THE Obama climate agenda includes no new legislation, makes unprecedented use of executive branch powers and offers a great many things that appeal to core Democratic constituencies. Implemented in full, the new power plant carbon rules, delays in pipeline contracts and has added green energy projects. How many will he back before he realizes he continues to throw money down a hole?
The scenarios sketched out by climate models cover a broad gamut of possibilities. And the models themselves remain imperfect. Actual temperature changes tend toward the lower end of most models; increasing property damage tolls stem fro more people living in disaster-prone areas, rather than fundamental changes in climate. The scientific consensus that exists about the causes and effects of climate change can’t point to an optimal policy solution any more that improvements in hear surgery techniques can provide guidance on health care reform.
If you really want evidence of climate changes, they ought to look towards the insurance markets that would bear much of the cost of catastrophic climate change.
All three of the major insurance modeling forms and every global insurance company incorporate human-caused climate change into their projections. The big business that would reap the biggest rewards if it were somehow solved tomorrow has universally decided that climate change is a real problem. An insurance company that ignored climate change predictions could, in the short term, make a lot of money by under pricing its competition on a wide range of products. Not a singe firm has done this!
Waxman-Markey bill passed in 2009, gives an insight into now dems would deal with climate change if given a free hand, they would have raised taxes by nearly $25 billion and created a framework to centrally plan much of the energy economy.
Then there was the try at “cap and trade”, which would have been redistributed to various politically connected industries around the country. It was that very patronage that proved successful in buying nine republican votes.
The US appears likely to meet Waxman-Markey’s 2020 emissions targets even though the bill was never signed.
While dems floated other plans in congress, relying on subsidies, handouts, punishments and more government control over the economy. Through existing statutory authority, the federal government has control over carbon emissions and imposes a “price” already, one that will rise as a result of Obama’s latest actions. The EPA has had carte blanche to impose new rules to deal with them.
Clean air act provisions were written with pollutions like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in mind. Trying to regulate carbon emissions by the same means is almost certain to produce hugely expensive and burdensome regulations. Using the Clean air act to regulate carbon dioxides is akin to trying to repair a fine wristwatch with a jackhammer. Waxman-Markey acknowledged this by ending the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide. Most economically beneficial way to deal with the problem appears to be a carbon tax, particularly a revenue neutral carbon tax that could be used to offset and or replace other taxes.
A carbon tax should also be accompanied by removing the barriers to developing and exploiting new energy sources, particularly natural gas.
Broader use of nuclear power, build transmission facilities that help unlock untapped hydroelectric potential in the Canadian north and streamline regulations for all power projects deserves equally strong consideration. Republicans just a tempted as dens to endorse crony capitalist schemes to pick the energy technologies of the future, an are where all governments everywhere have a distinctly dismal record. The bipartisan disgrace of federal loan guarantees, clean energy generation tax credits, outright grants to private businesses and public-private partnerships that created Solyndra and dozens of others spectacular “green” flameouts should be euthanized.
Sources—weekly standard, eli lehrer