Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kate's questions about emissions

Anonymous said...
Do you remember long ago when there was that oil thing in the gulf? We had conversation where I felt that one could point to the executives at BP as the biggest sinners in that situation and you felt that we couldn’t judge BE executives any more harshly than we judge ourselves since we use the product the executives make available to us.

If one makes the assumption that certain entities (corporations, consumer collectives, etc.) produce more CO2 emissions than other entities, do you feel/suspect/believe that the largest ‘sinners’ should ‘be made’ to reduce carbon emissions by means other than leading by example? If yes, how? If no, why not?

PS -- If you grow to hate me, you can ask me to stop and I will.


There are no sinners in my world. Each is trying to do what's good, as Plato argued. Sometimes they don't see the effect of our actions. And actions aren't all good or all bad. Actions benefit some and hurt others. I don't step on the scorpion to save its life, and then it takes the life of another sentient being. Good action or bad action? Savior or sinner?

My view on the carbon emissions is to not regulate them (by law) but rather to sue the companies for the cost of cleaning them up. If you spray painted on my car, I would hold you responsible to make my car "right." In the same way, companies should be responsible for hurting the shared environment.

Kate, you are a great teacher for me. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Oh good God(s). It’s the old does-evil-exist debate.

If you met local loser Bruce Hymes, you might change your mind on the notion that there are no sinners. Granted I am benefiting off his actions in that I find his downfall satisfying on so many levels and I smile big every time I see his dumbass on TV, but . . . he harmed a lot of people before he got caught doing a Chuck Berry. He would probably prefer the title sinner over many of the names both I am many of my peers use to describe him.

Let us not get lost in semantics.

I think suing the companies for damage caused by CO2 output has set backs. There is the whole question of how one goes about measuring the actual output or reduction of CO2 on a per company basis. Who do we trust with the measuring of such a thing? Also if there was no law restricting CO2 output, can one sue? Technically no law has been broken. Also if people are uncertain now about whether or not CO2 output has a negative affect on climate. . . would winning such a suit seem likely? Also how does one go about ‘cleaning up’ CO2 emitions?

I think there need to be laws that limit CO2 output. This also has set backs. How does one enforce such law? Who do we trust to measure such a thing? At what level do we set the CO2 limit? Etc.

There can also be incentives that encourage CO2 reductions. Again the set backs exist. Should you really be handing out money to people for doing what they should be doing anyway?

I think a lot of questions still exist on this issue. That is why I find it odd when you talk about the consensus among the scientific community. In my experience, while most researchers generally view the CO2 as a problem, there is much debate on what to do about the problem or even how bad the problem is.


Anonymous said...

Kate, you are a great teacher for me. Thanks! --- Mr. Kim

PS – During my years of working in customer service, I lied to so many people that ‘flattery’ now does nothing but make me uncomfortable. But thanks . . . I guess.