The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM
Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM
Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM
Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM
Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM
Idea Majorities Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM
Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM
The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM
From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM
Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM
Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM
Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM
Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM
Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM
Social Security Reform Thursday.
March 13, 2008
Caption Contest: Enter Today!
Due: July 29, 2008
The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006
Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008
Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007
Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 454 -- Air Quality & Global Warming.
Al Gore recently made his way to Austin on his An Inconvenient Truth tour. About 3,000 tickets were sold for the event, which was held in the 16,755+ capacity Frank Erwin Center.
I've actually watched the "documentary," and it strikes me that Al Gore is one of the worst spokespeople possible for just about any cause, because he has a strange tendency to stretch the truth when it doesn't even need to be stretched, all while inventing truth when it does need to be invented. Credibility is so precious in the world of politics and policy and science, and Al Gore just simply has no credibility. Also, Gore is a poor choice for the environmental movement due to his narcissism and hypocrisy on this and other issues.
In the film, Al Gore brings in all sorts of irrelevant tangents about his family life, including his son's car accident as a young boy, his sister's cancer, and his family's farm in Tennessee. The film also lingers on the 2000 election aftermath, as if to say, "had I been elected, we wouldn't have global warming." Watching the film, you can't help but feel like you've been cornered in Al Gore's den, and he's compelling you to watch film reels from his life on his dusty old projector screen. In between reels, he's showing off how smart and worldly he is by citing carbon dioxide statistics and showing you pictures of polar bears.
Indeed, the film truly is more of an "Al Gore is awesome!" movie than an educational movie about the environment. To the extent that it even is an educational film about the environment, it gets so much, so incredibly wrong:
ERROR: Mr Gore asserted that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of either West Antarctica or Greenland "in the near future".
Given these errors and others, plus the heavy doses of Al Gore personal nonsequiturs, it seems strange that it would ever be shown in schools, let alone British schools. But that's the world today.
Meanwhile, how is the world doing? You know, the actual world. Are we killing the earth? Is the planet in peril? Is our air unbreathable?
What do the facts say about the environment?
Well, for one, ambient levels of various air pollutants here in America are significantly down in recent decades:
Sure, a portion of that decline is probably directly related to the sort of environmental regulations Al Gore and others routinely call for. On the other hand, this graphic shows how technology can improve our world. In the 1960s, vehicles were clunkier, louder, and emitted more pollution than vehicles today. Factories spat out more smoke and chemicals than they do today. Our appliances are much more energy efficient today than they were four decades ago. Much of this is simply attributable to consumer preferences. American consumers have become more sophisticated. We want our cars to make less noise and pollute less. We want our industrial facilities to be cleaner. We want our refrigerators to keep our food fresher, longer, all while using less energy. Let's not underestimate the greening impact of individual choice.
The graphic above also gives us reason for optimism about the health of our planet, and reason to pause before overreacting to the alleged threat of anthropomorphic global warming. It should also cause us to question why so many of the current models and predictions of future environmental indicators (INCLUDING the very ones in the graphic above) are so terribly negative and pessimistic, when, in reality, the trends are often quite positive, with or without drastic government intervention.
Indeed, as noted here at WILLisms.com back in February, the United States, without ratifying Kyoto, has done a better job than nearly every other country in the world, when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the United States produces a higher proportion of the world's economic growth than carbon dioxide emissions and is roughly on par with The Netherlands in that regard. The Netherlands is extremely environmentally conscious. Practically the entire country is below sea level. So being roughly on par with The Netherlands is kind of a big deal.
Indeed, the authors of the 2007 Leading Index of Environmental Indicators (.pdf) crunched the numbers similarly and found that the United States is becoming more energy efficient, all without Kyoto:
GHG Intensity refers to greenhouse gas intensity. It's essentially a ratio of greenhouse gas emissions and economic prowess. This particular graphic refers to improvements in that GHG intensity since 1991; America has done a better job than Europe over this period at growing its economy faster and greener. The authors also note that Germany improved their numbers mostly by shutting down old Soviet-era facilities in the East, and the UK improved in a one-time move from coal to natural gas production of electricity.
Essentially, it is economic growth and economic necessity that will drive the greatest environmental advancements of the 21st century. Economic growth drives cleaner, more efficient, and just plain better technologies. Economic growth drives consumer preferences toward more environmentally-friendly products. There is no need for any sort of federalized Manhattan project on alternative energy; if oil really is too expensive and/or about to run out, there are billions of dollars in new wealth just ripe for the picking for those who develop something that is better. Indeed, venture capital in alternative energies is becoming big business (unfortunately, some of that is due to rent-seeking as a consequence of poor government policy) and has more than quadrupled as a percentage of total venture capital spending, in the past half-decade (.pdf):
If America were engaged in a modern "space race" against the Europeans on alternative energy and ways to improve the environment, there is little doubt that the United States would win-- but only if the U.S. harnesses the power of economic growth, individual choice, and entrepreneurialism to win.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Liberal Media Bias.
Posted by Will Franklin · 10 October 2007 01:48 PM
Not good enough!
The hairshirt greens won't be happy until our only mode of transportation is bicycles.
Posted by: Ken McCracken at October 11, 2007 12:01 AM
Great post Will. I wish Ken's comment weren't true, but it is. And the greens use the courts as effectively as any group ever to attain their goals. If a democrat is elected President, their power will increase with each liberal activist apponted to a federal panel. By the way, I will miss Ken's contributions to Willisms, but it is good to see you posting consistently again Will.
Posted by: b from t at October 11, 2007 07:43 PM