Now that every scientist who isn't part of the lunatic fringe agrees that human greenhouse gas emissions significantly alter the world's climate, the debate on Capitol Hill has shifted from science to policy. And that debate has proved even more complex than Congressional fights over the stimulus package, car company bailouts, and the decision to invade Iraq.
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, by a margin of 219 to 212, with three abstentions. The bill is the first legislative attempt to regulate carbon emissions, and the first bill to directly finger humans as the cause of climate change.
However, for all the revolution of the bill itself, its construction was politics as usual.
The slim difference between the yeas and nays resulted from the complex politics of climate change. To assuage fears that the regulation would negatively impact American business, HR 2454 became loaded down with payouts and caveats. This led politicians on both sides to attack the bill; Republicans saying it went too far, and some Democrats saying that the concessions mean the bill doesn't go far enough. In fact, this may be first time that the Heritage Foundation and Greenpeace have agreed on anything.
The bill institutes a cap-and-trade system in the form of pollution credits, requires that all utilities generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020, and requires companies to cut emissions by 17 percent below the 2005 level by 2020.
However, the bill also gives away 85 percent of the pollution credits for free, to oil, gas, and coal companies, places the distribution of carbon pollution credits in the hands of the pro-farm Department of Agriculture, and redistributes 2 percent of the money from the permits sold at auction back to oil refiners to help them cope with the changes.
The New York Times story covers the political horse-trading that both diluted the environmental effect of the bill and made it politically feasible. Meanwhile, The National Journal looks at the geography of the political divide, noting that the the Republicans who voted for the bill came from districts that voted for Obama last year, while the Democrats who voted against the bill came from districts that voted for McCain.
In March, when the bill made it out of committee, the Washington Post and the Economist examined how concessions in the bill all but neuter its pro-environment goal. And that was before the rest of the House got a hold of the bill.
All that, and the bill still needs to make its way through the Senate. In fact, considering how contentious the bill was in the House, HR 2454 may become the first test of the Democrats newly minted, filibuster-proof majority. That fight in the Senate will no doubt provide yet another chance for tree-hugging hippies and anthropogenic-global-warming-denying flat-earthers to duke it out over the future of energy.
"Now that every scientist who isn't part of the lunatic fringe agrees that human greenhouse gas emissions significantly alter the world's climate..." biased much?
/part of the "lunatic fringe"
//not reading articles by this author
last time I heard there was still a debate. It seems like politics and the media's opinion are taking the place of actual science.
This is nothing more than another way for the government to raise tax revenues. Global warming is BS. Yet they were able to sell tax payers that it is a problem and the cause in CO2 emissions. I would rather they add a $20 tax to cigarettes than do the CO2 tax.
Stu doesn't report science, he promotes a political agenda. He's as non-objective as the spares in Congress that were arm-twisted into voting for this mess. Let's see if he has the nads to post the news when this dies in the Senate. You can be sure I'll be here to dance on its grave.
The fact that it only passed by 2 votes, with over 40 Democrats voting against it shows just how stupid the bill is. Only by promising the moon to a few Republicans and their own rank and file was Pelosi able to get this rammed through. NONE of them read it before voting, and 300 pages were added to the bill at 3AM the same morning, all without review. THAT's YOUR government at work. Real transparent there, Mr. Obama. Liars and cheats in my book, and little Stu is running around carrying their banner. Pathetic, and yet par for the course here.
"little Stu"? kstauff, you've been talking to my girlfriend again, haven't you? She promised me she'd stop telling everyone about that...
Stuart, glad to see you reading the comments.
Please educate yourself.
I love the magazine but a lot of the "next great things" PopSci reports on just fizzles and dies. Global Warming will be another one.
You have a girlfriend?
SWEET I finally made it! I'm part of the <b><i>lunatic fringe</i></b>. I can add this to my <i><b>domestic terrorist</i></b> label that Nobama administration already labeled me and millions others as!
I remember when scientists believed in intellectual debate...when it was prudent to challenge a hypothesis to the n-th degree...and when journalists tried to be objective.
I miss the good old days.
Wow Stuart Fox. I like your articles, really, but honestly, the lunatic fringe? You know, people (like myself) find that extremely offensive, and the fact that you would have the nerve to even say that to YOUR CUSTOMERS is completely appalling. People like you don't care about the viewer/consumer, all you care about is the money involved, and so you decided to insult a vast amount of people who, even with people like you, actually have their own ideas and make their own educated decisions on things like "global warming".
Now, on the bill. Cap and Trade is going to kill the economy, period. 80% of america's energy comes from coal plants. Yes, we're dependant on foreign oil but thats because the democrats REFUSE to tap into the oil fields that are available nearly all around the United States. The Cap and Trade bill is going to increase oil and electric costs in America by 90%. not only that, it will also make gas prices go up to 7$ a gallon, if not more. This is going to destroy the economy so completely that no one will give one piece of feces about the greenhouse gasses when they're barely scraping a living.
Get ready Stuart Fox, because this bill will destroy the economy, and the middle class for years to come if it gets passed.
Well, I completely disagree with the views of the above posters, but I gotta admit labelling everyone who doesn't agree with you as the "lunatic fringe" might not be the best way to convince people who are undecided. I've given up on the usual posters here, who can be counted on to respond to any article regarding global warming with the predictability of increasing heat and drought in the Southeast, melting glaciers, dwindling polar caps... oh, you get the picture. But I wouldn't call them lunatics. They might listen to some lunatics on AM radio, subscribe to junk science bloggs, or cite the work of scientists supported by right-wing think tanks, religious fundamentalists, and the fossil fuel industry -- but they do at least string together coherent sentences and demonstrate an ability to challenge conventional wisdom.
And, unfortunately, the climate bill will almost certainly die in the Senate because of Democrats in the Senate like our own Mary Landrieu, in the pocket of both the oil and pharmaceutical industry (she's no big fan of universal health coverage either, but that's a separate issue regarding greed trumping common sense). So, for my "skeptical" friends here perhaps unfairly maligned as part of the lunatic fringe, you'll probably be able to celebrate a victory of sorts in the near future. Of course, it will be a hollow victory, since the long-term cost of unmitigated global warming will likely far exceed the cost of the rather conservative measures the Obama administration has so far supported to combat climate change.
I'm with you Mike. Most of these posters focus on being champions of the principle that scientists can never be 100% sure of anything. In the mean time, we're sending our money to Saudi Arabia to run our SUVs and blowing the tops off of the Appalachian mountains to generate electricity, when we could be taking the lead on solar power instead of letting the Germans take the lead.
We've had a revolution in our government, in our industry, in our civil rights, and in our information technology, it's time to start a revolution in clean energy. We spent money to put men on the moon, bomb Vietnam, and train dolphins to find mines. The least we can do is invest in good middle-class jobs in the new energy economy.
Opposing that new economy and undermining the security of your country for the sole purpose of proving how smart you are (and possibly save a few cents a day on your power bills) doesn't make you a lunatic on the fringe. It just means you don't understand the bigger picture, in which global warming is only a tiny part. This bill addresses the whole picture.
As a member of the "lunatic fringe" I think it is irresponsible to advance this pseudo science as fact, and to attempt to capitalize on people's fears in order to advance a false agenda that will wreck the American economy.
This is equivalent to the Mayan priest named Al Gore standing on top of the pyramid (Nobel Peace Prize) and declaring that the world will end unless we change our ways and perform human sacrifice to appease the environment god(s).
Why is it ok that the American Economy has wrecked the landscape?
I want to see a comparison map, from say, 200 years ago, of the continent and one from today, and see how much has changed from what it used to be. It's not just fossil fuel use, it's things like Ohio formally being nearly completely covered by forest...to now when people wonder how that lone tree got so big way out in that field all by itself...
It seems we have two sides, the 'we can't hurt the earth' side, and the 'we're killing the earth side', i'm sort of in the middle because i don't know everything. I do know how people are, we trash everything, and those of us who don't won't clean up after those that don't care... I feel like sometime taking a trip to all the awesome places in Washington state, and taking pictures of the trash that so many leave out of their pictures... we behave the same way in groups. Just like the aphids that wiped out my lupines this year, we ride everything we touch into the ground, then we move on...locusts, ya know folks, there's no place left to go...this is it.
yep, it's boiling frog syndrome...
It's really quite simple, GW fans. If you make the effort to dig just a little further than stopping by PopSci to see what picture of the desert Stuart attached to his latest propaganda post, you'll find that the average global temperature has been on the decrease for the last 11 years, IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION TO ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING THEORY. AGW predicts that temperature will rise as CO2 increases; in fact, it predicts temperature will rise if CO2 levels remain the same. IT HASN'T!
yet another indication of popsci's liberal bias, ride that money train PopSci, hey facts are relative anyway right?
"part of the lunatic fringe"
"human greenhouse gas emissions significantly alter the world's climate"
...is this the common opinion of Popsci?
I personally view the goal of "energy independence" as more of a matter of national and economic security
"Now that every scientist who isn't part of the lunatic fringe agrees that human greenhouse gas emissions significantly alter the world's climate"
I could have swore that many scientists were speaking out discrediting Al Gores "global warming research"? I guess I must be smoking crack again while the media and Politicians tell the truth. Why would anyone ever believe one word that comes out of any of our current(past 10 years) politicians mouth? How ignorant are we?
So the dissent is now either treasonous or relegated to 'the lunatic fringe'. Great. And screw you too!
Cap and trade is the same tired old kind of market system that brought us the 'stunning performance' in the financials in the form of the credit/banking crisis and is brought to us by the same old, tired, dogmatic, stinking old white haired business men and politicians that brought us all the other crap in our lives, including higher taxes and higher costs for just about everything we pay for.
'Climate Change' or if you prefer, 'global warming' is what it is; an excuse to beat the 'fear drum' and chant 'If you don't do this, terrible things will happen...'. A familiar refrain these past years; 'If we don't go to war, terrible things will happen...', 'If we don't save the Banks, terrible things will happen...' and of course, now we have to save the world. I think they've (the Establishment) cried wolf too many times and this why we (the populace) are apathetic. That and seeing malfeasance and downright thievery rewarded in the credit crunch, why can't those on the 'pro save the planet' side see that I'm just not ready to swallow that boulder salt? But no, I'm the lunatic fringe...
The world will be changed by our actions and continues to be changed by our actions in it. Isn't this obvious? Kill the bufalo, cut down all the trees, dig up all the coal, smelt the steel, and on and on.... So now, that they 'realize the error of their ways' the powers that be want us to pay for 'the real cost' of the lives we live? THEY have based the economies of the world on 'the most for the least' and that other one 'without growth, we die' and now when I'm trying to carve out my niche, they want to change rules to it all?
The businesses that will benefit from the supposed windfall of green businesses are the same that have behaved so badly in the past. and in many cases, their 'greeness' is anything but; I give you the compact flourescent light bulb.
No. A thousand times no. It's time that business and politicians REALLY started acting in my best interests.
I have the ring and It's going to melt in Mount Doom.
PS; If someone brings up the issue of the science and the data thereof, the data is suspect. On both sides of the argument.
The research that convinced me that we need to limit CO2 emissions is based upon Antarctic ice core samples. For a 100,000 years air pockets trapped in the ice show zero change in the level of CO2 in the air we breath. Then in the 1880's the CO2 levels start to rise. The CO2 levels have risen every year since the 1880's. The 1880's is the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Research on the level of neuro-toxic insecticide show that every lung full of air we breath has at least one detectable particle of neuro-toxic insecticide.
Research into the toxic air pollution we breath here in the US every day says that if we were to stop polluting the air we breath with toxic chemicals, we would all live 20 years longer.
Research into the health effects of breathing automobile fumes during rush hour has shown the air pollution automobiles generate today has the same health effects upon humans as smoking a pack a day.
I do not the support cap and trade concept. Cap and trade will not reduce CO2 emissions to zero. All consumers of coal, oil and natural gas should be required to capture all the CO2 they produce. The US should pass a tax upon imported products from any country that does not adapt a mandatory CO2 capture on all possible sources of CO2 pollution. US should make mandatory cuts of CO2 release each year until we reach a zero additional CO2 air pollution levels (We produce no more CO2 air pollution than nature can absorb). The tax upon imports should be used to aid poorer people in installing solar cells upon the roofs of their home and business. Only captured natural gas from trash dumps and human waste treatment plants should be used as a energy source.
Ellenbetty. could you please produce this reasearch, because I have never even heard of this. and also, it is impossible to reduce the co2 emmissions to zero without crashing every economy known to man.
Looks like you turned over the wrong rock.
To your pro-pollution commenters:
What are you all doing reading a science magazine?
Bend the truth anyway you like. It's a fact that the arctic ice-cap is getting smaller. Same goes for the mass of the ice on Greenland and around Antarctica.
Global Warming is just one reason to cut back our pollution. Whether you believe in it or not, keeping your environment clean protects your family from harm.
It's a fact is that mercury damages the brains of your children. Coal plants are mass mercury dispensers. We should get rid of them for that reason alone. The science is here now. It's an inevitable evolution. We can get our energy through solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and other ways. No more begging the middle east or removing mountaintops for fuel that hurts our children. Why the resistance?
People trying to protect the environment are looking out for you and your family and the families they will have. A little sacrifice from us now to build clean infrastructure and cut our fossil fuel consumption will payoff ... forever.
Do I want my grandchildren to learn that I opposed the cleaning of their environment or do I want them to look upon me as one of the heroes that fought for their clean toxin-free air, easy clean energy and a more beautiful place to live.
If you have a toothache you go to the dentist. How is this different. The earth is changing and the science that says we have something to do with it overwhelming .
Protecting the environment has no long term downside economic or otherwise. It is simply creating a higher Quality environment for your family to live in.
Stu, you rock.
It takes balls to step in front of the pro-pollution train like that. I write a column for a sailing magazine and they come after me too. I'm not sure how they think pollution benefits them but my stance is for a cleaner place for my friends and family to live in.
Yes, It's common knowledge that the earth ice is depleting. But did you know that the ocean was being affected? When I was in Australia the fishermen were being plagued by some new acidic moss that was coming up from the bottom with their fishing gear. It causes welts and rashes all over their body. I did some research when I got home and the 'moss' turned out to be a life form that has not existed for millenia. The oceans are absorbing most of our CO2. It has created an environment for these new organisms. Everyplace I sailed into on my circumnavigation was being plaqued by either jellyfish (a big CO2) fan or coral bleaching. It's all happening folks.
When the ocean meets it's CO2 limit (saturation), atmospheric CO2 will increase much more rapidly. It's gonna get ugly.
I guess I'm a part of the anti-evolutionist and the global warming denying tin-foil-hat crowd, lunatic fringe. The ad homonym attack doesn't belong in Popular Science. Shame on you, your bigotry is showing and shame on Popular Science for giving you a forum in which to express that mindless bigotry.
I mourn the loss of a great science and technology magazine. Now PopSci is just another propaganda outlet for the misanthropic, anti-science, Luddites of the American left.
For the record, I believe evolution has been shaping life for the past 3.5 billion years. The scientific method is as close as I get to having a religion because it’s as close as we can get to knowing anything about anything. Oops, another liberal environmentist theory falsified.
I doubt AGW (anthropogenic global warming) because AlGore and the IPCC’s pet scientists insist that the debate is over and resort to ad homonym attacks to discredit anyone who doesn't embrace their global catastrophe models. The very essence of science is debate, collecting data by observation and refining scientific theories.
I doubt AGW because the IPCC was commissioned to study the negative impacts of AGW, and NOT to study the causes of climate change. It's a political organization with a political agenda.
I doubt AGW because Michael Mann has been allowed to continue being a lead author in the IPCC in spite of the fact that he has perpetrated a fraud (with his hockey stick graph) as great as Piltdown Man. His hockey stick graph all but eliminates the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, uses tree ring research in inappropriate ways and always produces the dramatic shape he wanted. The IPCC doesn't do peer review. They have "spirited discussions." They didn't even try to subject that chart to peer review, but they sure did use it to promote their political agenda.
I doubt AGW because the hot spot is missing. AGW theory says the tropopause is supposed to heat up and trap heat there. The heat is missing. The theory is falsified. And still the AGW faithful insist that they just need to figure out how to measure it. Maybe they should use winds aloft instead, after all thermometers aren't accurate unless they show warming.
I doubt AGW because the climate record shows that CO2 has never driven climate change. We have hundreds of millions of years of paleoclimate records with CO2 NOT driving temperature but I'm supposed to believe that our .02% contribution to greenhouse gases overwhelms all other causes.
I doubt AGW because the evidence doesn't support it. The only people who believe in AGW are the semiliterate environmentalists who still believe Saccharin and Alar cause cancer and that genetically modified plants are somehow hazardous. And scientists and journalists whose jobs depend on them supporting this lame theory.
I doubt AGW because every aspect of the AGW hypothesis has been falsified or is in doubt and the people who have done the SCIENCE to falsify it are vilified because they dare to question the AGW religion.
I doubt AGW because you are in such a hurry to spend trillions of dollars and kill millions of dark skinned poor people to "save Gaia". Of course you don't know you're going to kill people but you will, by keeping them poor in energy, and insuring that they live short, brutal lives.
I doubt AGW because every time there has been a public debate between the AGW faithful and horrid lunatic fringe deniers the lunatic fringe wins the debate and converts AGW believers into deniers.
I have read Popular Science, mostly cover to cover, for 25 years. One of the reason's I read it is because it remains one of the last outlets of non-politicized information. However, the comment "Now that every scientist who isn't part of the lunatic fringe agrees" shows decidedly the politics of the writer, which I HATE. Maybe he needs to do a little more research because the scientific world is decidedly NOT in agreement that "man caused global warming" is a "fact" whatsoever. The writer seeks to take advantage of the reality that many readers have NOT read as widely as others. First of all, they are not even calling it "global warming" anymore because evidence suggests that the warmest year on record was in the 1930's and the last three years shows a cooling trend of 1 degree, not to mention the fact that this summer is the coolest in 100 years. So now it is being called "global climate change." The writer overlooks the "fact" that our information is based on an extremely limited record of temperatures. We do know for a "fact," however, that the earth has been enjoying an unusually stable period of climate which is uncharacteristic.
There is a major problem with the Antarctic ice core samples. They show no change in pre 1880 atmospheric CO2. That is none, zero, zilch. We know from other sources and investigations that there were periods in our Earth's past when there were variations in atmospheric CO2, and these are not reflected in the ice core samples.
Either we are incorrect in our other studies (multiple sources, multiple scientists - so unlikely) or there is an unknown mechanism evening out the CO2 readings in the cores.
Occam's Razor dictates that we concider the ice core study to be flawed.
Damn....another great piece of evidence bits the dust.
<i> Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.</i>
For another studied view of the global warming debate, take a look at the following report. Hopefully you can do a download ot this report.
This topic is not being considered in a good-science way, and this report shows a number of things being overlooked. Popular science needs to be good science, not just popular.
It is indeed unnecessary to call people "part of the lunatic fringe" just below they are coming to different conclusions about global warming.
The House Bill was Written and passed by bunch of un knowledgable politians.
The people of this Earth cut down approximately 50% of our
Trees use Carbon Dioxide to make their food and as a byproduct release Oxygen into our atmosphere.The amount of Oxygen they u produced was approximately 78% of the TOTAL OXYGEN in our atmosphere. NO TREES NOT ENOUGH OXYGEN!!!
Allpoints well taken, I don't have the language command of most of you. I think there are many truths on both sides, my concern is that too often people will say, " man caused global warming", and I hope most of us can agree that we had an ice age, several if science is right, but without any help from man the planet came out of the ice age which made an envirement suitable for us beings, however, I completely believe that we are having more of an impact that some of us are aware of. I have also noticed that people that usually protest to save the planet, say tree's for instance, once the protest is over they go home, the home that was built by the tree's that were cut durring the last protest. We have challenges, where do you draw the line to say, this person can have a house and this person can't have a house. If there was interaction between us and our govern ment we could encourage them to take our country in the direction of undeveloped countries instead of being all over the globe trying to get other countrys that are undeveloped to live like us, but then you have corporate America to deal with, markets have to expand and if other countrys are not developing then we have no one to sell our products to. sorry for babbling
Good day fellow Americans/earthlings. oh, by the way I may release my latest discovery here on popsci. after 18 years my papers support that females were here long before males.
I just want to recognize the man above me, WOW! Those kind of smarts and good lookin' too.
Controlled measure, that is the only reason that our energy concerns are not solved. I have developed and in installed
for my family members a power source that I developed 6 years ago that no one has ever heard of because it cost no money and I have not seen a single company or person even get close to this simple idea. everybody has ran right past it and they sealed my research until 2021. I'm being treated like a common criminal. Here's my point, the first question I was asked by several very big corporations was, how do we connect it to the grid. Believe you me, the prevailing energy resources that wins the day will have corporate ownership that will generate for that corporation profits that are just unthinkable and the government will make sure of it because it will be another massive source of revenue for all those poor public servents we have in Washington that really need the money.
Unfortunately for some,The grid scientist with different news,and definitely different views,and a completely different degree than you. TREES do not make the oxygens on this planet,or any other one,and they or other plants do not ingest carbon to get their nutrition.
The improper science information on the role of photosynthesis was conjured up from an in-ability to have actual planetary processes science given to the learning institutions and we have the resultant of the fiasco we are all having to endure,including destruction of normal life here.
Without the understanding of our actual system,no science junior has any right to be engaged in giving government advice on policy.
Mr. Hansen from NASA has it wrong,The IPCC has it wrong.
NASA does not understand the very basics of the universe,they just dont.
Many folks just want to deplete anyone who says anything about their favorite agency or guru,but they really do not know the truth,they have been sequestered from main points of knowledge from a particular faction of folks who have a specific interest in the educational institutions never knowing their mission here.
It will be way too late for anyone to do much about what has and is still happening,and how will the Scientists from the universities explain themselves? I am waiting for that explanation to be produced and my favorite little saying to some folks is "You'll See"