Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Slowing and Reversing Global Warming

I have stood at a distance from the man-is-making-the-earth-warm debate because I am still unconvinced one way or another. Just because "most scientists" believe it to be the case doesn't impress me. We humans engage in group-think all the time. The pressure to be PC (right or left) on this issue is immense.

What I am convinced about is that we have been massively extracting carbon compounds from the earth's crust and converting them to gases that are now in the air and oceans and that IS causing demonstrably negative chemical changes in ocean fauna and flora.

According to a Compass article in today's Anchorage Daily News Alaska's US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens are co-sponsoring the Low Carbon Economy Act designed to approach the problem of reducing carbon emissions in another way. Here is how the act would work:
"The Act creates a cap-and-trade program for U.S. GHG emissions that is modeled on the successful Acid Rain Program. By setting an annual target and allowing firms to buy, sell, and trade credits to achieve the target, the program is designed to elicit the most cost-effective reductions across the economy. The target is set to avoid harm to the economy and promote a gradual but decisive transition to new, lower-carbon technologies."
I haven't studied this in any detail, so I cannot offer any reasonable opinion on it. However, it seems significant that these two conservative Alaska leaders are not only supporting the act, but co-sponsoring it.

Murkowski and Stevens in their Compass article admit that it's going to cost us:
"Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research estimates the measure will cost a typical Anchorage household about $173 more for energy in 2030. This is a significant sum for Alaskans, who already pay the highest energy costs in the nation. But it pales in comparison to the potential costs of climate change. A recent ISER study pegs those at more than $6 billion by 2030 -- nearly $9,000 per resident -- just for government infrastructure in Alaska. When it comes to climate change, an ounce of prevention may be worth far more than a pound of cure."
Taxes are probably not a very palatable approach, as demonstrated in the reaction to that suggestion in this forum. The effect of the proposed legislation will be the same in that it would cost us all something, but this upstream approach may be an easier pill to swallow than taxes.

However we do it, we must begin taking some action to put that carbon back in the crust. If we don't our children will pay the price.

No comments:

Post a Comment