There was a segment dedicated to former USC running back Joe McKnight last night on Hard Knocks. Apparently McKnight hasn't been impressing the Jets with his work ethic this summer. At one point defensive stalwart Bart Scott sneered that McKnight wasn't trying hard because "he's taking a pay cut" compared to his time at USC. This comment reminded me that I've been sitting on comedic gold for about four months now. One of my friends was a classmate of Brian Cushing's at USC. Yes, the same Cushing who was recently suspended for steroids and claimed he tested positive from working out too hard. Of course. Anyways, this friend had a class with Cushing, and was asked by the NFL star to edit his extra credit paper. Luckily, this friend kept this piece of literature for three years, and then passed it on to me. And now I pass it on to THE ENTIRE WORLD. Without further ado, I give you Brian Cushing solving the global warming crisis.
Read Brian Cushing's entire global warming paper after The Jump.
Global warming is one of the most controversial environmental issues to confront our world in the last few decades. As the ozone layer has been depleted through the release of carbon dioxide gases causing global warming there are still those who question whether global warming even exits, and if it does whether it should be worried about since science could possibly deal with it like it has with most other environmental problems. The world faces its biggest challenge environmentally from global warming. For global warming to start to take a step back however things need to start with the United States. Currently the United States is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide gas since it relies primarily on coal power plants for its electricity and other fossil fuels. The most important obstacle facing global warming is the argument against its existence made by the American conservative movement because of the power the American conservative movement holds world wide.
As the worlds climate continues to change and the polar ice caps melt the world will be faced with many grim realities as the oceans inch further along the shorelines of the world's coasts. Global warming causes a myriad of environmental and other problems for the world that cannot be ignored and are very real, and leave its existence as a real problem not in doubt at all. One potential problem that could be caused by global warming is the potential loss of the worlds food supply. Extreme changes in the world's climate could result in reduced crop yields that could put into serious jeopardy the world's population and cause mass starvation. Also as the oceans increase from the polar ice caps melting due to global warming land is eaten away from erosion gradually causing there to be less arable land to be used for farming. Another problem raised by global warming is that as oceans rise and the currents are changed, that it will cause the oceans to have an effect on climate events.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming) Green house gases also have a negative impact in that they cause untold trillions of dollars of economic damages in the amount of money that it costs to pay for the pollution controls for the greenhouse gases, to find alternative methods to using fossil fuels, and to use controls in the power plants and factories that currently use them now.
The idea of global warming really took off in the United States in 1988 because of James Hansen's dramatic testimony on the senate floor which was backed up by scientific fact. (McCright/Dunlap page 500) Hansen's testimony gave credit for the spike in temperature that the US was facing at the time to global warming and had the hard scientific facts to back it with. However from the beginning Hansen's testimony was met with opposition. It was met with opposition because it was given at a time when there was a conservative Republican administration in the White House, which would hate to place any environmental restrictions upon any of the industries which so generously contributed to its party. (Kerr page 1138)
The American conservative movement is extremely powerful in America. President Bush was elected to his two terms in office largely on the basis and knowledge by the American voters that he would not enact stringent environmental controls that would curb economic growth. This American conservative voice was able to help control both houses of Congress for much of the 1990s with the Republicans controlling both the Senate and the House of Representatives. With President Bush having been elected to two consecutive terms he has been able to make appointments to his two administrations of people whose beliefs about the environment and global warming are more reflective of his own and the American conservative movement then the scientific community.
How did we get to global warming in the first place? Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide is released in the air from pollution whether it's from factories, power plants or automobiles. Global warming comes from the release of greenhouse gases, and greenhouse gases are released from industry. Industry really took off at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century with the banging of the industrial revolution and the birth of steam power. With the invention of steam power, massive amounts of coal and charcoal began to be consumed at levels that had never been burned before. These fossil fuels released greenhouse gases into the air where they began to deplete the ozone layer, not to mention the soot, and tar they put onto peoples lung, and all of the other pollutants they released into the worlds oceans, streams, and rivers. It was not known for many years the causes to the environment of industrializing or the full cost. It would not be until much later when the earth would begin to heat up and undergo drastic climate changes and scientist like James Hansen would step forth and explain things that we would know what global warming was, and where it came from. In summary global warming came out of mans desire to have industry over manual labor, essentially his own laziness.
It would be hard for the United States to drop its dependence on the fossil fuels that cause global warming. Currently the United States relies primarily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its power sources. It would be extremely costly for the United States to switch from the power sources that it uses now economically to sources that would be better for the environment. Some alternative sources of power that save the United States from contributing to global warming like hydroelectricity aren't as viable alternative as you would think. The biggest non-renewable resource the United States currently relies on for its power however currently is coal. Coal has several drawbacks as a power source. Coal is dangerous to mine first off as we have learned from recent coal mining tragedies in states such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. A typical 1000 mega-watt coal power plant needs 10,000 tons of coal per day (Benedict page 461). Coal power plants cause huge amounts of pollution. According to the Environmental Working Group an independent government watchdog "Coal-burning power plants are the single largest source of mercury pollution" which is a huge problem since mercury pollution causes enormous environmental damage, especially to our nations rivers, streams, and oceans (http://www.ewg.org/reports/upinsmoke/pr.html). The burning of coal by the United States in its coal power plants is one the single largest contributors that the world faces in its fight against global warming since coal burning power plants release nothing put greenhouse gases.
Some believe that the United States should use other forms of fossil fuels for its electricity needs, such as petroleum, and natural gas. Oil is a costly a fuel for power plants to use to create power to make electricity. The cost to drill for oil, pumps it from wells, move it across wide distances via pipelines, and then transport it on tankers. Oil also is not a reliable source of energy for the United States to rely. The United States could fall victim to a crippling oil embargo at anytime again like it did during the late 1970s when the OPEC countries decided to enforce an oil embargo against the West and crippled the United States and sent oil prices skyrocketing. Oil also causes pollution when it is burned in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. In a less limited but just as environmentally devastating way, oil can cause a form of environmental damage when oil spills occur such as in the case of the Exxon Valdez. When oil spills occur not only is the environment of a particular area damaged and destroyed for decades, but also the economy of the region that relies upon the environment is also put at risk. Because of its high cost, the pollution it emits both in the form of greenhouse emissions, and potential spills, oil is not a viable alternative for the United States to look towards for use in its power plants to make electricity. Natural gas is another form of power that could be used rather then coal but is very expensive. Hydroelectricity has been used to a great deal of success in our country. The Hoover dam in the Southern corner Nevada helps to provide power for parts of Arizona, Nevada, and California. Even Hydroelectricity has its drawbacks when compared to nuclear power however. Hydroelectricity is a renewable resource in one way yes, that the waters that run in the rivers that provide the water to power the turbines are renewable. However, there aren't very many dams that can be built throughout the country anymore, most of the rivers throughout the United States have been dammed and so there is no more potential for more electricity to be acquired through the use of hydroelectric. The lack of rivers has essentially then created a dead end when it comes to using hydroelectricity as a form of alternative electricity. This doesn't leave hydroelectricity as a viable alternative to helping to solve global warming. The other alternatives for natural sources of power that are renewable are solar and wind power. Solar power is very expensive to build however and switch to which is why it is railed against by conservatives. Wind power is not held in high regard because wind mills cost a lot of money to build and maintain and are not a reliable way to get power, as wind is not something that can be predicted easily.
With the myriad of problems caused by global warming and the clear need for an alternative to be found in the United States for an alternative power source, and with the cold hard scientific facts about global warming, it would seem that the American conservative movement would come to its senses about the existence of global warming. The question then needs to be asked why the American conservative movement opposes the existence of global warming. Why the American conservative movement would oppose the signing of a treaty like the Kyoto Protocol that would help to reduce greenhouse emissions across the world. The American conservative movement "characterizes global warming as a major problem and the consequent threat of an internationally binding treaty to curb carbon dioxide emissions are seen as a direct threat to sustained economic growth, the free market, national sovereignty, and the continued abolition of government regulations, -key goals of the American conservative movement" (McCright/Dunlap page 505)
The American conservative movement's argument against global warming can be broken down into three counter claims. (McCright/Dunlap page 510) The first is that the evidence that is used to prove global warming is flimsy at best and at times can even be found wrong. Conservatives believe that the scientific evidence for global warming is uncertain at best, and that mainstream climate research can be described as "junk science" (McCright/Dunlap page 510) The American conservative movement also believes that global warming is actually a myth and or simply a scare tactic authored by liberal politicians such as Al Gore and Bill Clinton. The second counter claim that the American conservative movement makes is that global warming if and it's a big if, it were to actually occur would actually improve the quality of life here on earth! It would do this by improving health and agriculture. We know this isn't true since burning coal releases harmful toxins into the air which coat people's lungs, not to mention the mercury it releases into our waterways which destroys the world's water supply and effects agriculture in a negative way. The third counterclaim that the American conservative movement is that in moving to stop global warming, if it does exist that we would be doing more harm then well. (McCright/Dunlap page 510) The American conservative movement thinks this because it would mean first signing a treaty like the Kyoto Protocol. The American conservative movement believes that it would be harmful for the United States to sign the Kyoto Protocol for several reasons.
The Kyoto Protocol on the surface would be harmful for the United States to sign because it would enforce more costly government regulations on industries that are already hard hit, that produce a lot of pollution, such as the automotive industry for example. Imposing the emissions restrictions and forcing these industries to make the switches to the equipment that the Protocol mandates that would pollute less would cause untold economic fallout in the way of loss of jobs. Also it would give the developing third world countries such as India and China an advantage in the world's trade area since they have chosen to not sign on to the treaty. Having chosen to not sign onto the treaty their development industrially will not be hampered economically as they will not have to enact any costly environmental controls like the United States would if it chose to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol. Signing the Kyoto Protocol however should be a goal of the Bush administration and any subsequent presidential administration because a uniform greenhouse gas reduction treaty is not complete with out the signature of the United States since the United States is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the entire world, and is thus the biggest cause of pollution and in need of the most for controls to stem its carbon dioxide emissions. The economic losses that could possibly come from signing the Kyoto Protocol or a treaty similar to it are far outweighed by the damage that would be done to the environment by continuing to let the emission of greenhouse gases go unchecked. Other countries, like Australia have chosen to not sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, and they have chosen to site the examples of India and China not signing on and of the economic causes that could be wrought in Australia due to those two countries not signing the treaty if Australia were to choose to sign. Because of this and other developed countries besides Australia having chosen to not sign the Kyoto Protocol it is even more imperative that the United States sign the Kyoto Protocol or a treaty similar to it which would severely limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is imperative because of several reasons. One being that the United States serves as an example to follow for better or for worse throughout the international community. If the United States were to sign a treaty like the Kyoto Protocol it would have a great effect on other countries particularly countries that the United States has good relationships with like Australia. Second it has been a long held belief that the United States, since it is the worlds only supers power and the worlds richest country has a moral obligation to help out the power countries and the world. By doing this it would be helping out the world and the world's poorest countries by sitting an example to follow in the field of greenhouse emissions.
The American conservative movement opposes any kind of environmental regulations that would help to stop greenhouse gases because it would go against their agenda. Because of their power in the United States this is the biggest obstacle that those who wish to reduce green house emissions and global warming face. The American conservative movement is extremely powerful as has been proven with President Bush having been elected to terms in office, and with Republicans holding office for 12 years straight from 1980-1992. Also the American conservative movement was able to keep President Clinton from signing the Kyoto Protocol through the passing of the Byrd-Hagel Act in 1997. This powerful lobby must be countered if something is to be effectively down about global warming and green house gas emissions and the problems that are arising from them.
Mr. Cushing, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.