Sunday, October 05, 2008

GREEN ALERT: Hidden Carbon Tax Provisions in Paulson's Bailout 2.0

Why is the mainstream media ignoring what might be the most earth-shattering provisions in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's Bailout Package Version 2.0? If you look at page 180 of the 451-page monster bailout bill that easily passed the Senate yesterday (PDF here), you will see that it includes at Section 116 language about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide." It also provides, at Section 117, for a "carbon audit of the tax code."

What could a provision about the tax treatment of "industrial source carbon dioxide" and another provision about doing a "carbon audit" of the tax code possibly have to do with restoring confidence in Wall Street's troubled credit markets? The answer: NOTHING.

This appears to be an attempt by global warming fanatics to lay the foundation for an economy-killing carbon tax just like the "cap-and-tax" system that is now destroying European industry. If you think the Mother of All Bailouts is bad, just wait till you see the carbon tax. Get ready to reduce your standard of living drastically.

It really shouldn't be a surprise that these non-germane provisions are included in legislation that is supposed to save all of us from economic Armageddon. After all, Henry Paulson is a confirmed environmentalist and global warming true-believer who abused his power at Goldman Sachs. While Paulson headed Goldman Sachs he simultaneously headed the Nature Conservancy and his wife was a former Conservancy board member. (See "In Goldman Sachs We Trust: How the Left's Favorite Bank Influences Public Policy," by Fred Lucas, Foundation Watch, October 2008.)

Henry Paulson presided over Goldman Sachs's donation of 680,000 acres of land it owned in Tierra del Fuego, Chile to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. One of the trustees of the Wildlife Conservation Society was H. Merritt Paulson, the son of Henry Paulson. As green critic Paul Driessen observed, at no time did anyone "assess the vast area's potential value for timber, oil or metals, so that locals and [Goldman Sachs] shareholders would at least know the true cost of the giveaway." And the media tells Americans to trust Henry Paulson to do the right thing when doling out taxpayer dollars to his former colleagues on Wall Street? The media needs to start asking hard questions.

Update: An expert offers a better explanation of one of the carbon-related provisions that is in the Bailout 2.0 bill. According to this wizard of Wall Street, one provision provides preferential tax treatment for publicly-traded partnerships when they trade so-called carbon offsets. It was reportedly already passed in another bill: What's so urgent about that tax provision that it absolutely had to go into another bill that aims to deal with a financial emergency? So, you can see it's a little more complex than explained above.

However, it's still bad because it gives legitimacy to these strange indulgences known as carbon offsets and provides a tax incentive for trading them. I am also informed by this source that Henry Paulson did not push to insert these two carbon-related provisions, but he certainly didn't object to them, and his track record strongly suggests he would support them. When he ran Goldman Sachs, Paulson released a statement specifically endorsing carbon trading. As the Washington Post reported (June 1, 2006) reported:
Last year under Paulson's direction, Goldman Sachs issued an eight-page position paper on environmental policy, saying it accepts a scientific consensus, led by United Nations climate experts, that global warming poses one of the greatest threats this century.

Like Bush, the Goldman Sachs statement endorsed a market for businesses to buy and sell rights to emit greenhouse gases, saying it will spur technology advances by companies "that lead to a less carbon-intensive economy." But, it added, "Voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate change problem," a position contrary to the Bush administration's view.



Poland has assembled a blocking minority among the European Union members enabling them to stall Brussels' climate package, Polish officials said. Poland and Greece reached an agreement late on Thursday, following a similar accord with Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, that more debate was needed on the EU's package of climate measures.

The European Commission -- EU's executive arm -- aims, among others, to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by a fifth by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Building up a blocking minority would now force it to seek a compromise on the plan. "Poland's Environment Minister Maciej Nowicki signed in Greece an agreement referring to the climate package," Joanna Mackowiak of Nowicki's cabinet, told Reuters late on Thursday. "We have the blocking minority." Under the EU's voting rules, some decisions may be blocked by a certain number of member states representing enough voting power.

The EC's proposal sets full auctioning of the CO2 emission permits as of 2013. The six states want to delay this, arguing their power plants will not have enough cash to compete with giants like the Germany's E.ON on the free-market auctions. At present, industry gets some permits for free and companies have to buy additional ones only if they exceed their granted quotas.

"This minority refers only to the auctioning," a source responsible for the negotiations told Reuters on Friday, adding the EC would now try to lure particular countries away from the group. "It's not the biggest success when you build up a blocking minority. It's when the minority sticks together to the very end."


Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses

Two new studies summarised in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not `global warming.' The two studies referred to are: `Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbr‘ triggered by warm subsurface ocean waters' by Holland et al, published in Nature Geoscience. The Abstract states:
Observations over the past decades show a rapid acceleration of several outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica1. One of the largest changes is a sudden switch of Jakobshavn Isbr‘, a large outlet glacier feeding a deep-ocean fjord on Greenland's west coast, from slow thickening to rapid thinning2 in 1997, associated with a doubling in glacier velocity3. Suggested explanations for the speed-up of Jakobshavn Isbr‘ include increased lubrication of the ice-bedrock interface as more meltwater has drained to the glacier bed during recent warmer summers4 and weakening and break-up of the floating ice tongue that buttressed the glacier5. Here we present hydrographic data that show a sudden increase in subsurface ocean temperature in 1997 along the entire west coast of Greenland, suggesting that the changes in Jakobshavn Isbr‘ were instead triggered by the arrival of relatively warm water originating from the Irminger Sea near Iceland. We trace these oceanic changes back to changes in the atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic region. We conclude that the prediction of future rapid dynamic responses of other outlet glaciers to climate change will require an improved understanding of the effect of changes in regional ocean and atmosphere circulation on the delivery of warm subsurface waters to the periphery of the ice sheets.

And: `Modelling Circumpolar Deep Water intrusions on the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, Antarctica' by Thoma et al, published in GRL. The Abstract states:
Results are presented from an isopycnic coordinate model of ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea, focusing on the delivery of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) to the inner continental shelf around Pine Island Bay. The warmest waters to reach this region are channeled through a submarine trough, accessed via bathymetric irregularities along the shelf break. Temporal variability in the influx of CDW is related to regional wind forcing. Easterly winds over the shelf edge change to westerlies when the Amundsen Sea Low migrates west and south in winter/spring. This drives seasonal on-shelf flow, while inter-annual changes in the wind forcing lead to inflow variability on a decadal timescale. A modelled period of warming following low CDW influx in the late 1980's and early 1990's coincides with a period of observed thinning and acceleration of Pine Island Glacier.


The Green gravy train again

Taxpayer-funded, of course

A new faculty team led by a professor LSU calls a superstar in the field of material sciences plans to tackle the world's sustainable energy challenges. LSU announced the hiring Thursday of physicist E. Ward Plummer of the University of Tennessee and much of his newly picked team. Plummer is the first National Academy of Sciences member in LSU's history, according to the university. "Every state is having financial trouble, and to be able to bring this group (to LSU) really is important," Plummer said.

Plummer will be the faculty team leader and also serve as special assistant to Brooks Keel, LSU's vice chancellor of research and economic development. Plummer will start with a $310,000 annual salary, Keel said, calling it "money well spent." [Meaning that he knows it is outrageous. Could he get that money anywhere in private industry?] Plummer is currently director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, which combines the research expertise at Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The faculty hiring coup, as described by LSU officials, is part of LSU's Multidisciplinary Hiring Initiative, or MHI for short. The initiative was started last year under former Chancellor Sean O'Keefe as a way to hire teams of top faculty members under certain research umbrellas that contain multiple research disciplines. The first three major "cluster" research areas are material science, computational science and Atlantic studies.

Material science includes studying nanotechnology and micro-fabrication of new materials and tiny devices, such as the miniature components of iPods, said Kevin Carman, LSU College of Basic Sciences dean. "It's quite a remarkable assembly of outstanding scholars," said LSU Provost Astrid Merget of the new team. "Simply put, he (Plummer) is a world-class scientist who will bring enormous credit to LSU." MHI involves hiring the "very best minds, the luminaries in each field, who in turn will recruit the rising stars," Merget said.


UK Beach 2 Miles Inland in 43 AD

So much for sea level rise:

The `lost' beach where the Romans landed 2,000 years ago to begin their invasion of Britain has been uncovered by archaeologists. The remains of the shingle harbour were buried beneath 6ft of soil nearly two miles inland from the modern Kent coast. It lies close to the remains of the Roman fort of Richborough near Sandwich, one of the most important Roman sites in England and once the gateway to the British Isles.

Daily Mail: `Uncovered, the `lost' beach where the Romans got a toehold on Britain'


Ireland has coldest September for 14 years

Most of the country suffered the coldest September in 14 years, forecasters revealed. In its monthly summary Met Eireann said the temperature never rose above 20 Celsius anywhere - the first such occurrence in more than 30 years. Average monthly air temperatures were around half a degree below normal at some southern weather stations and it was the coolest September since 1994 almost everywhere.

Forecasters said they were unable to predict the weather over the winter months but the Met Office in Britain claimed temperatures are likely to be above normal over much of Europe, although not as mild as last year.

The summer washout seeped into the first half of September, with Dublin stations recording their usual monthly level of rainfall within the first six days. This also brought the stations' annual totals for 2008 above the amount normally recorded in a full year.

Dublin Airport's downpour of 43.5mm on the 5th was its highest level for September since the station opened in 1941, while torrential rain on September 9 and 10 caused widespread flooding, especially in the south and west.



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