Stop Global Warming, Turn Right

simple.jpgYou might think I’m referring to the story in our Nation&World section today, Dissenters Under Attack, but I’m not.

UPS has figured out that it can save fuel by having its drivers abstain from left turns.

The New York Times Magazine has a short story and animated video about the idea as part of its Year in Ideas feature. The other ideas include wireless technology, floating wind generators, wave power and a lightning farm.

A Google news search reveals others treating the subject.

If drivers miss the left turns, they can always join NASCAR.

8 thoughts on “Stop Global Warming, Turn Right

  1. Fuel costs is one of the biggest factors in doing business for UPS. Any way that they can save fuel will save their bottom line.

    I have this nagging idea that Wal-Mart is a house of cards that is propped up by relatively cheap gas for nationwide distribution of products mostly made in China. I have to wonder if their whole concept of shipping goods around the world is going to hold up once a prolonged energy crisis hits.

    If any company wants to survive the next fifty years they better figure out how to reduce their dependence of fossil fuels as much as humanly possible so protect themselves from catastrophic rising fuel costs.

  2. The NYT article about “no left turns” illustrates the ability of individuals (real persons or corporate entities) to reduce “carbon emissions” simply as a result of their search for more efficiency (and thereby more profit). I hope our governments stay out of the way of market-driven improvements.

    The bias in that AP “climate change” article featured in today’s Kitsap Sun seemed apparent to me. I wonder how avid fans of Al Gore perceive it.

    For example:

    “…Bjoern Lomborg, one of the world’s leading climate change skeptics…” indicates that he doesn’t believe “climate change” is occurring, when in fact his arguments center on the idea that the cost of Kyoto-like solutions far exceeds the benefit – and that there are far more important things that need to be done with the money Kyoto-like ideas would cost.

    “…climate change contrarians say they have been elbowed out of the debate. They say mainstream scientists have stifled healthy intellectual discourse…” indicates that there are “contrarians” who are out of the “mainstream” and therefore are akin to quacks and charlatans.

    “Climate change experts counter that the contrarians are no longer relevant…” indicates that the “contrarians” are not “experts” in the field, yet many, if not most, of the people raising questions about the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide concentrations and about the amount of the anthropogenic effect on atmospheric temperatures are indisputably “experts” in the subject.

    “Lomborg accepts that the Earth is warming because of man, but says a changing climate, including the threat posed by rising sea levels to small island nations, is a less urgent problem than, for example, AIDS or malnutrition. It’s a view that has infuriated advocates of immediate action by the world’s governments.” Notice that there is hardly a hint about the clearly rational basis for Lomborg’s “view,” even though his publications make it plain that he and others who agree with him look at the detrimental effects of the other things and find them to be far worse than the effects of global warming.

    “However, he added, contrarians ‘who choose to mislead the public’ on what science says about climate change cannot expect to escape being chastised.” And, is there any acknowledgement of the misleading statements of “mainstream” non-skeptics? No – only those loony contrarians make misleading statements and deserve to be chastised. The “mainstream” can invent a “hockey stick” graph that falsely makes the “climate optimum” of the Middle Ages disappear, and there is no chastisement – only drop the hockey stick down the memory hole and move on.

    “That the planet is getting warmer is well-documented by scientific data, so skeptics now mainly challenge the majority view on the scope of the problem.” The “well-documented” label can also be used to characterize skeptics’ questions about the temperature data, the effects of clouds at different levels in the atmosphere and the inability of computer models to include their effects, the role of solar energy versus “greenhouse gases” in the observed warming of the past 150 years, etc. But, these counterpoints from experts who question, examine, and test ideas about what is really going on and what causes it are not described as “well-documented.” Why not?

    Do you get the idea about the bias that appears even in articles which appear to be attempts to show the extreme, emotional, and wrongheaded actions and statements of people who oppose the “contrarians”?

  3. Actually, Jake, Wal-Mart is really working on sustainability issues. They are investing $500 M in new sustainability initiatives. I have never been a fan of Wal-Mart’s business practices, but some of their efforts are pretty remarkable. Check out the store in Fortune magazine from last July. Just google Wal-Mart and sustainability.

    We had a whole forum devoted to the question of Wal-Mart and sustainability. Many people feel that there is value in educating the public in the way that Wal-Mart can. They have valid points. Wal-Mart is starting to address their supply chain questions. They really are.

    There is validity in avoiding left turns. Not only do you save energy, but you save money by avoiding wasted time and man hours. It’s economically smart to plan your trips in a way to avoid waste.

    I love it!

  4. Now, Elliott, if that’s all you can perceive in the examples I gave, does that make you a fan of the Goracle or just someone who cannot rebut the specific statements I made?

    Do you perceive the article as written to be without bias?

  5. Wal-Mart also places the responsibility of stocking the shelves on to the supplier. So the supplier (campbels soup, coke, etc) stock the shelves at WalMart. Those companies will bear a major portion of the energy transportation costs.

  6. Bob,

    I’m not particularly a fan of Mr. Gore.

    You’ve overlooked the obvious. Namely, that you’re really complaining that the article doesn’t have the biases that you want it to have.

    A “contrarian”, looking at the excerpts of the article you posted, might agree with you that it didn’t put enough emphasis on how badly “contrarians” were treated, but a fan of Mr. Gore might look at those same excerpts and wonder why more emphasis wasn’t placed on the fact that the “contrarian” being quoted actually admitted that global warming is caused by humans.

    See what I mean? As a communications law professor of mine told me many years ago, “when you’re getting complaints about bias from both ends of the political spectrum, it’s a good indication that you’re probably doing a good job of remaining neutral.”

  7. Of course, John. You are right. Wal-Mart does put a lot of pressure on its suppliers. I am not cheerleading for Wal-Mart, just sharing information on how Wal-Mart is starting to look at energy issues. From what I understand they are bringing pressure to bear on their entire supply chain. Is that fair? I question that as well, but the argument is that if they can pressure their suppliers to be more sustainable in their practices, everyone will benefit.

    Is it greenwashing? Some say it is. Interesting conversation.

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