Busch administration clearly a traitor to reason!

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Busch administration clearly a traitor to reason!

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:36 am

Significant news that confirms the intellectual bankruptcy of the Busch administration was released today.

"WASHINGTON - Responding to a US Supreme Court order, the Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday that the Clean Air Act was "the wrong tool for addressing greenhouse gases" because it would be too costly for the American public and that instead Congress should move forward with passing legislation to tackle the issue.

The high court had ordered the EPA more than a year ago to determine whether greenhouse gases were a danger to the public.

If so, the justices said, under the Clean Air Act the agency is required to develop regulations to reduce the risk.

Instead, Stephen Johnson, EPA administrator, signed what he said was an unprecedented 1,000-page document yesterday that included letters from numerous White House environmental and economic agencies detailing how such regulations could have a negative impact on major sectors of the economy.

"One point is clear," Johnson said. "The potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land."

He said he would accept comments on the proposed EPA regulations in response to the court order, but stressed repeatedly that it was the wrong approach because of the costs.

The document also includes a sharply revised version of a May draft by EPA staff members in which they concluded that as much as $2 trillion in savings to consumers at the gas pump could be achieved if greenhouse gas regulations were implemented.

That number was slashed to $830 billion, and the price of gas was calculated at $2 a gallon for the next 30 years. Jonathan Schradar, EPA press secretary, said that he did not know why the numbers had been changed but that an extensive review of the earlier draft had been performed by agency staff members.

Yesterday's announcement effectively eliminated any likelihood of the Bush administration regulating greenhouse gases.

In its document, the EPA made no finding on whether global warming poses a threat to people's health or welfare, reversing an earlier conclusion at the insistence of the White House.

The White House earlier this week rejected the EPA's previous suggestion that the 1970 Clean Air Act can be both workable and effective for addressing global climate change.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said President Bush is committed to further reductions but there is a "right way and a wrong way to deal with climate change."

The wrong way is "to sharply increase gasoline prices, home heating bills, and the cost of energy for American businesses," she said. "The right way, as the president has proposed, is to invest in new technologies."

In Congress, supporters of regulating greenhouse gases could get only 48 votes in the 100-member Senate last month.

The House has held several hearings on the problem, but no votes on any bill addressing it.

It is my opinion, that the failure to do something is the same as a decision to do nothing. What is alarming is a cogent counter proposal is not being set forth, rather, the next administration will acquire this problem among others from the administration. Clearly this is a stalling tactic in the interest of the fossil fuel industry.

Abdication of this responsibility signals that a traitor to reason itself. dwells in the nations capital wearing the disguise of a patriot.

What do you think?
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Re: Busch administration clearly a traitor to reason!

Postby teamjdc » Sun Jul 13, 2008 4:19 am

WalkerARCHITECTS wrote:What do you think?


Counting the days to 1/20/09!
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Postby csintexas » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:41 pm

I feel like the government is pretty well representative of the people and this indecision will continue through any administration until the American people decide.

I think the EPA is correct that they should not force actions that the majority of people may not support. The congress and senate and exec. needs to do their jobs. The EPA is not elected and it is not their function to set policy. Their name is a bit misleading their job is not to protect the environment but to enforce regulations.

It is a pretty good bet that we will have a democrat in the white house next year but I don't see much changing any time soon. We simply have too much momentum to change coarse quickly (unless it is an obvious emergency like WWII)

Climate change will not be the deciding factor though. It happens too slowly and the net effect is too uncertain. As soon as we start to get measurable rises in sea level we may take some action.

Our immediate problems are energy, and deficit spending.
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Postby birgco » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:54 pm

Seems to me we have had 30 + years of total ineffectiveness/incompetence on both sides of the isle, and as Chris accurately points out, a nation or a people gets the government it deserves, and I'm not just talking about the past 8 years.
If anyone thinks a new Democratic President will lead us to the promise land, I have a bridge you need to see.
(and please don't tell me at least it can't get any worse)
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Postby solidred » Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:10 pm

I think Climate Change and the Carbon issue is a red herring.
I read a long article in the newspaper earlier about computers, being 'responsibly' disposed of by one party were, through a rather labyrinthine route, nonetheless ending up in a vast junk-yard in Ghana where children are scraping a living dismembering this stuff for scrap metal. Over a period of time, the toxic fumes inhaled from melting down the carapaces of the machinery to get to the similarly toxic lead and mercury harvest is likely lethal. Consider several square miles of this situation...
See, to me, *that* is a *real* issue.
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Postby csintexas » Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:12 pm

Personally my bet is on a direct link between carbon emissions and global warming because it just seems like too much of a coincidence. I would think we will know for sure within 15 years though.

The computer issue is a great example of something we can and should do better. Almost all the products we use are the same. We built a society where energy usage, pollution, waste, etc. are simply not calculated in the cost of products.

Again I think the main problem is our belief in materialism. This will always drive society to consume as much as possible and not be good stewards.

Back on topic -I do agree that Bush is probably the stupidest president in the history of the US. I would say our best bet is to focus on the energy problem, pollution, deficit spending, etc. and not climate change at this time.

I was happy to see T. Boone Pickens backing wind generators and confirming the oil problem.
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Postby Architorture » Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:18 pm

global warming didn't just happen in the last 8 years... i think chris also hit it on the head... these problems are deeper than any administration... its cultural

whatever people say about global warming obviously no one really cares enough to change the way they live...
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Postby birgco » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:49 pm

whatever people say about global warming obviously no one really cares enough to change the way they live...


Not so fast Architorture :D

I know many, many people who have made significant changes to their lifestyles in an ernest effort to improve our environment. The list ranges from buying or building a passive solar/energy efficient home, volunteering for environmental causes, religiously recycling trash, riding mass transportation instead of driving a car, switching to compact flourescent bulbs and more efficient appliances or taking a two minute shower. I could go on for another 87 seconds, but the point is they all have something in common...they are trying to the right thing. It may not be enough to change the world right now and some people might say so what, but if this ground swell of activism and interest continues to grow, we will see positive results.
And to those who question whether global warming is due to man made factors, I would say there can be no harm in trying to clean our air and water and conserving natural resources for future generations when the potential negative results for inaction is so great.
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Postby Architorture » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:05 pm

cfl's are a bandaid...carbon doesn't come out of the lightbulb it comes out of the power plant...for all of these small moves the systematic problems that they are a small part of have not changed in any significant way...

yes its good to do something and to try in whatever way is possible... but most of these changes are small and they don't overturn the deep cultural underpinnings that have created the problem...

there need to be very very large scale changes in the systems not just the things the end users stick in a socket

i understand what you are saying though...in fact i am one of the people you describe...i bought a house within walking distance of my work in a walkable town and rarely drive during the week...i also bought a relatively small home that was reasonably sized for my wife and i (<1000sf)...

but i don't go to too much trouble patting myself on the back for it b/c i know my cfl's are still getting their power from the same place as oldest incandescent on the block
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Postby solidred » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:16 am

To respond to birgco's post, my gripe is the wholesale dissemination and adoption of a highly debatable theory as pure truth.
That said, I entirely agree that, using such a bandwagon to focus on things like a holistic attitude to the world we live in; an attention to energy and material use, to the extent of genuinely changing ingrained habits (it's a minor pain, sure, but grudgingly I'm getting accustomed to the notion that plastic carrier bags given out for each and every shopping trip aren't a 'given') is and entirely good thing. The fact that our corporations, even if it's simply a canny way to look after share price, are seriously changing approaches to pollution etc. is great.
People are fundamentally good and responsible, thinking beings. People are also fundamentally greedy and selfish. The fact that this internal battle can be helped along the road towards an overall better future by the 'global warming' issue is, so long as it doesn't degenerate into oppression of free thinking and simple fear of the big context of global life, something good.

As for your current president? From this side of the pond, it's a no brainer. You could also substitute the third personal pronoun for the neuter there. Then again, my own government's recent track record hasn't been so great either...
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Postby Richard Haut » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:39 am

I see this from a slightly different angle because I deal with the two worlds of architecture and advertising - the level of enthusiasm and activity in the advertising world is dramatic.

I agree with Architorture that much of what is done is smallscale - but not all of it. The central, regional and local government involvement across Europe is considerable.

what they are seeking to do is to create an awareness of waste and dirt (that is, after all, what we are talking about). It is the changing of habits.

whatever "theory" one does or does not believe, if you eat a tomato how much energy and packaging and other waste has been involved in getting that tomato onto your plate.

some cities are efficient (and seek to improve their efficiency); others are ridiculously wasteful. Britain deliberately moved in the direction of forcing the public to travel to shop - the overbearing hold of the supermarkets in Britain involved massive waste in terms of transportation, storage, packaging and then the travelling of the customers themselves.

the intention is to change the comprehension of the individual - and that is a warning sign that corporations had better understand.
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Postby csintexas » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:23 pm

I agree with birgco in that the number of people willing to make some changes in order to safeguard the environment is substantial. If I had to make a wild guess I would say 50% of people (US) and growing.

This is reflected in the starting post:
In Congress, supporters of regulating greenhouse gases could get only 48 votes in the 100-member Senate last month.


But I also agree with Architorture that most people would not make a significant change. I have only had one customer who has been willing to do more than use a few cfl light bulbs or purchase a slightly more efficient AC unit.

We have made tremendous gains in recent years though. Unfortunately we have extremist on both sides which confuse the issues. Neo-cons have become particularly good at polarizing America and distorting the actual attitude of the majority of people who think we could do things better.

Any legislation that gets past seems to be so full of compromise that it is usually ineffective and only adds to the bureaucracy which just makes things worse.
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Postby birgco » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:08 pm

cfl's are a bandaid...carbon doesn't come out of the lightbulb it comes out of the power plant...for all of these small moves the systematic problems that they are a small part of have not changed in any significant way...



Don't mean to nitpick :wink: but I had to comment about the cfl being a bandaid. It is true that carbon comes out of the power plant but if every person used compact flourescent bulbs, we could reduce our lighting electricity usage by about 70% or more (60 watt vs. 11 watt for the same output). This is a major technology coup and will result in a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gases. This should be greeted with enthusiasm not ho hum.
The point is well taken about not patting ourselves on the back for some of the environmentally responsible things we do, but it does have an impact. Leading by example (rather than talking about it) is one of the best ways to convince others they can make a difference. I was surprised by how much interest was generated just by installing something as simple as a solar powered attic fan. Every watt of electricity generated by solar or wind or a more efficient cfl, is a watt not produced by a power plant and it can't be a meaningless effort if the utility companies don't have to expand capacity.
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Postby modjohn » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:36 pm

It is unfortunate that such a large percentage of people do not believe/understand the problems we face with global warming. And I agree that there are a some questions out there that can really confuse the issue. Things like the very, very slight increase in solar radiation and the natural climate cycles that our planet goes through. These and others along with the disinformation/misinformation spewed by many corporate interests could create doubt in almost anyone.

The thing that has me most convinced that we are facing a very serious problem is the rise in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As I understand it, we at the highest level of CO2 in the past 650,000 years or so. This is a very bad thing as it will/can induce a number of catastrophic changes to our climate. Do a google search on carbon dioxide levels for some light reading.

Power plants, cars and industry are the biggest polluters. Coal fired plants fired plants are the worst. We are converting carbon stored millions of years ago into a gas and pumping it into our atmosphere.

The longer we wait to make changes, the worse it will be for mankind. Hell, we may be too late as it is! Some new technologies may help to save our asses. People are currently working on ways to convert CO2 in the atmosphere into different types of materials. Plants remove CO2 from the air and convert it into wood, leaves, bark, etc. Why can’t we? But, this technology is many years away at best.

And yes, Bush is the most incompetent president in recent memory.
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Postby Architorture » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:54 pm

are you so sure that a watt not used by a cfl is not produced? the thing is that i don't think that power plants can just 'turn down the dial' on a permanent basis or would they even want to...

i think what happens in reality is that a particular place...say the entire city of new york decided to install cfls...so there is a significant decrease in the demand for electricity in one particular place...but since the power plant is connected to nation wide grid instead of stop making electricity and shut the doors perhaps they just lower the price and sell it to someone else... because of course electricity is still going to have to obey supply and demand rules in our economy...

power plants cost alot of money to build and operate...and they cost alot more when they aren't operating at at least base or possibly at capacity...so no power company is just going to shut down a significant amount of their power generating operation...they will lower the price to make the power more attractive to different buyers...such as other power generators who may use the cheap electricity to 'store' the energy in reservoirs by pumping water uphill for cheap then releasing it when the cost of production is higher... hydroelectric plants typically do this at over night when demand is lower and rates are cheaper...

there are also plenty of energy intensive industries such as the chemical industry who can always use more electricity especially on the cheap...

ultimately i don't think that you can say that a watt not used by you is not produced... the grid does react pretty quickly to usage patterns and adjust production accordingly...but the system is also sized for particular usage patterns... if those patterns were to change significantly i don't think the power industry would allow generators and turbines to sit idle potentially costing them millions of dollars... i think the price of energy would go down or certain older less efficient plants might get closed but i think the overall level of electricity production would be flat...

eventually of course this overall reduction would probably make building new generating stations less profitable so no new capacity would be constructed but i wouldn't expect the existing capacity to be abandoned until its expected life had ended...

i'm still all for using cfls if you want...it won't hurt anything... until of course you throw it out and release that mercury... but at the end of the day i don't think switching light bulbs is a big enough move to make a difference... we have deep cultural and societal issues that no amount of lightbulbs is going to change...

hell look at what we are doing here...having a conversation about energy use on probably one of the most energy intensive means of communication available that shows absolutely no sign of slowing down...

how many cfls do you think google would have to use in order to offset the power used by their massive number of servers?
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