Global Warming from China & India

Looking through this Sunday’s Parade magazine, I read an article titled What’s Really Heating Up the Planet which states that carbon-dioxide released by coal mine fires in China and India could equal the total gasoline carbon-dioxide emissions by American drivers. Why hasn’t this been front-page news on the global warming front?

Looking into this subject further, I ran across an article published on July 13, 2007 by The New York Sun titled The Wrong Fire. Some excerpts from this article include:

It is astounding that with all the expensive proposals to combat global warming no one is discussing reducing global carbon emissions by putting out mine fires. Although putting out fires in America would not have a significant effect, putting out fires in China and India would.

So as the former vice president, Al Gore, organizes Live Earth concerts, as Congress ponders raising fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, and as Michigan’s John Dingell, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, proposes America’s first carbon tax, uncontrolled Chinese coal mine fires are sending millions of tons of carbon into the air.

China loses between 100 and 200 million tons of coal a year — a significant fraction of its production of 2.26 billion tons — to mine fires, according to Holland’s International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. This results in carbon dioxide emissions in a range of between 560 and 1,120 million metric tons, equaling 50% to 100% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline.

It may well be less costly for us to put out the Chinese mine fires than to cut emissions at home.

Second to China is India, where mine fires burn between 3 and 10 million tons of coal annually, with emissions of 15 to 51 million metric tons. Emissions will only grow in the future as China and India expand production of coal to fuel their thriving economies.

Congress wants to impose billions of dollars of costs on consumers and American industries in order to reduce global warming. The energy bill making its way through Congress would substantially raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for cars and trucks, decimating the American automobile industry and increasing the unemployment rate in Michigan.

Another idea is cap-and-trade programs. Under these schemes, the government grants credits to favored industries, which then sell them to those who need to produce emissions. This system requires the correct allocation of credits and level of caps to be successful. In Europe, caps were set so high that emissions were not reduced significantly.

A carbon tax, proposed on July 8 by Mr. Dingell, is a more neutral way to reduce emissions. The tax would encourage Americans to reduce consumption of all fossil fuels — petroleum products, natural gas, coal and shale oil. Yet raising taxes is never popular, and few voters trust politicians to offset carbon taxes with reductions in income taxes.

Further, gases other than carbon contribute to global warming — so why stop at a carbon tax? Congress could copy New Zealand’s new flatulence tax on sheep and cows, designed to reduce emissions of methane, another greenhouse gas. New Zealand’s Treasury will collect $5 million a year.

Carbon offsets, often “feel-good” measures such as planting trees or cleaning the ocean, are an increasingly trendy way of reducing global carbon emissions. Vice President Gore, defending the size of his residence, said that he purchased carbon offsets, and Senator Clinton supports funding for new carbon sequestration technologies.

But the most efficient offset would be extinguishing international mine fires, and neither Mr. Gore nor Mrs. Clinton are proposing research for this.

Looking over the content in this article just reinforces everything that I have thought about our politicians addressing the issue of Global Warming. Rather than addressing the problem, they would much rather subject the people of the United States with onerous taxes and burdens. Meanwhile, while they are gathering power and money at our expense, what little heavy and medium industry we have left will be taxed and legislated out of existence.

What also bugs the hell out of me is that these same countries, China and India, are being given by the UN’s Kyoto Protocol a pass on reducing their carbon emissions. Instead, they are allowed to pollute as much as they want because they have “developing economies.” If the UN was serious about Global Warming, then China and India would be required to base their economies on green technology – that would show the decadent West how it’s really supposed to be done. All this does is just helps to support a contention that the UN is anti-America (or anti-West), and seeks to bring the wealthier nations down to the level of the poorer nations.

I think the last paragraph of the article sums it up nicely:

We don’t yet know definitively, despite much assertion, whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon or simply the product of lengthy climate cycles. But if we’re going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, let’s tackle the biggest culprits first — the mines burning out of control in China and India.

Senators and Representatives of the United States, please put the welfare of your country first, not the rest of the world.

Made in China…

Who said making things cheaper, i.e. in China, is better for business? Only a short-sighted person interested in the bottom line would…

China has been cheaply manufacturing many types of goods for many years, but the shine of the low-cost Empire is becoming increasingly tarnished over the past few months. Pet food contamination was only the beginning. Toothpaste contaminated with an antifreeze ingredient, defective tires, tainted medicine, and lead paint on toys appears to only have been the tip of the contamination iceberg.

Now there are massive recalls on these and probably dozens of other products that haven’t made it to the mainstream headlines. The cost of these recalls can be tallied up fairly quickly, but what about the all-important confidence of the consumer? Once a company has lost the confidence of its customer, it is very hard to get them back.

Don’t believe it? Look at the Big Three. When the Japanese imports hit American shores, the call went out that the Japanese had better cars with higher quality at a lower price. That perception is alive and well today thirty-plus years later. It doesn’t matter if the quality has improved according to numerous benchmarks and magazines, the perception is still there.

And it’s bound to get worse. There are massive influxes of cash and investments in Chinese manufacturing from the West, and the potential consumer market there is incredibly huge. Factories are being built at a staggering rate, not only to manufacture products for export to the West but for consumption inside of China itself. It only stands to reason that on this wild-west frontier of business that corners will be cut to gain the advantage of billions of dollars/euros/yuan available to those businesses that drum up lucrative contracts. With Chinese-built cars due to hit the American market within a couple of years, one really needs to wonder if these vehicles won’t be another set of Yugos in the making.

The Chinese government is ill equipped to regulate this burgeoning industry. Lack of experience, corruption, and a rapidly expanding industrial base all contribute to less than stellar quality and contamination concerns. But that is just the beginning of my concerns.

Part of what concerns me is that for all the billions being spent in China, the government there is still Communist. Not only is it Communist, it is backed by a million-man army with nuclear weapons. Billions can be lost should the government decide to nationalize all of the industry that the West has built. The world economy would crash, but the Chinese have isolated themselves from the rest of the world for years, and can do so again at the drop of a hat. But this won’t happen for some time – the Chinese aren’t done yet. No, they will wait until the rest of the world is utterly dependant on their country for goods, then they will slam the door shut.

Inviting industry to build in their country is a great way to build up their infrastructure. What isn’t commonly known is that the Chinese have been quietly buying bonds and securities from countries around the world. They now have so much that if they decided to dump these securities on the market, the economy of the world would crash and burn. Therein is my other concern. I believe the Chinese are waging an economic war, and doing it for the long term goal of dominating the world.

Unfortunately, it appears that the world is headed down this road. It looks like we are all in for a bumpy ride sometime in the near future, and hitting the wall in the long term.

And yes, I am trying to get my blog banned by the Chinese, and I’ve been successful in that endeavor. 

Chrysler, Cerberus, and Daimler, Oh My!

It’s been a little over a week since Cerberus signed the papers getting Chrysler out of the clutches of the Germans (well, almost), and there’s not much change.  But then…

The Pentastar is back!!  Finally, a symbol of the heritage of the company that just doesn’t seem to die, no matter what happens.  At least it’s not a three-headed dog, even a three-headed Hemi-dog would have been too much.

Tom LaSorda got bumped from his top banana position down to 2nd banana.  Not surprising since Chrysler hit the skids on his watch and Cerberus wanted someone else not connected with the previous regime to be in charge.

The Top Guy that Cerberus put in LaSorda’s position is the former Home Depot CEO, Robert Nardelli.  He floats over to Chrysler/Cerberus under a $250 Million golden parachute left over from his Home Depot days.  How much money can a person be worth?  Of course, since Chrysler is now a private company, Nardelli’s salary doesn’t need to be disclosed to shareholders, but it has been stated that he will earn only $1 for his first year (a la Iacocca) with future compensation dependant on his performance.

But the Germans (a.k.a Daimler) still have a little under 20% of the company.  It will be interesting to see how they fit into the picture.

There is a lot of speculation at the company about how all of this will impact Union negotiations.  Not much feedback yet, but we all know that healthcare is at the top of the list right along with the job bank.  Will both sides play hardball?  Too soon to tell, but I predict a lot of yelling.

I wonder if we’ll all have to wear little shop aprons with the company logo on them…they had damn well better not be orange…

I’m Pro-Choice…

…but not on the issue that you think.

On Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani proposed a unique health care plan that radically differs from the government managed system that the Democrats have touted. The Giuliani Plan, in essence, gives each family up to a $15,000 tax credit to buy health insurance, and anything left over from that credit would be rolled over for year to year medical expenses.

From an MSNBC Article:

Democratic candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama have proposed more detailed steps to deal with the 47 million Americans lacking health insurance. Edwards’ plan has an individual mandate requiring all Americans to have coverage. Employers would have to share the cost of insuring workers or pay into a public program.

Edwards estimates that his plan would cost $90 billion to $120 billion per year and would be financed by repealing President Bush’s tax cuts on those making more than $200,000 per year.

Obama’s plan calls for the creation of a public program similar to the health plan offered to federal employees, and a National Health Insurance Exchange for consumers to shop among private plans. Employers would have to share the cost of insuring workers.

Obama estimates his plan would cost $50 billion to $65 billion per year, paid for by letting Bush’s tax cuts expire on those making more than $250,000 per year.

OK, let’s think about this for a second or two. The Democrat’s plan is funded by taxes and managed by the government. So that’s more money out of your pocket (higher taxes), and when have you last heard of anything managed by the government being a success? And if the Democrats plan becomes reality, do you really think that it will hold costs down, i.e., your tax bill?  Government is famous for spending your money.

Let’s also think of this too – at the present time, if a HMO screws up, denies or delays coverage for a medical procedure, and the person dies, their survivors can sue for damages & compensation. Do you think that you can sue the government for the same thing? I highly doubt that anyone would be successful in that endeavor.

So Giuliani’s plan is pretty attractive for more than a few reasons.  Here are a few more:

First of all, it puts the consumer (you) in the driver’s seat for selecting the health plan that best suits you. A government plan would have only a few choices, the private sector has hundreds.

Second, it gets the employer out of the health-care business. Take a look at the automotive sector for instance. Several thousand dollars from each American-built car go into paying for the health insurance for its employees and retirees. The financial burden is huge, and does not help the Ford, GM, and Chrysler products compete against those brands that do not have this burden. Removing those costs would help businesses become more competitive not only domestically, but internationally as well.

Third, it keeps the government out of your personal health-care decisions. Yes, there will be those that make poor decisions (there always are), but we need our citizens to stand up and take personal responsibility for themselves instead of relying upon government to do it for them. A quote from Giuliani from the same article states:

“Government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

Next, this plan has the potential to keep the size of government down. Less government, less taxes (or at least that’s the theory). All one has to do is look at the bloated Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid agencies, and you know what I mean.

Last, this would not be funded by tax increases, but on money that you have already earned in your job. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a bigger tax bill, and take home more of what you earn?  (Note:  This last is my interpretation of the plan.  It will be interesting to see how this does pan out.)

Whoever wins the next election seriously needs to look at this plan.  At first blush, this is a unique approach to the health care costs facing this country’s employed and employers.  I believe it’s better than the government becoming more of a “nanny-state” that the Democrats are promoting with their proposal.  I already know that the argument will be made that there will be those that make poor choices, and that will be true.  However, those people should be the exception, not the rule, and should not be the reason for dragging the rest of us down.

Yes, I’m pro-choice – for my health care options.  How about you?