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No One Said This Would Be Easy

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
27 May 2008, 12:07 PM

First we had the skeptics, the nay-sayers, who denied that the climate is heating up, or, if it is, it's natural and not our fault. Rush Limbaugh still spouts this line, as does Senator Jim Inhofe, but their ranks are dwindling, have in fact dwindled to insignificance.

So now the next wave, as in this piece on a New York Times blog, borrowed from a piece on the Wired magazine blog, which argues that much environmental orthodoxy must be turned on its head.

To wit:
LIVE IN CITIES: Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban Lifestyle
No problem here; we've known this for a long time.

A/C IS OK: Air-Conditioning Actually Emits Less C02 Than Heating
Just because something contributes less carbon than something else doesn't make it OK. The surge in demand for electricity on hot days puts enormous strain on the grid. Insulate!

ORGANICS ARE NOT THE ANSWER: Surprise! Conventional Agriculture Can Be Easier on the Planet
The piece goes on to claim that organic milk results in more carbon emissions, but presents no compelling evidence. And the benefits of organic food are only tangentially related to climate.

Old-Growth Forests Can Actually Contribute to Global Warming
It is true that old-growth forests absorb less carbon than forests planted after logging, but again, the benefits of old-growth forests vastly outweigh this drawback.

CHINA IS THE SOLUTION: The People's Republic Leads the Way in Alternative-Energy Hardware
Good for China. We  certainly have vast room for improvement.

ACCEPT GENETIC ENGINEERING: Superefficient Frankencrops Could Put a Real Dent in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This is tricky. What are the side effects of growing these crops? I'd be leery of jumping into this program without much more research.

Carbon Credits Were a Great Idea, But the Benefits Are Illusory
This make pretty good sense. A carbon tax seems like a better idea.

Face It. Nukes Are the Most Climate-Friendly Industrial-Scale Form of Energy
Also the most expensive and impractical. We can avoid more nukes by scaling up wind and getting serious about efficiency and conservation.

Don't Buy That New Prius! Test-Drive a Used Car Instead
This claim is based on the 30 pounds of nickel in a Prius' battery and the calculations about used v hybrid are not convincing.

Climate Change Is Inevitable. Get Used to It
Hard to argue with this. We must adapt, but we must also reverse the increase in carbon emissions.

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