Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Global Warming, Flat Beer and Soda

“It is curious that the Coca Cola Company and all other producers of carbonated beverages, from beer to champagne, have not become targets of political action,” say Christopher Essex and Ross McKittrick in their excellent book TAKEN BY STORM: The troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming. “A bottle of soda pop has about two grams of carbon dioxide in it, and that amount will eventually be released into the atmosphere in one way or another. That can translate into several hundred thousand tons of carbon dioxide every year. [Ed: this is far more than from secondhand tobacco smoke, which Al Gore stupidly claimed contributes to global warming] Wouldn't it be consistent with the moral tone of 'thinking locally and acting globally' to decline to drink carbonated beverages? Shouldn't those companies be required to produce flat beverages in the cause of stopping global climate change?”

“While the contribution of carbonated drinks to overall human carbon dioxide production in minuscule by comparison, it still amounts to maybe four million tonnes of CO2 per year....Fortunately, we need not fear the loss of our bubbly libations. Politicians and Official Science have come up with something that is similarly symbolic, and equally flat in terms of its internal logic, but which promises a far more costly penance: the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change....

“Of course the Doctrine says that there is no cost for the implementation. Environmental groups have even come out lately and claimed that Canada could get rich by implementing Kyoto. This is simply not true. Regulation is a drag on the economy. By definition, it forces people to do what they would not have chosen to do, and there is always a cost for that....If the regulations being proposed really could make us better off through some technology-driven boom, it would happen anyway, without the need for regulatory push. And while people are distracted by disputes over economics, it is widely missed that Kyoto will have a negligible effect on climate whatever happens!”

I have emphasized one sentence in the above paragraph because it is a beautifully succinct statement that we should keep in mind regarding ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen-fueled automobiles, solar and wind power plants.

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