December 11, 2006

A Convenient Platform


So, I watched Al Gore's biopic, "An Inconvenient Truth" this weekend. What the heck were with the flashbacks to Gore's life throughout the film that had nothing to do with the science being promoted?

Anyway, if I read between the lines right, the movie's point was that tree frogs TRUMP tree beetles, and that polar bears TRUMP humans.

When asked about the economic downfalls of America signing progressive emissions legislation, Gore answers the question by saying "Actually, it would increase jobs, because we have to remember that doing the right thing is always a step forward." Ok, but, you're not a muppet and I'm not a 6 year old watching Sesame Street, so that answer doesn't appease me.

The film did indeed open my mind to the fact that the tripling of the population in the last 45 years has indeed skyrocketed CO2 rates and IS a problem, but the film almost made it seem like the world is already working extremely hard to produce cleaner energy, so it didn't make me want to vote for Al Gore in order to get it done, which is clearly what the film is about.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found this article a little while back. I was going to write a post about it, but seeing as I hadn't seen the movie, I thought that might be a little premature. Interesting article nonetheless.

(Jarrett)

matt said...

maybe the increased CO2 is from 3x the amount of people breathing than 45 years ago. We should put in place emission regulations on human breathing.

But seriously, the emissions regulations for places like Caterpillar do not include reducing CO2, they are targeted at particulate matter (soot) and Nox for 2010. But, everyone expects there to be some sort of CO2 regulation in the next 15 years.

I disagree with the idea that everyone is trying hard enough to get clean energy without more government involvement. For example, adding aftertreatment to a diesel engine reduces fuel economy and performance(power). So consumers don't want the engines, and the manufacturer doesnt want to add material and development costs to make the clean engine. So without government regulation (and a penalty for noncompliance) noone would bother with reducing emissions.

Also, even though I don't work with emissions reduction, I wouldn't have this job right now if it weren't for the regulations.

Sabai said...

correct, but efficiency is still profitable. You develop a car that gets 90 miles to the gallon, you're going to make some serious money off it, AND help the environment. you make a coal burning plant that gets three times the energy out of the same amount of coal, you're going to make a lot of money. So, could natural market greed create enough technological advances on their own to subside this problem? Maybe not, but, could they help?

matt said...

yes

the technology is not there yet (to improve fuel economy AND meet 2010 emissions standards)

I think it might help you to know that engine aftertreatment reduces fuel economy by 10%, but reduces emissions by 1000s of percent. And hybrids increase fuel economy by 20%-50%, but only reduce emissions by 20%-50%.

matt said...

I feel by placing such harsh emissions standards so soon, the government is pushing industry into a dead end.

I'm telling you hydrogen and battery technology is where its at, but industry is too busy working on a short term solution to worry about them.

Sabai said...

i'm still working on my nuclear car blueprints.

matt said...

I'll wait to shoot it down until i see the prototype (from a distance)

Steve said...

The economic argument is that if we are going to combat this through new technology, there's going to be a mint to be made by whomever comes with it. Now while you could argue this creates a free-market incentive, the question becomes if businesses will be forward-looking enough to take a bit of a short-term hit for a long-term reward, or if they act like sports coaches and GMs on the hot seat, mortaging the future for today because if not, they could be out of a job tomorrow.