through authoritarian means."

Yes China. The same government that imprisons political opponents or worse and has one of the filthiest environments.

BlackSun / July 5th, 2009, 11:46 pm / #6

The chapter you refer to is called "China for a day." He is discussing what would happen *hypothetically* if the US were to make all the changes necessary for a green economy in one day. Then he says it's obviously not possible and discusses how we will have to accomplish those things under our own system. He also points out that if China does decide to green up, because they don't have to contend with a political process, it will happen a lot faster and give them a much better competitive edge. There are already signs they have decided to do this.

Keep going, Bulldada, way to discuss honestly and understand those nuances! You should try actually reading Hot Flat and Crowded and understanding what Friedman is getting at, instead of copying and pasting your arguments from right-wing propaganda sites.

BUlldada / July 6th, 2009, 2:02 am / #7

I'm attempting to show you that the environmentalists position is anti-human, anti-freedom and anti-progress, from their own words. I suspect you know that, however I don't understand why you would embrace a philosophy that is rooted in misanthropy. You know as well as me that this environmental fad is not about "saving the earth", but securing power for statists and gaining control over individuals. The reason the car is attacked so much is because it promotes mobility and you can't control the masses if they are free to travel from state to state to escape outrageous schemes (see California and the mass de-population happening right now). You also know that global warming is grade A bull shit as does Al Gore, James Hansen etc. Even Greenpeace says that Cap & Trade (Waxman/Markey bill) won't do a damned thing. Furthermore, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is what we exhale. For me to see that you are in support of the federal government regulating AIR makes me believe that you are blinded by ideology and religion. Cap & Trade also isn't constitutional, not by a long shot. Does that matter to you?

BlackSun / July 5th, 2009, 7:17 pm / #8

Wrong. I've explained all this to you before, but you're not really interested in discussing the Bright Green position, nor in any kind of improvements to the human condition. Only in rehashing old justifications for business as usual. Opposition to sustainability has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom or progress.

C02 is a pollutant in the concentrations now in the atmosphere. Humans alone don't exhale enough to make any difference, but our machines do.

All the oxygen we breathe was once exhaled by bacteria. Now it's produced largely by plants and algae. What matters is the global equilibrium of these gases.

It is not cars that are the problem, it is how they are fueled. Are you really that dumb? (Paranoid, too) You think this is all about taking away people's cars?!? Or are you just stubborn as hell? Electric cars perform better than gasoline ones, and will potentially be powered by carbon-neutral electrons. Even if powered by coal electricity, well-to-wheels emissions of electric cars are a fraction of the internal combustion engine.

Cap and trade is second best to a straight up carbon tax, but a carbon tax would have an even worse time politically. Cap and trade worked for SO2 (acid rain), it will work for CO2. What does any of that have to do with the Constitution? Please, you're grasping at straws. CO2 emission is an externality, a tort committed by users of fossil fuels against everyone else (particularly those who do not use as much or don't benefit from their use). Read, the US, Europe, China and India against the developing world. So I don't give a rats ass if the US constitution did say something about it It's a global problem and must be addressed globally.

Now please decide, will cap and trade not work? Or is it not a good idea? Can't be both…

Read up on how all this might work:

<a href=”http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010098.html” target=”_blank”>http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010098.html

Another little fun fact: You can ignore threats of climate change. If Chinese automobile ownership per 1,000 citizens was equal to U.S., it would require more than the entire world's current daily oil production. What then?

BUlldada / July 18th, 2009, 1:25 am / #9

Has your opinion changed on Cap & Trade since the EPA recently said that passage of the bill would do nothing to lower green house gas emissions?

BlackSun / July 18th, 2009, 1:34 am / #10

Cap and trade is actually the least attractive of all the ways to reduce carbon emissions. The best would be a straight up carbon tax. But it seems to be the only one that is politically feasible because it allows existing industries to keep emitting at least for a time.

Then over a period of years as the caps are lowered, these industries would have to clean up their act.

Problem is, the recipients of the initial permits are getting what amounts to a huge handout. The permits become more valuable over time, and they are getting them for free. This is what in economics is referred to as rent-seeking behavior. It is getting paid without increasing productivity. A carbon tax would be more fair and would reduce more carbon in the short term.

But the vested interests have made it so difficult to make changes that we may get stuck with a less perfect system.

I'm certain what the EPA actually said is that cap and trade wouldn't do anything to lower carbon emissions *right away*. An important distinction. Cap and trade already worked for S02, so it can work for CO2.

Andreas Mannal / July 6th, 2009, 12:13 am / #11

Instead of throwing "empirical facts" at each other, which are so easily manipulated depending on the interest of the research, it may be helpful to look at history of how we have arrived at this juncture of "humanity" and "environment".

Sean has accurately exposed the fact that humanity takes more than it gives. The common understanding of this is "greed". It is a definite and destructive imbalance. How did "humanity" get into this position? What is the thread of Ariadne in this labyrinth of human mismanagement?

Quote: "If we take a large, panoramic view of this period [industrialization], we can assert that this process is the outcome of contradiction. Man no longer feels himself to be participating in a universal harmony. On the contrary, his conquests have provided him with an arbitrary power of decision. This is what the Industrial Revolution was all about." Oscar Ichazo, "Between Metaphysics and Protoanalysis", page 26.

And on and on it goes in an empirical fashion of open ended decision making and fact finding without any understanding of the severe and beautiful limits of 'humanity' as an existence to begin with.

BlackSun / July 6th, 2009, 12:46 am / #12

In burning fossil fuels, we got way ahead of ourselves. We started to see profligate energy consumption as a way of life. We lost all connection with the amount of productive labor it took to create and use this kind of energy. It was created by nature over millions of years, and we didn't have to lift a finger except to pump this wealth out of the ground. Because it was cheap and government supported, vast industries sprang up to take advantage of the bonanza.

Now we have the chance to become reconnected to the natural consequences and limits of our consumption. We can begin distilling our energy as we use it. Once the loops are closed on production of carbon-neutral liquid fuels and electricity, we should be able to resume limitless growth which will have a zero or even positive impact on the planet. We need to stop rebelling against the natural systems and begin to work with them.

We receive in one hour more energy in the form of sunlight than all of humanity consumes in a year. So it is not a question of lack, but a question of methods. There is infinite energy in the universe, and plenty for all of our purposes on Earth. It is up to us to stop playing zero-sum games and move ahead to win-win. By disciplining ourselves to "pay as we go," we can solve our financial and energy crises at once. It is a question of maturity. As we find ways to do this, we are held back by narrow special interests, and so-called "free-market" dogma. You can't compete with free, and the sun and the wind are free, threatening entrenched power blocs who still control what Thomas Friedman calls "energy from hell."

A price on carbon emissions will change all that.

Andreas Mannal / July 6th, 2009, 1:49 am / #13

"Discipline" is an interesting understanding as is "order", because it makes us think in terms of CONSIDERATION. Consideration for the role of 'humanity' and myself in this planetary gamble of myriad of life forms and processes, like fossil fuel formation. How much do we need iin material values to acvtually be happy?

BlackSun / July 6th, 2009, 3:01 am / #14

Please read "Dark Greens and the Consumerism Canard." Reducing consumption won't help. We need to change how we produce energy and products. Reductions in consumption would be just a stopgap measure and would be overwhelmed by continued population growth.

It's a false dilemma. No one really thinks consumption equals happiness. And in a sustainable world, production would be in harmony with nature and people could have their needs met without fear.

Andreas Mannal / July 6th, 2009, 11:16 pm / #15

How can any "world" be sustained without innate order [in the ancient Greek sense of 'cosmos'] ? And who is in a position to explicate and "enforce" this innate order of life in accordance with a recognizable teleology ? Humanity needs to survive?! No, humanity needs to find its place and role, otherwise there will be no survival.

BlackSun / July 6th, 2009, 11:44 pm / #16

Teleology is an illusion. The only meaning or purpose in life is what we make of it for ourselves. Which is why it's important to ensure that everyone has a chance to have the necessities of life taken care of so they have the maximum opportunity to figure out who they are and what they would like to contribute.

I don't think humanity has a "role" other than to compete and survive as evolution dictates. If the human race ceased to exist tomorrow, the sun, the moon and the stars would go on shining like nothing happened.

Andreas Mannal / July 7th, 2009, 12:03 am / #17

What "evolution dictates" is the essence of teleology. Maybe it is an illusion? Purpose = Illusion is an amazing paradigm for steering things? Let us see what is happening next in this evolution? Who is co-operating with what?

stuart / July 8th, 2009, 4:10 am / #18

I am SOO MADD I just have to unload somewhere AND EVERYWHERE!!!!

I am an atheist and I have grown very disheartened by our self-defeatist culture. I was corresponding with one of the biggest atheist bloggers – the guy who guys by the name of ‘Sabio Lantz’ (he acknowledges that this is not his real name) over at http://triangulations.wordpress.com

I told him that he should read this new book called the Real Messiah by Stephan Huller which I had been turned on to by Robert Price. I wanted to reach out to every atheist blogger to tell them that we can finally disprove the entire rationale of Christianity at one fell swoop.

He send me back a nasty email and then proceeds to slam the book in a manner which is worse than anything ever said about the Real Messiah by religious nutbars:

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Messiah-Throne-Origins

His negative review of this book is a depressing demonstration of the selfishness and self-defeatism that often pervades individuals on our side of the debate:

“My site and many others were spammed for the sale of this book. That alone is enough to stop me purchasing it until I hear amazing reviews from those I trust.”

The point is that I actually sent him links to positive reviews for
the book in Publishers Weekly:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6640240

And a list of New Testament scholars who support the book:

http://plainview.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/jesus-w

The aforementioned site was from a CHRISTIAN BLOG for crying out loud!!!

Look at the objectivity even with these people when compared to us.
Now I am not against someone having their own opinion about a book. ‘Sabio’ or whatever his fake name is can say whatever he wants about the Real Messiah IF HE READ THE BOOK. Yet it seems entirely self-defeatist to me for we atheists to deliberately sabotage a work whose specific intention is to destroy the Christian paradigm.

Unlike our enemies in the Religious Right we are rarely united, politically naïve and basically content to sit around engaging in intellectual masturbation while our rights are systematically stripped away from us.

My intention was not to spam anyone. I was simply trying to find a way for our side to go on the offense for once. We are always on the defensive while they (the religious folks) take shots at us.

I thought the Real Messiah was special because it is centered around a physical object which the author found in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. It is universally understood to have been taken there by Italian sailors stole from the most ancient Church of St. Mark in Alexandria in the ninth century. Huller demonstrates that the throne goes back much further than that – i.e. all the way to the beginning of Christianity in Egypt.

In any event this throne is the real deal. It has an inscription written out in Hebrew letters and symbols which prove that Jesus was not the messiah of Christianity. Here are pictures of the throne:

http://www.therealmessiahbook.blogspot.com

We have to defeat the myth of Jesus Christ with another myth – a ‘rational myth’ to coin the language of Robert Price.

I am not asking you to ‘join my cause.’ I just want to defeat the oppressive ideas of Christianity with freedom and rational discourse. Is that really too much to ask?

Arturo / July 8th, 2009, 4:49 pm / #19

No wonder people around the world are confuse, misinformed, and lied when I read the above comments about 'global warming' !! little science and 'so called facts' are used to justify CO2 and "putting a price on carbon emissions" or CO2 is the worst polluter!! where this people get the scientific facts to justify their position??
Shall we put a price tag for worst polluter to the volcanoes?? Volcanoes are the major emitters of CO2 to the atmosphere than cars factories and so forth put together! Do you know what percentage CO2 is part of the atmosphere?? less tan 0.05…
So let's get science behind the new found religion called Global Warming, with its high priest Al Gore where they belong…more government control, more taxes, more bs…let's remember my pal George Carlin when he said, all is bs around us and it is bad for you!!
Arturo

BlackSun / July 9th, 2009, 2:13 am / #20

Arturo, if you were truly interested in the answers to your questions, you would find the information is readily available. Most of it on this site, but if you go to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, or the British Royal Society, to name a few, you will find what you're probably not looking for. Then you can check out the IPCC report on climate change, the Stern Report, and many others. But I'm sure you already know that, and I'm sure you're willing to discount everything because of your uneducated personal incredulity and bias. You've got an awfully high opinion of yourself. If you're that smart, why don't you go and apply for a job as a climate scientist? Maybe you can show those bastards a thing or two, huh?

I know you're religious, so why would you call something you think is BS a "religion." Kind of demonstrates what you REALLY think of religion, no?

Chris / July 13th, 2009, 6:55 pm / #21

"show those bastards a thing or two" lmao

Andreas Mannal / July 10th, 2009, 2:39 am / #22

Sean,

You really have your facts straight on this and I am getting very informed by your postings. Thank you!. I am quite curious, where does the orientation for this straightness and direction come from?! From "common sense", "vision", "analysis and engagement", "awareness-action"? How do you reconcile atheism with direction, purpose, engagement, drive and consequences, if you hold 'telos' and the secondary science of it, teleology, to be an illusion? [screw "religion", unless we understand it as the original Latin meaning: "re-connecting"! Who needs 'religions" that alienate us from ourselves and erach other?].

BlackSun / July 10th, 2009, 2:49 am / #23

I have a sense of purpose because it improves my quality of life over having none. But it's not in service of something outside myself. I care about the world because living in a better world means I can have a better life and have greater peace of mind about what will happen to my children.

I can also get quite sentimental about the concept of human freedom, since for most of human history it has been nothing but a pipe dream. Human rights are only guaranteed by superior force, and the trick seems to be having a goverment that's strong enough to protect and balance people's rights, but not so strong as to oppress it's own citizens.

Some days I think we are getting closer, and some days I just get discouraged. But onward!

BlackSun / July 10th, 2009, 2:50 am / #24

I have a sense of purpose because it improves my quality of life over having none. But it's not in service of something outside myself. I care about the world because living in a better world means I can have a better life and have greater peace of mind about what will happen to my children.

I can also get quite sentimental about the concept of human freedom, since for most of human history it has been nothing but a pipe dream. Human rights are only guaranteed by superior force, and the trick seems to be having a goverment that's strong enough to protect and balance people's rights, but not so strong as to oppress its own citizens.

Some days I think we are getting closer, and some days I just get discouraged. But onward!

Andreas Mannal / July 10th, 2009, 4:07 am / #25

What I like best about you and your sister Erin is that you are very genuine and "put yourselves on the line essentially". The more people would do that, the more quickly and essentially things would change. Again, thanks for your intelligenty work of pulling this all together, even if "it only improves your quality of life". It "improves my quality of life" at the same time. It seems like, if someone "improves their quality of life" genuinely and essentially, then it improves everything and everybody. Is this the promise of so called "freedom" maybe?

I am sentyimental myself now. "Not that there is anything wrong with that"

ClintJCL / July 22nd, 2009, 10:13 pm / #26

I like to think our burning of fossil fuels is simply something to keep the light on while we figure out a proper solution.

Cosmos / July 31st, 2009, 11:37 pm / #27

Was anybody here aware that many of the people over at the UN who are promoting this Climage Change agenda practice a religion of worshiping a pagan goddess named Gaia? I thought that was real interesting. Even Al Gore subscribes to this new religion. You can check it yourself easily. And Maurice Strong promotes the religion. The idea is that the earth is really a giant organism and that in order to save the earth who is ruled by Gaia, we must sacrifice the human parasites. And of course the method of doing this over at those enlightened UN officials is by regulating us into oblivion. And the Obama admin is complying nicely with their new Cap and Trade plan. Tax and regulate. Good way to eliminate humans. You can find out more about this issue by googling UN Agenda 21. And btw the term "sustainability" is one of those fun UN buzzwords, as well as "stakeholder". I think I heard our Prez use that one. Yeah Al Gore worships the goddess. and gee he gets to keep his two manions and private jets while the rest of us suffer. He has made millions on this agenda…..

BlackSun / August 1st, 2009, 8:50 pm / #28

This is trollbait conspiracy nonsense. The facts on the climate are clear and we must act.

I wonder if the politicians and corporate titans who live in mansions and fly private jets and do *not* say anything about the climate are better than Gore in your eyes? Sure, you can shoot the messenger. Or you can face up.

Cosmos / July 31st, 2009, 11:37 pm / #29

Was anybody here aware that many of the people over at the UN who are promoting this Climage Change agenda practice a religion of worshiping a pagan goddess named Gaia? I thought that was real interesting. Even Al Gore subscribes to this new religion. You can check it yourself easily. And Maurice Strong promotes the religion. The idea is that the earth is really a giant organism and that in order to save the earth who is ruled by Gaia, we must sacrifice the human parasites. And of course the method of doing this over at those enlightened UN officials is by regulating us into oblivion. And the Obama admin is complying nicely with their new Cap and Trade plan. Tax and regulate. Good way to eliminate humans. You can find out more about this issue by googling UN Agenda 21. And btw the term "sustainability" is one of those fun UN buzzwords, as well as "stakeholder". I think I heard our Prez use that one. Yeah Al Gore worships the goddess. and gee he gets to keep his two manions and private jets while the rest of us suffer. He has made millions on this agenda…..

Valhar2000 / August 11th, 2009, 10:40 am / #30

Quoting the ravings of a random kook indicts us… how exactly?

Cosmos / August 18th, 2009, 9:43 am / #31

Blacksun, I guess you are not going to address the pagan goddess worship of Gaia at the UN. I would love to hear that lecture condemning Al Gore and Maurice Strong. and all those greedy bloodsuckers who want to tax all global citizens.

BlackSun / August 18th, 2009, 3:14 pm / #32

Cosmos, WTF??? Are you blind, deaf, AND dumb?

Whatever makes you feel better about consuming the last of the available fossil fuels and making the planet unlivable for our descendants. Keep talking….

It's a very simple equation. If you want to get people to change their behavior, you make it make it more expensive to continue the bad behavior than to change it.

AngieJackson / August 18th, 2009, 9:39 pm / #33

Like sin taxes on cigarettes, soda, and alcohol being proposed to fund health care (which, as a smoker, I support)

valhar2000 / October 9th, 2009, 3:59 pm / #34

Bulldada, once again, will you please stop quoting lunatics and claiming that they are representative of anyone else? Your behaviour is particularly grating given that Sean routinely writes posts that specifically argue against the gargabe you keep trying to put in our mouths!

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