Robert: What if we study how to combat emissions in our air?
Todd: I'd like to believe that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It is proven that we can reduce emissions by doing certain things that help Americans save money. When we invest in public transport, carpooling promotion and cheaper fuel alternatives we can help raise standard of living while reducing emissions.
Robert: So far there are no cheaper fuel alternatives.
Robert: Ethanol is far from an answer.
Robert: Without government subsidies, right now nothing save perhaps nuclear power has shown promise as a viable alternative.
Todd: We (as a government, I suppose I'm saying) will invest billions in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and various Cancers. We do this because everyone can more or less agree that using public money to try and save lives around the world is a good thing to do. This public funding makes sense for drug companies and health care conglomerates because it helps them make money.
Todd: I would argue that providing that same type of public health, if not on the same scale, is just as reasonable when we talk about reducing mercury emissions from coal mining operations, for example. We know that Coal Miners are going to be able to make more money, employ more, expand more and produce more energy more profitably if we can make it more worth their while to make the considerable investments in cleaner technologies.
Todd: Now we know mercury in the air ends up in the soil and water. We know it poisons fish, and it poisons humans eventually and disproportionately poisons children. When the coal companies make more, and our air, soil and water get cleaner, we now have an opportunity for all sides to step back and say, "Y'know, we think that's a pretty good thing."
Robert: So what we need to do is help corporations get benefits from using those technologies, instead of penalties from failing to.
Todd: Right now, the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts regulate without proportionate investment. That's one-sided and shortsighted. We should keep in mind a conservative (Nixon) saw the potential in reducing emissions, but unfortunately the public will to push public money toward cheaper technology is simply not there.
Robert: And here's the question that has to be answered: is it the place of government to take our money and spend it on things we, as a public, do not want?Todd: The voting public seems to collectively think that the only assistance should be to the individual, and markets won't work that way. Public investment SHOULD help the corporations that pollute, but vilifying polluters is a much easier way to get votes. Kyoto has some good market-based principles in it, but the encouraging of public investment falls short of what it needs to be in a nation like the USA.
(to be continued tomorrow)