One Global Emissions and Efficiency Regulation to Rule Them All

by Benjamin Jones on April 13, 2009

Recently, at the New York International Auto Show, I was involved in a few discussions with the Auto Alliance regarding the current issues surrounding emissions and fuel economy regulation in the United States. While the Alliance and manufacturers are not necessarily opposed to stricter (i.e. California) regulations, they are opposed to having multiple standards in this country.

I know that many people see this as industry road-blocking, but the Alliance has a good reason to oppose state-level emissions and efficiency regulations, which I came to realize after learning more about the difficulties in bringing fuel-efficient European cars to the United States.

How Multiple Regulations Affect the U.S. Auto Market

For decades, California has had it’s own emissions regulations, which are much stricter than the emissions regulations in the rest of the country. In response, many automakers created separate models for CA and non-CA markets. Notable among these efforts were VW’s diesels and Honda’s lean-burn equipped cars.

However, a more common response was to build cars for the larger, non-CA market, that wouldn’t be available in California or to build cars that could meet California standards and be sold in any state. While this seems like a fair compromise, it added a layer of complexity in the design of U.S. vehicles. Automakers are forced to decide which markets their cars will be sold in and what technology they will use depending on constantly changing state regulations.

While there is only one federal government, as long as states can create their own regulations automakers potentially need to compromise with 50 different government bodies.

The Benefits of a Federal Regulation

Federal regulation allows automakers to build one car for the entire United States. Even if the government were to adopt CA standards nationally, automakers (and consumers) would save money because of reduced complexity in standards. Automakers can design one car with one set of engine options and one set of emissions controls that can be applied nationally.

For used car buyers, federal regulations will make it easier to buy cars across state lines or bring your vehicle with you when you move. Used car emissions are still up to state and local governments, but with each car having the same new standards it will be easier to unify after market emissions testing.

World-wide Regulation

Sure, we Americans like to have things our way and remain independent from the rest of the world. But we also like it when our global auto industries succeed and when foreign companies can bring their ridiculously fuel-efficient cars to the United States.

Unfortunately, they can’t do that yet. Why not? Because it takes a lot of work to pass emissions and safety standards in different markets.

Take for example the Ford Fiesta, which is being brought to the North American market for model year 2011. In Europe, where lots of attention is paid to pedestrian safety, the front end of the Fiesta is designed to push people out of the way without hurting them too badly. However, to bring the car to the United States the front end needs to be redesigned in order to comply with slow-speed collision regulations. This means new bumper and headlight design, which has to be created, tested, and then mass-manufactured before the car will be ready for sale.

So far, we have seen that the European Union is able to cooperate on vehicle regulations. If the auto market is going to be truly global, perhaps we should all start to get along and design global cars with global standards. It may be difficult and costly to implement, but the money spent will be saved elsewhere.

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1 Aaron April 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I have an idea: why not just drop regulations altogether? What do they do but get in the way? If the market demands efficient vehicles, the automakers will create them. If the market wants gas-guzzling SUVs and to pay $6/gallon for gasoline, then that’s what they’ll make.

What do regulations actually do but force consumers to pay higher prices? If consumers want an efficient cars, they’ll demand them. I don’t see why we need government to force this on everyone.

2 Benjamin Jones April 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Aaron,

An analogy: if you look at the way anti-smoking advertising works on teens, you notice that teens care very little about the long-term health effects of smoking. We KNOW that it will kill you and harm your health, but teens don’t care. They do care, however, if you tell them it will make them unpopular.

Cars are the same way. People know pollution and unsafe vehicles will kill us, but when they’re buying many don’t care so much. Rather, we have to tax people or force them into making the better long-term choices.

Sure, it’s not capitalist, but capitalism is not necessarily a good long-term solution for problems like these.

Thanks for the comment!

3 Aaron April 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

That’s not a very good analogy. You’re comparing ADVERTISING to TAXATION. Two completely different things. Taxation is confiscation by force, advertising is voluntary behavior based on information.

So why not ADVERTISE green cars/transport as the way to go instead of FORCING it via taxation?

All kinds of “it’s for the greater good” crap gets pushed through as regulation. In the end, government never delivers on what they said would be the result. Gun control laws generally result in more crime, not less. Drug prohibition laws result in more drug use and related crime, not less. So what do you think that emissions-control laws will do?

The #1 polluter in America is GOVERNMENT, not private enterprise. That’s because the military, most government-run science, etc. is EXEMPT from those environmental laws that the government creates.

Once is FORCE the answer here?

4 Benjamin Jones April 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

It’s not a bad analogy. Cigarettes are also taxed heavily to deter their purchase. Their are also laws on what can and can’t be in cigarettes, what has to be on the packages, who can sell them, and who can buy them.

While this blog isn’t about gun control and drug prohibition, you should take a closer look at the facts surrounding those issues, because you will find that the CORRELATION between certain statistics in certain countries a) does not imply causation and b) is very weak when compared to social factors affecting crime and drug use.

Are you trying to argue that emissions regulations increase emissions? I see absolutely zero factual evidence from the history of the US or any other country supporting that claim. If you could give me some, I’m sure it would be easily refuted, for even the automakers are always talking about how much emissions have decreased as a result of stricter regulations.

Force is the answer, because, at the core of it, if their are no standards, even those consumers who WANT those things will not be able to compare safety, emissions, of fuel economy claims when there are no national or international standards in place. By removing regulation you also remove the ability to make informed decisions. IE:

Again, I don’t wish to debate regulation in general, but if you can show me hard data suggesting that regulation has made cars less safe or more polluting, then we have something to debate, 🙂

5 Aaron April 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Alright, I want 50% of your income and I’ll get the government to force you to give it to me via taxation. How’s that?

There’s a HUGE difference between ADVERTISING and FORCING through taxes. What you’re doing here is combining the two as if they were the same.

Setting standards is VERY DIFFERENT from forcing regulations. Set standards for measurement criteria, formulas, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But FORCING the regulation requires that they do it, at gunpoint, or else.

Tell me again how this use of force is morally justified? Everything I said about gun control and drugs (and by association, alcohol) is true. The higher the regulations are regarding the ownership of those things, the worse the problem gets.

Alcohol is the easiest example of the two, but drugs (since I already brought those up) are equally as easy to look at with little controversy over the results. 1% of the population are users at around the turn of the century, over 3% are now thanks to the glamor of prohibition. Numbers with alcohol prohibition were roughly the same in relative comparison.

Once again, is it REGULATION you want or just a uniform set of standards for consumer comparison? I have no problem with that, but lots of problems with forcing anything on anyone.

6 Benjamin Jones April 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

The issue isn’t regulation or standards, the issue is global versus local.

And THAT brings up those further issues. Because having local rules, whether they be in respect to regulation or standards, are inconsistent and prevent globalization of vehicle production.

This post, which advocates global rules, on both regulations and standards, assumes that regulations will always exist somewhere. That is because consumer demand them. That’s why California continually votes for such things and politicians that will support them, as well as other states and countries.

Again, I doubt you will ever find a world where no one will demand government regulation, so the problem now is unifying those rules.

7 Aaron April 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm

You’re probably right on that count. As long as government can be used to force things on people, it will be used to do so. Most of our current financial woes are thanks to that (not “capitalism” like they’d like you to think). Government is generally a never ending cycle of “problem-solution-creates problem-solution.”

I just wanted to bring up the “novel” idea of ending regulations altogether and trying it that way. I know that a lot of companies in the green car business (such as Tesla, Aptera, etc.) have said that safety regulations are a huge hurdle for them.

8 IanGun April 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

One more point, markets do not solve everything nor should they be asked to. Markets are subservient to the needs of society, not the other way around.

The need that is being met here is the reduction of pollution through excessive carbon based fuel use, not prices or meeting some consumer need or want. If the means don’t move us towards that goal (as Benjamin is pointing out), then the strategy should be reworked to create a reduction in pollution and fuel consumption.

Additionally, consumers do not choose the how a vehicle is designed and produced. That is a myth. If it were a consumer choice, we would probably all have flying rocket cars with a built in robot. Manufacturers decide what designs work for them economically, and then offer those choices to consumers. The prime example being is EV-1, consumers loved it but manufacturers didn’t so it was removed from the market. So ultimately they are making the choices for us.

9 Aaron April 17, 2009 at 11:04 am

Better take some economics classes. The market is not just “what’s for sale” or “what consumer’s demand,” it’s a combination of what’s feasable, what consumers are willing to purchase, and what can be produced economically. Your thoughts are way off because you’ve missed that fundamental understanding.

The EV1 failed because of market forces beyond just “consumers want this.” It failed because it was too expensive to manufacture, had a limited consumer market appeal (face it, it wasn’t going to be “mainstream” by any means in the ’90s), and was more problem than it was worth to GM at the time.

If markets boiled down to only being what manufacturers made, then GM would be on top of the world right now instead of facing bankruptcy. They failed to watch the market and lost out when the tides changed.

Markets are fluid, largely self-regulating, and extremely dynamic. The more open the market (i.e. less regulated), the more options for consumers there are. Conversely, the more informed consumers must be in order to make the right choices.

For the most part, government regulations exist to protect the “stupid consumer” from making a mistake. That was my point. The more regulative government gets, the worse things tend to be. Look at our current environmental laws regarding vehicles now. Your car is REQUIRED to have a catalytic converter of a design that’s now over 20 years old. So long as it’s a combustion engine, it MUST have one. Regardless of any new innovation which comes around (many have) that could replace it.

Guess what? I took the catalytic converter off my old pickup truck and the miles per gallon jumped from 16mpg to 21mpg! At the time, I lived where exhaust emissions testing was mandatory and when I took it in for testing, the numbers were basically the same as the year before. Which tells me two things: the catalytic converter was probably clogged and not working and it was completely pointless to have one, since I was still “OK” by government standards without it.

Oh, and clean burning diesel cars are unheard of in the U.S. Why? Regulations.

That’s why I always argue against regulating things. Government is inherently bureaucratic and too slow to keep up with changing trends.

10 IanGun April 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I don’t think we disagree on how economic decisions are made generally, but my point is that economics are not the determining factor for a successful regulatory environment in this case. Again, the point is reduction in pollutants as well as decreased fuel consumption by creating a standard that meets those needs across the board, markets have failed to move toward any type of success in dealing with these issues unprompted (unless you count the brief move toward fuel efficiency after the oil crunch of the 70’s) and thus have forced the need for regulation to meet the necessary goals.

You are also right that regulations can hinder advancement, but you could also very strongly argue that regulations prevented a great deal more backsliding and actually forced innovation. Your example of the diesel car is makes my point; we have diesel vehicles in this country now without the stringent emission standards that cars have- trucks and semis. There have been no market-based moves to add increased pollution control systems to these vehicles in the decades since the Clean Air Act was passed, in fact, manufacturers have fought increasing CAFE protections tooth and nail. Where compliance with new regulations was pushed, innovation was created, where it was not, the status quo maintained. It is not irrational behavior on a company’s part, there is no simply no economic incentive for a company to take on additional costs and difficulty to provide this feature.

Markets work well when given a clear goal that they must follow, and thus are an excellent tool to meet a pre-determined end. But it seems you overestimate their abilities to create solutions, and overlook market backed stonewalling of innovation.

11 Aaron April 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm

You’ve missed two important points: all innovation in this country is driven by MARKET forces, not by regulation. Regulations are what usually stop innovation, or encourage innovation to get around them. The other point are trucks.

Diesel rigs are heavily regulated both in how they’re driven, who’s allowed to drive them, and the engines and outputs themselves. Pound for pound, a diesel rig is much more fuel efficient than nearly all gasoline burning cars on the road.

The mistake is when people attempt to compare miles per gallon straight across, since this ignores what big trucks are for: hauling freight. The same numbers used for trains would show that trains are woefully pathetic in comparison as well.

The average big rig, fully loaded, on the road today will get somewhere around 7mpg. A train, fully loaded, will get 3-4. A sedan, fully loaded, maybe 18mpg. Looks like the sedan wins out. Right?

Except the rig has a total gvw of 80,000, the train of 200,000, and the car of 8,000. Give or take.

Your analysis that only through regulation can we force “green” on the automobile market is faulty. Why not through education instead? If people DEMAND greener vehicles, the automakers will build them. Otherwise, they’ll go out of business because someone, somewhere, will step up to meet that demand. Where there’s a market need, there’s always going to be someone willing to step in to fill it. The War on Drugs is a great example of this.

Force is great if you’re the one on the side doing the forcing. But when you’re the one looking down the barrel of the gun, force isn’t so fun. Did you know our income tax to the IRS is voluntary? Me either. But that’s what they call it. But if you don’t pay, people with guns show up to ruin your life.

There are very few instances where this kind of force is really justified and it’s my opinion that in the case of regulation of almost all things on the market (food, drugs, cars, etc.), force is not justified.

One more example and then I’ll quit. The SAE is working on a standard for EV plug-in ends. This would be the end that goes into the car, of course, not the wall. The standard-in-progress is J1775, if I remember right. Anyway, this serves a great purpose and is being championed by many. So long as no one forces anyone to adopt this standard, I see no reason to deny it. However, if it is adopted and is forced upon the EV industry as the way they have to build things, then I’ll have a problem. Why?

What if, two years from now, someone comes up with a great way to greatly increase the efficiency and charging time on an EV, but it will require a new type of plug to do it? The regulated standard will prevent it because it’s not likely that any auto maker will have any interest in tackling the requirements to change the standard as well as the R&D costs associated with the plug.

Force is rarely the correct answer or the proper way to get people to do the right thing.

12 IanGun April 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

BTW Aaron, good conversation.
My final thoughts on this just so we are not hijacking this articles Benjamin’s comment section to fight out a battle on the pluses and perils of free markets ideology.

1. I think we both agree that regulations should assist, not impede progress. My point, and the point I think Benjamin was making, was that the mish-mash of regulations around the world appears to blocking better tech, which could be aided with standardization.

2. I also agree that diesel is a more efficient fuel, but I’m simply pointing out that industry has yet to step up and make it a cleaner fuel without regulators breathing down their necks. Diesel trucks and SUVs emit more pollutants (particulates and nitrogen oxide in particular) than their gasoline brethren because they are not required to meet the same air quality protection standards. The transportation industry has actively moved to reduce protections, rather than rise to needs of the issue.

3. Market forces are not a magic bullet, and often work against innovation as much or more than regulation. In the case of controlling air pollution and increasing fuel efficiency, market forces are moving too slowly to make the corrections needed to prevent greater future costs so “force” rather than education is necessary, as you put it. Regulations should (in theory) step in to push industry beyond its vested self interests to serve the public good. Again, I agree with you, if the regulations hinder that progress, then they are wrong.

Finally, on this point I have to dig at you a bit.
“all innovation in this country is driven by MARKET forces, not by regulation.
Actually much of the country’s innovation comes from the public sphere: namely from the Government. Most of the innovation comes from them trying to figure out ways to kill us, but hey, at least we got the internet out the deal. Industry does takes those breakthroughs and works them into products for the market, coming up with innovative uses for the tech to be sure, but our government is a huge benefactor to development of many of the advances we see today. But I digress…

13 theunchosen April 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I like the idea of having federally regulated emissions. . .
no wait I don’t.

I prefer states-side. Why? Very simply because Washington has a very heavy influence of people I don’t agree with at all. Tennessee Doesn’t. Most Tennesseans Don’t subscribe to global warming. We subscribe that pollution creates an unhealthy living environment(NOx and SOx, carbon dioxide is insignificant) and we move to remove those particulates.

If carbon dioxide is such a huge problem then its pretty difficult to explain the notion that there were points in history that were comparably as warm as now. . .with half as many land-based life forms, the same number of plant life, and the same amount of oceanic life. . .and NO human produced CO2.

Its a pretty big assumption to say that over the last 100 years CO2 production(we’ve only been watching temperatures for about that long) is the only cause or even one worth worrying about. If the world has been around for billions of years 100 years is insane to claim it could change that radically.

Consider this when the dinosaurs died. . .The Oceanic floor dumped more Methane in a decade than we have dumped over the last 200 years into the atmosphere(including cows). It still took over 200 years for the climate to be influenced. For the record Methane has a claimed Greenhouse effect much greater than CO2.

The other very blinding excuse comes up over the horizon every morning. Or more properly where it comes up. The Earth wobbles on its axis over a 200 year cycle from furthest oblique to virtually straight up and down. During that course at straight up and down the Winters and Summers are both milder and weather is less aggressive(fewer hurricanes, tornadoes lesser wind currents). On the other side(where we are now) the Earth is tilted furthest away so as we rotate through seasons our summers(we are facing the sun more directly in the Temperate zones where the temperature indexes are recorded for “global Warming”) are warmer and our winters are colder. Also the weather patterns are more drastic because weather is created by largely temperature differences. Yes pressure too, but pressure is largely caused by temperature. So you get more Tornadoes, stronger wind currents and more hurricanes on our end of the spectrum(which check meteorological reports for the last 20 years and you find more incidents than the preceding 20) and more drastic changes in season.

CO2 and greenhouse gases are a by-product of raising the temperature on a chemical process, not vice-versa.

14 IanGun April 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm

“I like the idea of having federally regulated emissions. . .
no wait I don’t.

I prefer states-side. Why? Very simply because Washington has a very heavy influence of people I don’t agree with at all.

So you advocating no standardization of regulations to help automakers bring products to a wider market? The patchwork of regulations is what is being argued as making it more expensive and blocking innovation…

As to the global warming question, the science isn’t really on your side of the argument at this point. I’m not a climatologist, so check out this article to see if some of your questions are answered:

One point on my own though:
The world is huge and there is no way little ole’ me could possibly have any effect on the planet.
The Earth’s atmosphere is actually incredibly thin. From NASA:

“The Earth’s atmosphere is an extremely thin sheet of air extending from the surface of the Earth to the edge of space, about 60 miles above the surface of the Earth. If the Earth were the size of a basketball, a tightly held pillowcase would represent the thickness of the atmosphere

Add to that the fact that it is not just you but BILLIONS of people running around using the air a dumping ground, and you can start to see how we could get to the problems we have today.

15 Aaron April 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Here we go, more scientific “proof” that scientists all stick together. How thin the atmosphere is isn’t all that important to the argument of anthropologic global warming. Did you visit any of the sites that the page you included above link to? Most of them DO NOT say “man made this,” merely that CO2 somehow correlates. So do warming trends on our neighboring planets in the solar system.

We could go back and forth on this forever. The point is, climatologists don’t “know everything.” We had a warming period that occurred throughout the entire Viking Age. The seas rose, Greenland was actually green, and ocean currents were stronger than they are now. Then the Vikings converted to Christianity and the Gods were angry and froze the earth once again. Right? It’s an obvious correlation.

In this comment thread, I’ve tried to make the point that we can’t force things on people and expect good results. Usually one of three things happens: revolution and radical reversal (i.e. tyranny begets anarchism), an underground counter-economy to work around the force, or minimal compliance and resentment (like the IRS: some are honest, most lie to pay less, some opt out entirely and don’t file). None of these are good outcomes.

Then, if we find out that all these climatologists were up in the night, do we suddenly see the regulations rescinded? Good luck. Governments love to keep their power, so more likely it would just be “rolled into” some other “need.”

All I want is for people to stop immediately turning to governmental force in order to get what it is they want, for whatever feel-good justification they might have for it.

16 theunchosen April 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

The Earth’s atmosphere is tiny comparatively. . .but if you want to talk comparatively all the mass you’ve ever seen is not even measureable compared to the mass of that basketball earth diagram. . .

The Earth’s atmosphere has 51 trillion cubic kilometers. To put that in perspective multiple it by a billion and thats how many washers or dryers it would take to fill it(that gets you cubic meters).

Measuring the temperature from anything but a vantage point from here(space) is also meaningless because aforementioned scale indicates statistical likelyhood of having false data points is pretty high. Global average temps measured from whichever satellite you prefer show no “average” global climate change. They show exactly what I mentioned earlier(ax tilt).

This is the same concept as the one in the thread In that its been more or less unilaterally decided because one group of people wants to do something everyone else should be allowed to do what they want(speed or hypermile). Simply because your state has a higher concentration of people who speculate GW is real shouldn’t mean that my state that subscribes to the evidence that leads to speculation it doesn’t should.

I’m pretty much in favor of the current system. Auto manufacturers produce the car they want to make and release it where its accepted and sell a very watered down version to those with emissions. It allows me to buy a car that doesn’t have a ton of crap that I don’t speculate I need. If you speculate you need it then fine, but I’m not going to pay for it on my car.

Also you run into the issue that some regulation has 0 influence on the intended target. Reducing NOx and SOx is something I can agree with along with hydrocarbons. If and when GDI becomes something I can get my hands on I’ll rip the cat off of it. Emissions will dictate I’ll need it 1-2% of the time at the cost of heavy back pressure for the other 98-99% of the time causing FE losses that anyone here would very likely brag about. Those FE losses are not only gallons of fuel extra that I will have to burn to get A-B, but gallons of fuel that have to be mined, refined, and transported more than doubling the amount of pollution that would come out of my tailpipe completely unmitigated.

If there were some magical solution that allows me to attach a device that cleans my exhaust without hampering FE I would never touch it. I don’t think unneccessary pollution is beneficial in anyway. . .but to have lights, get around and post on here its neccessary for a coal plant to dump 22 lbs of CO2 into the air just for me to post this. Honestly if people are that worried that they think EVERYONE needs to subscribe to regulations employed by the speculation of SOME, its more effective for you to turn off your electricity from your power company, bike everywhere and only buy things from companies that use no electricity from the grid, fuels of any sort, or induce any form of livestock growth(pollution from animals). If you think something needs to change do it yourself, don’t in the name of anything sacrifice someone else for your cause.

I admit my own mentions of science above are speculation that the world’s temperature are cyclic due to whatever reasons. It cannot be proved or repeated in a lab. In the same way neither can the other side.

17 IanGun April 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm

@Aaron I again agree with you on the need for enacting regulation to be carefully monitored for exactly the reasons you state: “Governments love to keep their power, so more likely it would just be “rolled into” some other “need.” You are right again when you say that think that regulation should be the last tool in the toolbox when in comes to fostering change, and for the reasons that you have pointed out; that people resist being told what to do generally and you can gain better compliance when people are on board with the change.

The argument here is though that we have exhausted the standard means of compliance, subsidy, advertising, encouragement, etc, and the result is an inability to turn the ship fast enough to achieve the necessary goals; pollution control and increased fuel efficiency. We are at the point where we have to use the last tool in the toolbox because nothing else is working quickly enough. In the case of this article, the inconsistent patchwork of regulations is hindering innovation, and full deregulation would clearly remove any incentive to change as well, so Benjamin suggested a unifying course of action. For my point, as long as the regulations move us toward reaching our goals and not maintaining the status quo, I am in agreement with him.

I think my above statements also line up with your arguments as well. Smart regulation (or as smart as possible give the nature of government) is what is needed to move us forward. If a regulation needs tweaking, fix it so that it works. Blanket deregulation is as stupid as poor regulation, no one would even be talking about efficiency and pollution control if it weren’t for the hard work of a lot of citizens lobbying to get the governments of the world to do SOMETHING about the problems. Environmental regulations are a historic move forward, showing that we are capable of looking beyond immediate needs and planning for future good. But like all first steps in advancement, they are clumsy, awkward and show need for considerable improvement. Which, again, is the question Mr Jones raises.

@climate change skeptics in general.
Science is tough. It can be political.
I have a lot of sympathy for “the little guy” who bucks the trend, with science especially. I have quotes on my own website from great scientific minds getting things totally and ridiculously wrong.

Good science is verifiable and reproducible, which is the purpose of consensus. The science of global warming is not just one guy in a lab with an untested idea.The majority of people who do this kind of work agree that global warming is occurring. They come to this agreement from observation of a wide range of data gathering and testing, from many different sources and approaches. I, again, am not a climatologist, but if the scientists who are experts in their fields running independent and transparent study (verified by others checking their work) find that climate change is occurring, I think it is quite reasonable to take that seriously.

And why not take it seriously?
We do a lot of far greater things on just a whim with no evidence whatsoever. Like assume burning fossil fuels has no impact and dumping pollution in the air like it is an open sewer is a good idea. Shouldn’t the burden of proof of no harm be on the one who is emitting pollution, as well as take responsibility for any harm done? If I drive a car, it is my responsibility to prove that I am doing it safely and responsibly, and if smash into someone else, it is my responsibility to make restitution.

Its time to take responsibility for our actions. This isn’t the frontier days, there are no self made men and no man is an island anymore. We are all somebody’s neighbor, we depend on each other and our actions are connected and have repercussions. The “me first” days are gone and it’s time to realize we are in this together. The sooner the better.

18 theunchosen April 20, 2009 at 4:13 am

I am aware good science is reproducible. That is the point of my post. And it has 0 to do with consensus. That is one thing Science is not. It has nothing to do with opinion. If you don’t have data that conclusively beyond all doubt beyond any exemptions beyond any possibilities, then you don’t have a law, you don’t have anything. Science is based on Mathematics and as Francis Bacon said, “If there is no other science upon which we can base certainty on logic and reason then we should base all science on mathematics.”

And we do. Thats why Proofs in mathematics are SO important. You will rarely if ever be taught a technique in any math class that cannot be proven either in some extremely complicated method or simply.

Science cannot be political. period.

Scientists and people who interpret incomplete sets of data because of a foundational belief or ideal can be. But at that point they have removed themselves from the field of Science and should be stripped of said title. Science is about data and proof, not opinion.

I was not arguing for de-regulation. I am just arguing that because you theorize more regulation is good(california) doesn’t mean the people who don’t believe it should have to as well.

As I said. If you wish to believe in your ideals, you are the only one who can sacrifice anything on that altar. If you are forcing anyone else to sacrifice ANYTHING on that altar to achieve it, either A.) you don’t believe it enough to sacrifice whatever it will take for you to make it happen, or B.) You believe that some of your things are more important and if yours are then mine are, so why should you be allowed to chose and say I should have to give mine up?

Bare in mind this argument is asking me to give up my easier emissions(no testing every year, no having to check and make sure a car fits the emissions profile), while it costs you nothing new. If you answer no other questions answer that one.

Also there are just as many scientists who have put forth data encouraging that it has very little to do with CO2. Science has yet to provide the answer and until then people will take whichever side their ideals fall on. The reason I say this is because when the climatologists that believe GW publish a climate model. . .its predictions for the next years are totally falacious and the model is useless.

19 IanGun April 20, 2009 at 11:09 am

Again, we shouldn’t use the comment section to fight out the details of climate science, so I’ll just respond quickly to your first point. Scientists don’t speak in absolutes, which confuses the non-scientific community. But let’s not address the obscurity of scientific terminology at this point. The question is: what is prudent action at this point in our understanding?

If a single ballistics expert told you there was a gun nearby, pointed at you, and about to go off, you might have doubts but you would be concerned. If thousands of ballistics experts agreed with that assessment, you would likely be running for cover. Sure, there are a few (some estimate in the neighborhood of 2% of all scientists) that say the bullet won’t kill you, might miss you, or will make your sex life better, but the reasonable person would say that risk is too much to take, especially when you consider the fact that, once fired, it is infinitely more difficult to dodge that bullet. The prudent course of action is to get out of the way. That is where we are today. The science of climate change is developed enough that 98% of scientists agree with the findings, and the community is increasingly agreeing on the impacts of a ever-warming planet. It is time to get out of the way.

Your second point about deregulation gets to one of my basic points about the ideas in the article, libertarians always assume changing regulation means MORE regulation. This is not necessarily true, and I would argue (and I assume you would agree) that improving existing regulations should be a part of any standardization process, which could actually reduce the regulatory burden. Standardization that brings us to our targets of reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy should be embraced, but that is my opinion and what we are discussing here.

20 theunchosen April 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

I am focusing on the regulation. Unless California brings its regulation down it won’t likely happen. Tennesseans get out and vote in a big way when you want to chaneg anything that will cost us money(taxes, emissions or zoning) and I can promise our legislature will not vote for it. As its not in the original constitution Fed can’t make them do it unless they offer a carrot for regulation. . .and they won’t take it its been tried.

Not to mention our senators and congressmen receive hundreds of phone calls a week these days demanding no more spending, no more regulations and no more taxes(I’m talking about the ones from Tennessee only here).

So if when you said it means more regulation I KNOW it means MORE regulation by means of stricter regulation, which as far as fluids go is considered more regulation.

Also your 98% number was pulled out of thin air. I googled it. Using a variety of bullion commands I came up with nothing to back that number. However Wiki(which donates substantial amounts of cash to green organizations) and most of its moderators(I have been since late 2001 and still am by the same handle) will always override anything that goes up against global warming or even changing the name to climate change without spending months of debate that it allows a more welcoming system. Surprisingly On the Wiki page for scientific opinion on Global Climate change purports no 98% number. . . the best the page gives is that the IPCC says there is a 90% chance global warming is caused by people. But that is a conflic of interest considering if thats not true their funding goes away. Kind of like car salesmen telling you a new car looks better than your used car, its in his best interest.

If you are going to cite statistics or numbers please cite where you got them.

It depends with the marksman scenario. IF he looks like a better shot than me I might listen, but if he doesn’t I’m not going to.

Nevertheless the point still stands, since when does anyone have the right to take away some one else’s right to privileges so that they can keep their own. If you so staunchly(98%) believe in GW turn off all your electricity, stop driving your car, and stop buying products and start planting trees and plants as fast as you can. If and when climate change crowds start doing this I’ll consider. Until then your own actions speak that you don’t believe it. Using your car is a privilege, making my right to chose what I do with mine more expensive is sacrificing my rights. Until you go there and the climate change crowd goes there any debate whatsoever is meaningless.

Let’s play a game. You get to make on rule that violates my rights and I get to make one about you. I would chose something better than emissions, because you get the ability to continue creating pollution at the cost that my regulation goes up(taxes me through more expensive parts and less efficient vehicles, or takes away part of my right to my income more properly). I’m going to chose the quick and easy option and take away your right to earn an income at all and you have to give it to me so that I can have the priviledge of having more money.

Do you still want to play that game?

I am aware its disproportional, but if you cannot overcome that arguement that you are choosing to sacrifice someone else’s rights instead of abdicating your own privileges to make the changes then any amount of scientific data is meaningless.

Likewise unless the new regulation means that California and emissions states drop their policy and adopt mine follow the above lines of logic.

21 Aaron April 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

Here’s my last word: I live in Wyoming, a state which has NEVER in its history had a deficit and has, for the past two decades, had surpluses equal to over 25% of our total budget. California has much heavier regulations than we do and has not had a balanced budget in the same two decades.

Hmm… Hate to point out the financial crisis and all, but could this maybe have had anything to do with it? Jimmy Carter started the whole “loan a house to anyone, whether they can afford it or not” that got us in the mess we’re in today. Of course, the Federal Reserve can’t be discounted either in the blame game. But regulations are the root of all of these, since government regulations are what “controls” the financial, environmental, business, and other sectors.

Since we haven’t had a true free market in this country in over a hundred years–longer than the climatologists are getting data from–I can’t see how we can discount that maybe that’s the answer? Maybe the market is better able to regulate itself based on consumer demand and need rather than government mandate.

22 theunchosen April 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Historically regulation has been the death of industry. 1904 Trust busting takes place. 50% of all shares are involved and slowly decline over 25 years during which time no one really pays attention to the fact that the businesses are not growing as fast as they used to meanwhile credit lines remain open. During the Great Depression trust busting was suspended in order to create more speedy recovery. . .so why did they split up the monopolies in the first place?

Lets be completely honest. Windows owns operating systems and Dell pretty owns the PC market. Has that hurt you? Would it hurt you if they controlled even more market share?

I’m going to go with no(unless of course you live overseas and then maybe). Everyone likes to talk about a global economy, but they don’t like to act on it. The speeches to abolish monopolies or trusts back in 1904 was for the purpose of establishing fair markets around the world. Well it backfired. What happened was within 70 years all of those industries moved out of the country and are now happily residing somewhere else.

If microsoft controlled the entire operating system market for the PC( I mean personal computer) it is likely it would have some more bugs and there would be a few more dangerous viruses out there. On the same note. . .ALL software would interface fluidly. There wouldn’t need to be as lengthy development time for new tools because they would only ever have to interface with one operating system and they could be so much more powerful. If Dell owned the entire market, you would never have to really worry about getting the wrong type of RAM, drive, graphics card or anything because they would all be exclusively designed with that attachment interface(ok not all, but it would be much easier than it is today).

Regulation of monopolies caused a shift in the US that sent us into a long slow downward spiral. It sent our economy overseas because it was cheaper to operate there. If you make it cheaper for businesses to do business here or there thats where they go so I am really shocked why everyone is so surprised by this.

Its the same with regulations on emissions. Car companies already decided the policy they abide by. They sell us junky cars because they have to meet bizarre standards that no one else has, so they go and sell their top of the line models with more performance and more FE than our models. As a consumer(and obviously there are not any useful charts for this) I would gamble that Japan produces fewer gigatonnes of pollution per car than we do even though they have more lax emissions. Reason? Its not just about what comes out of the tailpipe. I’ve argued with Tasdrouille and Trebuchet on the Forums about the fact that even a modest increase in FE at the cost of your emissions pack in gasoline vehicles decreases global pollution.

My proposal is not to do away with regulation, but to have regulators who are not myopic. If they want to harp about global pollution issues they need to look at GLOBAL issues not just tailpipes. For every gallon of gasoline that is produced 22 lbs of CO2 are emitted from a coal-fired plant to get 50% of the power needed, several pounds of CO2 for transport, 1.2 grams of SOx 2-3 grams NOx, coal ash, and .01 times the nuclear radiation a nuclear reactor will produce in the form of depleted ore. For 1 gallon. You know how much pollution my car manufacturers on 1 gallon? 18.2 lbs of CO2 which doesn’t have detrimental health affects in its own right(it might cause GW but we don’t even have a solid consensus on that(more than 60% of climatologists, oceanologists, physicists, and geologists(its 60% of climatologists but the other disciplines are much more skeptical))). So should we increase emissions controls on cars, dampen FE and increase global pollution in the process?

Sounds like a bad idea because NOx and SOx do have proven health issues as does Coal Ash and nuclear radiation.

I’ll pick the bullet made of rubber and you can stand in front of the JHP(Jacketed Hollow Point), and as much as I am aware of the damage of the pollution from the production of gas, I’m aware as a ballistics expert I can promise you that JHP rounds are dangerous.

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