Friday, February 16, 2007

Global Warming, Bush, and Gloom and Doom

No, its not all George's fault. But he could have done more. I do think it was funny to hear Tony Snow saying "Prez Bush has spoken out about global warming from the very beginning of his presidency." Talk about rewriting history!

Everyone should read the transcript here of a discussion between Fareed Zakaria, who is Editor of Newsweek International, and a guy named Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of a book called "The Upside of Down--Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization." I don't know if you know Fareed Zakaria - I see him on some of the Sunday morning political talk shows - and he hosts a weekly TV show called Foreign Exchange. I really like him - he seems really knowledgeable, reasonable, etc.

Anyway - Homer-Dixon's premise is that world is going to hell. But they discuss the issues of global warming, China, India, etc. Here are a couple of points from their discussion:
  • The US, and other countries, are getting off oil for energy - but not for transportation. Unfortunately, we are replacing oil with coal, which generates a lot of CO2.
  • getting off oil for transportation will be hard - and our economies still depend on transportation.
  • they talk about tar sands in Canada (the transcript calls it "tarsans") - which hold a lot of oil - but it takes a lot of energy to get it out. The return on investment for getting at this energy is not very high.
  • they mention something called "sequestration" - which is basically taking CO2 OUT of the atmosphere - naturally (forests, etc) or artificially - and storing it.
  • China will exceed the US in CO2 output in 3 years. China and India are currently building 650 coal-fired power plants.
  • China needs to realize that THEY will be impacted by climate charge - water shortages, food shortages from agricultural problems, etc.
  • WE should be investing in the technologies to deal with this - such as sequestration - and then we can get rich selling these to the rest of the world.

I don't watch Fareed's TV show (altho I did just now set up Tivo to record it) but I do check the web site for transcripts periodically, and I happened to read this one just yesterday.

It seems to me the world should be doing a lot more about this - but we are distracted by problems in the middle east, terrorism, getting politicians re-elected, etc. People tend not to worry about things that are 25 or 50 or 100 years away.