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  Topic: The Global Warming Thread, Featuring Rep. Sheila Butt (R-TN)< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Tracy P. Hamilton

Posts: 1239
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 11 2012,17:03   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 11 2012,15:33)
I've watched this debate from several perspectives, and I'm convinced it isn't at all the same as the general anti-science, religious fundamentalist anti-science response.

I don't think it's even about money in the usual sense.

First of all, technological luddism is not typically a conservative thing. Conservatives may object to science when it targets specific religious beliefs, but they are generally happy with technology.

I think even the oil companies would be more than happy to enter alternative energy markets if opportunities really existed.

I think the problem is that good alternatives simply don't exist.

Before that claim is summarily dismissed I would like to point out that manufacture of wind and thermal generators depends on rare earth elements that are really messy to produce, The United States has simply banned all the mining technologies needed to produce the materials needed for high efficiency magnets. China produces the raw materials, but at a horrendous environmental and human cost.

I am not fully up to speed on solar electric, but it does not seem like a mature technology. The one big effort in the United States went bankrupt.

Batteries are still not a mature technology.

The only proven technology that could quickly replace coal and oil is nuclear, and the Japanese tsunami seems to have set that prospect back about thirty years.

So the political opposition to AGW amelioration seems to be motivated by a lack of alternatives that would not induce a massive global recession. If there were some mature technology that simply required lots of labor and investment, I think we would see support. Unfortunately, the only real solutions all seem to call for making people poorer.

Good alternatives do exist (all energy sources,and conservation (designer forbid), yet require significant up front costs and need widespread implementation to achieve economy of scale.  I think the ultimate limit on scale is raw materials, as you point out.  

The motivation for the science rejection is two-fold: businesses with immediate profit motive opposing regulation, and the victims who are led to believe that government solutions are always worse than free market solutions - even if the government allows the free market to include costs and not externalize them.

"Following what I just wrote about fitness, you’re taking refuge in what we see in the world."  PaV

"The simple equation F = MA leads to the concept of four-dimensional space." GilDodgen

"We have no brain, I don't, for thinking." Robert Byers

  203 replies since April 15 2011,16:21 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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