Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FP's '10 Dumbest Policy Ideas'

Foreign Policy magazine compiled (in their opinion...there are plenty of statements on both sides to choose from!) what they view as the 10 stupidest ideas publicly put forth by each candidate.

Obama's 10 Dumbest Policy Ideas

McCain's 10 Dumbest Policy Ideas

Probably the only one I would potentially challenge is the nuclear item on the McCain list.  Sure, 45 plants sounds like a pretty arbitrary number, but the assertion that they would take too long to come online to 'matter' as far as climate change is concerned sounds dubious to me.  If the even 50 years is 'too long to matter' (and I don't think people are asserting it would take 50 years to bring 45 plants online; we have 104 plants today, and a good chunk of those would have been end of lifed by the time these 45 are all up), we're pretty screwed: no way the developing world will have gone all the way from where they are, zipping right through developed economy status, and magically ending up in some ultra low emissions future state within that time frame.  Given that, even if we could get to zero emissions tomorrow, those savings would be negated by rest of world growth within that time frame.

In a sense, I think the FP summary actually sort of mis-summarized the Ferguson/Squassoni article (in FP itself!).  The article did not really so much argue that 45 plants would be 'too late to matter,' but rather that even if we built 45 plants, the growth of demand in China and India alone -- and given that nearly all of that will be coal-based -- will more than cancel out 45 zero-emission nukes.

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