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The coming environmental economic steamroller
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In light of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling about greenhouse gases, expect the environmental rhetoric to heat up even more. But expect those of us who are now classified as deniers to continue to attempt to throw a spanners into the works by pointing to the real impact of the proposals being made.

A point about those of us considered heretics or deniers. Speaking for myself, I don't deny the climate is changing. That's because I understand that the only thing constant about the climate is change. It is in constant change. I don't deny the climate is getting warmer. What I don't accept is that is necessarily a bad thing, and even if it was, probably something over which we have absolutely no control. And, last, I don't deny that man may have some role in producing gasses that may lead to some effect in this warming cycle. What I do deny is we have any sort of handle on a) how much that contribution may be and b) what, if anything, we can do about it.

It is much the same position that William F Buckley has outlined:
Critics are correct in insisting that human enterprises have an effect on climate. What they cannot at this point do is specify exactly how great the damage is, nor how much relief would be effected by specific acts of natural propitiation.

The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications.

It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance. The assumption then is that inasmuch as a large proportion of the damage is man-made, man-made solutions are necessary. But it is easy to see, right away, that there is a problem in devising appropriate solutions, and in allocating responsibility for them.
Yet there are no shortage of those who would, with incomplete information, charge out of the gate and legislatively impose their solution on us. For instance, John Kerry and Olympia Snowe:
In the Senate, a Kerry-Snowe-sponsored measure is the most aggressive bipartisan anti-global-warming legislation to date. Our bill freezes emissions by 2010 and then calls for a gradual reduction each year until we hit 65 percent below 2000 emissions levels by 2050. We've also proposed a flexible, economywide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse-gas emissions.
Can you say economic death on a carbon free platter?

Back to Buckley and the reason this is not only dangerous, but useless:
To speak in very general terms, the United States is easily the principal offender, given the size of our country and the intensity of our use of fossil-fuel energy. But even accepting the high per-capita rate of consumption in the United States, we face the terrible inadequacy of ameliorative resources. If the United States were (we are dealing in hypotheses) to eliminate the use of oil or gas for power, would that forfeiture be decisive?

Well, no. It would produce about 23 percent global relief, and at a devastating cost to our economy.

As a practical matter, what have modern states undertaken with a view to diminishing greenhouse gases? The answer is: Not very much. What is being done gives off a kind of satisfaction, of the kind felt back then when prayers were recited as apostates were led to the stake to be burned. If you levied a 100 percent surtax on gasoline in the United States, you would certainly reduce the use of it, but the arbiter is there to say: What is a complementary sacrifice we can then expect from India and China? China will soon overtake the United States in the production of greenhouse gases.
But as is obvious, that will not stop those like Kerry and Snowe from charging ahead. And do keep in mind that now that Kerry has written a book about this, "This Moment on Earth", he's an instant expert. Coupled with the Goracle and, as WFB notes, the "eerily religious" feel this is all taking on, does anyone doubt that something like what Kerry proposes is that far off?

Yet when we unilaterally impose economic death on ourselves in the name of the environment and 'for the children', will anyone bother to answer the questions Buckley has asked before doing so?
What is a complementary sacrifice we can then expect from India and China? China will soon overtake the United States in the production of greenhouse gases.
Answer?
 
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Comments
I always find it interesting that the strongest advocates of the globbal-warming theory, and how massive government action is required to save the planet, are people who have long advocated massive expansion of State power anyway. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
It’s easy to advocate solutions that destroy an economy when you don’t really understand economics.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
And I should should have used quotes around "solutions".
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Why do we need to reduce emissions? America is carbon negative!
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I found this article in the Calgary Sun to be very interesting...

We want free Kyoto
So how realistic is it for Canada to meet its Kyoto commitments, signed by the Liberal government of Jean Chretien in 1998 and ratified in 2002?

According to the Environment Canada web site’s summary of 2004 GHGs, to meet our Kyoto target Canada must reduce emissions by 195 megatonnes (a Mt. is one million tonnes.)

But what does that mean? In 2004 Canada’s GHG emissions were 758 Mt., which is 34.6% above our Kyoto target of 563 Mt.

So, forget about just banning SUVs. Park every plane, train and automobile and we remove 145 Mt. of CO2 emissions. Close down every mining operation with its 15.4 Mt. That would leave us 34.6 Mt. short.

Shut down all commercial and institutional CO2 emitters with their 37.9 Mt and, hooray, we meet our targets just barely! But who wants to shut down hospitals and cookie factories?

Oil, gas and coal industries produce 154 Mt — or 20% of this country’s CO2.

Shut that down, along with agriculture at 54.9 Mt and we’d be the darlings of the international Kyoto club by exceeding our targets by almost 14 Mt.

Of course, freezing in the dark is hardly an option for most Canadians who can’t abide the thought of paying more for their gasoline.

But let’s suppose the entire oil sands development in Alberta is shut down. Who would then pay for Quebec and Atlantic Canada’s social programs?

Here’s a question I’d like Angus Reid to ask respondents. Would you be willing to lose your job or your house to help Canada meet it’s Kyoto targets?

No, didn’t think so.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
My fourth-grader is coming home talking about the dangers of global warming. Can anyone point me to a comprehensive source of rational skepticism (i.e., one that doesn’t scream, "It’s a liberal commie plot to destroy the American way of life") regarding global warming? Extra thanks for something an intelligent fourth-grader can understand easily.
 
Written By: Diffus
URL: http://
Since it is a liberal commie plot to destroy the American way of life . . . nah, sorry, Dittus, can’t help ya.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
a Kerry-Snowe-sponsored measure is the most aggressive bipartisan anti-global-warming legislation to date. Our bill freezes emissions by 2010 and then calls for a gradual reduction each year until we hit 65 percent below 2000 emissions levels by 2050. We’ve also proposed a flexible, economywide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse-gas emissions.**
**- With an exemption for American Samoa, of course.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

"He is more dangerous than his global warming."
Bob Murray
While many of America’s CEO’s are lining up to kiss the ass of the "Global Warming" Guru Al Gore, hopeing to reap profit from the "Green" revolution. One, Bob Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, is fighting back. At least someone is showing common sense by not following the lemmings over the cliff
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Diffus;
Bilwick is right. It’s a bit like asking us to explain why a fourth grader shouldn’t beleive everything they see in pro wrestling without telling them the matches are fixed. But here are a few sites where the tone is calm:

The Misunderstood Universe
Biology Cabinet is written for High schoolers, but a fourth grader should be able to see that any graph of solar activity more closely matches temperature variation than any CO2/temp graph. Don’t forget to mention the 800 year delay in CO2 compared to temp, especially significant at the top because temps should not fall when CO2 is rising to its peak (according to the AGW theory).





 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
I suggest a "believer’s tax" that would be levied on those who believe in human-initiated global warming.

You will be amazed at the number of deniers and heretics that will emerge from such an action.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Kerry was actually pretty slick with the way he designed his bill, if one of his aides had tipped him off to this story (from July 2006):
While the American economy grew by 3.5% last year, more than twice the European average, its fossil fuel emissions were up by only 0.1% with no growth in road pollution and a drop in aircraft emissions.
So we’re already freezing emissions! Also in this article...
Since 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was first signed, the US has now made more progress in reducing its per capita fossil fuel emissions than the UK, France, Spain, Finland, Sweden and Japan even before its economic growth is considered.
So it’s those uh...wasteful Euros’ fault? Read the article if you get a chance, it’s pretty short and basically gives the numbers on how the Kyoto nations are all but abandoning their targets. Meanwhile the US has stabilized emissions, but because we didn’t have some sweeping government mandate, we get villified anyway.

Also re: the Supreme Court, Cato had a good writeup about the decision which basically says that the EPA can make some sort of provision that we only address CO2 emissions when it’s actually feasible to do so and that would satisfy the ruling. Actually, I’m sure Congress would love to go along with something like that because they seem to be the type of people who like to pretend they are addressing things. You know, kinda like how they decided to look at Iraq: no substance.
 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://intermissionphoto.com
Diffus,

Wikipedia is really all you need.

To see CO2 levels at historic lows go here...

http://en.wikipedia.org

Want to know how much of the atmosphere is CO2?

http://en.wikipedia.org

Don’t forget to point out that of the 0.035% of earth’s atmosphere that is CO2 about 97% that that 0.035% is naturally occuring. Man-made CO2 is about 0.001% of earth’s atmosphere.

The real thing our kids need to be educated about is CO2. For man-made global warming to exist one has to beleive that CO2 is the main driver.


Some NASA data might also be cool to explore.

http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov

Also, the site below is interesting because in my liberal town cooling is actually taking place for the last 50 years. I tell my friends that atleast we don’t have to worry about it.

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/usa.html

Scroll down some and you will see a map were you can click your state. Then choose a station near your home town. I plotted mean temperature vs. year and then selected Temperature Mean. I was surpised to see my town has cooled since 1948.




 
Written By: OdysseusInRTP
URL: http://
Dittus: I like junkscience.com. They also seem to think it’s a liberal-commie plot, but address the issues scientifically.
 
Written By: Jody
URL: http://
Side note: who wants to join me in a suit against the EPA for its failure to mandate the deforestation of the US? After all trees are net "polluters" of O2 and my car is rusting.

Apparently, I now have standing....
 
Written By: Jody
URL: http://
We’d love to force China and India to cut their emissions. It’s unfortunate that we can’t, because there’s no precedent to attempt to compel them to adhere them to, no treaty to coerce them into obeying.

Yet when we unilaterally impose economic death on ourselves in the name of the environment

Anytime someone is ready to outline a rational and detailed case for how carbon taxes, energy efficiency and alternative fuels lead to "economic death", they might successfully pass themselves off as just hoping to avoid a reasonable fear.

Until then, one suspects them of basing their entire argument off of a knee-jerk antagonism towards the concept of voluntary restraint, no matter the costs.

When the African agricultural ecosystem collapses, you’ll have the choice of watching the whole human population of the continent die en masse, or paying a lot more to keep them all fed then you’d pay to get a grip on carbon.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
When the African agricultural ecosystem collapses, you’ll have the choice of watching the whole human population of the continent die en masse, or paying a lot more to keep them all fed then you’d pay to get a grip on carbon.
You lost me on this one glasnost - the african ecosystem is in trouble because of idiots like Mugabe. Until they get a grip on civility and free markets, all the Kyoto protocols and carbon credits in the world will not help them.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
And since when did I become responsible for feeding them, but not responsible for also selecting and establishing reasonable religions and governments for them?

You don’t like being involved in Baghdad? Hah, try Mogadishu on for size.
Oh, that’s right, we’re just supposed to send more money and more food, we’re not supposed to get anything in return, like regional stability and sanity.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Anytime someone is ready to outline a rational and detailed case for how carbon taxes, energy efficiency and alternative fuels lead to "economic death", they might successfully pass themselves off as just hoping to avoid a reasonable fear.
You may want to note how New Zealand has decided to not pay Kyoto costs because they had a growth spurt and it would’ve crippled their economy.

Or, if you want to see how these types of controls and regulations ruin an economy, pick any nation in "old Europe"

Are you really this ignorant, or just looking to cause troble today?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
the african ecosystem is in trouble because of idiots like Mugabe
Nost will never admit that. He and his were the big supporters of Mugabe is he "standing up" to the real villian aka the US
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"Anytime someone is ready to outline a rational and detailed case for how carbon taxes, energy efficiency and alternative fuels lead to "economic death..."

When they are forced on the population by politicians who don’t have a clue about their effects but want to feel good about ’doing something.’

 
Written By: Anon
URL: http://
Anytime someone is ready to outline a rational and detailed case for how carbon taxes, energy efficiency and alternative fuels lead to "economic death", they might successfully pass themselves off as just hoping to avoid a reasonable fear.
The marketplace selects energy efficiency; the government imposes energy inefficiency.

But the basic point is that a 10% reduction in carbon emissions will essentially result in a 10% reduction in energy and consequently a 10% reduction in the economy. There are smart partial solutions, like more use of nukes (particularly breeder reactors, which dumbass Jimmy Carter shot down), but the crap the left is pushing is sure to result in economic death.
Until then, one suspects them of basing their entire argument off of a knee-jerk antagonism towards the concept of voluntary restraint, no matter the costs.
Voluntary?

If that’s the case, I won’t pay the f**king carbon taxes.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Meganin, here’s some further explanation:

In contrast, Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of the global emissions of carbon dioxide from fuel burning since 1900, yet its 840 million people face some of the biggest risks from drought and disrupted water supplies, according to new scientific assessments. As the oceans swell with water from melting ice sheets, it is the crowded river deltas in southern Asia and Egypt, along with small island nations, that are most at risk.

“Like the sinking of the Titanic, catastrophes are not democratic,” said Henry I. Miller, a fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. “A much higher fraction of passengers from the cheaper decks were lost. We’ll see the same phenomenon with global warming.”


—-

Scientists say it has become increasingly clear that worldwide precipitation is shifting away from the equator and toward the poles. That will nourish crops in warming regions like Canada and Siberia while parching countries — like Malawi in sub-Saharan Africa — which are already prone to drought.


———

Robert O. Mendelsohn, an economist at Yale focused on climate, said that in the face of warming, it might be necessary to abandon the longstanding notion that all places might someday feed themselves. Poor regions reliant on unpredictable rainfall, he said, should be encouraged to shift people out of farming and into urban areas and import their food from northern countries.

Of course, there’s not much likelihood of Africa being able to afford to import 100%, or 90%, or 75%, of its food supply, now or later. So, again the question: what’s cheaper, a carbon tax, or hand-feeding the whole African continent for a few decades?

Not a guaranteed outcome, of course, just one whose relative probability and cost should be weighed against, um, whatever GDP inhibition might be otherwise occuring.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
diffus,

Global warming is occuring on Mars, which is difficult to explain if humanity is the primary driver for global warming.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
When the African agricultural ecosystem collapses, you’ll have the choice of watching the whole human population of the continent die en masse, or paying a lot more to keep them all fed then you’d pay to get a grip on carbon.
So, will Kyoto prevent that?

If not Kyoto, what will prevent that?

I mean, assuming that there really is man made global warming, and that it is really a threat to Africa . . . and leaving aside the issue that the local African leaders might just be a bigger threat . . .

Once glasnost tells us what level of reduction in carbon emissions will prevent this mass starvation, then we can do some analysis of trade offs, and figure out if what we would pay is worth paying . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But the basic point is that a 10% reduction in carbon emissions will essentially result in a 10% reduction in energy and consequently a 10% reduction in the economy.

As basic points go, it’s not strong. Energy efficient light bulbs aren’t a net economic loss. Automobiles with higher MPG aren’t a net economic loss. Mass transit is not a net economic loss. Certainly nothing at all like a $1 per 1 BTU basis. If anyone, anywhere, was suggesting we flip a switch and cut off 10% of America’s power supply, that would indeed be economically disruptive. I’m still waiting to see where that’s been proposed.

I’m for whatever the demos decides. This issue isn’t particularly high on my list of priorities in 2008. I’m just pushing back at anti-global-warming-alarmism, as others push back at global warming alarmism.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Not a guaranteed outcome, of course, just one whose relative probability and cost should be weighed against, um, whatever GDP inhibition might be otherwise occuring.


The possible African outcome you highlight is also a GDP problem . . . and all else being equal I’m inclined to protect American GDP over African GDP.

In part, it’s ’cause the US actually does good in the world, and is necessary to international stability (the left’s views notwithstanding). Keeping the US strong should be a priority for everyone who values modern civilization. By contrast, Africa is mostly important to Africa.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As basic points go, it’s not strong. Energy efficient light bulbs aren’t a net economic loss. Automobiles with higher MPG aren’t a net economic loss. Mass transit is not a net economic loss.
So you think we are going to meet Kyoto’s goals by changing lightbulbs, driving higher MPG cars, and riding mass transit?

Big picture, a reduction in carbon emissions is a reduction in energy, and it will be almost one-for-one. You are correct that it isn’t exact, for example we could start bringing nukes on-line for a more serious form of energy without carbon emissions (or with relatively little, as I’m sure nuke plants make some use of fossil fuel). We could also go with more hydro-electric, if we have a good river we can dam.

The left doesn’t like dams, and it doesn’t like nukes. It doesn’t want serious solutions.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Of course, there’s not much likelihood of Africa being able to afford to import 100%, or 90%, or 75%, of its food supply, now or later. So, again the question: what’s cheaper, a carbon tax, or hand-feeding the whole African continent for a few decades?
Cheapest of all would be having Africa’s dictators gone and having them grow the ability to feed themselves.

But hey, that’s not really a choice in your world. Just keep handing the same old corrupt killers fungible aid in the form of money and/or food so the problem never ever goes away, right Bono?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’m for whatever the demos decides. This issue isn’t particularly high on my list of priorities in 2008. I’m just pushing back at anti-global-warming-alarmism, as others push back at global warming alarmism.
I guess we could all be carbon-neutral the Al Gore way—by buying offsets.

The reality is the the world isn’t falling in line with the Kyoto nonsense. Kyoto just highlights Euro hypocracy (similar to Al Gore hypocracy).

As long as we stay with the tactic of the modern left—talk a good fight and don’t follow through—efforts to combat GW are not likely to be all that bad.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
you’ll have the choice of watching the whole human population of the continent die en masse
...and you had just spoken of reasonable fears. And are we assuming those melting ice sheets are going to rise 20 feet, 6 feet, 3 feet, 1 foot, or 8 inches? See, it changes depending on which unquestionable green authoritative voice you ask (actually, who decrees his rock-solid science in your direction). And we do actually need to know this. It seems, well, pertinent in terms of degrees of catastrophic emergencies. And will this happen in an instant, all tsunami-like, or over time? That scary movie depicted tidal waves in Manhatten! Just imagine! If it’s over a year, well, I guess we’ll, I dont know, move inland. Inconvenient, for sure.
I’m for whatever the demos decides.

I’m new in these parts, but is this pretty much par for the course for you? Again, it’s pertinent. By the way, any ideas about the Martian global warming and their, uh, CO2 problem? Maybe they have better ideas about offsets and such. What do you think about Canada shutting down industry in order to meet Kyoto? Can we call it good after that? If so, I vote yes. And, as a lockstep Dem, who are you a follower of? I mean, is Gore your sage, or maybe DiCaprio? Can you recommend others?

 
Written By: rob
URL: http://
Big picture, a reduction in carbon emissions is a reduction in energy, and it will be almost one-for-one.

I don’t know how much energy we can save from voluntary, or even indirectly encouraged/enforced/incentivized conservation. Not to mention clean coal technology. I’d love to see a serious estimate. There are valid negatives to those kinds of alternative power delivery systems, but it remains to be seen how the left would react to an attempt to expand them as part of a carbon reduction package. I wouldn’t leap to conclusions.


As long as we stay with the tactic of the modern left—talk a good fight and don’t follow through—efforts to combat GW are not likely to be all that bad.

I guess this means we agree that no genuine "economic death" proposals have actually been put out on the table by anyone either of us has ever heard of. I appreciate that acknowledgment of reality. When Obama or HRC announces a plan to unilaterally shut down the U.S. power grid to reduce carbon emissions, perhaps I’ll come around to the PoV of this post. But until then...
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The possible African outcome you highlight is also a GDP problem . . . and all else being equal I’m inclined to protect American GDP over African GDP

Prefer to save your altruistic instincts towards foreigners for armed conflicts, eh?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Not to mention clean coal technology.
Oooh, now I’m curious. How clean does coal have to be so that burning it doesn’t produce carbon dioxide?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I guess this means we agree that no genuine "economic death" proposals have actually been put out on the table by anyone either of us has ever heard of.
It’s that the "economic death" proposals haven’t been followed through on. I’m sure you’re not capable, but try to understand.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp


PS. Mark, he really is that dumb.
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Forests in the tropics help stop Global Warming. Forests in the northern latitudes actually help Global Warming. The Canadians can simply denude their entire country of trees to save the planet.

Let them start with those around their homes and schools.
 
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URL: http://
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Written By: Smith
URL: http://www.gordoniihoodia.net

 
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