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How Will Global Warming Concerns Change The Vehicles We Drive?

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  • cooterbfdcooterbfd Posts: 2,770
    Or is it large industry. While I'm all in favor of cleaning up our personal act w/ hybrids, fuel cells, etc., here in SE New England two of the biggest polluters are coal fired electric plants. A company ( Cape Wind, I believe ) wants to build a huge wind farm in Nantucket sound, large enough to supply the Cape and Islands w/ electricity. While I understand that wind isn't the most reliable source, this area ( as well as Block Island Sound) are probably the most logical areas to do it. Amazingly, all the tree huggers in this area are up in arms and against the project, because they might see some blades spinning in the distance. Personally, I think we are at a point in time where we ALL have to make some sacrifices, whether it be wind, solar, nuclear, synthetic or biofuels. Even if the climate change has to do solely w/ Mother Earth, and is only magnified slightly by Humans, I think there are plenty of other reasons to look elsewhere, whether it is finite resources, political instability, or just plain old conservation.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    1) In reply to the empty seats concern. Here in the Northeast, some metro areas have spend hundreds of millions building HOV lanes. After decades of trying to get folks to share rides, these money's and programs have been pronounced to be utter failures that waste tax payers already strained patience. Metro planners, economists and sociologist know why. People hate sharing their cars with riders, much more than they hate taking cabs, buses, subways and trains.

    2) NASCAR engine and car designs are massively influence US car buyers. As long are NASCAR racing is the largest sport in the US, then big [non-permissible content removed] gas guzzler 300HP, 400HP and 500HP engines designs are going to crush 100HP cars in sales. BTW seen any Yugos lately.
  • saabgirlsaabgirl Posts: 184
    -- Whether there were global warming or not, I'd favor less dependence on dino fuel because, in a marvelous cosmic prank, large quantities of this resource were placed under very inconvenient terrain. I've no idea why our oil is under their sand, but we need to become less dependent on it.

    -- It seems to me that our earth has undergone dramatic climate variation even without our help. Anyone who regularly dozes off to the Discovery or Science channels at least absorbs the idea that our continents and oceans weren't always as they are now. Maybe long-term weather cycles, inconvenient though they may be, are normal. Maybe they're like our short-term weather patterns; we can fret over them, but we can't do much about them. I don't know for sure, but usually when I hear someone say this, the anthropomorphic global warming camp changes the subject. But as I said, I don't know. I wonder how anyone can know. It's possible the agnostic position is the right one.

    -- Finally, I'm more than a bit suspicious, because I notice politicians and public interest leadership types -- yes Al, I'm talking about you and your insinuating pals -- have seized upon global warming as a lever they can use to decide for us how we can live, where we can work, what we can drive and, oh, yes, how much additional tax $$$ they'll need to fund their interminable flitting about.

    The problem with global warming as an issue, I think is:
    1) Scientists have the knowledge, but they can't communicate it in a way that is persuasive (or even informative) to non-scientists, and
    2) Politicians are by nature eager communicators, but everyone is accustomed to their operational habit of predicting horrible consequences unless we do as they say and, having heard this time and time again, we regard their opinions as grist for the opening monologues of Jay Leno and David Letterman.

    So my .02 is that I wouldn't tie the need to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels to global warming. If cutting our dependence does anything to lessen global warming (so far, I doubt it) so much the better.
  • I read “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis—Summary for Policymakers” with interest and skepticism. This is the document all the fuss is about, and it is available at the IPCC website. There are some dates in the document that strike me as more than just coincidence, and lead me to believe that the notion of human driven global warming is really a political tool to wean us from oil.

    · The furthest the report cares to go back in the data is 650,000 years ago. This is because prior to 650,000 years ago, the relationship between CO2 and temperature falls apart, even to the extent that when CO2 was at its highest in ice samples, the earth was at its coldest. Those data points wouldn’t do, so the data was “shaved,” meaning IPCC started their report where the data supported it.

    · Global warming is a big topic now (2007) because we have, according to the Hubbert Theory, probably passed Peak Oil. It is widely held that we have used half the world’s reserves, and from this point forward, alternative energy sources will continue to be more economical.

    · The report makes near term predictions to the year 2020. This is a significant date as it represents when it is believed 80% of oil reserves will be held in the Middle East. All ready we’re seeing minor oil producing countries like Venezuela linking themselves politically with Iran.

    · The report makes longer-term predictions out to between the years 2100 and 2200, the 100 year span when it is believed oil resources will be exhausted. This was the most significant part of the report for me.

    The likelihood of global conflict seems to be greatly reduced if “Global Warming” is embraced. It spreads the burden of the weaning-from-oil process. If we embraced the notion that oil will run out in a couple centuries, I think there is a real likelihood of an “oil grab,” where reserve holding countries are invaded and reserves horded.

    I think the IPCC report is essentially worthless to the extent that even if it is spot on, we’re doomed to catastrophic sea level rise. On the other hand, I do think “global warming” is an interesting political tool to help us face the inevitable oil drought in a round about way.

    I should note that my three vehicles average 14 mpg each. Will this change in my lifetime? Probably. Someday an electric Range Rover will be cool.
  • bean3422bean3422 Posts: 183
    I have no idea whether the "scientific method" is still taught in schools today, but it was when I was going to school. This is a perfect example of finding results that fit your political or other agenda. Are these scientists so smart that they become stupid?

    You don't have to be a brilliant scientist to realize that we only have accurate records going back 100 years approximately. And even then, 100 years ago, we did not have the technology that we have today. We could just measure temperature, etc. (Interestingly enough, about 100 years ago there was a big heat wave for several winters in many places in the US.)

    The scientific method I learned was that science has to be observable (one of many parts of the scientific method). Otherwise it becomes a theory. So...really we have the global warming theory, just like the Evolution Theory, etc. NONE of us were living back then to observe any of this. For all we know, the polar ice caps melted 300 years ago and then had a re-freezing process, but nobody knew it.

    So, I'm sure if your mind is made up and you are blindly listening to the media or other politically motivited hyper spaz "scientists" instead of just thinking about it for yourself, then my arguments are not going to change a thing. All I ask is use your own brain, don't just blindly swallow all the "experts" advice. Most of the time your brain is good enough, you are just living a real life and don't have time to get paid ungodly amounts of money to come up with theories to fit political or other agendas.

    Like everything in life, this just rotates around the almighty $$$$$. There are a lot of people getting rich off of Global Warming.

    So...my last word is be careful changing global economies, exerting massive tax pressure, and uprooting millions of lives on a theory that is not remotely provable. Hmmmm...
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    all that many people are getting rich off global warming just yet. I sure see a lot of possibilities, though.

    GW or not, a shift in energy infrastructure would be a good thing for the US in most respects, unless you happen to be in the awl bidness. Or the coal business. Filthy dirty junk, that, and no way to clean it up, whatever the industry itself may insist.

    Whole new world of investment and employment opportunities are at hand, I'm thinking, and provided we in the US are at the forefront of it all, not only would we reap the rewards in green matters and economic growth but also delightfully revised foreign policy, while our own carbon-energy companies can still sell product to other nations while they either reinvent, and reinvest in, themselves, or decline into oblivion. Seriously, this might be our only chance to re-grab a permanent leg-up over China!

    But this ain't about GW. It's about changing vehicles to respond to the pressures that won't be going away real soon. Emissions will be curbed - bank on that. By hook, crook, tax, tariff, writ or regulation, it will happen. Smart thing to do would be to adopt policy right now that allows generous time for industries to come up with their own solutions to achieve prescribed incremental output decreases. Oh wait, CA already did that...

    Looks like consumption reduction will be the focus, with a near-level emphasis on alternatives.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Like everything in life, this just rotates around the almighty $$$$$. There are a lot of people getting rich off of Global Warming.

    There are also a lot of people getting rich off maintaining the status quo. Exxon/Mobil has spent $10's of millions on PR campaigns that dispute and discredit global warming. Could that point of view be based on $$$$'s? The findings of the scientists that authored this recent report on global warming was qualified with a statement to the effect that they were 90% certain man was a contributing factor. It seems the people that dispute global warming are 100% certain. Anyway I'll accept your position that global warming is just a theory, like Evolution. I consider your position to the contrary to be a belief. I mean, what's it based upon? A heat wave 100 years ago. Is that what you consider the "scientific method". BTW, I tend to find the theory of Evolution to be very plausible. Certainly more so than the theory that the earth's only being 6,000 years old. Oh wait, that's not a theory, its a belief, which means it requires no basis in reason or science.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Europe and Japan are going ahead with big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions limits, because they believe global warming is anthropomorphic. It is quite likely that the Chinese won't be too far behind, as they are already getting very interested (and they are now officially the second-biggest auto market in the world, as of 2006). California has gone ahead, and is going to stick to its guns. Most everyone is going to get dragged into this thing, and if all it ultimately accomplishes is that it leaves us independent of foreign oil sheiks in 20 or 30 years, it still will have served a good purpose, no?

    Not to mention, it will have kept our domestic automakers up with global emissions standards, which will make them more competitive internationally.

    Seems to me that's all to the good.

    Just in the last few weeks we have seen (what has seemed to me like) an EXPLOSION in the number of automakers that intend to have ready 50-state diesels for next model year in the U.S. The diesel bandwagon is the first and easiest way for automakers to go at present to reduce their carbon-based emissions. That one is a win-win for the consumer - lower GHG emissions AND money saved at the gas pump!

    Electrically powered vehicles, which are the future of reducing automotive GHG emissions I am sure, have the ability to provide a ton of low-end torque at 0 rpm. Where's the downside to that? This doesn't have to be something that everyone fights, that's part of the point of this thread: this could be a good thing (that also happens to address a big problem).

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I read that the European Union will ban the current A/C refrigerant R-34a beginning in 2011. This will pose difficult challenges for air conditioning cars in the future.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I love it, the world is freak'n warming up and we humans are going to ban AC. We are just toast.

    I don't want to be in France when a million old folk drop dead from the lack of AC.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree completely. Even if the scientists of tomorrow conclude that this concern over global warming was misplaced there will be nothing lost in acting on this issue as if it were for real. In addition to the the points you've made there will be a lot of new, well paid, domestic jobs created in the alternative energy field. No longer exporting 100's of billions of dollars a year to pay for oil will also eliminate a current drag on our standard of living. And the air will definitely be easier to breathe.

    Like you said, what's the downside? Some people seem to be afraid of the costs. You mean like the $3+/gallon we paid for gas last year and almost certainly will be paying again. Alternative/renewable energy will eventually be cheaper. Afterall, how much does nature charge for the sun, wind, tides, etc.. There may be a transition period that requires some sacrifice but when we get to the other side we will all be better off. It will be a nice present to leave future generations as opposed to the $8 trillion dollar debt they now have to look forward.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "The findings of the scientists that authored this recent report on global warming was qualified with a statement to the effect that they were 90% certain man was a contributing factor."

    Which is meaningless.

    What does "contributing factor" mean? What ELSE are "contributing factors"? Does man's contribution to GW account for 5%, 50%, 90% of the GW observed? Why aren't all of the OTHER "contributing factors" getting airplay from the GW crowd?

    That's like saying that a set of worn out tires was a "contibuting factor" in a wreck that occurred on a rain-slicked street.......and ignoring the fact that the driver had a BAC of 0.20 and was driving at 90mph.....
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,348
    He probably forgot to get new tires because he was drunk.....
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Either that or he was racing to the tire store before it closed.....
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    But if it turns out to be a big lie, that's not good. I don't like being conned, and I suspect that most people feel the same. That's the old "end justifies the means" principle, with which I do not agree.

    Sell it to me on facts, or don't peddle it at all. There's enough evidence around that heavy emissions are unhealthy, and that dependence on oil from unfriendly countries puts us on the precipice of economic disaster. I'm not saying GW IS a lie... but it's also not been proven a truth either.

    trispec: I don't want to be in France when a million old folk drop dead from the lack of AC.

    Ah, yes. But it doesn't generally get hot enough in France to cause mass heat exhaustion.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Oh absolutely. But conned you will be, both by the politicians that believe in it and the ones who don't, as well as all the moneyed interests on either side of the issue.

    I just think that if we accept that the con is what politics is about, and that we won't know the exact nature of the "reality" until after it's too late to do anything about it, it's a good idea to act now. The atmosphere has heated up more in the last 100 years than in any 100-year, or even 1000-year period, in Earth's history. Plus, it's logical - we know that CO2 emission increases greenhouse warming (basic high school physics experiment that many including myself had to do), we know we are pumping out a ton more of it (actually millions of tons more) than any other natural process, it is logical that it would lead to warming. If in addition to my own logic, it turns out that most of the scientists agree we are contributing, I will go along with it.

    And I would really like to see us move to more sustainable sources of energy (and a lot more energy conservation), both for automobiles and for homes and businesses. Oil and coal are the way of the past. We really need to get away from them.

    One final thought you prompt me to have, when you say " I'm not saying GW IS a lie... but it's also not been proven a truth either."
    The same applies to evolution and many other scientific theories that you probably believe in as if they were fact. This is one that won't be proven a "fact" or a "truth" until it is done happening I suspect. Eventually enough of it will happen that we will believe in it, even though it will still officially be a theory. But by that time, reversing it will be 1000 times more difficult than it would be if we started today, and the effects many times more dire.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Why aren't all of the OTHER "contributing factors" getting airplay from the GW crowd?

    I don't know what all the other factors are but it's possible they are out of our control. If that's the case then it's just something that needs to be accepted but no need to aggravate the situation.

    You seem to disagree with the premise that mankind is contributing to global warming. What is your level of certainty on this? I suspect that you carry life, car, home and maybe other insurances even though the probability of you using them is relatively low in any given year. Why not just cancel them for a year and save the premiums? Most people would say that the consequences of being wrong, abeit remote, are too great. That's kind of my philosophy when it comes to GW.

    Maybe you're 100% sure GW is a myth. Given that its fairly difficult to prove a negative I'd be interested in what you're basing this position on.

    Regardless of the validity of GW, how would transitioning from a fossil fuels based economy hurt our society in the long run? If it would only represent a short term setback, well, that's what responsible decisions are often times based upon. Short term sacrifice for long term gain.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "You seem to disagree with the premise that mankind is contributing to global warming."

    No. But I'd like to know if we are contributing to 10% of GW or 90%. Kinda makes a difference, don't you think?

    "I suspect that you carry life, car, home and maybe other insurances even though the probability of you using them is relatively low in any given year. Why not just cancel them for a year and save the premiums? Most people would say that the consequences of being wrong, abeit remote, are too great."

    Well, that's fine. What if your premiums were 10x higher? Is it still worth it? Has anyone given serious consideration to the economic ramifications of doing what is necessary to curtail global GHG emissions enough to make a difference? I've no idea; do you? How much GHG reductions are necessary to make a difference? I've no idea; do you? And how is a warmer planet a major disaster; historically speaking man's life has been EASIER during warmer climatic times due to extended growing seasons; and yet it seems to be taken on 'faith' by the GW crowd that warmer temps will be an unmitigated disaster.

    What I WANT is more even-handed discussion about how much man is contributing to the GW phenomenon and what would REALLY be necessary to 'correct' our part (btw - anyone have a CLUE about the number of coal-fired power plants the Chinese build in a year? Try 30 new coal-fired plants big enough to supply a city the size of San Diego every year. Yet, for some reason, China is exempt from Kyoto. How many U.S. cars have to go 100% electric JUST to offset what the Chinese do, let alone making a net reduction in GHG?)

    And yet, instead of talking about these points, the GW crowd want to make the ENTIRE focus of the discussion American consumption and everybody that brings up 'contrarian points' needs to be demonized.
  • drewbadrewba Posts: 154
    "If it would only represent a short term setback, well, that's what responsible decisions are often times based upon. Short term sacrifice for long term gain."

    A fact that our political leaders (and much of our society) seem to have forgotten unfortunately.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    While it would be nice to know what percent of global warming is caused by mankind that might be very difficult to accurately quantify. If knowing this becomes a pre-requisite for taking action we might be stuck for awhile.

    I know the current administration has cited significant, negative economic impact for not signing Kyoto. I don't put all that much significance in whether or not a country signed this treaty since most, if not all, the countries that did sign it are not complying with it. So it's really nothing but a symbolic gesture. Maybe the US should have signed it and just blown it off like everyone else. At least that way we could avoid be depicted as the villian and instead joined the crowd of those that make empty promises.

    As far as the cost of reducing GHG's is concerned, I am by no means an expert. I do look at California, which by itself represents the 7th biggest economy in the world. They've passed aggressive legislation to significantly cut GHG emissions. My understanding is that there is popular support for this policy amongst state residents. Despite what people think CA is not inhabited by a bunch of flaky, tree-huggers that will sacrifice everything, including standard of living, to save the planet. So based upon this I believe that the state feels like it can cut GHG's without imposing too much hardship. That's just speculation on my part so maybe I'm wrong on that one.

    It's true that China will pass the US in the next couple of years in terms of GHG emissions. Doing the right thing should not be predicated on what others do. China will eventually reduce their emissions just because it makes economic sense to do so. If I'm not mistaken they've now become an oil importer. China likes to export things, not import them. From what I've read they have invested significantly in "green" technologies like EVs and renewable energy. More so than the US. The next Olympics is being held in Beijing. I've read that China plans to use this global event to showcase many of these technologies they've been developing.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I know the current administration has cited significant, negative economic impact for not signing Kyoto."

    As did the previous administration. As did the Senate in 1997 when they voted AGAINST the ratification of the Kyoto treaty by a 95-0 vote (with 5 absentions). And I don't think that Bush was guiding Clinton or the U.S. Congress in 1997 since he was still governor of Texas at that time.

    "At least that way we could avoid be depicted as the villian and instead joined the crowd of those that make empty promises. "

    You should have prefaced that with a spew alert. Now I've got coffee in my keyboard.

    "They've passed aggressive legislation to significantly cut GHG emissions."

    Super-de-duper. Have they ACTUALLY cut anything? Or are they just looking to join the crowd making empty promises? Popular support amoung the public? Great! Everyone DOES know that the only way to cut GHG emissions is to cut fuel usage, right?

    "Doing the right thing should not be predicated on what others do."

    Correct; but it SHOULD be predictated on whether the measures will be effective.

    "China will eventually reduce their emissions just because it makes economic sense to do so."

    In the meantime, their emissions rise dramatically because....it makes economic sense to do so.

    "If I'm not mistaken they've now become an oil importer. China likes to export things, not import them."

    Nope, you're not mistaken. But China also happens to have HUGE reserves of coal (which explains why all their new power-plants are coal-fired). In fact, China exports far more coal than they consume domestically. Yet Kyoto doesn't apply to China (despite their exploding economic strength and reliance on dirty 'ol coal) but WOULD curtail U.S. emissions despite our already voluntary moves towards alternate energy.

    "From what I've read they have invested significantly in "green" technologies like EVs and renewable energy."

    Yes. Because it is cheaper for the Chinese to generate electricity from domestic coal than to import oil. In other words, it makes ECONOMIC SENSE for them to move to coal. Yep, I'm sure they'd love to see millions of EV's on their roads, powered by domestic coal.

    Hell, it makes economic sense for the U.S. to move to coal. But I guess that stance would be a non-starter in this forum...
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "Hell, it makes economic sense for the U.S. to move to coal. But I guess that stance would be a non-starter in this forum..."

    Heck, I oughta knock you down with a shovel just for thinking it.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    HA!

    Yeah, I'll bet you'd like that too, wouldn't you? (where's the little devil emoticon when you really need one..... ;) )
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "Yeah, I'll bet you'd like that too, wouldn't you?"

    Long as there's liquor involved, good buddy, I guess I'm game; 'mon back. :shades:

    I just think there are huge advantages to us at home and abroad downstream to being in the lead on dumping carbon energy, and certainly ways to mitigate some of the impact on industries that have to react to a change in infrastructure.

    I think oil and coal are becoming pretty much second-world technologies, and we're overdue to exploit our talents and capabilities on cementing new first-world gigs. Pretty stinkin' elitist, eh? I also think the economic hardship argument gets used many times as an excuse somewhat akin to the ones you hear when you're stuck in the jury selection process. Certainly I've never... :blush:
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,348
    I mean I like the dude but.....

    There isn't a way I can justify Kyoto exempting the Chinese in my book either.

    I know the Chinese are making huge investments in bring down the cost of solar electric cells it's not like they are planning to shut their nice new coal plants down as a result.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "There isn't a way I can justify Kyoto exempting the Chinese in my book either."

    Agreed. Absolutely and completely.

    Far as I'm goin' with that one...
    ;)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I think oil and coal are becoming pretty much second-world technologies, and we're overdue to exploit our talents and capabilities on cementing new first-world gigs."

    Oil and coal have been 2nd-world (and 3rd-world) technologies for 40 years (outside of some pretty impressive efforts to clean up coal emmissions). Problem is that they are still top-tier as far as economics goes.

    One can't escape the economics, no matter what good intentions you have. And the entire REASON that China was exempted from the Kyoto protocols is PRECISELY becuase it was understood that actual implementation would be a major economic hardship (unless you can determine another reason why China was excluded?).

    So, one can be as 'elitist' as you want (and I'm sure it feels pretty darned good knowing you are always on the high road), but you can't escape the $$$ aspect.

    Over-due to exploit our talents and capabilities? Perhaps. But I look around at the huge number of wind-turbines I see sprouting up all over west Tejas and I know that we are at least moving in the right direction.

    As an aside - didja know that Tejas and CA are by far the biggest wind energy producers with Tejas currently generating 2768 MW (with another 1013 MW under construction) and CA generating 2361 MW (with another 565 MW under construction).

    http://www.awea.org/projects/
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Like pulling teeth, ain't it..... :P
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,348
    Tejas and California are the biggest producers of wind. With the possible exceptions of US Senators from Massachusetts.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I like easy shots.

    What I found interesting was that Iowa was #3 on the list of wind producers.

    Here's another interesting tidbit concerning Wind Energy production:

    http://www.awea.org/faq/instcap.html

    Interesting who was in the WH while production numbers stagnated in the 90's and who was in the WH while production numbers took off around 2000. Which bolsters my point (I think I have one) that economics matters more than good intentions....
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