2008-03-17 ECOworld: a website officially unconcerned about accuracy/Ed Ring response
This text can be found on ECOworld. Ed Ring apparently also posted it as a comment on Littlemore's blog post; as of 2011-02-19, there is only one comment posted in response, a short dismissal that does not address any of the points Ring makes.
Dear Sir: If you took the time to read more than one or two posts on EcoWorld, you will see we were, for example, one of the first to point out the massive rainforest destruction occurring in order to grow biofuel. You would also see our enthusiastic and unwavering support for EVs and solar power, and our unrelenting search to identify clean technologies to enable the coming electric age.
Our position on freeways is more nuanced than you give us credit for - we believe roads are the most versatile mode of transportation available, and that the efficiencies of rail only play out in cases of very high urban densities or longer intercity modes. Because cars, trucks and busses can all use roads, because they don't require as much maintenance, security or operating personnel, and because they allow great personal independence - we think upgrading our road network is being given too little priority.
Adding to this the fact that cars are becoming smart, clean and green is the clincher in our view. We believe the world is within a generation of abundance, not scarcity, and green technology will deliver this abundance. We are optimists. It only takes 1 gigawatt of additional off-peak electrical output to recharge 1.0 million EVs for commuters. "Smart growth" proponants have declared war on the car, and we think this is a well-intentioned mistake.
As for climate change - I think it is naive to think big business is fighting the alarmism. Nobody benefits more than big business when regulations are put in place to restrict CO2 emissions. Wall Street gets to trade CO2 credits, corporations get subsidies to develop new technologies to mitigate the CO2 - the consumer pays more and small businesses go under because they can't afford to comply. It isn't at all clear to me based on all of the climate science I've read that anthropogenic CO2 is the clear culprit in climate change, nor that climate change is the existential crisis it is made out to be. Moreover, it seems to me that people suggesting we slow down and examine the economic and social consequences of massive transitions to reduce CO2 emissions should be considered the moderate ones, not those raising the alarm and demanding radical and abrupt changes.
Another reason EcoWorld highlights the arguments of climate skeptics is because we believe debate is important, and frankly are alarmed by the consensus in the media that the debate is over, and by the demonization of people who don't think the debate is over. Science and journalism relies on skepticism and debate to allow the truth to emerge.
EcoWorld is supported by advertisers, and there aren't a lot of them. If we were willing to compromise our integrity, i.e., rail against the "deniers" and advocate policies and positions that constitute today's conventional wisdom on environmental issues, you may rest assured our commercial and financial success would be far greater than it is presently.
You may criticize our positions as vehemently as you like. But if you question the sincerity of our viewpoints or the depth of our concern for the environment, you are mistaken. You are welcome to call me or email me to discuss this at any time. And I have earned my nickname of "Redwood." I have personally grown from seed and given away thousands of trees, and never charged anyone for any of them.
If by "upgrading our road network" he means we need to build more roads, I am skeptical. If he means we need to repair existing infrastructure, that's not a bad idea economically but won't make that much difference ecologically. If he means using new technology to allow roads to be used more efficiently, then he may have a point -- but I'd like to see some specific suggestions.
I'm very skeptical of his claim that "nobody benefits more than big business" does from CO2 restrictions. First of all, some individual businesses may benefit (especially those oriented towards "green" technologies), but some are going to feel threatened -- and those are the ones helping to fund the anti-GW propaganda. Green technology may benefit "big business" overall in the long run, but many of the existing players will resist that change (and the inevitable power-shifts brought by change) for as long as they can -- and the evidence that they are doing so is pretty incontrovertible at this point.
He is right that big businesses (the ones with the most political influence) will tend to push the regulations to protect the new turf, and keep smaller businesses out. This is not, however, "benefiting from green technology" but "benefiting from bad legislation posing as pro-green legislation".
As for moderation: if there is even a fairly small chance that the crisis is as predicted, wouldn't the moderate/safe/conservative response be to play it safe and take steps to prevent it? In any case, the goals of "green energy" are in line with the goals of long-term economic resilience/sustainability, so it doesn't make any sense to work against them, whatever you may think of carbon-trading.
We are agreed that debate is important, however, and positions that contradict the consensus need to be discussed -- either they are substantially wrong, and the reasons why this is so should be documented, or they will be proven right.