Wednesday, July 01, 2009


An email from Clark Whelton []

No need to speculate on the potential impact of the Climate Cap and Trade bill that was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. There is no chance this bill will be passed by the U.S. Senate.

Today it was revealed that the Obama administration deliberately suppressed a skeptical report from the Environmental Protection Agency that questions the need for such action. The report was suppressed until the House passed its Climate bill, thus allowing Obama and the Democratic Party to appease their political supporters inside the global warming cult.

However, even Obama extremists are aware that allowing such a bill to become law would be a disaster for the U.S. economy. Therefore, the EPA report was released in the expectation it would help assure defeat for the bill in the Senate. Thus do the Democrats hope to have their Climate cake and eat it, too.

Cap and trade will lead to capital flight

By Ron Paul

In my last column, I joked that with public spending out of control and the piling on of the international bailout bill, economic collapse seems to be the goal of Congress. It is getting harder to joke about such a thing however, as the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) has estimated that the administration's health care plan would actually cost over a trillion dollars. This reality check may have given us a temporary reprieve on this particular disastrous policy, however an equally disastrous energy policy reared its ugly head on Capitol Hill last week.

The Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 was voted on last Friday. Proponents claim this bill will help the environment, but what it really does is put another nail in the economy's coffin. The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry. HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies.

The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each!

The real inconvenient truth is that the cost of government regulations, taxes, fees, red tape and bureaucracy is a considerable expense that has to be considered when companies decide where to do business and how many people they can afford to hire. Increasing governmental burden directly causes capital flight and job losses, as Spain has learned. In this global economy its easy enough for businesses to relocate to countries that are more politically friendly to economic growth. If our government continues to kick the economy while its down, it will be a long time before it gets back up. In fact, jobs are much more likely to go overseas, compounding our problems.

And for what? Contrary to claims repeated over and over, there is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade. In fact over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy is based. Legitimate environmental claims should instead be directed towards the public sector. The government, especially the military, is the most serious polluter in the country, and is exempt from most EPA regulations. Meanwhile Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion. The logical consequence is that there will come a time when we will have to buy a government permit just to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from our own lungs!

The events on Capitol Hill last week just demonstrate Washington's audacity in manufacturing problems just so they can expand government power to solve them.


Obama focuses on light bulbs

Definitely a big-picture man

President Obama said Monday that light bulbs will have to meet tougher efficiency standards in order to slash energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Obama's announcement came three days after the House of Representatives passed a sweeping climate bill that is the centerpiece of the president's plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions, reform the nation's energy markets and tackle global warming.

Backers say the bill that passed the House of Representatives late last week is designed to move the nation toward a clean energy economy, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain. Administration officials have been anxious to maintain the momentum on the issue as lawmakers return to their districts for a weeklong Fourth of July recess. "I know light bulbs may not seem sexy," Mr. Obama said, "but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses."

Mr. Obama told reporters that the tougher standards for fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs will help consumers save $4 billion a year on energy bills between 2012 and 2042. The standards will also conserve enough electricity to power every home in America for 10 months, reduce carbon emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars each year and eliminate the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants, he added.

Republicans accused Mr. Obama of focusing on small measures while ignoring more market-friendly alternatives. "Everyone wants more efficiency, but the president is simply dropping the ball when it comes to the big picture on energy," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. Mr. Steel said House Republicans have a offered a comprehensive "all of the above" plan for a cleaner, healthier environment, lower costs and less dependence on foreign oil.

Standing beside Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Mr. Obama said the White House will lead the way by identifying and replacing wasteful light bulbs.

A 2007 energy bill passed by Congress allowed the Energy Department to issue energy conservation standards for home appliances, as well as fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Mr. Obama asked Mr. Chu in February to speed up the rule-making process and the light bulb standards announced Monday which go into effect in 2012 are a key part of the larger effort.

Mr. Obama said that commercial and residential buildings must also be made more efficient because they consume 40 percent of the nation's energy and cause 40 percent of its carbon emissions. The president said implementing more-efficient heating and cooling systems, windows, smart sensors and controls will make buildings 80 percent more efficient. Adding solar panels on roofs and geothermal energy from underground could lead to "net zero" buildings that consume virtually no energy or create as much energy as they use. "Now, progress like this might seem farfetched. But the fact is we are not lacking for ideas and innovation; all we lack are the smart policies and the political will to help us put our ingenuity to work," he said.

To expedite the development, deployment and use of this energy-efficient technology, Mr. Obama released $346 million in funding from the economic stimulus bill he passed in February. "The nation that leads the world in creating a new clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That's our choice," he said.



DOOM-MONGERS have got it wrong - there is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population. And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa, say two international reports published this week.

The first, projecting 10 years into the future from last year's food crisis, which saw the price of food soar, says that there is plenty of unused, fertile land available to grow more crops. "Some 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land [in the world], and over half of the additionally available land is found in Africa and Latin America," concludes the report, compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

If further evidence were needed, it comes in a second report, launched jointly by the FAO and the World Bank. It concludes that 400 million hectares, straddling 25 African countries, are suitable for farming.

Models for producing new crop land already exist in Thailand, where land originally deemed agriculturally unpromising, due to irrigation problems and infertile soil, has been transformed into a cornucopia by smallholder farmers. As in Thailand, future success will come by using agriculture to lift Africa's smallholder farmers out of poverty, aided by strong government measures to guarantee their rights to land, say both reports.


NOTE: both reports are available online. See here and here


It doesn't weaken America enough

The United States set the bar too low and offered the world a poor example when it passed its climate change bill on Friday, according to a senior Chinese climate change official. Li Gao, a division director with the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the US did not live up to international expectations when it approved the document. Li said the bill's mid-term carbon emission target would probably be seized upon as the new standard by developed countries in the battle against global warming.

And the official told China Daily the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) - disappointing though it is - may still not clear the Senate this fall because it was only approved by 219 votes to 212 in the House of Representatives. ACESA compels large US companies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide - through a cap-and-trade system - by 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050.

Although the passing of the bill was a "positive step", Li said the mid-term target fell short of international expectations of what industrialized countries needed to do to effectively fight warming. "The emission target, if converted to a 1990 baseline, is only about 4 percent by 2020," Li said. "This is far away from what China and the Group of 77 developing countries have requested of (developed countries)."

Developing countries have called on industrialized economies to reduce greenhouse gases by 25 to 40 percent of 1990's level by 2020. "Instead of aiming high, some developed countries will follow suit and push for lower targets," Li said.

The US' mid-term target will also "expand discrepancies" among developed countries at climate change talks because the European Union has proposed a 20 percent reduction on 1990's level, added Yu Hongyuan, an associate professor with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Li said he was also concerned about a clause in ACESA that calls for tariffs after 2020 on imports from countries without systems for pricing or limiting carbon dioxide emissions. He said mixing up climate change and trade will only "make the issue more complex" and "damage international cooperative efforts to combat global warming".

US President Barack Obama, who called the bill "an extraordinary first step", also backed away from the provision, saying the US had to be very careful about "sending protectionist signals out."



Consumers will need to pay more for energy if the UK is to have any chance of developing the technologies needed to tackle climate change, according to a group of leading scientists and engineers. In a Royal Society study to be published today, the experts said that the government must put research into alternatives to fossil fuel much higher among its priorities, and argued that current policy in the area was "half-hearted".

"We have adapted to an energy price which is unrealistically low if we're going to try and preserve the environment," John Shepherd, a climate scientist at Southampton University and co-author of the report said. "We have to allow the economy to adapt to higher energy prices through carbon prices and that will then make things like renewables and nuclear more economic, as carbon-based alternatives become more expensive."

Shepherd admitted higher energy costs would be a hard sell to the public, but said it was not unthinkable. Part of the revenue could be generated by a carbon tax that took the place of VAT, so that the cost of an item took into account the energy and carbon footprint of a product. This would allow people to make appropriate decisions on their spending, and also raise cash for research into alternatives. "Our research expenditure on non-fossil energy sources is 0.2% of what we spend on energy itself," said Shepherd. "Multiplying that by 10 would be a very sensible thing to do. We're spending less than 1% on probably the biggest problem we've faced in many decades."

He said that the priority should be to decarbonise the UK's electricity supply. Measures such as the government's recent support for electric cars, he said, would be of no use unless the electricity they used came from carbon-free sources.

Though the creation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was a good move, Shepherd said: "We've had a lot of good talk but we still have remarkably little in the way of action." He cited the recent DECC proposals on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an example. The department plans to legislate that any new coal-fired power station must demonstrate CCS on a proportion of its output. Once the technology is proven, a judgment made by the EnvironmentAgency around 2020, power plants would have five years to scale up to full CCS.

Shepherd said the proposals were not bold enough. "Really, it needs to be 'no new coal unless you have 90% emissions reductions by 2020'. That is achievable and, if that were a clear signal, industry would get on and do it. It's taken a long time for that signal to come through and now that it has, it's a half-hearted message."

A spokesperson for DECC argued that its proposed regulatory measures were "the most environmentally ambitious in the world, and would see any new coal power stations capturing at least 20-25% of their carbon emissions from day one".

Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary, said that a white paper due next month will lay out how Britain will source its energy for the coming decades. "This white paper will be the first time we've set out our vision of an energy mix in the context of carbon budgets and climate change targets. We have identified ways to tackle the challenges – we will need a mix of renewables, clean fossil fuels and nuclear and we're already making world-leading progress in those areas. It's a transition plan, a once in a generation statement of how the UK will make the historic and permanent move to a low-carbon economy with emissions cut by at least 80% in the middle of the century."

The Royal Society report will argue that energy policy has been too fragmented and short-term in its outlook, with a tendency to hunt for silver-bullet solutions to climate change. "That really isn't the case. What we need is a portfolio of solutions, horses for courses," said Shepherd.



As people continue to resist draconian greenhouse gas control schemes that would virtually re-order society around energy rationing and technocratic authoritarianism, proponents of such an eco-revolution are ratcheting up the rhetoric of hate.

People such as James Hansen and Al Gore have long been at the forefront of slandering those who oppose them. As my colleague and I wrote in “Scenes from the Climate Inquisition”:
Anyone who does not sign up 100 percent behind the catastrophic scenario is deemed a “climate change denier.” Distinguished climatologist Ellen Goodman spelled out the implication in her widely syndicated newspaper column last week: “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.” One environmental writer suggested last fall that there should someday be Nuremberg Trials—or at the very least a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission—for climate skeptics who have blocked the planet’s salvation.

Former Vice President Al Gore has proposed that the media stop covering climate skeptics, and Britain’s environment minister said that, just as the media should give no platform to terrorists, so they should exclude climate change skeptics from the airwaves and the news pages. Heidi Cullen, star of the Weather Channel, made headlines with a recent call for weather-broadcasters with impure climate opinions to be “decertified” by the American Meteorological Society.

At the time, we thought that this jihad against skepticism had peaked. But a column by Paul Krugman in the New York Times today shows that we were being overly optimistic. Not content with calling critics of the abominable Waxman-Markey energy and climate plan skeptics (or even just “deniers,” the previously favored slander of the eco-topians), Krugman suggests that the very act of questioning whether or not climate change science may still have a few bugs in it, or questioning draconian greenhouse gas control schemes such as Waxman-Markey, is outright treason.

Regarding the “debate” over Waxman-Markey, Krugman says: "And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason—treason against the planet."

Yes, you read that correctly. Paul Krugman, a Nobel Laureate, writing in America’s paper of record, just accused nearly half of the House of Representatives, including both Republicans and Democrats, as guilty of treason against the very planet—along, presumably with the many thousands of scientists, policy analysts, economists, and environmentalists who have raised objections to the Waxman-Markey energy bill.

Al Gore launched the drive to remake society into an eco-theocracy in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance. Gore stated the goal of these radical environmentalists quite plainly, saying that nothing less than a “wrenching transformation” of society would be necessary to prevent what he foresees as an eco-apocalypse brought on by our high-energy, technological lifestyle.

Eco-terrorists already engage in regular acts of arson, sabotage, and vandalism in the service of their radical eco-topian agenda. With his inflammatory rhetoric, Krugman gives such extremists still greater license to engage in the kind of personal violence that groups opposing animal research do in terrorizing university researchers, and that anti-abortion groups do in attacking physicians.

It is clear that those who hope to re-make America in the name of preventing climate change are growing frustrated with the public’s aversion to economic suicide. As they see their radical agenda slipping away, the Gore-ian revolutionaries are reaching for the torches and pitchforks. Krugman’s declaration that skepticism about climate science or policy constitutes treason is nothing less than an incitement to violence, and when the extremists of the environmental movement engage in ever greater acts of violence, responsibility for the damage will rest with people such as Paul Krugman.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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