Various Links of High Interest

BusinessWeek calls into question the administration’s efficacy in ridding the roads of low-milage vehicles in the Cash for Clunkers program.  Since we poured another 2 billion into it, we’ll have to wait a while to get the full information on how much more fuel efficient the cars purchased were.  I am deeply ambivalent about this program to begin with- still sore from bailing out the auto industry the first two or three times, feel we could use the money elsewhere, pretty sure limits on new car purchases aren’t limited enough- so I look forward to having my suspicions confirmed or allayed.

Interesting and ultimately terrifying article presenting pro arguments for climate engineering.  The two biggest pros:

a) ‘The idea of even testing such a system scares many people, and some scientists argue that climate-engineering research should remain theoretical. But Dr. Caldeira says that small-scale testing — perhaps an experiment intended to slightly cool the Arctic — could be safer than the alternative.

“The worst-case scenario,” he says, “is one in which you have an untested system that you need to deploy quickly at large scale in a desperate attempt to ward off some sort of climate crisis. It could be much better to start testing soon at small scale and to observe what happens as the system is deployed.”’

b) ‘If rich European countries with strong green constituencies cannot live up to their own promises to cut carbon, how much hope is there of permanently enforcing tough restrictions in the United States, much less in poor countries like India and China? If even a few nations demur or cheat, the whole system can break down.

By contrast, climate engineering does not require unanimous agreement or steadfast enforcement throughout the world.’

Ok, a makes sense to me briefly- I do like tested methods- until I start wondering how climate engineering can ever ever ever be done on a ‘small’ scale.  Like there’s a sandbox world hovering in a lab somewhere and folks in labcoats and goggles are watching it closely with clipboards, and one is ready to step in with a fire extinguisher at any time.  We live in this lab.  How are we going to get close to 7 billion people to sign a waiver to be experiment subjects?  Is there even a way to decide that things are desperate enough to muck more up on the one planet we can live on without a consensus?  Which brings me to how terrifying b is.  Unilateral experimental strikes on the climate?  I’m pretty sure that if anyone who is not the USA tried that, we’d consider it an act of terrorism.

Leads me smack up against a new report on climate change and national security: prognosis, uh-oh.

Oh dear, oh dear.  I watched this video of baby penguins waddling around to try and calm down after all this bad news, but just ended up getting really jealous when people got to pet them!  People who are not me!  Sigh.  One day.

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