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Robert Bryce in the Wall Street Journal:

Over the past decade, carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. fell by 1.7%. And according to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. is now cutting carbon emissions faster than Europe, even though the European Union has instituted an elaborate carbon-trading/pricing scheme. Why? The U.S. is producing vast quantities of cheap natural gas from shale, which is displacing higher-carbon coal.

Meanwhile, China's emissions jumped by 123% over the past decade and now exceed those of the U.S. by more than two billion tons per year. Africa's carbon-dioxide emissions jumped by 30%, Asia's by 44%, and the Middle East's by a whopping 57%. Put another way, over the past decade, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions--about 6.1 billion tons per year--could have gone to zero and yet global emissions still would have gone up.

A few years ago, I heard a Cal Tech climate science guru give a talk.  He arranged it so that no questions were allowed, which was disappointing.  He said that according to the prevailing science, which he said he supports completely, we have a handful of years to change course, or the earth will be alterted forever.  His proposed solutions were to cut emissions radically.

Had questions been allowed, I would have said something like, I study politics, not science. As a student of politics, I can almost guarantee that the kinds of hair shirt cuts he demands will never happen, almost certainly not in any major country, and certainly not in all of them.  If that's the case, the challenge for science is, to paraphrase Publius, how to manage the effects of human actions, rather than impose the kind of tyranny that it would take to tackle the causes.  Still a relevant observation, it seems to me. 

(I would also add, that we need also to be sure we know what we're doing.  Sciences are at their most speculative in their infancy.  Such is the study of the enviornment.  That being the case, my guess is that scientists are guessing, more than they like to admit, about the consequences of human actions on the environment across the globe.

P.S. Why do Progressives think it is reasonable to think we can control mankind's global carbon footprint, but also think that it is impossible for most individuals to control their sex drives?

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P.S. Why do Progressives think it is reasonable to think we can control mankind's global carbon footprint, but also think that it is impossible for most individuals to control their sex drives?

Wow is that a loaded question. That question could beg quite a few diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, 4th Edition.

"P.S. Why do Progressives think it is reasonable to think we can control mankind's global carbon footprint, but also think that it is impossible for most individuals to control their sex drives?"

I don't know if that is the Nexus upon which Conservative vs. Progressive turns, because if it is I might be Progressive. (This might make Chinese policy conservative!)

It is actually quite amazing that the U.S. has been able to reduce carbon dioxide emmissions by 1.7%, given population growth.

The U.S. can cut quicker than Europe because it has more slack or is further away from the technological limit.

On some level the simple Malthusians will say that you just can't blunt the sex drive, and that really population increases will outstrip technological advances when it comes to mankind's global carbon footprint.

i.e. I am closer to the Malthusian view, which is also this view: "If that's the case, the challenge for science is, to paraphrase Publius, how to manage the effects of human actions, rather than impose the kind of tyranny that it would take to tackle the causes."

But I suppose if you are to be a conservative Malthusian, I can be a progressive one. I also believe in geo-engineering (i.e. pumping carbon dioxide into the strastosphere for the sake of offsetting global warming, + salters sink to prevent hurricanes.

In the end it is about dealing with large scale chemical reactions (in the case of stratosphere composition) or bringing cold water to the surface via gravity in the case of salters sink.

You can model this, you can figure out what Volcano's do, and then you just have to "deal" with a limited number of players.

So there is no doubt in my mind that man made climate change can be controlled via regulation and dealing with a limited number of players.

Because there are a limited number of smokestacks, and these are already quite regulated.

1) Major Pollution devices are already regulated, and smokestacks are obvious. There are no constitutional issues here.

2) The regulation of "smokestacks" of the other sort is impractical, and interfere with the protected privacy interest articulated in Griswold.

In addition there is no natural propensity to pollute, at best it is just an externality of the tragedy of the commons. All things being equal folks will maximize private gain over public gain. But at some point China will start reducing its green house gas emissions.

Surface level ozone will and has reduced the quality of life in China, and they will want to do something with all those Euro's and Dollars...so they will and are (currently) buying German "green" Tech. At some point China will cut its Carbon footprint faster than the U.S. or Europe, in part because it will be a lot cheaper for them to make the same level of cuts...

In the LONG RUN, there might be a technological limit to reduction of green house gasses concurent with population increases.

Pollution to some extent acts as a check on population growth, but to another extent increases with population.

Long story short: Griswold v. Conneticut triumphed over Buck v. Bell.

Key reasons: 1) privacy/autonomy 2) a sense of what is natural to man 3) number of players to be regulated. 4) History of regulation/feasibility.

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