the terminator

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Depending on where you live, April 21, 2011 may have already faded into yet another non-apocalyptic win for humanity. If not, you may still have about 12 hours to be worried.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to The Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to warn of the potential future termination of humanity:

Today, I have tears in my eyes again, but for a very different reason. Some in Washington are threatening to pull the plug on this success. Since January, there have been more than a dozen proposals in Congress to limit enforcement of our clean-air rules, create special-interest loopholes, and attempt to reverse scientific findings. These attacks go by different names and target different aspects of the law, but they all amount to the same thing: dirtier air.

This is not an abstract political fight. If these proposals are passed, more mercury, dioxins, carbon pollution and acid gases will end up in the air our kids breathe. More Americans will get sick, end up in the hospital, and die from respiratory illness.

Don’t cry, Arnold! Much of this is an abstract political fight. The major push back and political grandstanding against the proposed EPA rules is what, if anything, should be done about the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The only proposal floated by Congress was found to be horribly ineffective, even by many environmentalists. During that fight, the Obama administration threatened opponents to accept it, because EPA regulations would follow if the legislation didn’t pass, and the EPA wasn’t capable of providing efficient or even effective “solutions.”

And here we are, with the EPA moving forward on costly regulations (during a recession) that, according to their own estimates, will reduce temperatures in 2100 by anywhere from 0.0015 to 0.006 degrees centigrade. Remember, Arnold, whatever your opinion on the historical benefits of the EPA, past performance is no guarantee of future success.

Finally, Arnold points to California as a model economy:

And, as I know from California’s experience, clean-air rules have led to innovation and new technologies that have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and billions in clean-energy investment.

I’m not sure California ought to be cited as the model of anything, given their inability to budget and the steady exodus of business from the state.