There'll be more argument and name-calling over climate change in the year ahead. There are now more avowed factions on climate change than there used to be about seat belts in cars. You youngsters may not realize that at one time Detroit and entire auto industry faced imminent demise because of required seat belts. Now it's fuel efficiency standards that threaten the very basis of American life on the Interstate.
It was back in 1966 that the first mandatory seat belt law was enacted in the U.S. Fortunately to this day you have the right to drive free and die in New Hampshire which is the one American state not requiring you to actually use the seat belt.
Climate change battles will be waged on many fronts this year. The old year wound down with numerous views on the success or sell-out of the Bali climate change conference. One particularly unforgiving American-watcher essentially called former Vice President Al Gore a climate whore for having gutted the Kyoto conference more than a decade ago. Then this year, he wrote, the U.S. once again foiled attempts to deal with global warming. There was a flurry of bargaining at the end of the Bali conference that had to be extended a day. After the Bali compromise, there are now two years of talks planned to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
Some observers take a forgiving view of Bali. One Indian mainstream pub gives India full credit for brokering the final agreement that came out of Bali. Some articles from the low-lying Pacific islands were positively hopeful. At last the U.N. members had promised to help them with "adaptation." That means: cope with rising sea levels before they all drown. Some of those Pacific Islands and other tropical, poor nations also expect to get paid NOT to cut down their forests.
Whatever happens with global warming in 2008, there'll beplenty of hot air created by unending conferences. One biggie is in March in the U.S. It's sponsored by the U.S. government and will be looking at energy issues. Already this month: a science and policy conference. While there are many US government scientists speaking this conferenece is fairly free of govenrment control. It's money comes largely from foundations and universities.
For those of you who insist global warming is a scam, or even a conspiracy, there's a hoo-haa gathering in New York City in March. And speak to me at the back of the room, I have some sea level property in South Carolina I'd like to sell you.