Nobody disagrees about the efficient use of resources. I haven't run across the pro-waste lobby. The free market (individuals making their decision on the worth of things based on their individual value systems) determine the value of things. The government should set regulations to protect health and safety such that the cost of pollution, etc. is included in the cost of the service.LJensen wrote:In my eyes "finding the solution" comes down to a solution between the people who think we should continue to consume resources at our present level, and those (of which I am a part of) who are advocates for responsible use of resources. What I mean by that is we should use what God has provided us on this planet, but we should be mindful to not abuse or overuse those resources.
For example, nuclear power has the lowest death rate per unit of electricity produced. That means that they are overpaying for the cost of saving lives or the competition is underpaying. Ideally, the source of electricity should have no impact on health, safety, or the environment. In reality, politics is a huge factor.
The problem with geting to the ideal solution is that people value things very differently. People pay a lot of money to avoid fear, especially fear of the known unknowns. Emotions are a huge factor in determining what people find acceptable. How do you equate getting run over by a coal train and getting cancer. Rationally, getting cancer is better because you get to live a 100% healthy life for years after you were exposed to the thing that caused the cancer as opposed to immediate death. Also, the coal train will cripple and mame a lot of people in addition to the people that it kills. How do you compare crippling injuries with fatal injuries. If you had a choice of losing a limb or a 1 in a million chance of death, which would you choose? Obviously, you can trade a small number of deaths to avoid a large number of serious injuries, but everybody would have a different break point and most people would refuse to engage in the conversation at all. They would stick their head as far into the sand as possible.
This weighting of different value systems is a function of government because regulations and standards must be set. They are arbitrary, but they are necessary. They will evolve over time as our collective value system moves, but the purpose should be to reflect our values and not pick winners and losers. This is also why I believe in a small central government (one size fits all), and larger state and local governments, and as much individual responsibility (maximum number of sizes) because the closer to the individual you get, the better they reflect the consensus of all people that must comply with the regulations.
So "efficient" use of resources is an incredibly complicated discussion. Nobody is for waste, but most of what we consume is way beyond our needs. Is everything beyond our needs waste? I think these people that own these massive houses are wasting their money, but obviously they do not.
I am anti-wind and solar. They simply consume to much land, concrete, and steel. I think that is an incredibly inefficient use of resources. I don't think we should outlaw them, but I just wish they would stop forcing me to pay for something that is so wasteful. If the environmentalist do-gooders lived in the country instead of the cities, these things would be outlawed. The do-gooders want to determine for everybody else what is "efficient" and what is not based on their value system.
The free market determines the value of things based on the rules of the game (regulations). We need to work towards sound regulations that treat all alternatives as equally as possible and then simply let people decide what is "efficient" and what is not.
Global warming theory is a huge case of what do you value and how much do you value it.
There is lot of uncertainty in the consequences of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Uncertainty means fear for many people. That is a huge factor. For most that's it and their emotions take over from there. They don't think even to the obvious that the only certainty is that your integrated cumulative probablility of death is precisely 1.0.
For many, environmentalism has taken on religious fervor and you must spend large amounts of money to buy cars, light bulbs, toilets, etc., that do not perform there functions in an efficient or cost effective way. This is the windmillaphiles and the compact flourescents, hybrid cars, and winmills are their religious icons. Nancy nonstop Pelosi is an icon lover, but then wants a larger jet than necessary so she can fly nonstop from DC to San Francisco. God forbid she has to stop for gas, when most of us have to endure long layovers when we fly most places.
That is before the legitimate tradeoffs between different resources. Renewables consume large amounts of land, steel, concrete, etc. because of their inherent low intensity. Coal uses the least amounts of steel and concrete, land use varies with the coal source. Nuclear requires a less steel and concrete than renewables, but more than coal, and very little land. There is also a difference between land permanently paved over in the case of the physical size of the sites per unit energy produced versus land used to mine coal, which theoretically can be repaired to look more or less like before you started.
Sure this is all very easy if you are simple minded, but once you start considering just a few of the real tradeoffs that need to be considered, it quickly becomes a simple matter of the values of you as an individual, which determine what you think the right path is. We preach about not imposing our values on other people, but that is exactly what the global warming zealots are trying to do. That is Obama's plan to impose his values on everybody. God forbid Bush did that.