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The Environment and Politics


{Nature_and_Environment.5.1}: Kai Hagen {kai} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 00:55:36 CST (HTML)

No doubt there will be a number of more specific topics that spin off from threads started here.

But here's a broad topic for the political side of environmental issues.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.2}: Kai Hagen {kai} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 08:47:08 CST (HTML)

George Bush and the Environment
So why aren't more people aware that George W. Bush is compiling the worst environmental record of any president in history?

F.O.E: President Bush Watch
League of Conservation Voters
NRDC: The Bush Record
Sierra Club: Keeping Tabs on Bush Bush's Environmental Record
Earthjustice's White House Watch


{Nature_and_Environment.5.3}: Vincent Vacarello {vincent1167} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 05:25:56 CST (HTML)

So why aren't more people aware that George W. Bush is compiling the worst environmental record of any president in history?

I think a lot of them are generally aware.

These people seem to fall into 4 general categories, with some overlap:

1. Those who just don't care. These tend to be urban types who have no connection with nature, or an appreciciation for it. They think that environmental issues don't affect them, because they'd rather hang out at the deli or the sports bar.

2. Those who buy into the stereotypes and listen to talk radio. They tend to think of environmentalists as hippie wackos who hug trees, smoke weed, and eat tofu all day. They don't want to be associated with them, regardless of the issues.

3. Those who think we must sacrifice the environment for jobs, oil, and the economy. Of course, there isn't much truth to this. And in the long-term, of course, there is a direct relationship between preserving the environment and the economy. But many people seem to have bought the rhetoric that we must choose one or the other.

4. Those who think anything about global warming, environmental destruction, etc. is a left-wing conspiracy theory. The environment will take care of itself. The earth is too big for us to destroy it. God will take care of us. We'll just move to Mars. Etc. These tend to be religious types and members of Category 2.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.4}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 09:51:57 CST (8 lines)

5. Those who are so overwhelmed with life that they have to make
choices about what they will attend to, and the environment is not a
squeaky enough wheel.

I have sent the League of Conservation Voters' report card on Bush to
people who need to learn. It's a 30 page document, downloadable at
the LCV web site.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.5}: Fred Lawson {freddy} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 10:38:03 CST (8 lines)

Great new forum, Kai.

I couldn't help but notice the "Global Climate Change" topic and felt
it worth reminding folks that the Bush Administration actually prefers
the term "climate change" over "global warming" because it sounds
"less frightening".

For more info, see {Politics.88.2-9}


{Nature_and_Environment.5.6}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 11:41:41 CST (3 lines)

Bush is a weenie. I get climate change every day, and larger climate
change every 3 months.  Global warming is the correct description for
what we care about.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.7}: Kai Hagen {kai} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 17:41:21 CST (HTML)

Well...yes and no.

Even though the Bush administration has a cynically/politically-motivated policy that folks should use the term "climate change" instead of "global warming," it is nevertheless a widely used and accurate term.

I tend to prefer it because it includes more than just the notion of global warming; because global warming or climate change includes a lot more changes than things just getting warmer (including more severe weather, and some regions getting colder, drier, wetter..); and because too many relatively ignorant observers see ever cold spell or record cold temperature as proof that global warming is a myth.


Whatever it's called, I'd love to see it get more attention in the election, along with a host of other environmental issues that have been off or at the margins of the national radar screen during the Bush administration (especially since 9-11).


{Nature_and_Environment.5.8}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 19:45:00 CST (5 lines)

>>>I'd love to see it get more attention in the election, along with
a host of other environmental issues

Me too. And I've emailed Kerry and said so.
I think it's an area Bush will hang on.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.9}: Kai Hagen {kai} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 23:23:00 CST (HTML)

There certainly isn't any question about that when you talk about voters who care a lot or know a little about environmental issues and Bush administration policy.

The record is so outrageous though, that it could possibly even help sway a few of those who don't normally give it a lot of thought or place it anywhere on their personal list of why they choose to vote one way or another.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.10}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Wed, 03 Mar 2004 10:27:44 CST (1 line)

The answer is clearly Nader! go Ralph Go!


{Nature_and_Environment.5.11}: Kai Hagen {kai} Wed, 03 Mar 2004 11:00:23 CST (HTML)



{Nature_and_Environment.5.12}: Kai Hagen {kai} Wed, 17 Mar 2004 12:04:10 CST (HTML)

Next week is the fifteenth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill.

Not surprisingly, Alaska oil drilling (especially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) is still one of the most hotly contested issues in the current energy debate.

"On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled 11,000,000 gallons of crude onto Alaska’s shores. Fifteen years later, the oil companies haven’t made their industry any safer. Now they want to exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska’s last unspoiled frontier. They say they’ve changed their act. But we couldn’t trust them then ... Why should we trust them now?"


{Nature_and_Environment.5.13}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Wed, 17 Mar 2004 22:10:12 CST (43 lines)

One of the things I have come to value is good unbiased information
and Kai that site reeks of garbage. The question whether or not to
explore ANWR deserves better than that.

Used engine oil from road runoff and oil changes equal 33 Exxon
Valdez per year, if you own a car you carry the burden.

NOAA describe a natural seepage area in California: "One of the best-
known areas where this happens is Coal Oil Point along the
California Coast near Santa Barbara. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000
gallons of crude oil is released naturally from the ocean bottom
every day just a few miles offshore from this beach". It is
estimated that seepage from the earth greatly exceeds valdez daily.

AS pointed out by the National Research Council of the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences, "natural oil seeps contribute the highest
amount of oil to the marine environment, accounting for 46 per cent
of the annual load to the world's oceans.

 The thought of oozing tar bubbling out onto the California
landscape brings environmental disaster to mind. The areas around
seeps are biologically more active than the surrounding
neighborhood, partly because oil and water seep to the surface
together. The grass is greener and the shrubs more abundant at the
oil seeps. In fact, inhabitants of the area seem to like the tar. As
pointed out by the National Research Council of the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences, "natural oil seeps contribute the highest
amount of oil to the marine environment, accounting for 46 per cent
of the annual load to the world's oceans. -- Although they are
entirely natural, these seeps significantly alter the nature of
nearby marine environments. For this reason, they serve as natural
laboratories where researchers can learn how marine organisms adapt
over generations of chemical exposure. Seeps illustrate how
dramatically animal and plant population levels can change with
exposure to ocean petroleum".

Portions of the Alaska coastline that were left untouched after the
spill healed up quicker that the bulk which were steam cleaned and
consequently sterilized.

Oil companys seek areas of seepage to explore and drill, in many
cases reducing the petrolium leaking into the seas....ANWR is one of


{Nature_and_Environment.5.14}: Suzanne Griffith {sggriffith} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 02:09:52 CST (2 lines)

That sounds so very familiar... ah, yes, Exxon's Public Relations
Department. I remember it well.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.15}: Kai Hagen {kai} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 06:40:49 CST (HTML)

It is beyond credibilty...even beyond assert that drilling operations in ANWR would be good for the environmental and wildlife there.

If that's not being asserted, the only questions are how negative the impact, over what area, for how long, and so on.

An there is just no conceivable reason, to me, that we should to drill there when we haven't even done the easy things to conserve far more than ANWR can produce.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.16}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 09:47:45 CST (13 lines)

Suzanne the information was lifted from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Admin, the United States Geological Society, the
National Research Council of the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences, and the EPA. Can't you tell the differance
between good information and bad?

Kai why then have the caribo numbers increased along with the
drilling in AK so far? A huge efficency would result from piping the
oil to the point of use (USA) instead of freighting it from the
middle east.

The whole concept of drilling ANWR is to determine what is nor anyone else can say until then.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.17}: Kai Hagen {kai} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 11:14:36 CST (HTML)

Sure I can...and it's silly for you to suggest otherwise.

Just one of the points that informs my opinion on the matter is that it makes no sense to drill for oil there at the same time that we are doing next to nothing (and often worse than nothing) to explore and exploit the potential of even the most common sense and affordable (even economically beneficial) conservation alternatives that are available.

Reducing consumption means reducing imports, and brings with it many direct and indirect economic benefits.

It also means conserving for the future a resource that's too valuable to be burning up in such a wasteful fashion. Oil under ANWR is oil saved for the future, if nothing else...when it might REALLY be needed.

Again, nobody can make a compelling argument for drilling in ANWR at the same time we subsidize wasteful consumption (directly and indirectly); at the same time we don't take advantage of available and affordable technology and policies that could dramatically reduce consumption (and pollution), while simultaneouly providing many other significant positive effects.

It's a bad joke.

Let's do everything we reasonably can to reduce consumption (and imports), and improve efficiency and productivity, and reduce secondary and externalized costs of our wasteful consumption patterns, etc...and then, and only then, come talk to the public about why we ought to consider drilling in the arctic now.

Metaphorically speaking, don't expect to win an argument for extracting oil from my local park, if you arrive at the meeting driving a Hummer.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.18}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 11:24:26 CST (2 lines)

Kai, please run for president. Or if not that, lobby for being the
Sec. of the Interior.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.19}: Kai Hagen {kai} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 11:53:42 CST (HTML)



I do what I can. You can count on that.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.20}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 12:25:37 CST (8 lines)

I agree, Kai has the ability to answer questions that were not
asked. Again, how do you know how much oil is under ANWR and why
have the caribo numbers increased since AK oil has been developed?

Engineers and market drive have increased this nations effecincy 25%
in the past 30 years...all the while the environmental community has
been weirdly assaulting SUVs. Become an engineer...its good for the


{Nature_and_Environment.5.21}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 12:40:51 CST (5 lines)

>>>why have the caribo numbers increased

I confess up front that I don't know what I'm talking about. But I'm
guessing the answer to that question has something to do with people
not shooting them.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.22}: Kai Hagen {kai} Thu, 18 Mar 2004 12:44:16 CST (HTML)

Jan slipped in...


Again...geez...if you read my point, I don't think we need to find out exactly how much oil is there now. In part because of the impacts that are associated with "finding out." And in part because I know the agenda of this administration and its party is to drill as much there as they can, as soon as they can. Anything else you here from them is their take on the most effective political and rhetorical strategy for getting from here to there.

And...I am answering the questions, according my own sense of the key issues and real priorities.

Talk about not addressing an important point, Ray, one would almost think your comment about improved efficiency was supposed to be a catch all response to the fact that, as a nation, we have barely tapped into the readily available and relatively easy means to substantially reduce consumption (and all the costs and environmental burdens associated with it)....and imports.

Am I supposed to be impressed with a market-driven a 25% efficiency improvement in three decades. I'm not...especially given what I know we have done to slow or impede much more significant improvements, and what we haven't done to implement same.


{Nature_and_Environment.5.23}: Petre Griffin {simcervos} Sun, 21 Mar 2004 10:21:02 CST (25 lines)

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Greens' slander of a skeptic: 3 years later, truth wins out


Danish statistics professor Bjorn Lomborg never set out to take on
the environmentalist movement. One day he happened to read an
interview with Julian Simon, a renowned economist (now dead) who
made a career of disproving the claims of environmentalists. Seeking
to disprove Simon's arguments, Lomborg instead - to his surprise -
confirmed all but a few. His work resulted in his 2001 book, "The
Skeptical Environmentalist."

...In declining to challenge the Danish ministry's decision, the
committees basically conceded that outside of the errors that
Lomborg freely admitted to, their researchers have been utterly
unable to refute any of his major points about environmentalists'

...Thanks to Lomborg and others like him, people are beginning to
realize that much of the movement's claims amount to junk science.



{Nature_and_Environment.5.24}: Kai Hagen {kai} Sun, 21 Mar 2004 14:27:16 CST (HTML)

Oh, gracious. That old saw.

Talk about junk science!

Julian Simon, too. And, fwiw, I've read both Lomborg's book and Simon's "The Ultimate Resource." Have them both right here, in fact.

For a range of other credible points of view about Lomborg and his work...

Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark
A skeptical look at The Skeptical Environmentalist

*Misleading Math about the Earth: Science defends itself against The Skeptical Environmentalist*, Scientific American, May 2002
" 93F6809EC5880000&catID=2"

Debunking pseudo-scholarship: Things a journalist should know about The Skeptical Environmentalist
On Bjorn Lomborg's use of statistics
Dr. Allen Hammond writes that Lomborg commits just the sins for which he attacks environmentalists: exaggeration, sweeping generalizations, the presentations of false choices, selective use of data and quotations and, frequently, outright errors of fact.

Ian Lowe argues that Bjorn Lomborg's analysis is flawed
Bjorn Lomborg is neither sceptical nor an environmentalist.

*Danish Environmentalist Work 'Unscientific'- Panel*, Reuters, August 27, 2003.
COPENHAGEN - A panel of independent Scandinavian scientists said yesterday that recent reports by a controversial Danish environmentalist were unscientific and of dubious value.
" 2003/story.htm"

BBC News Online's environment correspondent Alex Kirby weighs up the claims made in Bjorn Lomborg's controversial new book.

The primary purpose of this web site is to gather and publish errors found in Bjørn Lomborg´s book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

E.O. Wilson, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Norman Myers, Jeffrey A. Harvey and Stuart L. Pimm, "Biodiversity Distortions in Lomborg*s The Skeptical Environmentalist", Union of Concerned Scientists, December 10, 2001

"Sceptical Questions and Sustainable Answers", The Ecological Councils response to Bjørn Lomborgs book "The Sceptical Environ- mentailst," is now available for download...


{Nature_and_Environment.5.25}: Jivan Vatayan {panlight} Tue, 23 Mar 2004 02:55:28 CST (3 lines)

Actions Speak Louder Than Words


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