An email from David Whitehouse [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The recently completed Space Climate Symposium held in Finland came to some rather interesting conclusions regarding the solar contribution to 20th century climate change. Averaged over the entire globe the consensus (for what it's worth) was that solar variability contributed only 10-20% of the temperature variations observed, although some said it was 50%. But many agreed that solar variability can have a very strong regional effect - in fact stronger than any anthropogenic signal, especially over North America, Europe and Siberia. That's a substantial area of the northern hemisphere and, as we know, the recent warming spell has been somewhat stronger in the northern hemisphere and that's where the vast majority of the temperature sensors are.
If the sun is the dominant climate driving force over such a large swathe of northern hemisphere land then what can we expect now that it is showing signs of changing from an active state to a quiet one. There are two possibilities. One is that the weakened solar forcing will allow the greenhouse gas anthropogenic effect to be revealed and temperatures will rise. The other is that the quiet sun will have an effect that remains greater than the anthropogenic effect and hence, global cooling will be seen, which is the post 2000 case. Logically, if the sun can swamp anthropogenic effects like this, has the recent warming been that unusual or man made?
What Gives the Alarmists Nightmares?
Would you believe it's the Nano, a $2000 car produced in India? From the Green, Inc. blog at the NYTimes.com:
People across India have been saving money for months with the goal of purchasing the car, made by Tata Motors, a branch of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group, and which will be priced at about $2,000. For many, it would represent a leap, overnight, from the indignity of two-wheeled motor scooters to the relative luxury of four wheels and a roof.
For millions the car has become emblematic of their aspirations, as Vishal Bhatia, a Green Inc. reader in Mumbai, suggested in his comment the last time I posted about the Nano: “I’m buying it because it gives a sense of freedom,” Mr. Bhatia wrote, “freedom to go to someplace in uncrumpled clothes, with my deodorant still being able to mask my body odor. But above all to see the look in my family’s eyes when they see it in person.”
Environmentalists, however, have decried the Nano and its low-cost imitators as an impending disaster. Certainly, the seemingly guaranteed success of the Nano may create more traffic and strain on India’s already rickety urban infrastructure.
And although the car may emit fewer greenhouse gases than some two-wheelers, its launch still has troubled officials leading efforts on global climate protection. Last year, the Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, who is head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was quoted as saying he was “having nightmares” about the car.
Unbelievable. These guys actually have nightmares about broadening prosperity — and the economic freedom that brings it about.
A Loose Cannon in the EPA
Jon Cannon wants to suck the air out of the economy, and unless he is held up by the Senate, they may be giving tacit approval to his radical agenda. Cannon, newly nominated Deputy EPA Administrator, has risen from the ranks of academia, and is poised to assume the number two position in the Environmental Protection Agency.
However, the praise that might normally be bestowed upon one nominated for an influential office must be tempered as his radical environmental views become known. And in the end, the Senate must look long and hard at the consequences that are sure to follow his tenure and decide if the nation is willing—or able—to pay the cost.
Presently at the University of Virginia, Jon Cannon is a Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law. He is no stranger to government, or the EPA for that matter. From 1992 through 1998, he served in the agency as an administrator and then general counsel. It was in 1998 that Mr. Cannon wrote a legal opinion arguing that the Clean Air Act permitted regulation of greenhouse gases. This opinion was relied upon by the plaintiffs in Massachusetts v. EPA, the 2007 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that CO2 was in fact an “air pollutant” and therefore must be regulated by the EPA—largely agreeing with what Cannon had argued, in expanding the definition of “air pollutant” to include more than just emissions that “enter” the air, and including CO2, a naturally-occurring gas.
In a 2007 article discussing the case (and his indirect involvement), Professor Cannon makes a statement which should alarm the ears of any citizen concerned about government expansion. He states: “Environmentalism is associated with certain values—values that emphasize acting collectively for the common good and fitting harmoniously into the natural and social environment. Environmentalists generally favor regulation to prevent or correct the widespread harms they see in the world.”
Such a view of government is alarming. Phrases such as “acting collectively for the common good” is reminiscent of regimes which, while mouthing such words, acted in the interests of only the top few, or in some misguided manner to service a utopian agenda.
Viewing regulation as a solution to human problems—especially contrived ones such as “man-made” climate change—is not only to reject the basic tenets of liberty upon which this nation was founded, but presupposes that the government is 'purer' and 'less harmful,' as it supposedly possesses the moral authority to impose such regulations.
Mr. Cannon's support of heavy environmental regulations clearly bodes ill for the private sector. His view of carbon gas as a pollutant that must be regulated by the environment is extremely disturbing, and will severely harm American industry should he be confirmed. During a recession, increasing the regulatory burden on the very building blocks of our economy is unwise, at best. Most likely, it will prove destructive to carbon-emitting industries, namely, energy producers: coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas.
Additionally, the drastic measures sure to be mandated would be done so without a solid backing of evidence. If the Democrats complained about the Bush Administration's supposed “rush to war” based on “faulty intelligence,” wait until they see the Obama Administration's “rush to regulate” based on “faulty science.” And sadly, the cost will be very high. Unleashing Mr. Cannon will blow a hole through much of the progress Western industry has made in the past hundred years.
Even worse than the radical action he wishes to take on behalf of the environment, however, is the underlying principle behind it—government can solve the errors perpetrated by the human race simply through increased regulation. That is antithetical to the ideals of personal liberty enshrined in our Constitution, and the Senate must take appropriate action to ensure that he is held fully accountable for this dangerous ideology. The nation demands it. And before all the wind is taken out of the sails of the economy, the Senate must pause to reconsider the radical environmentalist agenda.
CHICAGO'S CAP AND TRADE FIASCO
Mayor Richard Daley promised long ago that his administration would start fighting global warming by buying 20 percent of its electricity from wind farms and other sources of green energy. But more than two years after the deadline he set, the city continues to get nearly all of its power from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, according to records obtained by the Tribune.
Daley administration officials contend they have kept the mayor's promise by buying carbon credits, a controversial way of offsetting pollution by paying money to producers of green energy. The credits are supposed to lower the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide sent into the atmosphere.
But most of the credits Chicago has bought over the last two years didn't reduce carbon emissions at all, energy experts and the city's own broker on the deal said.
As a result, taxpayers paid the full bill for the city's normal electricity usage, then the city paid again—more than half a million dollars in all—for credits with questionable environmental benefits. Buying carbon credits fights global warming only if they help finance new sources of renewable energy, such as new wind turbines, energy experts said. Yet 87 percent of the credits Chicago has purchased sent money to a wood-burning power plant that has been operating for nearly two decades.
GREEN BURDEN WILL HURT POORER AMERICANS
What one hand giveth, the other taketh away. The federal stimulus bill will reportedly net the average American $13 a week. Today, Michigan’s two major utilities announced that federal green emissions mandates will in part necessitate an 11 percent electric rate hike this year — or approximately $10 a month to the average Michigander.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the bills that are coming due on the “greening of America. Michigan sports the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 10.6 percent and can ill-afford higher utility costs. But as a state controlled by hip Obamawannabe, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and her union allies, Michigan bears watching as a harbinger for what awaits the U.S. Like Obama, Granholm has ordered a fundamental restructuring of Michigan’s energy infrastructure, putting all new state coal plants on hold and demanding a 45 percent cut in coal generation in 20 years . . . allegedly to be filled by government-mandated wind power.
Meanwhile, Democratic Washington is trying to force through a cap-and-trade law that will discriminate against coal-heavy manufacturing states like Michigan. Utility executives predict electricity rates may climb another 40 percent as a result.
Finally, in anticipation of these costs, the state utilities lobbied for — and have received — a gutting of the state’s electric deregulation law, so that they can get a guaranteed return on the enormous investment of, say, a low-carbon nuclear plant. Translation for ratepayers of a re-monopolized environment: More rate hikes ahead.
THE SIZE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CLIMATE TAX
When President Obama released his budget plan three weeks ago, it included a whopping $1.6 trillion in new taxes. The plan contained $989 billion in various tax increases and a $646 billion cap and trade tax. As we previously noted, if enacted, this would be the largest tax increase in American history.
But it turns out the Administration’s budget did not reveal the entire truth. A top White House aide told Senate staffers that cap and trade tax would be much higher than the initially reported $646 billion. In fact, Jason Furman, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, told Senate staffers the tax would cost American taxpayers between $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion.
A $1.6 trillion tax raise is huge—but a tax increase of $2.3 trillion or $2.9 trillion is astonishing. To put that in perspective, that is a tax increase of $7,500 to $9,500 per American. Let’s hope the cost of the President’s budget does not continue to escalate.
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