Sunday, November 25, 2007

McLaughin Group debates global warming today

Today, Sunday Nov. 25, the McLaughlin Group (NBC) had a lively debate on the “most pressing problems.” Conservatives Pat Buchanan and Tom Blankley (of the The Washington Times) insisted that the free market could deal with global warming and the questions about peaking oil discovery and production. Eventually, the market will provide the infrastructure necessary to support other or more renewable forms of energy in personal transportation. They both insisted that terrorism was out most dangerous problem, because a single asymmetric nuclear attack could change our way of life forever. Buchanan boasted that he drives a 10-year-old car without particularly good gas mileage (I drive a ten year old stickshift Escort that still does 30 mph on the open road), and warned that global warming was the perfect issue to allow politicians to take control over the lives of people.

Eleanor Clift, and to a lesser extent Chrystia Freeland, agreed that global warming could become a crisis quickly, especially as countries like China try to catch up with us in standard of living. Clift talked about the “tipping point” and reminded those who want to get away from fossil fuels that switchgrass could eventually provide an efficient source of ethanol. McLaughin offered his suspicion that oil companies were slow to install E-85 pumps in gas stations that they own. There was a question whether we would be using the internal combustion engine for automobile transportation in another half century.

The success of Spain in constructing windmills (following Cervantes and “Don Quixote”) to supply 12% of its electricity was shown. The city of Seville, Spain provides more energy from solar than any other major city on earth.

Then McLaughlin interviewed Sir Harold Evans, author of “They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators” (Little Brown, 2004). Evans discusses the way social pressures and political climates often discourage individuals from innovating and especially have often refused to recognize the accomplishments of women and minorities. Evans defended the concept of royalty as head of state only in a constitutional monarchy (Britain).

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