2006/07/23

Kyoto vs. Iraq - What could $300+ billion have bought?

Cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol (estimated in 2000): $325 Billion
Cost of the Iraq war to date: $300 Billion

The cost of implementing Kyoto for the United States was authoritatively estimated by William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer of Yale University in 2000. The $300 billion figure for Iraq comes from congressional appropriations and does not take into account collateral costs. So basically it's low to start with and will only grow with time.

Now forget for a moment how you feel about Kyoto. Sure we all know that the protocols will only make a small dent in emissions over the coming century. But even if the United States never ratifies the treaty, there's a lot that we could do with the money that has thrown down the toilet in iraq. For example, the entire estimated cost of the Clinton era "New Source Review" program--where heavy polluters are required to upgrade emissions control technology--would cost only $73B over two decades. (You'll recall that this program was set aside by Bu$hCo's EPA in favor of the "Clear Skies Initiative" smokescreen. The courts have since ruled against EPA on this one.) And NSR was only one program. There's also the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) for emissions trading, a less rigorous initiative but still completely implementable along with NSR for less than we've spent in Iraq.

Perhaps as the midterms approach, Bu$hCo could answer for us why toppling Saddam Hussein was more important than making a huge dent in US greenhouse gas emissions by fixing every bloody power generating facility that we have?

12 Comments:

Perhaps as the midterms approach, Bu$hCo could answer for us why toppling Saddam Hussein was more important than making a huge dent in US greenhouse gas emissions by fixing every bloody power generating facility that we have?

Umm. . .because they don't give a flying f*** about the environment as long as there's a profit to be made or a score to settle? They are Ferengi you know.
Silly Kvatch, because we have to wait until all our coastal areas are flooded first and the summer temps regularly hit 130F in El Paso. Once our infrastructure has crumbled, the returning Iraq vets will feel completely at home here.

And then Jebus will come sweep all the good Republicans into a basket and take them up to heaven (where they will still have air conditioning), and Satan will rule on earth, and the holy book of Revelations will have been fulfilled, and Georgie and the rest of his fundie friends can sit back and say "I told you so!"
It was the WMD, stupid! Sheesh! Everybody knows they're there! East, West, North and South somewhat...but there!
Well, I'm sure they'd like to answer your question but-ohmigodlookoverthereIranhas nucularweaponsandletsgethizbullah!
Ferengi...OMG! Never occured to me. John you're brilliant!

Lukku, when I was a wee tadpole the temperatures were higher than they've been this summer 110+ was common back in the 70's. For fun we'd go around poking the tar bubbles that used to form on the streets.

TPM, Lew...you're both right on target, of course. I'm only croaking for the left wing masses that we need to get to the polls.
Besides, how much profit can contractors and arms manufacturers make from greenhouse gass reduction?
Reduction, get it? Not progress, not making and selling stuff. No wonder these guys get scared at the idea.
Dang mang! I guess I should be FOR Global Warming. I too used to love poppin' those tar bubbles.

It looks like your parents are gonna be having some new neighbors soon, Kvatch. I wonder what y'all be thinkin' of Bezos' Space Port...

Methinks you may've already discussed such, but I missed it if so.
$300 billion? Besides greenhouse emissions, the government could also give every American (300 million of us) a million dollars to invest in a retirement fund, spend on health care or pay for a college education. It would also save the government money in the long run since it would reduce federal funding for Medicaid, Pell Grants, etc.
Kathy,

I hate to be the one, because I too misplace my decimals from time to time, but that would be a $1,000 each. Still, I'll take it!

The point about infrastructure is the main one for me. I don't think that reductions are going to have much of an effect. However, the power grid sure could use a re-vamp, especially if we are still toying with the idea of electric cars.

What? We gave up on that? Damn, I really should read the news more.
Praguetwin, thanks for the math lesson. Duh! I guess I'll have to cut back on criticizing Treasury Secretary Paulson after that huge blunder.

By the way, your point about infrastructure is well taken, especially with the energy situation so precarious in places like California.
Lukku, right on. What you said!!

Kvatch, sounds like you have seen "An Inconvenient Truth". I saw it with my family for the first time a couple of days ago when we were in Portland (our local NE Oregon theater will probably never bring the movie here) and I must say it was a revelation of sorts.

Gore didn't talk down to the audience; he explained science in understandable terms re. the future we face here on Earth.

I know that had Gore been able to assume his rightful place in the White House in 2001, it wouldn't automatically have meant NYC wouldn't have been attacked, that we wouldn't be at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we wouldn't be in huge debt, that the rest of the world wouldn't hate us, etc... but I do think we would have been a lot better off. And the world would have been better off as well. At least measure would be underway to make our planet more likely to be habitable longer. Sigh...
I see - where the money is spent demonstrates where the values lie...

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