Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Are Our Conservatives Dumber Than Theirs?

There's something that distinguishes North American conservatives from their conservative counterparts elsewhere.   Our cons refuse to accept the need for immediate action to curb carbon emissions.   To them the theory of global warming is about as appealing as parsnips to a spoiled 6-year old.   They don't like it and they're not going to have it.

Elsewhere on the planet, conservatives do get it.   Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady herself, was onto global warming back when Reagan could still remember where he lived.   Angela Merkel gets it.   So do other conservatives the other side of the Atlantic and Pacific.   Ours reject global warming, not based on science but out of preference.   That's because they're not really conservative at all.   Edmund Burke, their patron saint, would have faced the global warming challenge very conservatively.   He would have done whatever was possible to "conserve" his country and his world.

Canada's Conservatives hide behind America's "bought and paid for" Congress, confident that their Republican colleagues will throw a monkey wrench into any meaningful attempt to act on global warming.   And now, having regained control of the House, Republicans are gearing up to do just that.   McClatchey Newspapers reports that House Republicans are about to start pushing hard to derail carbon emission regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency in December said it would draw up performance standards that would help cut heat-trapping gases produced by refineries and coal-fired power plants. The EPA hasn't proposed the specifics yet, and existing plants wouldn't be affected until the later years of the decade, but opponents of regulation aren't waiting. 

The new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he'd have hearings about the impact of the EPA's emission reduction plan on jobs.

"  Standing up for American workers and addressing EPA's rampant regulations is a top priority, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Thursday. "  We will be active and aggressive using every tool in the toolbox to protect American jobs and our economy by rolling back the job-destroying (greenhouse gas) regulations."

The Repugs won't be able to do much unless they can swing several Democratic votes in the Senate but if they do manage to retake both houses of Congress they're bound to pounce on the EPA.
Meanwhile ExxonMobil predicts that global carbon emissions will increase by 25 per cent over the next twenty years.  If the oil giant is right, that means any hope of preventing runaway global warming is gone.  Exxon sees demand for power increasing by 40% over the next twenty years and it sees that demand being met by conventional fossil fuels.

"In 2030, fossil fuels remain the predominant energy source, accounting for nearly 80% of demand. Oil still leads, but natural gas moves into second place on very strong growth of 1.8% a year on average, particularly because of its position as a favoured fuel for power generation.

"  Other energy types – particularly nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels – will grow sharply, albeit from a smaller base. Nuclear and renewable fuels will see strong growth, particularly in the power-generation sector. By 2030, about 40% of the world's electricity will be generated by nuclear and renewable fuels."

The company does not say what it expects global oil output to be in 2030, but suggests that US demand will be roughly at 1960 levels, suggesting that the US will have reduced its dependency on foreign oil considerably.

Instead, it says that growth in CO2 emissions in the future will be dominated by China, India and other developing, or non-OECD countries.

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