By on August 11, 2015

Mary Nichols

Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker.

The state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 is met by an equally ambitious — and onerous — goal for automakers: don’t sell new cars with internal combustion engines in California by 2030.

“If the federal government can’t get it right, we in Cal­ifornia are going to take care of busi­ness,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in an April speech.

Brown tabbed Nichols to run the air quality board during his first stint as California governor in the late 1970s and then rehired her when he was elected to the position again a few years ago.

In her first run, the story points out, Nichols forced automakers to put catalytic converters on their cars to cut down on smog in California cities. General Motors said it would sink them. It didn’t. (Eds note: The Citation did.) 

Now, before the ambitious 2030 goal, Nichols is forcing automakers to comply with her rules — even if it costs them millions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne famously told people not to buy his Fiat 500e because it cost him $10,000.

What’s more, Nichols has the ear of the feds and emerging countries on how best to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases and it could force automakers’ hands into quickly building cars that would comply with more stringent standards. Her policies have scale, too: California is the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Under current rules, zero-emission vehicles sales would need to ramp up in California by 2018, with the eventual goal of having 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2022, although the automakers have been stockpiling a significant amount of credits to offset that.

Bloomberg’s excellent profile, paired with the LA Times’ in-depth look at Nichols last year, draw a picture of the woman who may further upend the automotive world in the next decade.

Neither story directly forecast how the regulations she’s helping bring forward would impact consumers, but a cursory look at the history of how automakers complied with regulations she worked on (at least, in part) 40 years ago reads like a list of carmaker “must-haves” today: catalytic converters, fuel injection, unleaded fuel, ECUs and oxygen sensors.

(Photo courtesy California Air Resources Board)

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106 Comments on “The California Air Resources Board, the Automakers, and You...”


  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Screw California.

    Saw it off and shove it into the Pacific.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      I have to wonder at what point a major manufacturer will just say ‘Screw CARB, 49-state-legal sales.’ At this point, there is an entire sub-culture of getting over California’s insane emissions requirements (and this in a state where you can drive a car with no tags for YEARS.)

      I’d love to see someone like VW or MB just flatly refuse to sell new vehicles in Cali due to increasing regulation that has practically nothing to do with science and everything to do with perception.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Yeah, it’s like when the Italian CEO of Beretta complained about their Maryland factory, saying that “it’s always SOMETHING with that state” because Beretta makes guns, and Maryland’s government hates guns and keeps trying to ban them.

    • 0 avatar

      An admirable statement, but you can’t throw off the yoke of Washington, D.C. so easily. And people just like her run the place. Getting rid of California isn’t solving the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Maybe the auto manufacturers stay in California because they have come to realize that every advance CARB has forced on them has only helped make American automakers more competitive. It is CARB that forced the Detroit 3 to finally start to truly understand internal combustion and to begin to master it. Which has been the heart of their business.

        Without CARB, foreign automakers would have wiped the floor with the Detroit 3 by now.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Would have? *cough cough* bailouts *cough* *cough*

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Yep,you nailed it!

          This dumb broad and her tax feeding like mindeds, really did teach those backwards auto engineers, whose only talent is to design and engineer cars half the world wants to buy, something important about internal combustion.

          And publicly funded indoctrination sure works the way it’s supposed to. In one instant, at least…

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “We” don’t have to. They’re doing a perfectly good job of it themselves. It’s a beautiful place with nice weather, though.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Overall a nice piece, but the People’s Republic of Kalifonia cannot lay claim to the removal of lead from gasoline as it was done by the EPA:

    “In the U.S. in 1973, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued regulations to reduce the lead content of leaded gasoline over a series of annual phases, which therefore came to be known as the “lead phasedown” program. EPA’s rules were issued under section 211 of the Clean Air Act, as amended 1970. The Ethyl Corp challenged the EPA regulations in Federal court. Although the EPA’s regulation was initially dismissed,[7] the EPA won the case on appeal, so the TEL phasedown began to be implemented in 1976. Additional regulatory changes were made by EPA over the next decade (including adoption of a trading market in “lead credits” in 1982 that became the precursor of the Acid Rain Allowance Market, adopted in 1990 for SO2), but the decisive rule was issued in 1985.[57] Then EPA mandated that lead additive be reduced by 91 percent by the end of 1986. A 1994 study had indicated that the concentration of lead in the blood of the U.S. population had dropped 78% from 1976 to 1991.[58] The U.S. phasedown regulations also were due in great part to studies conducted by Philip J. Landrigan.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraethyllead

    Long piece but worth a read:

    http://www.thenation.com/article/secret-history-lead/

  • avatar
    319583076

    What does Mary Nichols drive?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Probably a state issued Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If she’s like pretty much every state bureaucrat I know, a ten-year-old Prius with 150k miles.

      Oh, wait, the article says she drives a Honda Fit EV.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        She’s evidently the big kahuna of the dept, I doubt they’d give her some clapped out ride.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          California’s bigger than Washington, but here in Washington I know cabinet-level officials drive or are driven in motor-pool-level Priuses or Escape Hybrids. I’m not sure what the governor’s ride is, but given that he’s been very vocal on carbon emissions I expect it’s a hybrid of some sort.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            From a security standpoint the governor of any state should be traveling in a hardened vehicle as they are viable targets.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            “From a security standpoint the governor of any state should be traveling in a hardened vehicle as they are viable targets.”

            The question must be raised:

            Targets of whom?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Anarchists, extremist groups, lone wolves, terrorists both the real and US funded kind.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “From a security standpoint the governor of any state should be traveling in a hardened vehicle as they are viable targets.”

            As should and are anyone else. More-equal or not.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            True but the assassination of you or I would not trigger a political crisis nor advance any political cause.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “True but the assassination of you or I would not trigger a political crisis..”

            And hence would not be nearly as beneficial…

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      A state issued armored black GMC Yukon… Hybrid, of course.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “(Eds note: The Citation did.)”

    aaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhh! as a onetime Citation owner, you have opened a festering wound.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Unusual for someone to be a governor again, and so far between terms.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    So if I’m going to California, I’ll need buggy whips, wagon wheels, extra yokes for my oxen… Oregon Trail, ho!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Now, before the ambitious 2030 goal, Nichols is forcing automakers to comply with her rules — even if it costs them millions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne famously told people not to buy his Fiat 500e because it cost him $10,000.”

    Another point to make here is losses on ZEVs such as 500e are subsidized by profits on conventional products which the amount from a pollution standpoint is not canceled out by said ZEV sales. But I guess as long as CARB gets what it wants it cares not if costs are passed on to the rest of the nation.

    Evidently 500e is now available in other states as well, which I did not know.

    “The design of production Fiat 500e is based on Fiat 500 Elettra.

    The vehicle was unveiled in November 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show,[102] followed by Frankfurt Motor Show 2013.[19]

    Deliveries began in California by July 2013,[103] and around 645 units were sold in the U.S. in 2013.[104] The American rollout is scheduled to continue to other states with mandates of sales of zero emission vehicles, but Fiat-Chrysler does not have plans to make the 500e available in Europe.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500_(2007)#Fiat_500e_.282013-.29

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      500es are available in Oregon, we don’t have California emissions but the sales rate of EVs in the Willamette valley is high because of cheapish power and good tax breaks.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Does anyone else see irony in fearless capitalist crusaders who regularly direct their employees to “make it so” in the face of overwhelming obstacles, wringing their hands and sobbing to the evil government about it being really really hard to do something genuinely difficult?

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    If I were a car manufacturer, especially a builder of high-end or exotic vehicles, I would flat-out refuse to sell a single car in California – and I would make sure to tell the world, in broad daylight as it were, that these ever-tightening regulations were the reason.

    Despite what Hollywood tries its damndest to make us believe, there actually IS a big, wide world outside the so-called Golden State. Shocking, I know, but just go with me here.

    There are PLENTY of customers out here in this huge expanse of Not California to make up for whatever revenue a company would lose by not selling its vehicles in Los Angeles or Frisco.

    • 0 avatar

      If you do that, Feds will punish you. Look what they’re doing to Sergio for his pushback on the senseless “hitch” recall.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If you are selling exotic vehicles in the US, you pretty much have to sell in California. There are three markets of any consequence for exotics in the US: LA, New York, and Miami. The LA market is the biggest of the three in a lot of categories.

    • 0 avatar
      runs_on_h8raide

      I agree with OneAlpha. As for you have to sell in Cali to make money bc that’s where the rich are? Let them eat Teslas. Maybe 20-30 years ago…but with the arrival of conspicuous consumption in rich enclaves of Russia, China and those fun-loving shieks in oil-rich arab protectorates….one can totally skip Cali and give them the ol’ finger in the process.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Most carmakers are more interested in making money than in giving the finger to regulatory agencies.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I highly doubt tiny electric commuter pods (which is what I think people like this woman want us all to drive) are what will make money in 99% of the country.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Context… the discussion was about the wish of some posters to see exotic/high-end carmakers stop selling in California as part of some kind of tantrum. That would halve, give or take, their U.S. sales.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Frankly, it’s much easier for manufacturers of exotic cars to deal with this. Price seems to be no object for their buyers and there are serious performance gains from going pure electric.

        Believe me, we will see full-electric Ferraris and Lambos in the not-to-distant future.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          For the first 2 minutes of your drive, there are performance gains from going pure electric. The your performance is limited to sitting around waiting for a recharge. Electrics do make bragging rights performance easy to obtain, however. Which is largely the performance that matters these days. Especially amongst exotic buyers.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Where do you get this stuff? The P85D has the same performance at mile 200 that it has at mile 1.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Let me know how much power you get when mashing the pedal at mile 200, after having driven the first 199 at full output…..

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If I drove the first 199 (or 50, or however many miles I’d get) at full output, I’d be in jail. That’s not how driving on public roads works.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Which is why bragging rights horsepower does work wonders for Tesla. Adding ever more powerful motors to the same amount of available output-time is largely cost free, since noone calls them on it anyway.

            There still a few roads left in the West, where you can drive quick enough that fuel management becomes paramount even in gas powered cars. In a Tesla, you’ll get about 5-20 miles. then die somewhere in the Nevada desert.

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      Would that be Galt Motors inc., refusing to sell the Atlas Shrugged?

  • avatar
    TW5

    I wish we tried this tactic with more social problems and economic issues. Fining poor people and jailing them if they refuse to work. Fining the parents of bad students. Fining people for getting sick. Jailing fat people.

    We wouldn’t have a single problem remaining in the world. What could possibly go wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s a symptom of the problem, the problem is GMO and sugar in everything.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        There’s really no such thing as non-gmo food anymore. Almost all food (at the seed level) has had something done to it. Ask any farmer.

        Also, I like how states get to set their own emissions policies if they feel that the feds are lacking in enforcement whereas if you try to do the same on other policy areas (ahem, immigration), you can’t. The Chutzpah!

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    This woman is hugely admirable. She chose a war of her generation and has fought it as tenaciously and successfully as any Cold Warrior.

    Besides, she and her kind won’t be around much longer.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m hearing the same old complaints last/every time California forced pollution controls on the nation.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The real question is why can the sovereign state of California do such a thing? This should really be orchestrated by EPA, who will do the exact same things, but still.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I think the question here is, “Why should the government of the state of California, which can do what it wants to a certain extent within its own jurisdiction, have the right to make decisions for the other 49 states in the country?”

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I think that what you meant to say is that states rights are only good when they keep blacks from voting.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Also when they restrict women’s reproductive rights, allow continued discrimination against LGBT, and deny attempts to keep machine guns out of the hands of maniacs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            FYI: Automatic weapons or “machine guns” are considered NFA and their acquisition/ownership is regulated by the ATF. I realize this was a sarcastic reply but it is important to note.

            “Basically, there are 2 ways that an individual (who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from receiving or possessing firearms) may legally acquire NFA firearms:
            1.By transfer after approval by ATF of a registered weapon from its lawful owner residing in the same State as the transferee.
            2.By obtaining prior approval from ATF to make NFA firearms.”

            https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/how-can-individual-legally-acquire-nfa-firearms

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Uh huh.

            Tell me, VoGo – when you talk, does it make sense to you?

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          So, just what color IS the sky in your world, PCH?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m just astonished at your distaste for states rights. You guys are usually so quick to play the state sovereignty card, but not on this thread. Why the sudden change of heart?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    What’s not to love about eco-warriors like Mary? Their science is sound, her math computes and forcing people to do what is best for them is really the government’s job anyway.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    And this is the real problem I have with the whole AGW movement. I get it, a coal-spewing powerplant is bad. But with how clean today’s cars are (and I give CARB their due, they helped get them there) is the whole “no emissions, no matter what it costs!” attitude really necessary? Does it make any sense at all? Maybe we could focus on the whole 80/20 rule, and not spend zillions of dollars making very very clean cars into very very very clean cars?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      A minute or two of Googling would have told you that catalytic converters and smog control equipment don’t have any impact on climate change.

      Emissions control equipment control NOx and other pollutants that impact air quality. Climate change comes from burning carbon, and the only way to reduce carbon emissions is to burn less fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Like you didn’t know what I meant. CARB came about to fix localized pollution and its effects (smog), they’ve basically done that.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Oh, I see. You don’t think that anyone should do anything about climate change.

          I’m just glad that you aren’t in charge of anything.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Oh, I see. You don’t think that anyone should do anything about climate change.”

            I don’t think anyone should destroy a multi-billion dollar industry based on their interpretation of the cause and effects, without any sort of checks and balances. What if instead of just mandating electric cars, because we can, we mandated a $1/gal or even $2/gal gas tax? Oh, but that would hurt the poor people, and then liberals would have to chose between poor people and mother earth. Better to just tell Evil Big Businesses what they can and can’t sell to people who should be powerless to decide what they want to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I didn’t realize that we can cut a deal with the atmosphere. Maybe we can use checks-and-balances to get 50% climate change instead of the whole thing.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Can we use cap-and-trade to save polar bears, but let the walruses go extinct?
            Those tusks are ugly.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thems fighting words, my grandfather was half walrus!

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Here in California we already have over a dollar and a half in gas taxes, but they’re invisible to the sheep. We have Cap and Trade, and CARB sells oil quotas to suppliers who pass on the charge to consumers in the form of gas that is a buck and a half more than in some south-eastern states. They started collecting about a billion dollars a year in January through this scheme, and not a penny of it will fix our terrible roads. Instead, CARB will spend $780 million this year finding new ways to strip our property rights and prosperity.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            I wish TTAC would let us do gifs. This comment deserves the ‘ol facepalm one.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “A minute or two of Googling would have told you that catalytic converters and smog control equipment don’t have any impact on climate change.”

        A minute or two of Googling would tell you that California doesn’t have any impact on climate change either. There are four billion third worlders who intend to have air conditioning. Billion. As in 100 of them for every one of you. Oh, and they also intend to have four billion more of themselves.

        They will eat this earth bare. Already are. America, 320 teeming millions of us, is 15% of global carbon output. A side show on the way to an asterisk. Cut that to zero tomorrow and growth in the developing world would make it up in a decade.

        Forcing the relative handful of us into living conspicuously more poorly along the way to that desert – and from the size of their hybrid badges to the “sustainable” and “eco” printed on everything that they buy it’s always conspicuous – is simple self flagellation before the progressive humanist’s God.

        You’re welcome to that of course but it’s not my God and I wish you wouldn’t push him quite so loudly.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Shhhh don’t bring up the big picture or the watermelons won’t have GW to lord over us.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Heh… I thought it was just a lumpy sofa till it stood up, but there’s actually an elephant in this room.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I find it odd that the folks who are mostly closely associated with religion think that they’re attacking something by claiming that others believe it to be a “god.”

          One may as well claim that understanding 2+2=4 is praying to a math “god,” when it’s just what it is.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’m sure you believe whatever reason you’ve been told for why AGW has us 17 years into a global cooling trend, but what can you tell us about temperature trends for the next 5 years? When your cult is wrong again with their predictions, will it shake your faith? Why didn’t it over the past two decades?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can develop any trend you like if you cherry-pick a starting year of your choice — that is, 1998, the hottest year in human history.

            2015 is well on its way to beating 1998.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The carbon cycle isn’t exactly a mystery. Well, it isn’t to smart people, anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          Soooo…let’s just do nothing because the “Third World” is pushing us to ruin regardless, and let’s just wait for The Rapture? Seriously?

        • 0 avatar
          Slow_Joe_Crow

          What global cooling trend? The only place in the US experiencing unusually low temperatures is the Acela corridor. The rest of the country had unseasonably warm winters and droughts. While Senator Inhofe was waving around his snowball last winter it was 40 degrees in Nome and the Iditarod dog sled race had to move the start line 150 miles north to find enough snow, in Alaska, in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            We’ve been colder than normal in the Great Lakes region for the last few years. We’ve actually had more normal temps the last month or so though.

            They can move the Iditarod here as we have been ridiculously cold and full of snow recently. It has been nice to actually have a summer this year. Only two Michigan cities had a 90 degree day last year.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            All of you people experiencing cold need to come out west, where it has been crazy hot for a few years now. We just finished the hottest month ever in Seattle history, and pretty much everything west of the Rockies is in the same boat.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No. I have lots and lots of fresh water here. I will deal with the cold.

          • 0 avatar
            GiddyHitch

            Make that the only place in the world experiencing a cooling trend.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If only we had a US Constitution with a Commerce Clause to protect us from such unelected and unaccountable dictators.

  • avatar
    allwheelsmagnifico

    Cars continue to get faster and more reliable in an inexorable trend that has yet to be derailed by environmental standards. Look at the winning LeMans Porsche this year – 2.0 liter 4 cyl turbo with hybrid system and nutso fast. Don’t know the emissions data but suspect the engineers can create a compromise that leaves the cars faster and cleaner again in 10 years (as they have repeatedly). Am guessing the Chinese dictatorship will set defacto car standards for us all by consulting with CARB and then setting the standard for manufacturers selling into now the largest car market. Manufacturers want to streamline powerplants and will coalesce around the cleanest standards in one of the largest markets, ie China. Plus Chinese can change these emissions quickly versus grappling with their coal power plant and industry emissions, both politically problematic. On global warming I always come back to those radicals in the Pentagon recognizing it as a scientifically proven phenomena and have begun to plan accordingly. There are a couple things one can do to check it out yourself. One, attend a concours and hang out by the tailpipe while they fire up that pre-80 iron, especially the 60’s muscle cars. Breath deep and rejoice for pollution standards. The other, pull your new car into your garage, close the door, put down the windows and let her run. Even that silly auto-stop/start makes some sense. I know they’re not perfect experiments but they give some kind of trend indication of where we could be headed if we don’t keep pushing more restrictive emission standards.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    “reads like a list of carmaker “must-haves” today: catalytic converters, fuel injection, unleaded fuel, ECUs and oxygen sensors.”

    Which when push comes to shove is just the enabling technology for cats, so while it might impress the writer, it merely looks like a subsystem breakdown to me.

    I know it was sort of possible to use carbs with early cats, but unleaded fuel and oxygen sensors and ECUs were always part of the deal.

  • avatar
    redav

    I like clean air. I’m willing to pay for the technology to achieve it.

    I don’t like oppressive govt, but I don’t mind them mandating things that make sense and improve people’s health & quality of life. Sometimes those mandates don’t work or don’t make sense, and in those cases, I want a govt that can recognize the need to change strategies.

    I can readily give praise to CARB for their successes, but I can also give criticism for their failures. I often get the impression that they are too dogmatic and confrontational rather than cooperative. I support EVs, but it doesn’t seem like their promotion policies are the most effective. I think their push for hydrogen is stupid in epic proportions.

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      CARB seems to come at automotive technology and manufacturing from the conspiracy wingnut point of view that the 250 mpg carburetor, the technology they demand exists and is locked away in the vaults of the greedy car companies, waiting to be freed by CARB’s bureaucratic fiat.
      This conveniently overlooks most of the laws of thermodynamics and batery chemistry and leads to the obvious question of how well that electric pickup will work out. I suppose Stirling or steam engines could come back, since they are external combustion.

  • avatar
    zlive

    I guess I don’t understand the hatred of California or all the fuss. I’m very familiar with CARB, carbon emissions, and climate change. In CA these kinds of things are taken very seriously and it’s just something you have to deal with if you are going to live there. If you don’t like it, get involved in the political process and support local candidates who will go to bat for you. If you live in a state that adopts CA’s standards, then your options are the same. If you’re an enthusiast, you still have lots of options. Go buy yourself a Miata or a Corvette or a Mustang or a 911, used or new, and enjoy. Maintain the vehicle and leave it for your children to enjoy. Apocalyptic statements about the death of industry tend to be wrong. These are the same responses that corporations made when we enacted child labor laws, for instance. Time and time again we see that the most likely cause of a corporation’s pain and suffering is their own mismanagement. Don’t worry about them, they’ll be fine. I promise that they aren’t worried about you. And again, if the heavy yoke of CARB is too much for you – and sometimes the way they do things is asinine – move elsewhere. Plenty of states in the union with no semblance of a unified approach to emissions, and no intent to start any time soon. It takes all kinds here in the USA. There’s a place for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You must be new around here.

      Some people have a posting style that is akin to an old-style Chinese restaurant menu. Choose at least one each from Columns A and B.

      Column A
      (any elected representative belonging to the Democratic party)
      (any European country)
      CAFE
      CARB
      Climate change
      Compact cars
      Democrats
      Electric cars
      Emissions equipment
      The EPA
      Ethanol
      General Motors
      Labor unions
      NHTSA
      Obama
      That Kenyan Muslim
      The UAW
      Women

      (is a/are)

      Column B
      communist!!!
      destroying America!!!
      fascist!!!
      hate America!!!
      Islamofascist!!!
      Nazi!!!
      socialist!!!
      statist!!!
      tyrant!!!
      unconstitutional!!!

  • avatar
    Les

    The problem with Climate Change is that there isn’t a conversation about it, three are three.

    1) The conversation happening in academia. This is the conversation between people who actually study stuff like this for a living. I have no idea how to access this, and wouldn’t know what to do with the information if I could.

    2) The conversation happening in the media. This is the conversation happening between talking-heads and pundits talking ‘at’ their audience, often each claiming claiming access to the previously mentioned conversation, often heavily clouded with bias.

    3) The conversation happening between ignorant laypeople like myself. This is the conversation happening, here, among other places. People on all sides claiming to know more than they actually do without realizing the depths of their own ignorance, each convinced that yelling angrily and/or in a patronizing manner is a sure way to win hearts and minds over to your side of the argument.

    This is how I know.. I KNOW.. that Climate Change isn’t really a big deal. It’s not, not at all. Some wet places will get a bit dry, some dry places will get a bit wet, that’s all. Sure we’ll have to make some adjustments but if you really really for really reals can’t stand the idea then reversing climate change is as easy as MURDERING 7 BILLION PEOPLE.

    Don’t you See? We HAVE to reduce the world’s population to Sustainable levels! Don’t you know Climate Change is a Big Deal? All of the ice will melt FOREVER and it’ll flood ALL of the land, ALL of it! But it won’t be flooded for long because all the water will boil out into space once the surface temperature reaches that of Venus. Did you know that on Venus it’s hot enough to melt lead? I know this, and that’s why I know, I KNOW, that WE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIIIIE!!

    But we can save ourselves. YOU can save us. Yes YOU, not anybody else, just YOU. YOU can prevent this If.. you go and buy a Toyota Prius and a 4-pack of florescent light-bulbs. Just do that and all will be well again.

    And this is the problem; too much information, good and bad, and not enough people qualified to parse it all. In the absence of understanding, people default to subjective values of trust when looking for someone to explain the raw data in terms they are comfortable with.

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