Promoting quiet recreation in Wisconsin.
Opposing the coming attempts to sell off Wisconsin's natural heritage.
Fighting denial about climate change. When are we hitting the streets?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another reason why our cars should drive themselves

When it comes to car-pedestrian collisions in residential zones, the difference between 20 and 30 miles an hour is a big deal.   Eric de Place advocates making it easier for communities to reduce speed limits, but then wonders if drivers will comply anyway.

But why leave it up to the drivers?   We have the technology now to make cars stay within the speed limits.  This is another example of how our weird idea about cars and transportation gets in the way of safe roads.

The Muller-Best study is Koch's future "Get out of jail free" card

"Skeptical" Berkeley Professor Richard Muller's BEST study confirmed what climate scientists have been saying for years: The planet is in fact heating up rapidly, just as the models of man-made climate change would predict, and the record, carefully developed by separate climate scientists in a number of previous studies, had predicted.

 But in an abundance of caution or scrupulosity, Muller and the BEST group undertook a review of all previous work on assessing whether the climate is indeed warming.  

Lots of writers note the supposed irony that a study funded in large part by the Koch brothers confirmed that the climate is heating up in ways predicted by climate scientists.    But I think that looks at the Koch brothers' motives in the wrong way.

For years, they have promoted confusion and denial about climate change,  in spite of the fact that a vast majority of climate scientists believe the issue is settled.  

But even now, the "facts on the planet" are starting to show up in ways that can no longer be disguised.    When things go all to hell,  people will be looking for heads to roll.   The Fossil Fuel industry will need to show that even as 2011, the science was still "unsettled".  And so, the real purpose of the study.

The results will do little in terms of science because actual climate scientists had already repeatedly tested and demonstrated that the planet was heating up the way theories of the greenhouse effect predicted all along.   Muller merely was the outlier who came in from the cold.   (All good scientists are "skeptics" by the way-its the way science works).

The study will do little in terms of public policy, because the media still doesn't cover global warming seriously, and the politicians either ignore reality or actively run against it.

But the study does have a function, because in the future Koch's defense attorneys will be able to point to headlines like "New Study Settles the Debate on the existence of Climate Change" as "proof" that there was an actual scientific debate as late as 2011.

Lets hope that in our newly ravaged world people will still care about nuances like trials and jails.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Koch brothers and environmental regulations

The Koch brothers masquerade as advocates of  private property and free markets against intrusive environmental regulations.   But there is no "free market" property right to pollute.
 If I fling my dog's poop into your yard, I am violating your property rights.   If I am fined or arrested, it is not a sign of too much government, but just the right amount of government to protect those rights.    

By buying off  politicians, the Koch brothers are not protecting property rights against big government, they are using government to protect their own financial interest in messing up your property rights and health.

This clip from the film Exposed shows the consequences.  People in Wisconsin should note that reduced environmental regulations are one of the goals of the Koch supported Walker administration.