Cooler Heads Digest

by William Yeatman on January 18, 2008

in Cooler Heads Digest

News Highlights
David Gow, The Guardian, 14 January 2008
Finfacts,15 January 2008
Editorial, Washington Examiner, 16 January 2008
AFP, 17 January 2008
Peggy Hollinger, Andrew Bounds and Sarah Laitner, Financial Times, 15 January 2008
Sterling Burnett, Planet Gore, 16 January 2008
AFP, 16 January 2008
Felicity Berringer, New York Times, 16 January 2008
[note—after public outrage, the State of California dropped the thermostat proposal]
Paul Driessen, Conservative Battleline, 16 January 2008
David Ljunggren, Reuters, 14 January 2008
CEI, 17 January 2008
William Yeatman, Denver Post, 11 January 2008
News You Can Use
Survey Shows Eco-Warriors Are Worst Polluters
A survey of 25,000 people, by the market research company Target Group Index, found that the most environmentally conscious people are seven per cent more likely than the general population to take flights, and four per cent more likely to own a car. The survey found similar trends in France and the United States .
Inside the Beltway
CEI’s Myron Ebell
At the big Detroit auto show this week, Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told reporters that he hoped to have a global warming bill ready to go as soon as possible. Of course, he might have meant next year or next month. The real news was that he hinted that he may exclude automobiles from his cap-and-trade bill on the grounds that the auto industry has already been assigned its fair share of the climate burden by the enactment last month of a forty per cent increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.
This makes some sense, but the more logical alternative if a cap-and-trade bill is going to be passed would be to repeal all the specific mandates, subsidies, and limits. They only get in the way of a cap-and-trade scheme working efficiently to find the cheapest ways to lower emissions. Thus as part of Dingell’s bill, he should include repealing CAFÉ, ethanol mandates and subsidies, the new ban on incandescent light bulbs, and a whole lot of other government regulations that are no longer needed once a cap on emissions is in place. The same would be true if Dingell pursues his carbon tax proposal. A tax would make cap-and-trade and all these other regulations unnecessary.
Around the World
CEI’s Marlo Lewis
“Everybody wants ta get inta de act!” So said Jimmy Durante, the great vaudeville comedian, singer, and actor. How true of global warming policy these days!
Proponents of Kyotoism call their planetary salvation nostrums “market-based.” Most want cap-and-trade. Some want carbon taxes. Some, like Al Gore, want both. After all, cap-and-trade is an implicit tax. If big government is your bread and butter, then piling tax upon tax seems like a great idea.
So “market-based” is not equivalent to“good,” unless you think higher taxes are good.
But most warming hysterics also want a slew of measures of the command-and-control variety. They want central planning “inta de act.”
Congress, for example, recently mandated that 36 billion gallons of the nation’s motor fuel be “renewable” by 2022—a production quota worthy of Uncle Joe Stalin. House leaders also tried to enact a Soviet-style production quota for electricity, popularly known as a “renewable portfolio standard.”
Command-and-control climate policy is big in the European Union. Yes, the EU boasts that its emission trading system (ETS) is “market-based.” But it isn’t really, because politicians rather than markets allocate the emissions credits. Unsurprisingly, the ETS so far has failed to reduce emissions while bilking consumers for the benefit of special interests. See this eye-popping report.
But Eurocrats are not content to use dubious market mechanisms like the ETS or real ones like motor fuel taxes that push European gasoline prices above $7.00 a gallon. The EU has also adopted a renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of all electricity to come from wind, solar, or hydro-electric sources by 2020.
The Brits at least understand that renewable portfolio standards defeat the alleged purpose of an emissions trading program, which is to discover the most cost-effective emission reduction options and motivate investment accordingly. “In a briefing note on EU renewables targets leaked last August,” reports The Parliament.Com, “the UK government said that achieving the 20 per cent renewables target risks causing spiraling energy costs within the emissions trading scheme, also under review in the commission’s energy package.”
The UK briefing note warns of substantial economic inefficiency: “The costs of increasing renewable energy technology use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is around three times higher than allowing flexibility in reducing options through emissions trading. This additional cost will be reflected in increasing electricity and other energy prices.”
The anti-energy bill recently enacted by Congress and the President was atrocious. But at least it kept renewable portfolio standards “outa de act.” Whether cooler heads continue to prevail in 2008 remains to be seen. Stay tuned.
In the Home
CEI’s Julie Walsh
I was having lunch a few months back with a friend who thinks that “maybe there is global warming” because when he was growing up in the ‘70’s it was colder than it is now. And it’s gotten a little warmer ever since then.
People tend to think of “normal” as the way it was at some point in their past, most often their childhood. So in the ‘70s, people started worrying about global cooling, partly because many people remember balmier temperatures when they were growing up.
The truth is, we don’t live in a climatically-static world. The Earth’s climate is a dynamic system, as these graphs clearly demonstrate.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: