Free Markets, Free People
It is quotes like this that drive me crazy:
“Climate scientists agree the Earth will be hotter by the end of the century, but their simulations don’t agree on how much. Now a study suggests the gloomier predictions may be closer to the mark. … That means the world could be in for a devastating increase of about eight degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, resulting in drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather.”
First, some “climate scientists agree”, not all. Some climate scientists actually disagree. In fact, quite a few.
Second – their simulations have been shown to be factually invalid. They can’t even recreate the past. Yet here we have a newsie asserting, by fiat, that they’re valid and the only problem we face is figuring out “how much” is “right” from these hopelessly flawed models.
Finally, a “new study” based on these flawed models predicts even more extreme consequences than most. Wow … there’s a surprise.
Zombie climate apocalypse continues to stagger on. Why? Because it will be used as a basis to claim we need a carbon tax. Government is not going to miss the opportunity to create a revenue stream out of thin air no matter how questionable the “science” supporting such a power grab remains. It has paid it’s grants, gotten the “science” it paid for and now plans to cash in.
Decide, as the EU has, to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on airlines and watch what happens:
China has warned the European Union to abandon its controversial carbon tax on airlines or risk provoking a global trade war. Adding weight to the warning, an industry insider told the Financial Times that the Chinese government was seriously considering measures to hit back at the EU if it insists on charging international airlines for their carbon emissions. –Simon Rabinovitch, Financial Times, 22 December 2011
The US has threatened to take retaliatory action against the European Union unless Brussels drops its plan imminently to start charging any airline flying into the bloc for its carbon pollution. In a sharp escalation of tensions over Brussels’ move to bring aviation into its emissions trading system from January 1, Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has written to her European Commission counterpart, Catherine Ashton, and other top commissioners, to “strongly urge” the EU to halt or suspend its plan. –Pilita Clark and Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 20 December 2011
The Indian government has asked the country’s airlines to refrain from submitting carbon emissions data to the European Union (EU) for a new tax that will become applicable from 1 January for flights to Europe, hardening its stand further against the imposition of the levy. — Tarun Shukla, Live Mint, 18 December 2011
The EU is already in financial trouble and now it wants to compound that problem by something as silly as a carbon tax to support a very specious premise concerning global warming. It’s all about agenda politics and its timing couldn’t be worse given the financial crisis in the EU. This is either EU stupidity or simply bureaucratic inertia, but in either case, the stances taken by the US, China and India are not particularly “mild”. The attempt to impose the tax on January 1st could cause quite an uproar and a suspension of flights into the EU until the outcry makes them back off. And, of course, it won’t be the airlines who pay the tax, will it? It will be their customers.
The EU has more problems than it can handle now. Starting a trade war over a carbon tax would be the cherry on top of the “stupid” sundae. But then, for years and contrary to logic, they thought “other people’s money” would never run out, didn’t they?
Bill McKibben wonders why the right is so down on man-made global warming. He’s convinced it’s the hottest thing to come along politically since woman’s suffrage. What is it we folks on the right don’t get? Or is it we have a vested interest in other things that run contrary to wanting to see this problem solved.
Hmmm. First, I’ve always believed that climate change occurs. It seems to me that the left has suddenly awakened in a world in which the climate is changing for the first time. Obviously that’s not the case and, as someone said, the only thing consistent about the climate is change. So to address an implied question of the McKibben piece, the right certainly understands and accepts climate change as a reality of life.
However, that brings us to the second question – how significant is man’s part? That’s where we differ. Most of those who are skeptics question the science that claims man’s part is significant – more significant than the natural forces out there such as the sun and clouds and, well, just about everything else. Add into that the fact that the present “science” claims that a trace gas of which we add a trace amount is the one primary reason for the rise in global temperature.
Uh, yeah, still not buying. Factor in that until science decided otherwise, that gas was a trailing indicator of warming – not a cause. There in a nutshell is the objection to the thesis that says any warming (or cooling apparently) is caused by man. And we further object to the notion that if we would just stop emitting carbon (something that is and has been an integral part of our lives since our species emerged) all this would be fine.
McKibben is sure, at least on the political side, that it’s all about the right and oil:
One crude answer is money. The fossil fuel industry has deep wells of it—no business in history has been as profitable as finding, refining, and combusting coal, oil, and gas. Six of the ten largest companies on earth are in the fossil-fuel business. Those companies have spent some small part of their wealth in recent years to underwrite climate change denialism …
But as most know who keep up with this, their contributions pale into significance with the government grant money that has flowed unceasingly to the other side for years. And, many claim, that’s had a significant part in corrupting the science. The most recent to say this is Professor Harold Lewis:
A TOP American professor has quit a prestigious academic body after claiming that global warming has become a “scam” driven by “trillions of dollars” which has “corrupted” scientists.
Professor Harold Lewis, 87, described his “revulsion” at last year’s leaked “Climategate” emails which appeared to show scientists at East Anglia’s world-leading Climate Research Unit rigging evidence in favour of man-made climate change.
He branded man-made climate change “the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud” he has ever seen.
The scientists involved have been cleared of wrongdoing by a series of investigations. But Prof Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has formally resigned from the American Physical Society after nearly 70 years as a member.
He claims that the APS, the society for America’s top physicists, has refused to engage in proper scientific debate about climate change and ignored climate sceptics.
McKibben offers a second reason.
Conservatives possess some new information about climate science. That would sure be nice—but sadly, it’s wrong. It’s the same tiny bunch of skeptics being quoted by right-wing blogs. None are doing new research that casts the slightest doubt on the scientific consensus that’s been forming for two decades, a set of conclusions that grows more robust with every issue of Science and Nature and each new temperature record.
After telling us it is a massive conspiracy funded by the oil companies, we’re told that it’s just a tiny bunch of contrarians doing no research. And note how he swings the phrase “scientific consensus” around. Really, how 20th century is that? I thought by now even the most ardent of warmists had figured out that real science has nothing to to with “consensus”.
Finally – note that he simply ignores those recent findings that destroy his hypothesis that no new research supports the skeptical side. Except of course that which has talked about sun spots, the fact that there’s been no real warming over the last ten years and the trend is toward a colder climate, not a warmer one. Skip all that and he may have a point.
But mischaracterization by McKibben isn’t confined to just global warming. He even mischaracterizes the right’s role in the civil rights movement – a common and easily rectified mistake if one would only do some research. Speaking here about a recent poll of conservatives who found Jimmy Carter to be one of the worst presidents ever, he says:
If Jimmy Carter was the worst guy the country ever produced, we’re doing pretty well—but surely it was his nagging reminders that there were limits to our national power that account for his ranking. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote an embarrassed piece earlier this fall about the failure of conservatives to take climate change seriously—it was the ’70s, “a great decade for apocalyptic enthusiasms,” that turned many of them off, he concluded. That’s not much of an argument—it’s like saying “conservatives mostly got it wrong on civil rights, so let’s never listen to them again about liberty and freedom.”
But, of course, conservatives didn’t get it mostly wrong about civil rights – their vote was the critical part of passing the legislation that Democrats tried to filibuster and block. Yes, they were “Southern Democrats”, but they certainly weren’t “conservatives”, i.e. “the right”.
Anyway, this all boils down to McKibben wanting a carbon tax and assuring us that if we’d do that and do it quickly we’d probably be 90% of the way to solving the problem. Of course, no word from the sun as to whether it would cooperate if we’d just take a bit more money into government for our emissions. After McKibben chastises his lefty friends for their desire to do away with the internal combustion engine, he gives us this simplistic “solution” in its place. And then wonders about the right’s skepticism?
Finally McKibben appeals to the tradition of right intellectualism hoping that it will reassert itself and go along with the Chicken Little faction. I wonder – given his obvious unfamiliarity with the real arguments of the right and the science that supports it if perhaps that intellectualism has already “asserted” itself and is calling on the left to do the same.
Don’t hold your breath.
While Senators Graham, Kerry and Lieberman scramble around telling you how bright the energy future will be if they are able to pass their carbon tax bill, here’s a sober reminder of what it will actually bring to working Americans:
To meet the Obama administration’s targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, some researchers say, Americans may have to experience a sobering reality: gas at $7 a gallon.
To reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the cost of driving must simply increase, according to a forthcoming report by researchers at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Not might increase. Must. Those targets are 10 years in the future. So “must” has to begin to take effect pretty soon if they’re to be met, wouldn’t you say?
As for that promise that 95% of Americans won’t see their taxes increased by a dime? Well, Obama’s agnostic about that now.
Take a good look at the figure and try to visualize the impact on your family’s budget. Also remember the transportation sector uses 70% of carbon based fuels. So not only is gas going to cost you about $4.50 more a gallon in taxes, every single necessity and consumer good you purchase will cost you more as well. Factor that in as well. Now try to imagine the impact on a struggling economy.
There are different ways to skin the taxation cat – and income taxes are only one of them. Of course it really doesn’t matter to you how they do it, the result remains the same: less money for you to use on your priorities and needs.
QandO founder Jon Henke posted at The Next Right yesterday with a suggestion for Republicans that I didn’t think would be very controversial: that they should propose swapping out the payroll tax in favor of a carbon tax. I’ve established that I’m all for that idea. Though I would go farther, it’s a good idea on its own, especially when unemployment is high and hours worked are very low.
Go over there and read his reasoning (please don’t comment unless you’ve read it). It makes a lot of sense, whether you believe in anthropogenic climate change or not. Well, unless you do believe in it, and think it’s such a good thing that it overwhelms the benefits of switching from a relatively destructive tax to a better one.