RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Unilateral economic disarmament

Y'all probably don't remember this, but in the 1980s there was something called a nuclear freeze movement. The idea of it was that if the US froze its nuclear weapons, other countries would follow, and we'd all be on the way to Universal Whirled Peas, or something. Nebraskans for Peace supported the movement; so did your soon-to-be Secretary of State John Kerry. Needless to say, it was a monumentally asinine idea; the idea that countries like China and the Soviet Union were simply waiting on the United States to do the right thing before they themselves would disarm was simply insane. In fact, there is good evidence it was Reagan's arms build-up that forced the Soviet Union into dissolution.

Fast forward to 2013. Tim Rinne of the (unfortunately) still-existing Nebraskans for Peace wants the US to cripple its economy with carbon consumption restrictions, to reduce anthropogenic global warming. Will it reduce AGW? Almost certainly not; India and China are not crazy enough to cripple their economies in the same fashion, and will simply use the carbon-based fuels we forgo.

A lot of it is just plain wrong. For example:

It will mean growing more of our food locally and eating seasonally to lower production and transportation costs.
Problem is, locally grown food does not reduce carbon production. Global distribution networks are highly efficient. Shipping in train-cars of produce from California uses less carbon than the thousands of small trucks local growers need to take food to their local markets. What Tim really hates is big business, and he likes the hair-shirt feeling he gets from eating half-rotten turnips and contracting mild scurvy. Yes, it is stupid and more-than-slightly crazy, but there you go.

Liberals are weird. The end result of an action seems unimportant to them, as long as the action palliates their guilt. They felt bad about having the capability to incinerate Soviet babies, even though former-Soviet babies, now grown up, are far better off because we were steadfast about our nuclear capability. Now they want us to engage in a course of self-indulgent abnegation, even though it will not do anything to stop AGW, because it will less them feel less guilty about their small fraction of it.

I don't know about you, but palliating liberal-self-loathing is not high on my list of priorities. If they really want to reduce their carbon dioxide production to near-zero, there's an obvious course for them to take.


  1. Reading between the lines, it seems you no longer have significant doubts of the science behind AGW. Your core objection to limiting GHG emissions is that to be effective we need everyone participating. That implies that you are on board with this as long as we can get everyone in on it.
    Am I reading you right?

  2. I've never had significant doubts about the science behind AGW.