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Food For Thought. Reading Notes.

 In one article in the book, "The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2009)" Michael Specter writes in his article "Big Foot",referring to one's carbon footprint, "Greenhouse gas emissions have risen rapidly in the past two centuries, and levels today are higher at any time in at least the past 650,000 years. In 199 each of the six billion people on earth was responsible, on average, for one ton of carbon emissions. Oceans and forests can absorb about half that amount. Although specific estimates vary, scientists and policy officials increasingly agree that allowing emissions to continue at the current rate would induce dramatic changes in the global climate system. To avoid the most catastrophic effects of those changes, we will have to hold emissions steady in the next decade, and then reduce them to at least 60 to 80% by the middle of the century... Members of Congress tried repeatedly to introduce legislation to reduce sulphur dioxide levels, but the Reagan administration (as well as many elected officials, both Democratic and Republican, from regions where sulphur- rich coal is mined,) opposed any controls, fearing that they would harm the economy. When the cost of polluting is negligible, so are the incentives to reducing emissions." In other words, as we continually point out, to pollute or not, is a matter of the impacts on profits, and that alone. Specter later writes that he believes the market will solve the problems of pollution and mitigate global warming through a carbon trading system on the market whereby levels of pollution are set and those who exceed them would be able to buy credits from those who pollute less (cap and trade). In baseball, each team has a salary cap that cannot be exceeded or a fine will be imposed. The richest team, the New York Yankees, continually ignore the cap and buy just whoever they want, fines be damned. So it would be with carbon emissions. Capital will win out in capitalism. John Ayers.


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