Within the next month, two events occur that have significance to our industry. The first – Furnaces North America 2008 – will take place in Nashville on Oct. 21-22. FNA is always a great place to become more informed on the industry. A total of 20 technical sessions discuss everything from AMS 2750 to innovative induction technologies. These technical sessions are a great way to stay informed.

Another way FNA informs is through the displays on the exhibit floor. Over 150 exhibitors will be available to discuss the latest opportunities to continuously improve your operation. Come armed with questions, and take advantage of the vast knowledge base as you circulate around the exhibit floor. I hope to see you there!

The second event of significance is the presidential election a few weeks later. Are you an informed voter? Do you know some of the things that might impact our industry in different ways depending on who is elected to the highest office in the land? Without taking any obvious sides, I’d like to discuss some things to be aware of and how these might impact us in the future.

Back in February, I mentioned a few things to watch for. To summarize, you should look for a candidate that understands that the U.S. is in the process of growing the world’s first 21st-century-model economy – growing pains and all. The models we see from Europe have all failed, and we should not be looking to failures as our examples. See February’s editorial for more detail.

This month’s Environmental and Safety column reminds us of some other things to watch for. It would appear that CO2-reporting legislation is just around the corner. What will be done with this information? Will it be used against you? As Rick Martin points out, the AFS is making a compelling case that metalcasters have already cleaned up their act. How much better can they get?

Your business could be at risk if those regulating you don’t understand the economic realities or demand more than is reasonable. With CO2, the key is how much is enough? How much economic damage should we suffer to reduce CO2 emissions? No one really knows because no one knows whether man-made CO2 is contributing to global warming. In fact, no one seems willing to consider that the numbers are not even supporting a warming of the globe. Just recently, Africa received an ice storm, and this is not an isolated occurrence of unusual global cooling events. Check out the recently issued 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac. They believe a cooling trend has begun, which might have serious consequences. If cooling is a reality, why do we want to accept the economic injury that will accompany CO2-reduction legislation. Be informed.

Related to the CO2 debate but from an entirely different angle is our energy situation. The only viable CO2-free way to produce electricity is by using nuclear fuel. If a candidate is wearing a green hat but says that nuclear power is unacceptable … beware!

Why is it that the discussion always seems to come back to CO2? Because the future of our industry and our economy demands an informed response. A recent book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, by the former president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Klaus, might shed some light. His study of fast-growing European economies from 1990 to 2005 showed an increase in emitted CO2 of 53%. During the same period, post-communist countries in an economic death grip reduced their CO2 emission by 32%. Those countries with stagnant growth showed a CO2 increase of 4%. These correlations support the economic concerns with programs requiring reductions in CO2 from historic values.

Klaus raises the question, “Do they intend to organize a decrease in the number of people, or do they expect a miracle in the development of the emissions/GDP ratio, which would require a technological revolution of unheard-of proportions? I don’t know. What I know, however, is that we have to restart the discussion about the very nature of our society and about the relationship between the individual and the state, because the issue is not climatology. It is freedom.”IH