energy rationing

Post image for Obama Nominates Cap-and-Trader John Bryson to be Commerce Secretary

President Barack Obama this week nominated John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.  Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) immediately announced that he would try to defeat Bryson’s confirmation by the Senate. It’s easy to see why Inhofe didn’t have to spend much time weighing Bryson’s qualifications.  Bryson is a model crony capitalist, lifelong professional environmentalist, and leading promoter of cap-and-trade legislation to raise energy prices.

Here is what Bryson said at a symposium at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009: “Greenhouse gas legislation – either with a tax or with a cap and trade, which is a more complicated way of getting at it, but it has the advantage politically of sort of hiding the fact that you have a tax, but at the same – you know that’s what you’re trying to do, trying to raise price of carbon….”  He went on to say that the Waxman-Markey and other cap-and-trade bills in Congress would not raise energy prices enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the required amount, so that he also favored federal regulations, such as renewable requirements for electric utilities, on top of cap-and-trade.  Later, Bryson referred to Waxman-Markey as a “moderate but acceptable bill.”

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Post image for The Yin and Yang of RGGI

The American Northeast has attained metaphysical balance on energy rationing, thanks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s (R)  announcement yesterday that he would withdraw the Garden State from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state cap-and-trade scheme. After New Jersey leaves, the remaining nine participants will be: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Christie’s unexpected decision serves as the yin to New Hampshire’s yang. In late February, the New Hampshire House of Representatives  passed HB 519, legislation that would withdraw the Granite State from RGGI, by a 246 to 104 vote. At the time, it was widely thought that the Senate would quickly follow suit, as Republicans control the upper chamber. HB 519’s ultimate enactment appeared so certain, in fact, that Governor John Lynch (D) issued a pre-emptive veto. It should have been a futile gesture, because Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the legislature. Then the environmentalist lobby mobilized and frightened many members of the Senate. The bill was delayed. And in early May, the full Senate, where Republicans enjoy a 2 to 1 majority, voted to remain in the the regional energy rationing scheme. New Hampshire Republicans had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Post image for New Hampshire Senate Republicans Flinch

New Hampshire Senate Republicans have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on energy rationing policy. Two months ago, the State House of Representatives passed HB 519, legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), by a 246 to 104 vote. At the time, it was widely thought that the Senate would quickly follow suit, as Republicans control the upper chamber. Governor John Lynch (D) promised to veto the bill, but Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the legislature.

Then the environmentalist lobby mobilized and frightened many members of the Senate. The bill was delayed. Last week, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against HB 519 companion legislation. This week, the full Senate, where Republicans enjoy a 2 to 1 majority, voted to remain in the RGGI.

Post image for Rep. Ed Markey: Real Genius

According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the finest writer in American history, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” By this criterion, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is a real genius, because he manages to function in the Congress, despite the fact that he thinks the price of gasoline should go up and down, simultaneously.

As one of the Congress’s foremost global warming alarmists, Rep. Markey believes that hydrocarbon energy is the cause of the supposed “problem” that is global warming. Due to this belief, he is a staunch supporter of energy policies designed to make hydrocarbon energy more expensive, so that Americans use less of it, and thereby fight global warming. For example, he co-authored the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009. (Thankfully, the bill died in the Senate.) Because the entire point of this policy was to “put a price” on carbon, it would have increased the price of gasoline, by design.

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Post image for New Hampshire Republicans Waffle on Energy Rationing

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate continue to dither like a eunuch in a brothel lobby, more than two months after the State House of Representatives enacted HB 519, legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, by a 246 to 104 vote. In late February, after the Republican-controlled House acted, it was widely thought that the Senate would quickly follow suit, as Republicans hold a 2 to 1 majority in the upper chamber. However, the environmentalist lobby mobilized and frightened many Members of the Legislature. Last week, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against HB 519 companion legislation. Nonetheless, the full Senate is expected to enact the measure this week, although it is unclear that there will be enough votes to override a promised veto from Governor John Lynch (D), even though Republicans have a veto-proof majority.

Routed Greens Retreat

by Marita Noon on April 11, 2011

Post image for Routed Greens Retreat

Climate change is real. Climate change is manmade. Manmade climate change has happened within the last twenty-four months.

Leaders in the climate change debate have controlled the message for forty years since the adoption of the Clean Air Act. They have “approached climate change politics with an air of disdain,” according to Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund (established in 1967).

Krupp addressed the changing political climate at Fortune Magazine’s Brainstorm Green Conference in early April and admitted that there is a “newfound hostility to climate policy.” He advised the environmental community to be “more humble” and “less arrogant.” He acknowledged the failure of a comprehensive energy and/or cap and trade policy.

Krupp is correct. With the falsification of climate records exposed—known as Climategate, the American people now see climate change as merely hysteria. Polls show they do not view it as a real problem that we need to address now.

At the same conference, Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, agreed. He said, “Cap and trade cannot be sold and must be reinvented,” adding that it was going to be hard to “resurrect cap and trade.”

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Post image for House Passes Energy Tax Prevention Act, 255-172

The House of Representatives this afternoon passed H. R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, by a vote of 255 to 172.  Nineteen Democrats voted Yes.  No Republicans voted No.  This is a remarkable turnaround from the last Congress when on 26th June 2009 the House voted 219 to 212 to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill.

The Energy Tax Prevention Act, sponsored by Rep. Fred. Upton (R-Mich.), the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and thereby put a potentially huge indirect tax on American consumers and businesses.   Coal, oil, and natural gas produce carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, when burned.  Those three fuels provide over 80% of the energy used in America.  Thus regulating carbon dioxide emissions essentially puts the EPA in charge of running the U. S. economy.

This is just the first step in stopping the Obama Administration’s attempt to raise energy prices .  The House bill now heads to the Senate, where yesterday an attempt to add the Energy Tax Prevention Act (introduced in the Senate as S. 482 by Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma) as an amendment to another bill was defeated on a 50-50 vote.  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s amendment would have required 60 votes to be attached to S. 493.  Four Democrats joined 46 Republicans in voting for the amendment–Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.  Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to vote No.

The strong House vote in favor of the Energy Tax Prevention Act should build new momentum to pass it in the Senate later this year.  Of course, the White House has already issued a veto threat, which shows that President Obama is not interested in creating new jobs and restoring prosperity to America.  Congress has now rejected cap-and-tax resoundingly, but the President still hopes to achieve through backdoor regulation his goals of skyrocketing electric rates and gasoline prices at the $10 a gallon European level.

Post image for Memo to WaPo: Opposition to Cap-and-Trade Is Bipartisan

Yesterday, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein posted about the President’s pitch for a so-called “Clean Energy Standard.” I don’t recommend his explanation; for a much more accurate description of the CES, check out this blog, by my colleague Marlo Lewis.

In this post, I intend only to rebut Klein’s mistaken claim that Congressional opposition to cap-and-trade is partisan. In fact, opposition to energy rationing schemes is one of the very few issues that enjoys support on both sides of the aisle in the Congress.

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The chance that the Senate will pass a comprehensive energy-rationing (a k a climate) bill this year remains close to zero.  BP’s big oil spill in the Gulf changes very little.

The global warming movement peaked last June 26 when the House passed the Waxman-Markey bill.  When members went home for the Fourth of July, many who voted for it discovered that their constituents were angry and mobilized.

Seeing the public reaction, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped plans to move a cap-and-trade bill before the August recess and turned to health care reform.  It’s been all downhill since then.

The Kerry-Boxer bill, which is very similar to Waxman-Markey, passed the Environment and Public Works Committee last fall, but it was clear that it couldn’t get 51 votes, let alone 60, on the floor.  That’s when Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) began working on a “middle-of-the-road” package with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Even if he does finally release a draft of the measure this week, it’s still not going anywhere.  Whether Graham is on board doesn’t matter because he doesn’t bring any other Republicans with him.

Kerry’s draft has restricted cap-and trade to electric utilities only.  And he’s stopped calling it cap-and-trade because the American people have figured out that it is an indirect tax on them.  Now it’s “pollution reduction and investment.”  Similarly, a gasoline tax has been renamed “linked fee.”  Call it whatever you want, it’s still a tax that consumers will have to pay.  Adding some offshore oil or nuclear incentives or clean coal research can’t hide the fact that prices will go up when energy is rationed.

What’s become increasingly apparent is that this legislation no longer has much to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  It’s a monstrous collection of payoffs to big business special interests, ranging from Goldman Sachs to Duke Energy to General Electric.

(This piece originally appeared on the New York Times’s Room for Debate web site. )

The Return of Al Gore

by Myron Ebell on March 1, 2010

It’s not clear what Al Gore has been doing the past three months since the Climategate scientific fraud scandal broke–perhaps doing a bit of interplanetary travel or hanging out in a remote cave discussing how to de-industrialize America with his fellow global warming alarmist, Osama bin Laden.  No matter, Gore has returned to his global warming crusade with an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times.  And what an op-ed!   “We can’t wish away climate change” is 1896 words, or about three times the length of most op-eds.  Unfortunately, the leader of the forces of darkness hasn’t learned a thing during his mysterious sabbatical.

Gore begins by claiming that “it would be an enormous relief” if global warming turned out not to be a crisis.  This is undoubtedly true for most people, but Gore can’t resist piling on: “I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion.”  Oh, really?  Can anyone believe that the man who has remade himself from a losing presidential candidate into the savior of the planet wants it all to go away?  And who stands to make hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars from investments in green technology if energy-rationing policies are enacted?  Would he give back his Oscar and his Nobel Peace Prize?

Gore then summarizes Climategate as “the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”  Yes, at least two mistakes.  One that he doesn’t mention is the systematic manipulation of data in order to make the 1930s and ’40s appear cooler and the 1990s and 2000s warmer in the surface temperature record.  Another is the conspiracy to cover up the Medieval Warm Period with the infamous hockey-stick graph.  Nor does Gore mention that Professor Phil Jones, the central figure in Climategate, conceded in a recent interview that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

For Gore, the scientific case for alarmism is exactly as it was before Climategate, except that it’s “clearer and clearer” that things are actually worse than scientists thought.  This is a refrain Gore trots out every few months, and it is  the main reason he continues to lose credibility.

From misrepresenting the science Gore moves on to describe the political obstacles to global energy rationing.  He correctly summarizes the obstacles as formidable, but can’t resist telling another tall tale.  He claims that China “had privately signaled last year that if the United States passed meaningful legislation, it would join in serious efforts to produce an effective treaty” in Copenhagen.  But when the Senate failed to pass cap-and-trade, “the Chinese balked.”  This “private signal” is sheer fantasy.  The Chinese government have made it clear in the most direct, undiplomatic language at every international global warming pow-wow for years that they will not commit to mandatory emissions reductions.

Gore concludes with a long, incoherent rant about why he and his fellow doomsters have so far failed.  It all started with the fall of Communism.  This allowed “market fundamentalists” to convince ignorant voters that, “Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.”

So what is to be done?  Here Gore becomes totally unglued.  “…[W]hat is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.”  The point about a regime of laws in particular and politics in general is that they cannot be instruments of human redemption.  Gore’s global salvationism (to use English economist David Henderson’s insightful term) is not far removed from the totalitarianism of Communism and National Socialism, as he makes clear in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance.

And where does Gore put his hopes for human redemption?  Hilariously, Gore is counting on Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who may release a draft energy-rationing bill this week that Gore hopes “will place a true cap on carbon emissions.”

This shows that Gore can still get a laugh now and then, but he’s become another illustration of the old adage that even the best vaudeville acts eventually wear out.  It’s time for Al Gore to hang up the soft shoes and shuffle off the stage.