RANT ALERT .... .RANT ALERT ..... RANT ALERT
The US government has, since the early 70's, been FORCING automakers to develop technology to improve the gas milage of automobiles through Economic sanctions. Hybrid cars are on the horizon, not because capitalisim has developed a concience, but because rising fuel costs and economic incentives are pushing technology in that direction. And, before anyone starts talking about Oil policy, there are economic tools that could be utilized to "improve" and stablize gasoline prices, but then, unfortunately, free market incentives to develop alternatives would largely dry up, much as they did in the late 70's.
There is a lot of truth in much of what everyone has touched on here, but one thing I remember very well .... my generation, at least in my little part of the midwest, was convinced that nuclear war was a fact and we were all just waiting patiently for the missles to fly. We were also convinced that the rainforest was already to have disappeared. We were convinced that solar and geothermal heat was the only pratical solution to the "energy crisis".
Man has not yet developed the knowledge to fully understand such complex systems such as our climate, our weather, and population behavior.
With this all said ... I think that there are a lot of people who have more than just a scientific interest, on both sides of the discussion, for and against the case for global warming. Those kindly professors and at our universities and research scientists are standing in line for BILLIONS of dollars in grant money, in a high pressure, publish or your out the door world, and as such have a vested interest in the results of their research.
Industry (which, I'm sorry to tell you, if you own one share of a mutual fund, consume anything other than what you yourself grow, or work for a living, you're part of Industry) is modivated by stockholders to maximize profits, and thereby, utilize the least expensive option to accomplish it's ends. Change is never cheap, therefore, Industry also has a vested interest in the issue of global warming.
Authors, even as acclaimed as Crition (who happens to be an MD, by the way) have a vested interest in selling books, and as such, take a postion that helps them to maximize their economic gain.
Lastly ... the Media, those defenders of truth, justice, and the way of CASH, exist to sell mouthwash and Chevy's, and are also looking to maximize their profits. As such, the more viewership they have, the more advertising dollars they can sell. They, then, are highly modivated to do whatever they have to to get you, the viewer, to spend at least an hour of your life tuned in to their broadcast. How? Well, the easiest way to get you to keep tuning in is to feed your fear.
Think about it ... whould 70% of America tune in to the news every night just to listen to how peachy keen everything is ... no ... they tune in to see what they need to be scared of now. Violent crime has been on the decline in the country since the 1980's but the media would insulate that you can't leave your house at night without some there being some violent criminal waiting behind every corner to have their way with you.
My Point? Well ... enviornmental issues are subject to this same media pressure ... if they can make you scared, make you believe that the world is coming to an end unless you buy this magazine or watch this program to learn how to stop it from happening, they sell more soft drinks.
So ... Did the missles fly while I was out to lunch today? Is the world going to end tommorow when that unseen dinosaur killing comet slams into the eastern seaboard? Or is the climate going into a runaway greenhouse effect that will kill your grandchildren unless you stop buying gasoline today?
The real issue is not whether or not the enviornment is at risk, with the population of the planet ever increasing the enviornment is CERTAINLY at risk, at least as long as people are so stupid as to toss their soda cans down by the side of the trail rather than carrying them out.
The real issue is how do we separate the wheat from the chaff, the fact from the "gee you need to believe me so you'll give me that billion dollar research grant", and make reasonable choices that allow us to make informed decisions based on FACTS, and utilize the most powerful tool that we possess, CASH, to promote economic incentives to modivate people in the right direction?
My opinion is that our Government is trying, modivated by your and my votes every few years, to do what's best for our people. But change takes time and modivation sometimes has to be created to "suggest" that people do the right thing.
BTW ... I read the other day that the increasing number of cattle in this country will produce enough methane to seriously change the chemistry of our atmosphere, making it unbreathable in 200 years.
So ... my new motto is .... Have a cheeseburger ... Save the planet.