Political Climate
Apr 20, 2008
Doing Little is Doing Right, or You’ll Wreck Economy

By Patrick Michaels, Des Moines Register

In a much-anticipated statement on global warming, President Bush on Thursday announced a national goal to stabilize our emissions of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - by 2025.To reach this goal, he proposed new fuel-economy standards for autos by 2020, and lower emissions from electricity production in the next 10 to 15 years. The president called for new technologies to further reduce emissions after 2025. If every nation of the world met the president’s goal, there would be no detectable reduction of global warming from a “business as usual” scenario for at least 50 years. If we want to significantly slow warming, emissions have to be cut by more than 60 percent. Pending legislation in the Senate, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and John Warner, a Virginia Republican, drops them 66 percent by 2050.

The only problem is that no one knows how to do this. The fact is that we simply don’t have - and can’t realistically imagine - the suite of technologies that would bring about such a sweeping change, nationally or globally. Instead, lawmakers propose schemes to make carbon-based energy so expensive that people will use very little of it. Has anyone noticed that gasoline consumption has gone down only a half of 1 percent at current prices? How expensive does it have to be to go down 66 percent?The president is being keel-hauled for being realistic, if ineffective. One can’t simply wave a legislative magic wand and wreck the economy in a futile attempt to halt the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

China has already passed the United States as the world’s largest emitter, and will be far ahead of us by 2025. India won’t be far behind us for long. They are both industrializing largely with coal-fired electricity. What are the technologies that can accomplish reductions in emissions that will have a major effect on global warming? Don’t ask me - or anyone, for that matter. In a telling commentary earlier this month in Nature magazine, Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at University of Colorado, wrote that “enormous advances in energy technology will be needed to stabilize atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations at acceptable levels.” What they are remained unspecified. We currently flail from one politically correct technology to another. A few years back it was hydrogen, until people discovered that more energy would be expended in isolating and transporting it than would be saved. Then along came (dare I say in Iowa) corn-based ethanol. Scientists have been warning for years that it, too, would save little if any energy, as was forcefully acknowledged in Science magazine earlier this year. President Bush says “celluosic” ethanol (produced from fiber rather than grain) is just around the corner. Sure. We’re working on it. For 50 years. Will there be some breakthrough technology? Maybe. But we won’t get it without investment, which means we won’t get there without a vibrant economy. The president is right about that one.

Patrick Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, which promotes limited government, individual liberty and free markets.

Apr 19, 2008
“Global Warming” Scores a ZERO in the Latest ABC News Poll

Listing posted on Tom Nelson Blogspot

ABC and the Washington Post polled Americans about the most important issue to them in the upcoming elections. The economy ranked #1 with 41%, Iraq #2 with 18%, Health Care #3 with 7%, Terrorism/National Security #4 with 5%, Immigration and Ethics followed with 4%, Education and Morals with 2%, Environment and Global Warming continue to receive a 0%.

See full size table here

Apr 18, 2008
Day after Reflections on Bush’s Climate Speech

By Marlo Lewis, Opinion, Planet Gore

Yesterday, in his Rose Garden speech on climate change, President Bush proposed a “national goal” of freezing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2025, with reductions to follow thereafter. Thanks to conservative
opposition, the President stepped back from more damaging options, such as a cap-and-trade program for utilities.

Bush’s proposal is bland stuff compared to the economy-chilling emission reduction targets pushed by Al Gore, Gov. Schwarzenegger, and the European Union. One reason Bush gave the speech was to explain the
position U.S. negotiators would be taking at today and tomorrow’s “major economies” energy and climate meeting in Paris. If Bush can actually persuade some of the world’s industrial powerhouses to back similar
national goals as an alternative to the Kyoto process, then maybe some good will come of this initiative. More likely, I fear, his speech will further legitimize Gore’s “planetary emergency” spin on global warming.

The White House Web site has a Fact Sheet elaborating the points Bush made in his speech. “There Is A Right Way And A Wrong Way To Approach Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions”. The American people deserve an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of any proposed solution.  Decisions with such far-reaching impact should not be left to unelected regulators and judges, but should be debated openly and made by the elected representatives of the people they affect.”

Yes, the American people deserve an honest assessment. The Gore camp repeatedly portrays its draconian emission reduction schemes as a free lunch or even as a road to riches. Bush is also absolutely correct that decisions with far-reaching economic impact should not be made by unelected regulators and judges. But does the President have the fortitude to reject and condemn the policy extortion of those who would
use the threat of court-ordered regulation to demand Kyoto-style energy rationing as a legislative remedy? That remains to be seen. Read more of Marlo’s detailed review here.

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