I got hooked on Politico during the Presidential election. They tried, usually succeeding, to balance the rants and raves of political and polemical characters of all shades. Sometimes they tried too hard.
That seems to be the case with their Copenhagen Connection special, which tries to keep us up to snuff on the climate change conference. Their summary of Sarah Palin's Washington Post Op-Ed sounded so reasonable that I had to read the original:
“Copenhagen’s political science”: “[G]ood environmental policymaking is about weighing real-world costs and benefits -- not pursuing a political agenda. That's not to say I deny the reality of some changes in climate -- far from it. I saw the impact of changing weather patterns firsthand while serving as governor of our only Arctic state. … But … we can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes. … What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats' cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. … The president should boycott Copenhagen.”Boy, was I wrong. Those Politicos should be editing Coming Attraction trailers: I felt like I was fooled into watching a very bad summer movie. The excerpts suggest some degree of thoughtfulness, not a demagogic lead paragraph that refers to "so-called climate change experts".
Downhill from there, Palin polemically claims that "I've always believed that policy should be based on sound science, not politics," and then proceeds to ignore science and wallow in the politics of the devout denier. I have never bought the story line that she is stupid, rather I think she is George Will-fully ignorant. Like that partisan political pissant, she stuffs a straw man full of distortions, adds some outright lies and proceeds to argue with her creation. They think that they can make words like "experts" and "consensus" lose their meaning just because they sarcastically put them in quotes.
Their concern about the East Anglian emails threatening the sanctity of science is refreshing. Maybe they're compensating for their silence when Environmental Protection Agency documents were altered for political purposes. Also, I'd expect Palin to be front-and-center in denouncing criminals who hack into email accounts.
Al made me do it
Al Gore will tell you he's no scientist: just ask him. He's still too certain for my taste. Yes, probability is on his side, enough so that I believe action is necessary, but it's tough for me to travel down that fellow's road.
So, I was willing to read Palin, even that twit Will, because coal and oil aren't going away soon and because I profoundly distrust Gore's pet Cap and Trade (S)shell game. I should have known better. Evidently they don't think we need solutions, or at most the 'Just Say No' policy former President George Bush smirkingly proposed at earlier climate conferences.
What are the answers? The U.S. still has tremendous oil reserves, huge gas and coal deposits. Our dependence on those energy sources is unavoidable in the short term. Many poorer countries are even more dependent on dirty fuels. This Danish probably won't be very filling.
I expect carbon credit trading to win out and be increased, and it will end up in the greedy maw of the people who brought you last year's Wall Street meltdown. Keep saying they've learned their lesson when you see carbon credit futures and carbon credit hedges. If we're lucky, there can be a carbon credit bubble complete with carbon credit derivatives.
Banking on disaster
An example: Deutsche Bank has just put up a carbon (actually 24 assorted greenhouse gases) counter up in New York City. A fine thing, and I was happy to track down a widget I could put up on this site showing the same figures. The license is free but the terms include this ominous sentence: "You will treat the existence of the terms of this Agreement as confidential, and you agree that any information relating to the Application Tool is confidential to Deutsche Bank and/or its licensors and that you will refrain from disclosing such information to any third party." My first reaction was 'how Germanic', in the old pejorative sense of the word. My second was 'bugger off', why can't I even tell someone that there is an agreement? Of course, I could use it and tell you anyway, but I'm generally an honorable sort of guy.
Yes, the widget seems to be a good thing. Gore is probably quoting scientists when he claims we're pumping 90 million tons of Carbon into the atmosphere every day. The atmosphere, like the ocean, is huge, but neither can be our dumping ground forever. What can I say? I climbed on my high-horse when I read the terms and I'm still there.
The article that pointed me to the widget helpfully tells us that Deutsche Bank is managing about $6 billion in climate change investments. That appears to be less than one percent of the total assets they manage, but it seems to be a good thing. I just don't trust them. Why should I?
The snuff picture
In other news, the Marlboro Man has seen the writing on the wall -- it says No Smoking -- and is going green, in a way. Marlboro has been test marketing smokeless tobacco and snus (!?).
Not very well, according to analysts. Altria, the parent company of Marlboro and Philip Morris, is hedging its bets by buying Copenhagen and Skoal maker UST.
Yes, it's a stretch to include this. Hey, I got in a mention of Copenhagen and more than a billion smokers lighting up is nothing to sneeze at.