Why the GOP Will be Forced to Adjust Course on Climate Change

lostlakehiker1/05/2013 4:39:49 pm PST

re: #6 EiMitch

First of all, this is pretty much the same rant that was made against rebuilding New Orleans. But relocating that many people is highly implausible. You’d have to essentially build a brand new city from scratch, on top of the logistical nightmare of transporting that many people and their remaining worldly possessions. And thats assuming they’re all able and willing to move in the first place.

Second, when I said “take one for the team,” I meant paying for trying to combat climate change by greening up the grid. As in fewer hydrocarbon burning power plants and more wind/solar/misc.

Third and final…

In other words, rates should go further up. But here is a “reality-based” question: can everyone so adversely affected by climate change afford that?

Hell no! Not even close.

Whether you meant to or not, you just made a huge argument against “business-friendly” insurance. Unless you plan to relocate practically entire cities full of people, your proposal is just not going to happen. Oh, wait a minute…

Rates should go up for land that has already been flooded once and figures to be flooded again. And again and again and again. This will prompt people who have already been flooded out to NOT rebuild, but to take the money they get from their insurance settlement and build elsewhere, on higher ground.

I DO plan to relocate practically entire cities full of people. This is for the simple reason that rising waters will force it, sooner or later. Better that the relocation be piecemeal, with each successive slice of flooding victims taking their insurance money and rebuilding elsewhere.

Note that the lowest-lying sectors of New Orleans are not being rebuilt. This is for the best. Why put people into death traps?

The federal government has taken over the flood insurance market. Flood insurance has become flood subsidies—-that’s the word for “selling” people something at a price that does not reflect the risk. Some of these subsidies go to small fish, but a lot of them go to rich people with second homes right on the beach. These, most particularly, should not get further flood “insurance” for anything they rebuild on beachfront property.

Farmers should not get crop insurance for planting crops that are very likely to fail, when they do fail. Do we subsidize planting corn in Death Valley? No. It would be absurd. As the climate shifts, we’re going to have to encourage farmers to limit their risk, not by planting what they know won’t grow and cashing their insurance checks, but by planting, say, sorghum, in place of corn. Sorghum is more heat tolerant and more drought tolerant.

The U.S. cannot do all that much about climate change by building a major quantity of wind/solar infrastructure at today’s state of the art. The same amount of money, spent in the same period of time, would be better spent by spending today’s portion on constructing more efficient buildings that need less heating or artificial lighting, by installing LED lighting, and so forth, and then spending tomorrow’s portion on constructing better, more efficient, cheaper wind and solar infrastructure at tomorrow’s state of the art. We should continue to spend something on today’s wind/solar, because only by hitting the snags will we learn how to cope with them. But the time is not yet ripe to build out, to scale, very large systems.

Another reason to push vigorous R&D into wind and solar is that China is using almost twice as much coal currently as the U.S., and is pulling away. The only ways I can see that we can convince them to switch to wind/solar would be (1) build wind/solar tech that undercuts coal on cost, or (2) in the fullness of time, things getting so bad that that we can prove to China that the fraction of the world damage from global warming that China bears is greater than the entirety of their own benefit from using coal instead of more expensive wind/solar. Continued in next post.