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Climate Bill's Dress Rehearsal

The climate change legislation on the floor of the Senate this week would be the most important piece of energy legislation ever – if it had a chance of becoming law. Instead the debate is, as Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) put it, a “dress rehearsal.”

If it had a chance of passing, it would steer tens of billions of dollars of energy investment toward efficiency projects, renewable resources such as solar and wind, and nuclear power. More money could also end up in demonstration plants designed to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. The legislation would do all this in a roundabout, but theoretically politically palatable way: it would establish caps on emissions with a set of rules for companies to trade permits and offset credits needed to meet those caps. While commonly known as cap-and-trade, which sounds pithy and free-market oriented, a more accurate but less sexy-sounding name would be a system of tradable rationing coupons. In plain English, that would mean putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, which would raise costs for anyone burning fossil fuels, whether in a gasoline tank, a coal-fired power plant, or a natural gas stove. (Columnist Robert J. Samuelson gives his views of the whole mess.)

But if all this is a dress rehearsal, why care?

Two reasons. First, this legislation, even if defeated, could end up being a baseline for future negotiations. That’s why some expensive lobbying has been going on and why people have been paying attention to the 25 or so congressional hearings that were held about this bill (and why we at the Post have spilled a fair amount of ink on it). Second, the debate over the bill could play a role in the elections later this year. At the moment, each side believes the political advantage lies with them. Supporters of climate change legislation believe foes could incur the disapproval of voters who mostly want to do something to slow climate change. But opponents of the legislation hope to convince voters that the bill would raise energy costs and be just like, as Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) put it, “the largest tax increase in the history of the nation.” So love it or hate it, but the legislation might actually come to a vote because neither side will want to filibuster it.

Here is one of my questions about the future of climate legislation, assuming that supporters of this bill fail now and try again next year under a new president: Will climate legislation circa 2009 meet the same fate as the failed Clinton-backed health care legislation circa 1993? Both bills have good intentions. Both address problems that won’t go away. Both are immensely complicated. Both try to include something for almost everyone, but may wind up simply making sure that there is somethng for almost everyone to dislike.

Last Friday, Sen. Dorgan told me that he remembers getting briefed back in 1993 by Clinton healthcare gurus Ira Magaziner and Judy Feder. “I sat and listened to them. Since I couldn’t understand their explanation I figured I could never explain it to someone else,” Dorgan said. “This is, in some ways, more complicated than that.”

The climate change bill – proposed by Sens. John Warner (R-Vir.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and amended by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) – tries to cover almost all the political bases. It proposes big tax cuts to help the poor pay for higher energy prices that would come out of the legislation. It allocates far fewer emission permits than Europe does in its system, but the allocations are still substantial. It also takes a novel approach to state governments, many of which have already designed their own systems. Rather than force states to join a federal system, the bill provides scores of billions of dollars of incentives to entice states into joining the national system.

Paul Bledsoe, communications and strategy director for the National Commission on Energy Policy, says “if you have an economy-wide cap-and-trade system with some basic cost containment provision and incentives for developing country action, you have a fairly broad constituency for that approach. It’s when you have to get to the next level of detail that you alienate people all over the spectrum. That’s probably the danger here.”

Take stalwart Democrats Dorgan and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Cantwell worries that the bill does too much for so-called clean coal projects that would capture carbon dioxide and not enough for places like Washington, where most electric power already comes from hydropower. Dorgan, however, frets that the bill doesn’t do enough for coal. A group of GOP senators say it doesn’t do enough for nuclear. Or consider the different stances within the environmental movement: Organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund approve of the way the bill woos big utilities by allocating them most of the permits they will need for current emissions then phasing out the allocations while Friends of the Earth believes that 100 percent of the emission permits should be auctioned. Or take the utility industry: Those with large amounts of nuclear power are happy with the bill, while big coal users such as Duke Energy want bigger allowances.

This sort of legislative gridlock isn’t unusual. But it has taken on a more alarming dimension because if climatologists are right, there is a very limited amount of time to start acting to steer the giant U.S. economy in a more environmentally and climate sustainable direction. The Boxer-Warner-Lieberman bill may fail this week, but this issue isn’t going away.

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Comments (55)

Dr. Kushal Banerjee:

The global climate change is really a serious problem that must be addressed at the earliest.

Not only in the U.S., but also laws should be enacted in other countries, esp. those who contribute a lot to pollution.

I am a young doctor and a social activist from India. Though presently we are working only on a human rights issue (against violations of human rights in hazing), many of us are very much interested in working on environmental issues, as well...esp. those related to climate change.

I shall be thankful, if anyone may please guide how should a little non profit organization start working on this issue, esp. in a place like India?

Thanks and regards,
Dr. Kushal Banerjee,
kushal.b[AT]no2ragging.org
http://www.no2ragging.org

Dimitry:

==If we continue to remain the repository for all the worlds poor, ill, criminal, etc,,, a great many who aren't supposed to be here in the first place, there will not be enough room to create any current or future alternatives to petroleum.==

This is a disgusting comment.

Immigrants who have come to this country, generally represent the most hard-working contingent of their original nations' population. And they have made a large contribution to American wealth and success for centuries.

Unfortunately, native bigots will use the upcoming oil shocks to the American and world economy to attack and blame the "aliens" for the hard times ahead.

All rationally thinking Americans should reject this racist mindset. The only way we will overcome the coming troubles is by working together, in our communitties, by leveraging our talents and pooling our resources, not by attacking one another.

Dimitry:

Today oil rose $10 - biggest increase in history.

Must be because as the oil folks keep telling us - "there is plenty of it around".

Aha.

Sam G.:


OIL IN THE EARTH IS A FINITE SUPPLY>

THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED FOSSIL FUEL> IT IS NOT RENEWING ITSELF.

IT WILL END SOMEDAY - EVEN YOU SO CALLED DENIALIST EXPERTS HAVE TO ADMIT THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE HAVE TO CHANGE SOMETIME TO NEW ENERGY SOURCES - WHY NOT START NOW AND NOT HAVE TO SCRAMBLE WHEN THE FAUCET WON'T TURN ON ANYMORE!!!!

Hunky Santa:

There's plenty of space for the people in the world, Weirdness. No need to emulate China here and force people to accept a cap on children. What would you be if what you pretend -- population control -- became law?

Just as your logic -- nothing.

Ed Weirdness:

All these arguments (with the exception of advocating for nuclear energy) fail miserably for one ill considered fact.

Population!

If we continue to remain the repository for all the worlds poor, ill, criminal, etc,,, a great many who aren't supposed to be here in the first place, there will not be enough room to create any current or future alternatives to petroleum.

Corn, saw grass, sugar cane for ethanol, all need room to plant and lots and lots of water.

Solar and windfarms, require lots and lots of room.

Sure you can advocate moving alternative fuel production to those areas of our nation that are less populated, but isn't that what we've done with food and petroleum production already, and we see where that got us!

That these parts of are nation are less populated also serves to address that they might also be less than suitable for crops, or less than optimal for producing solar or wind power.

Not to change the subject or beat a dead horse, but controlling our population growth, ending illegal immigration entirely, and curtailling legal immigration to only that which is prudent, demonstrably necessary (and of formeost concern), in the best interests of our native population, would address sooner, the problems we are experiencing.

Certainly green house gas is a world wide phenomenon. Realistically no one asserts that any legislation would lower the CO's being generated in developing nations because it would be contrary to their self interests to do so.

Indeed, this situation is so insoluable, so intractable that Al Gore and his cronies felt the only way to benefit from this problem was to devise a goofy investment scheme called "cap & Trade".

Pragmatically, the United States objective in combatting global warming should be to reasonably and responsibly reduce our C0 output as often and to the greates extent that we, the people can manage.

Fewer people, using fewer resources would help in attaining these goals. The fact that there would be enormous additional bonus pay off in reducing congestion, crime, pollution, natural resources, crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded schools and emergency rooms, affordable housing, farm land, green space, diminished tax burdens, indeed; all the quality of life issues that result from overpopulation would benefit from stabilizing our population numbers. That we would benefit from reduced demands on our limited resources is obvious, and should not be ignored in deference to political correctness or some misguided obedience to failed, unsustainable globalization models!

Ed Weirdness:

Tim:
Just as with industries that benefit from not complying with existing pollution laws, there are also corporations and individuals who woul financially benefit from devising and controlling the rules, regulations, and technology that would be used in reaching our environmental goals. Al Gore heads an investment firm that specializes in exactly these sorts of corporations. He makes no secret that his investors will benefit from passing this and similar legislation. Ideally, we would see legislation that funds research and development into alternative fuel sources, one that would preclude predatory opportunists from controlling such development. One thing I find troubling about all those demanding conservation and reducing emissions is their refusal to even consider stabilizing population numbers. Regardless of how much we achieve in reducing pollution and in developing new energy sources, one fact is immutable. Overpopulation, congestion, urban sprawl, indeed, too many people competing for limited resources has only one possible solution. To the extent that out of control population is at the root of most social concerns (until the late 60's America was a net exporter of oil. We met our nations needs and had left over to sell on the world market).

With vanishing farm land and green space, and large portions of our nation predicting shortages of clean drinking water in the next decade, all our conservation efforts and all our alternative fuel resources will make little difference unless we stabilize our population numbers. Fresh air, clean water and wide open spaces, they aren't making any more of any of these! Too many people competing for limited resources has never been considered sound economic, environmental, social or cultural policy!

Ed Weirdness:

The legislation might even have had a chance at passage if Congress hadn't allowed so many additions to "decorate" the bill and bump its costs beyond any reasonable understanding. Creating a "trade commodity" to benefit Al Gore, his investors, and banks and investors in general, essentially, an intangible product that the average joe would never benefit from, only added to concerns. No one can argue against the prudence of channeling money toward alternative fuels research and development of alternate fuels infrastructure. Allowing, no providing a windfall profit guarantee to wall street and to investors banking on "cap and trade" is a slap in the face of the people who truly want to help. Already we're seeing reports of fraud investigation in Europe surrounding the fledgling "cap and trade" programs started there. The objective of any legislation should not be to penalize American workers, tax payers and consumers so that big polluters can buy there way off the hook. We certainly should not be providing wall street and multi-nationals additional opportunities to build riches based on a prodict (carbon credits) that is intangible. Particularly when there are no meaningful methods of enforcing sanctions on any country that just doesn't want to bother with this nonsense.

Ed Weirdness:

The legislation might even have had a chance at passage if Congress hadn't allowed so many additions to "decorate" the bill and bump its costs beyond any reasonable understanding. Creating a "trade commodity" to benefit Al Gore, his investors, and banks and investors in general, essentially, an intangible product that the average joe would never benefit from, only added to concerns. No one can argue against the prudence of channeling money toward alternative fuels research and development of alternate fuels infrastructure. Allowing, no providing a windfall profit guarantee to wall street and to investors banking on "cap and trade" is a slap in the gace of the people who truly want to help. Already we're seeing reports of fraud investigation in Europe surrounding the fledgling "cap and trade" programs started there. The objective of any legislation should not be to penalize American workers, tax payers and consumers so that big polluters can buy there way off the hook. We certainly should not be providing wall street and multi-nationals additional opportunities to build riches based on a prodict (carbon credits) that is intangible. Particularly when there are no meaningful methods of enforcing sanctions on any country that just doesn't want to bother with this nonsense.

Carrie Criado:

Let the debate over global warming continue. In the meantime, new energy legislation is needed now to encourage investment in renewables. No one can debate that we will all be better off if we live in a cleaner world and improved methods to harness the power of the wind, ocean, and the sun is the way the get there.

tim:

I don't understand the concept that global warming is a conspiracy or based in false science.

What would the criminal motivation be to live healthier?

What scientist (who isn't in the pocket of an oil/coal/nuclear power company) would claim that clean energy is bad?

The premise is to pay taxes in order to make our country breathable.


Dimitry:

==Peak oil is a fantasy sold to you by the very rogue capitalists you detest. Creating the illusion of shortages, controlling supplies and distribution and exploiting panic create windfall profits for those who know how to use these techniques. The Russians don't believe in peak oil and understand oil is not just fossilized plant and animals but is abiotic in nature. It's the greatest pricing swindle in history - like charging 4.00 for a gallon of water. The only true shortage is in oil refineries in creating marketable petroleum and these are intentionally not built so as to keep the illusion going.==

You have got to be kidding. "Abiotic" oil is the opium for the truly stupid or truly deluded. There are no physical reasons why oil is being replenished inside the Earth. To plug "abiotic oil" today is identical to push for a re-establishement of the neat idea that the Earth is, in fact, flat and is definitely positioned smack dab in the middle of the known Universe. It is really an embarassment.

==Climate change is another ruse by the folks who know how to exploit the well-intentioned and loot them at the same time. The Bolsheviks were well-intentioned too and they all thought they were morally upright and looking out for the masses.==

Is that like always envoking "Hitler" when talking about someone you don't like? Glabal warming? - Must be the Reds!

==Environmental Marxism will profit the few, do nothing for the planet and increase the chances for a 3rd world war as more factories are built in unstable 3rd world countries. Wealth is not money - it is factories and goods. The looters are trying to steal our factories and goods the only way they can - by getting us to give them to them.==

If wealth is factories and goods, we sure are poor, 'cause there is almost no factories left and all out "goods" are Chinese plastic.

Dimitry:

==Pass an amendment that all of these "Climate Protection Act" regulations will not take effect unless and until the global annual mean temperature (averaged over 5 years) is higher than the temperature recorded in 1998 by 0.3C. There has been no global warming since 1998, and there is no reason to impose any regulation unless and until the warming actually starts happening. No severe climate changes will occur unless we get 2C or more of warming, so a mere 0.3C warming will assuredly happen soon if the "AGW is a crisis" crowd is right.==

A classic! A businessman with an unshackable knowledge of reality based on his daily experience - folks like that denied that microbes exist for decades - heck they haven't seen it! Must not be there! 'Dem eggheads must all be wrong 'bout de little critters!

If you wait to "activate" corrective action "in phase" with a dynamic feedback loop, you are likely to have a zero effect, without precise knowledge of the feedback mechanism(s), which is not available and not likely to become available any time soon.

But that may be your goal, anyway. Correct?

Anonymous:

Cap-and-trade = Enron meets tax-and-spend; it is the worst of all worlds, from a regulation and corruption and elites destroying our future perspective. If we are to do anything, we should simply build nuclear power plants and move to plug-in hybrids, and have a simple tax on coal and gas to pay for renewable research.

... As for WHEN to act ...

I have a simple response to those who urge immediate regulatory action to deal with this 'crisis'. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is not a crisis, but a very slow and long-trend effect (increasing by a mere 2ppm per year); it is so long a trend that in fact 60 years of 'warming' has led to no more than 0.5C increase in annual temperatures. Some demand immediate action despite the lack of real warming for the last 10 years; some insist 'the science is settled' and therefore severe warming is a certainty; is it? The models are not proven, the data doesn't confirm the models, and the impact is over-stated. How to 'settle' this without waiting until it is too late? The solution to the dilemma of 'when to act' is this - do it when the warming is really happening. We will call it the "AGW Proof Point Amendment":
Pass an amendment that all of these "Climate Protection Act" regulations will not take effect unless and until the global annual mean temperature (averaged over 5 years) is higher than the temperature recorded in 1998 by 0.3C. There has been no global warming since 1998, and there is no reason to impose any regulation unless and until the warming actually starts happening. No severe climate changes will occur unless we get 2C or more of warming, so a mere 0.3C warming will assuredly happen soon if the "AGW is a crisis" crowd is right.

http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2008/06/cap-and-trade-is-enron-style-tax-and.html


Hunky Santa:

Global warming fundamentalism is the new communism. I'm all for drilling for more oil, but also for a more expanded use of nuclear power.

As [sir] Paul once sang: "Let it be."

Chris:

We need to act now America. Question your government if it isn't acting in our best interest, which is to set the standard for renewable energy. Who gives a crap about having a continuously growing economy if there is no world to have one. Our economy should be based on sustainability, after all, thats what mother nature is trying to teach us. This is why we have a brain (so ever complicated in it's battle of right and wrong), to figure out these complications that lie ahead of us. These things that we have are not freedoms, they're only things. Things don't last. If we keep treating our Planet like a "thing", and not a sustainer of life, it won't last either. If we need to uprise against our government for this reason and many others (i.e. They're selling us to the corporations.) then we have the authority written in the Declaration of Independence. Yes, the Declaration of Independence. Independence sounds great when I examine the knowledge I've gained on political corruption stemming from both parties. If you don't notice it you're not paying attention. Where do you get your news from? I hope not the corporate media. They had me fooled for years. To those that think global warming is a fluke, what proof do you have to negate the hundreds of scientists findings on the issue? Why would the Bush Administration try to edit and down play the findings of a NASA scientist? His name is James E. Hansen. Look it up. And...Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe has called global warming a "hoax" before. But just yesterday I seen him on C-Span2 acknowledging the importance that we do something now about climate change. Don't just believe what you hear. Look it up. I say all of this because I care. Investigate. Investigate what I have said. Rise UP.

J.D.Solano:

The most important piece of energy legislation ever?

I respectfully disagree.

The U.S. consumes twice as much energy per capita as other advanced industrial nations: Germany, France, Japan, the UK. The U.S. also consumes some 6 times as much energy per capita as China and Brazil, and some 20 times as much as India.

Energy comes from different sources: European countries have a higher share of geothermal, solar, wind and nuclear power; China depends largely on coal; Brazilian cars run on a high percentage of ethanol. But in all cases, their economies depend on OIL, very much the way the U.S. does.

Will the cap-and-trade bill before Congress change all that?

In one word: NOOOOOOO.

European countries have lower energy per-capita consumption than the U.S., not because of complex cap-and-trade systems, but because they have very efficient public transportation systems, financed by taxes on fossil fuels.

That's the way to go if the U.S. is serious about reducing carbon emmisions.

Oy!:

Forget the global warming part.
How are we going to remain a fossil fuel dependant world when oil (and coal) are finite non-renewable resources?

Start now, find replacements (not drilling for more oil) while we still have time.

If we also end up with cleaner air, nice bonus!

Scam:

Man made Global warming is a scam designed to create a global taxman. Nothing more.

Google video "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and see what climatologists who are not getting paid say.

gary:

what will this crap look like in january when gas is 8 dollars and people can't heat their homes? the planet could be on fire and they will still have the pitchforks out.

mb:

Another thought:
I'd like to see our Nation over-lay new infastructure, and join the world community in competitive energy sources... Our biggest challenge is certainly in keeping our Free Market system; but we have to believe that our best days are ahead. And that our best Scientists are engaged in helping us to evolve to a sustainable life-style.

We were the first, in 1980, to develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yRWNQ4OJDo


We designed a 1,500 ton cargo, solar-powered High-Altitude Airship that can hover for more than a year at 60,000 ft.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9b1_1211696088

We have always been a Free Democratic Nation, with tremendous potential.
As I've said before, we cannot sit and dwell about who did (or didn't do) what, or cry about what we no longer have... When the going gets rough, the tough get going.

Keep positive, people.

mb:

Not sure that our country has the drive to respond and grow based upon penalty and condemnation. Especially since our greatest moments throughout history, were a result of 'acomplishment as reward.'

This, and only this will achieve success...

We can start by reccognizing some of our many accomplishments. One of which:

The U.S. led the world in wind power installations for the third year in a row in 2007... Global wind capacity increased by more than 20,000 (MW) with 5,244 MW installed in the U.S...

And innovations have been at their greatest height, in this last decade... We must get over, complaining about we haven't done.

The balance sheet is to support more innovations than civilian (non-skilled) hand-outs. We are a very competitive Nation... Not a Socialist one.

Howard:

Government action (and inaction) has been sabotaging development of the solar and wind industries for over 30 years.

Even so, against huge government and corporate resistance, wind has recently passed coal as being more cost effective, and solar photovoltaics are on a Moore's Law cost-reduction curve that will make them the cheapest form of electricity generation during the next 5 years.

It's about time that government stop subsidizing fossil fuelishness and nuclear boondoggles.

Level the playing field, internalize the externalities, and allow the silicon revolution that brought us microprocessors to bring us photovoltaic electricity.

(R&D in lithium-ion battery storage technology and DC distribution are also yielding breakthrough opportunities, so that soon solar technology will be the full solution for electricity needs, 24/7/365.)

(BTW, that photovoltaic energy -- unlike fossil energy -- will be at a cost that *drops* every year -- due to the same dynamic that's at work with microprocessors.)

SDAI-Tech1:

Hi Mona Lisa,

"Imagine what would have happened at GM, if the Bush administration, instead of pushing for big oil by giving tax rebates to consumers who bought SUVs and Hummers had instead looked ahead a generation and raised the standards for fuel efficiency. We might not be on the verge of losing a major auto manufacturer, because GM would have been encouraged to invest in fuel efficient technologies."

Raising fuel standards caused the SUV mess. By legislating high fuel (CAFE - Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for passenger cars in the late seventies and early eighties, GM and the other car manufacturers responded by building up the exempted truck chassis vehicles and marketing them to meet the standards. The SUV was not the consumers choice. Big cars shrank leaving customers who needed 5 or six passenger space (aka families) to buy ever more comfortable and optioned out mini-vans and "fancy trucks" or SUVs as they soon were called.

What is the legacy of CAFE?
MORE fuel was consumed by SUVs than ever could have possibly been consumed by the old style full size cars, that got MORE mileage than the SUVs,leaving things just as they were and forgetting CAFE altogether!


"Of course, getting back to Rand, Bush was looking out for his interests as an oil man (record profits for oil companies in his term-- woo hoo!)
And GM was making fast bucks on luxury vehicles and Americans thirst for more."

There is nothing wrong with profits. Profits create growth and investment, raise employment and increase our quality of life.

"None of this bodes well for long term economic growth, America's ability to compete in a changing world, or the end of peak oil. It does however speak to the virtue of selfishness and its effects on the rest of us. Don't be a dinosaur, my friend, use your brain."

Peak oil is a fantasy sold to you by the very rogue capitalists you detest. Creating the illusion of shortages, controlling supplies and distribution and exploiting panic create windfall profits for those who know how to use these techniques. The Russians don't believe in peak oil and understand oil is not just fossilized plant and animals but is abiotic in nature. It's the greatest pricing swindle in history - like charging 4.00 for a gallon of water. The only true shortage is in oil refineries in creating marketable petroleum and these are intentionally not built so as to keep the illusion going.

Climate change is another ruse by the folks who know how to exploit the well-intentioned and loot them at the same time. The Bolsheviks were well-intentioned too and they all thought they were morally upright and looking out for the masses.

Environmental Marxism will profit the few, do nothing for the planet and increase the chances for a 3rd world war as more factories are built in unstable 3rd world countries. Wealth is not money - it is factories and goods. The looters are trying to steal our factories and goods the only way they can - by getting us to give them to them.

I know America will wake up to what's happening. It's only a matter of time. In the meanwhile, I will do my part in disseminating information.

Howard:

The sooner we de-carbonize our economy, the better it will be for us.

See the source for these quotes, below:

The practice of borrowing a billion dollars each day to buy foreign oil has caused the American dollar to implode.

More than a trillion dollars in annual subsidies to coal and oil producers have beggared a nation that four decades ago owned half the globe’s wealth.

Carbon dependence has eroded our economic power, destroyed our moral authority, diminished our international influence and prestige, endangered our national security, and damaged our health and landscapes. It is subverting everything we value.

We know that nations that “decarbonize” their economies reap immediate rewards. Sweden announced in 2006 the phaseout of all fossil fuels (and nuclear energy) by 2020. In 1991 the Swedes enacted a carbon tax—now up to $150 a ton—and as a result thousands of entrepreneurs rushed to develop new ways of generating energy from wind, the sun, and the tides, and from woodchips, agricultural waste, and garbage. Growth rates climbed to upwards of three times those of the U.S.

Iceland was 80 percent dependent on imported coal and oil in the 1970s and was among the poorest economies in Europe. Today, Iceland is 100 percent energy-independent, with 90 percent of the nation’s homes heated by geothermal and its remaining electrical needs met by hydro. The International Monetary Fund now ranks Iceland the fourth most affluent nation on earth. The country, which previously had to beg for corporate investment, now has companies lined up to relocate there to take advantage of its low-cost clean energy.

The United States has far greater domestic energy resources than Iceland or Sweden does...


for the rest, see:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/rfk_manifesto200805

Anonymous 2:

The irony is that one invariably finds, in these conversations, and not only in the US, the same people presenting the same "scientific" documentation... And while readers keep wasting their time discussing what "fire" means and whether the house is on fire and burning (what does "burning" mean?) to the ground, humanity's house is indeed going up in flames, because of us. -- Now wait, tell me: what does "flames" mean? And who is "us"?...

Insane!

-- "What does "insane" mean?"

Crazy Politico:

What this bill should be titled is "The Biggest Tax Increase, and Economic Dis-stimulas Package Ever Produced".

The EPA has called the tax hikes the most regressive form, the world wide impact on CO2 emissions "negligible" and the impact on GDP recession like.

So yeah, let's pass this piece of crap, and see if Boxer, Lieberman, Warner or anyone else votes for it will take responsibility for the economic consequences of it.

Howard:

Dozens of scientists are demanding that their names be removed from a widely distributed Heartland Institute article entitled "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares".

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/4/30/0589/81489/431/506053


Please see my earlier post for further details.

Ron:

Hey scientist, you claim the following: "Reputable scientists all accept global warming as a fact, and that it's caused by human behavior." Please substantiate that claim.

Here's a good discussion for those that like facts over rhetoric: http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

Before some of you claim I'm a right wing nutjob, let me tell you I'm an independent that drives an economical little 4-banger. I've been wishing for years that gas go over $5/gal so we can get all these da#m SUVs off the road. I want to get off foreign oil, but for the right reasons. And I very much do not want to create another huge bureaucracy, and hand-out producing monster, that this cap and trade scheme will introduce.

scientist:

Reputable scientists all accept global warming as a fact, and that it's caused by human behavior. See the National Academy of Science website. Please think about the future of your children. The current generation of excessive consumers has been incredibly shortsighted and selfish. How much stuff do you need anyway?? And the argument that China is a major producer of carbon emissions doesn't excuse the US, which of course produces the highest amount of carbon emissions per person. Sounds like a 6 yr olds argument, "so-and-so is doing it, why can't I't Two wrongs don't make a right.

Tom Philo:

The new "cap and trade" bill is a "one size fits all" type of bill to benefit the whole nation equally - when, as pointed out in article and comments, each section of the country depends on different types of fuel to create energy and thus CANNOT be treated equally. It's like the Government giving $20,000,000 to every state for tsunami preparation. Kansas would love it as part of a countrywide program. It would be fair and just really stupid at the same time.
Government cannot always be fair. Our tax system is NOT based on being fair. This program should be no different. Nuculear and hydro should not get any benefits - but they will gain in lower cost of complying and thus earn more when the commodity rates go up while their costs remain the same. The coal plants - and their customers - will pay more - but they have to "like it" since they are the ones who will benefit from lower pollution - and most environmentalists live in that area too so they would be happy to pay extra for the same services - and like it. You target the specific problem and not try and be a Deomcrat person and try and please everyone.
Tom
www.taphilo.com

Ron:

okie jen and Arcturus:

The two sources your referenced take issue with the methodology used in collecting and reporting signatories. The petition has taken action in cleaning up the list. They also take issue with the format of the report, not the content of the report.

I ask again, please provide a single source that discredits the content of the report. Or better yet, read the report yourself and tell me where the inaccuracies are.

okie jen:

ron:
please start here - it contains many references for the curious...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_petition
I have to go now, so I won't be able to reply further - but the wiki mentions duplicated names, false names, and people who do not remember signing, would not sign, did sign but retract at this point in time etc. etc. etc.

Arcturus:

Correction: 20 to 25

Oh, and Ron, that petition isn't something I'd brag about.

URL http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/skeptic-organizations.html

Arcturus:

To Ron:

The whopping 14 comments here are mostly all "critical" because that's the self-selecting nature of posted anonymous comments, and whenever the topic is climate change, it sends the rightwing machine into a manic, mouth-foaming overdrive and they start sputtering about "global warming on Mars" or how it's a Communist conspiracy (along with putting fluoride in the water) to destroy America or why Hillary is a devil-witch incarnate. These comments are meaningless. That doesn't mean cap-and-trade will pass, at least this time around -- although that is precisely what should happen to reduce fossil fuel consumption. In any sane and rational world, that's exactly what would happen, but that's not the world we live in.

Ron:

okie jen - please provide a single reference that the petition project has been discredited. This is simply not true. But I eagerly await your response.

mona lisa:

in response to SDAI-Tech1:

It's nice that you enjoy Ayn Rand, but this is reality we are talking about.

Imagine what would have happened at GM, if the Bush administration, instead of pushing for big oil by giving tax rebates to consumers who bought SUVs and Hummers had instead looked ahead a generation and raised the standards for fuel efficiency. We might not be on the verge of losing a major auto manufacturer, because GM would have been encouraged to invest in fuel efficient technologies.

Of course, getting back to Rand, Bush was looking out for his interests as an oil man (record profits for oil companies in his term-- woo hoo!)
And GM was making fast bucks on luxury vehicles and Americans thirst for more.

None of this bodes well for long term economic growth, America's ability to compete in a changing world, or the end of peak oil. It does however speak to the virtue of selfishness and its effects on the rest of us. Don't be a dinosaur, my friend, use your brain.

Ron:

Over 31,000 American scientists have signed a petition stating that global warming and climate change due to CO2 is bad science.

Please visit http://www.petitionproject.org and see what our best and brightest scientists say about the issue. Trust me, your eyes will be opened.

Talk of mammoths, and comparisons to smoking do not further discussion of this very important topic in any meaningful way. Educate yourself on the facts and then debate away.

okie jen:

anyone with any knowledge knows climate change is real - there is a preponderance of peer reviewed scientific evidence from all parts of our planet collected by thousands of people who are dedicated to finding the truth and haven't the time of day for "socialist conspiracies" - part of the change is greater variability, btw. The aforementioned petition is Widely discredited - please just check it out, google a bit, OK?
As I read comments on climate change in many different locations and see just how many people are willing to call it politicval shinanigary, how many people absolutely refuse to look at, much less acknowlegde, the science that reveals REALITY, I have only one conclusion...
we are so doomed

anonymous :

At such a snail-like pace, the whole universe will have disappeared before anything worthwhile gets done.

just a guest:

I am not getting into it, but global warming theory is BS, and we shouldn't be investing in it. Furthermore, our investment is meaningless given the rate of increase in emissions from Asia. China is now acknowledged as #1 in global emissions, and I think they have been for years. One report I read said that coal mine fires in these two countries in 2006 dwarfed all other man-made, global emissions for that year, but that these “exceptional” events were not even measured.

I lived in China for a while, and I can testify that they are in a race for prosperity against old age. There is no social security or healthcare there. No one will bail them out. They aren’t going to slow down, and they will not control their pollution, so ANYTHING we do in the legislature is moot. I will tell you what this legislation can accomplish. It can close our remaining industry and send it to China so they can build a few more factories and pollute with impunity. How’s that for a plan?

Throwing money after domestic limitations is folly. We need to get our spending and economy under control. If we don’t, our lifestyle and our very security are at risk. If we spend anything more, or further burden our people and businesses in any way, it should be to stabilize our economy, not destroy it.

Howard :

The science on human-induced climate disruption is solid and the scientific consensus is overwhelming.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/

Skeptics should read these:

http://skirsch.com/politics/globalwarming/globalWarmingUrgency.htm

http://skirsch.com/politics/globalwarming/globalWarming3things.htm

Those who want to see who is funding the smokescreen groups who are offering petitions and "debunking" global warming, see:

http://plutonium-page.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/29/9451/69910/542/524248

...and...

Dozens of scientists are demanding that their names be removed from a widely distributed Heartland Institute article entitled "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares".

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/4/30/0589/81489/431/506053


Now, moving forward:


Those of us who favor free markets have a strong interest in those markets functioning properly -- and that means ensuring accurate pricing signals. Today, there are too many unaccounted costs that do not make it into prices, and inaccurate pricing leads to erroneous economic decisions. Worse, there are many institutionally-enshrined subsidies for the very practices that are putting climate and environment at risk.

While this initial Boxer-Warner-Lieberman bill may fail, we definitely need something like it. Here are the key fixes that need to be made to come up with the right kind of bill:

1) Minimize subsidies for new coal ("clean" coal or otherwise) facilities; include only temporary subsidies for cleaning up existing coal facilities, prior to phasing them out.

2) No new nuclear subsidies, of any kind. (Nuclear fission is *not* a viable approach: limited feedstocks (& toxic byproducts of mining the feedstocks); construction process too slow; operation consumes vast quantities of scarce freshwater; sitting-duck terrorism targets; multiple nightmare scenarios from the waste products; multiple dimensions of unnecessary risk; inappropriate scale for entrepreneurial scalability; overall, a huge waste of attention and capital.)

3) Add provisions to the legislation removing the existing massive, multi-trillion (direct & indirect) subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. These subsidies have long provided "socialism to benefit oil companies" (at the expense of free markets, people, and planet).

4) Un-apologetically unleash ingenuity and free market forces to focus on these opportunities:

The American Midwest is the Saudi Arabia of wind; indeed, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas *alone* produce enough harnessable wind to meet *all* of the nation's electricity demand.

According to a study in Scientific American, photovoltaic and solar-thermal installations across just 19 percent of the most barren desert land in the Southwest could supply nearly all of our nation’s electricity needs without any rooftop installation, even assuming every American owned a plug-in hybrid.

Robert Kennedy Jr explains the politics of those opportunities clearly & concisely here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/rfk_manifesto200805

5) 100% Auctioned Cap & Trade is the way to go. But if reactionaries push back too hard, millions will push back even harder with proposals for stiff Carbon Taxes, as part of a suite of Pollution Taxes. So if you like free markets, you'd be well advised to support 100% Auctioned Cap & Trade.

Craig:

Jen:
"Who ever said the current climate is the best climate for our planet? Ask a few Mammoths and see what their answer is?"

So we should ask a species whose extinction was at least partially due to climate change what they think about climate change?

Marion Black:

The Post has it exactly correct: This bill is garbage. The senators who drafted this bill are retired attorneys and retired school teachers. The are not engineers and they are not mechanics; in fact, they have no industrial or manufacturing background whatsoever. So, they have no right to form an opinion let alone draft legislation.

This bill is childish in that *demands* reductions without any plan to reach the goal. What this bill comes down to is a form of ration cards, to the point where you are being taxed backwards (in a manner of speaking)for driving your car or heating your home --in ADDITION to what you are paying now. This bill is so poorly written that it has already been amended to the tune of a few thousand pages; it is so totally destructive to the U.S. economy vis-a-vis choking the life out of our manfacturing capabilties, that the amendments had to include billions in tax relief --and the bill hasn't even passed!

Carbon credits are nothing more than a counterfeit currency. We have *real* economic problems to solve without what amounts to sabotaging our country further by playing with 'monopoly' money. The only true environmentalists are individuals and *not* these mobs of pseudo-celebrities who masquerade as leaders.

The only solution is to reduce regulations and promote something better than 30-year old technologies like solar and wind.

Ron:

Want the truth on global warming/climate change?

Here's what the mainstream press isn't telling you and here's what real scientists think:

http://www.petitionproject.org/gwdatabase/Article_HTML/Review_Article_HTML.html

http://www.petitionproject.org - Please read the rest of the site to find out why these scientists have put this petition together.

I have to admit I was happy to see many of the comments were critical of the the current bill. Maybe some people are paying attention after all.

Winston Smith:

So the polar ice caps aren't really melting?

Get a grip, nutjobs.

billylauderdale:

Would someone answer what we will do if we enact this legislation and then it gets COLDER ?

There are no sunspots on the sun now and some climatologists think we could be heading for cooling.

billylauderdale:

Would someone answer what we will do if we enact this legislation and then it gets COLDER ?

There are no sunspots on the sun now and some climatologists think we could be heading for cooling.

HEREIT COMES:

I AGREE WITH THE POSTING OF "JEN" ON JUNE 03. iT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. ALWAYS IS...ISN'T IT?
SADLY THE WORLD TURNS.

Mark:

Mike (3:58PM)

Junk science indeed. I hear smoking doesn't cause cancer either....

Jen:

FOLLOW THE MONEY! If you give these climate folks enough rope, they will have us all paying for the climate changes happening on Mars too. I guess we need to limit SUV's there also. Who ever said the current climate is the best climate for our planet? Ask a few Mammoths and see what their answer is? FOLLOW THE MONEY!! Someone is looking to get filthy rich off all of this.

SDAI-Tech1:

Anyone who has read "Atlas Shrugged" will recognize this bill as the same old socialist looting and interference in free commerce that the railroads and steel mills were subjected to by an unsavory lot with the seal of approval of a bunch of corrupt scientists. It's almost scary how well Ayn Rand foreshadowed the events of today.

Playing a shell game with pollution is NOT a solution to reduction in global pollution. Shutting down a car factory in Detroit only to have it relocate 10 miles south of the US-Mexico border is a farce. A farce that costs Americans their jobs and increases the price we pay for goods.

Eisenhower began to unravel portions of the unconstitutional "New Deal" of Franklin Roosevelt and the illegal price controls and FDR's insistence that "Our task now is not the development or exploitation of natural resources or necessarily producing more goods it is the soberer, less dramatic business of administrating resources and plants already at hand..of distributing wealth and products more equitably."

"Parceling out scarcities is not economic justice" said Eisenhower in 1952 as he knocked down the price controls and ended the governments policy of interfering in manufacturing and commerce. Here we are in 2008 and the socialists are at it again. Price controls, caps on industry and unconstitutional interference in US commerce because of "global warming." FDR's excuse for defying the US Constitution was the depression and then the second world war. These "emergencies" required a man above the law to call the shots. Now we have a new emergency that is supposed to justify more interference, more political flatulence that will do absolutely nothing to cool the planet and merely enrich folks and "parcel out scarcities" just as the communists did as the basis of their economic philosophy in the failed Soviet Union.

We're smarter than that I should hope. The people are no longer fooled into allowing government looters to rob them and their children with their own consent.

Mike:

Even though you have a link to the Samuelson article, you don't mention a more straight-forward carbon tax. Haven't most of the scientists and economists who are not allied with one group or another concluded that a carbon tax would be more efficient and direct? If so, then the cap-and-trade approach would appear to be simply another example of a situation in which Republicans oppose any proposal that includes the word "tax" and the Democrats cave in to avoid a battle that could result in no legislation. Thus, although the Republicans are in the "minority" in theory, they still call the shots on what can or cannot be enacted. Is this correct, or am I missing something?

Thanks

John:

Global warming?!- Is that why I'm still wearing a sweater in June...?

Mike:

No matter how you couch it in "progressive" rhetoric, this is nothing more than a socialist scheme to increase taxes and transfer wealth based on junk science.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.