Originally Posted by Diver
It appears we are headed towards an era of unbelievably expensive vehicles for the sake of meeting unrealistic efficiency standards all based on the false religious belief that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
Really? Religious is the completely the wrong word there. I will grant you that whether or not CO2 should be a pollutant in the traditional sense of the word is debatable. However, it is not debatable that CO2 causes a rise in global mean temperature, CO2 is primarily coming from human activity, CO2 causing an increase in the acidity of the oceans, and that the long term impact on low-lying coastal areas could be devastating due to sea-level rise.
It is certain fanatical religious beliefs that are allowing someone like Santorum to have a public stage to call for restricting the rights of women and homosexuals. When did the Republican party start tolerating candidates that want to restrict a group of people's rights so much? I feel bad for all the rational Republicans having to be associated with these irrational, fanatical idiots. But I digress...
Originally Posted by mkoesel
While I don't necessarily agree with you on all of that, there is a definitely a good point being made here.
The fact is that the automotive industry is being legislated into a highly regulated, optimally functioning machine, while other industries are left alone to continue in their traditional "un-green" fashion. As I recall, automobiles contribute only about 20% of all greenhouse gases, yet the sources of the other 80% are not facing nearly as much scrutiny. In short, we are spending a lot of money optimizing the wrong part of the infrastructure. You can build a zero emissions car that uses no oil at all, but if you are still powering everything else - the machines to obtain the raw materials; the factories that turn those materials into parts; the boats, trucks, and trains responsible for the transportation of those materials; and the assembly plants that build the car - with unsustainable energy sources, then you are not really solving any problem.
A lightweight car is great because it will make for a more efficient car. But we can make a factory or power plant more efficient without having to worry about making it lightweight to begin with. Why not start there?
The problem is that almost all new power plants built (in the US and Europe) these days are tremendously efficient, and there is almost nothing to be gained for a given fuel source. Why do you think that the energy cost of electricity is so low? It would be a tremendous waste of capital to try to replace a lot of old coal plants with co-gen plants before the end of their life-span.
Industries have an absolute financial interest in efficiently using a resource, so most generally are (especially newly built). The CO2 taxes and cap/trade systems also seek to force more change in this regard, which can be thought of as analogous to CAFE requirements for cars. Blame the lobbyists for the relative lack of efficiency regulations on industry. Also, large infrastructure is replaced on the time scale of 30-50 years, whereas cars are typically <10 years, so you have a more immediate effect.
Originally Posted by kgroschi
Sorry but he is right. CO2 is not an pollutant. Now if you are in the US, it is hard to do research and find out that all this "Global Warming caused by CO2" is just political bullshit supported by scientists that are paid by the government. However in Europe there is a lot of debate about that and it's more likely that Carbon Black might have any relevance to the climate.
Flowers live on CO2....
The reason it's hard to find information to contradict climate change theory is because science supports it essentially 100%. I think you mean "black carbon"? Carbon black is an industrial product in rubber reinforcement, pigments, and additives.
Black carbon/soot may have a significant effect on climate changes, but is generally believed to be significantly less than CO2.
Either way, it still comes from the combustion of hydrocarbons/biomass, so you either end up with CO2 or black carbon. Black carbon is also short-lived in the atmosphere, so we could theoretically change our habits and have an immediate effect.