The Week That Was
July 21 , 2007
Quote of the Week:
The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
And John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia: “The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?”
More such gems at http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2007%20July.htm#bespoke and on Greenie Watch http://antigreen.blogspot.com/2007/07/global-warming-and-debunkers-of-durkin.html
Congress continues to come up with schemes to avoid “climate catastrophes.” Will change to fluorescent light bulbs really keep the Greenland ice sheet from sliding into the ocean? Fortunately, John Dingell is standing firm – for the time being [ITEM #1]. In Britain too, there are sensible voices raising thoughtful questions [ITEM #2]. Trouble is they all believe the science is settled and don’t realize that the evidence is going strongly against any a significant human-caused warming.
Meanwhile, Nigel Calder [ITEM #3] and David Whitehouse [ITEM #4], both distinguished science popularizers, make the case for solar control of climate. If one accepts the evidence they bring forth, then there is no point at all to limit CO2 emissions.
Trilby Lundberg discusses how such misguided anti-GW policies are raising the price of gasoline [ITEM #5]. And Steve Milloy reveals the misuse of CO2 mitigation that is making some rich – at the expense of us all: For private scams [ITEM #6]; for govt scams [ITEM #7]
By contrast, former Florida governor Jeb Bush discusses his philosophy of small government that might just rein in GW madness [ITEM #8].
Finally, Martin Durkin, producer/director of The Great Global Warming Swindle, exposes the nasty side of the GW zealots and why they are so mad. [ITEM #9]. But it won’t save them from going under; the science will triumph.
A poem: Was he thinking about temperature trends
“A trend is a trend,
But the question is, will it bend?
Will it alter its course
Through some unforeseen force
And come to a premature end?”
Alec Cairncross, 1969
1. VETERAN HOUSE DEMOCRAT GUARDS TURF ON ENERGY
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS, NY Times, July 21, 2007 (edited)
WASHINGTON, July 20 —Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan has not mellowed. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, first elected to Congress in 1955 when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, Mr. Dingell has probably fought more fights, intimidated more adversaries and pushed through more legislation than any other Democrat in the House.
But House Democratic leaders, hoping to pass an “energy independence” bill this month, have had to delay taking the measure to the floor for weeks. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies want a hefty increase in fuel-economy requirements for cars, light trucks and SUV’s, but they are finding that it is not easy to maneuver around Mr. Dingell, who wants a smaller increase that would be less painful for Detroit automakers.
When Ms. Pelosi, of California, created a new committee on energy independence and global warming in January, Mr. Dingell attacked it as a potential encroachment on his turf. Though she assured him the new panel would have no legislative authority, he remarked that it would be an “embarassment” and “as useful as feathers on a fish.”
Behind the scenes, Mr. Dingell fumes that Ms. Pelosi and other comparatively young House leaders are trying to dictate his schedule and his priorities. He grumbles about colleagues who are too “ideological,” too impatient and too unrealistic about the costs of slowing global warming. He implies that Ms. Pelosi cares more about being “green” in California than about blue-collar workers in Michigan.
The first big showdown will be the pending energy bill, which House leaders originally hoped to pass soon after July 4. Mr. Dingell’s committee has approved a measure that omits any change in fuel-economy requirements. Ms. Pelosi and many other Democrats want to add a tough requirement, much like one the Senate passed in June, as an amendment on the House floor. But they are loath to try until they are sure they have enough votes to win. If they cannot muster the votes, House Democrats figure they can adopt the Senate measure during a House-Senate conference. But even that is dicey: Mr. Dingell is likely to be the senior House Democrat in that conference.
Last month, Mr. Dingell infuriated Ms. Pelosi and many Democrats on his own committee by drafting an energy bill that would have blocked California and other states from passing their own restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions from automobiles. After an outcry from many Democrats and a sharp no from Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Dingell postponed what he called the “more controversial” issues until his committee took up a global warming bill in the fall.
Gone was any requirement for higher mileage in cars and SUV’s, which Ms. Pelosi wanted. Gone was any prohibition against states setting their own emission rules for cars, which Mr. Dingell wanted. Gone were all the subsidies for coal-based diesel fuels, which Democrats from coal-producing states wanted. What is left is a comparatively bland bill that would impose higher efficiency standards for electrical appliances, machinery and buildings, increase loan guarantees for companies producing renewable fuels and provide research money for new energy technology.
By contrast, the Senate last month approved energy legislation that would increase average mileage standards to 35 miles per gallon for cars and SUV’s alike by 2020. Cars now must average 27.5 miles per gallon, and light trucks and SUV’s need to get 21.6.
In a nod to his environmental critics, Mr. Dingell vowed to come up with a major bill in the fall to reduce heat-trapping gases 60 percent to 80 percent over the next four decades. But a few days later, he declared that his legislation would include a steep “carbon tax” on fuels that emit carbon dioxide — an approach that many Democratic leaders view as political suicide — in part to highlight the unpopular cost of slowing global warming.
But where Ms. Pelosi says global warming is her top domestic priority, Mr. Dingell as recently as December expressed doubt about the scientific consensus on global warming. He has not seen “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Oscar-winning documentary on global warming starring former Vice President Al Gore. Today, Mr. Dingell says he is convinced that global warming is an urgent problem, but doubts that most people understand the enormous costs involved in addressing it.
Beyond tactical calculations and nose-counting, Mr. Dingell almost certainly has his eye on bargaining for other kinds of Congressional support for automakers. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have all pleaded for help in reducing health care and pension costs for employees and retirees — a cost that has been estimated at about $1,000 per vehicle and is not borne by car companies in most other countries.
Mr. Dingell is cagey about what he truly wants to accomplish. “We’ll see to it that we produce the rules that are needed,” he said. “We’ll see to it that it doesn’t cost jobs and doesn’t hurt the economy. We’ll see to it that we don’t throw away jobs or our industrial leadership.”
2. PLAYING CLIMATE CHANGE POKER
Editorial by Colin Challen, MP* (edited)
Science 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, p. 295 DOI: 10.1126/science.1146513
Targets can be troublesome things. If they're set for some distant future date, the target setter may not live long enough to see if they've been met. Interestingly, much discussion about tackling climate change anticipates having achieved something by the middle of this century. What's the target? Both the European Union (EU) and, at a national level, the United Kingdom have focused on a CO2 emissions cut of at least 60%, which is intended to reduce average global warming by 2°C. (The June G8 summit also spoke of an emissions cut of 50% globally, but only in the context of exploring such a goal and with no greenhouse gas stabilization target in mind.)
What are the chances of meeting the 2°C objective? Not likely, according to Malte Meinshausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who presented the scientific evidence in a report of the 2005 Exeter climate change conference and who's been quoted since, both by UK government economic advisor Sir Nicholas Stern and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His analysis of 11 climate sensitivity studies of the effect of global CO2 atmospheric concentrations on temperature shows that settling for a 60% cut in atmospheric CO2 (which corresponds to 550 parts per million by volume) leaves a probability between 63 and 99% of missing the 2°C target. Both the UK and EU proposals indicate that their emissions reduction targets might be toughened.
In a democracy, it is difficult to convince voters that they should take actions, especially expensive ones, to avoid an as yet largely unseen and unquantifiable danger. How do you base a policy that is likely to have significant economic impacts on model data and forecasts that some might regard as guesswork? We only need to recall the false economy of not spending taxpayers' dollars on building up the New Orleans levees to realize how actions taken today could avert a long-range problem. Delay, combined with the risk that skeptics may accuse the Al Gores of this world of "crying wolf," could make tougher policies harder to adopt later.
Colin Challen is a Member of Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, which has launched an inquiry into the setting of greenhouse gas reduction targets. E-mail: email@example.com
Nigel Calder, former editor of The New Scientist and author of innumerable books and articles on science, including The Chilling Stars, in conversation with Pan Pantziarka.
LBR: Do you think that there has been a change in the debate on climate change recently? Is there a greater willingness to entertain alternative views on the causes of climate change?
NC: A local victory for free speech has occurred in the BBC, where an internal report on impartiality (June 2007) picked out climate change as a subject where dissenting voices really should be heard. That verdict is already having some effect, although BBC reporters still tend to assume that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change must be right. More generally there's a contrast between a hardening of attitudes on the part of the scientists, politicians and journalists in the 'man-made global warming' camp, which contrasts with more open scepticism among the general public. One reason for the latter may be horror fatigue, about all the scare stories. Another is a suspicion that politicians are glad of a new excuse to raise taxes. But most importantly there is plain common sense about the weather's variability. If you're told that a warm UK April 2007 is foretaste of hotter times to come, you cannot but ask what a cold and wet June portends. And while some of the media and greenhouse scientists have fiercely attacked The Chilling Stars and Henrik Svensmark's theory, I've not heard a single complaint from friends, or friends of friends. It was the same when I appeared in the Channel 4 documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'.
LBR: Given the controversy over 'The Great Global Warming Swindle?, do you think your decision to take part was a wise one?
NC: Yes. I was in distinguished company with a string of prominent scientists to demonstrate that critics of the man-made warming hypothesis are not just a bunch of crackpots. There's been almost no attempt to rebut what we interviewees said individually and criticisms were focused on some linking narrations and explanatory animations, which some of us might have scripted a bit differently. By the way, Al Gore's movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' is applauded by greenhouse scientists even though they know it contains misleading statements. To be inaccurate in a politically correct cause seems to be OK in their ethos.
LBR: Do you think that the idea of a scientific 'consensus' on climate change is now so firmly entrenched that it can't be shifted?
NC: The idea of a settled consensus is alien to productive science. In any branch of research that isn't moribund, battles rage between the entrenched bigwigs and their cronies, versus others who challenge their hypotheses. What makes science so valuable for our species is that eventually errors are corrected and ideas shift. But that can be a slow and painful process taking 10-20 years. In the case of climate science, control of public research funding by the 'consensus' makes life difficult for the likes of Henrik Svensmark. Mother Nature may speed the change of heart if, as some of us half-expect, the next few years bring evidence of global cooling.
LBR: What kind of empirical evidence do you think would be needed to prove the theory that anthropogenic CO2 emissions cause global warming?
NC: It's likely that CO2 has some warming effect, but real proof of that hypothesis is tricky. You have to confirm by observation exactly how the CO2 changes the situation at different altitudes in the atmosphere and in different regions of the world. For example, CO2 is supposed to warm the upper air faster than the surface, but the measurements don't show that happening. When the CO2 effect is eventually pinned down, it will probably turn out to be weaker and less worrisome than predicted by the global warming theorists.
LBR: How do you respond to the paper by Lockwood and Froehlich, which claims to comprehensively 'settle the debate' on the cosmic ray hypothesis you describe in The Chilling Stars?
NC: How often we've heard it before, that the debate has been settled! But this is an interesting case because these scientists accept that the Sun has played a big part in climate change over hundreds and thousands of years, just as we explain in the book. They even allow that it was involved in the warming in much of the 20th Century. And when Lockwood and Froehlich go on to say that the intensification of solar activity seen in the past hundred years has now ended, we don't disagree with that. We part company only when they say that temperatures have gone on shooting up, so that the recent rise can't have anything to do with the Sun, or with cosmic rays modulated by the Sun. In reality global temperatures have stopped rising. Data for both the surface and the lower air show no warming since 1999. That makes no sense by the hypothesis of global warming driven mainly by CO2, because the amount of CO2 in the air has gone on increasing. But the fact that the Sun is beginning to neglect its climatic duty -- of batting away the cosmic rays that come from 'the chilling stars' -- fits beautifully with this apparent end of global warming.
LBR: How can non-scientists make any sense of the competing theories being proposed, when even the observational evidence is being disputed?
NC: Forget the politics, if you can, and remember that, at the cutting edge of discovery, scientists are no more certain about what's really going on than men or women in the street. When a new finding is really surprising it falls outside the scope of existing curricula. There are neither textbooks nor highly trained people around, to be aloof in their specialist expertise. In such cases the discoverers sometimes short-circuit the academic process and take their discoveries to the general public as quickly and as directly as possible. Galileo, Darwin and Einstein all did that. They flattered their readers' intelligence as well as enlightening them, and let them make up their own minds about whether to believe the new stories. It's in that long tradition that Henrik Svensmark and I present in plain language Henrik's astonishing realization that our everyday clouds take their orders from the Sun and the stars. We're entirely happy that our readers, whether scientists or non-scientists, should weigh the arguments and form their own opinions, for or against us.
4. THE TRUTH IS, WE CAN'T IGNORE THE SUN
By David Whitehouse, 15/07/2007
According to the headlines last week, the sun is not to blame for recent global warming: mankind and fossil fuels are. So Al Gore is correct when he said, "the scientific data is in. There is no more debate." Of that the evangelical BBC had no doubt. There was an air of triumphalism in its coverage of the report by the Royal Society [Lockwood and Froelich in Proc Roy Soc, 2007]. The BBC was enthusiastically one-sided, sloppy and confused on its website, using concepts such as the sun's power, output and magnetic field incorrectly and interchangeably, as well as not including any criticism of the research.
But there is a deeper and more worrying issue. Last week's research is a simple piece of science and fundamentally flawed. Nobody looked beyond the hype; if they had, they would have reached a different conclusion. The report argues that while the sun had a significant effect on climate during most of the 20th century, its influence is currently dwarfed by human effects. It says that all known solar influences since about 1990 are downward and because global temperature has increased since then, the sun is not responsible.
No. The research could prove the contrary. Using the global temperature data endorsed by the Inter-national Panel on Climate Change, one can reach a completely different conclusion. Looking at annual global temperatures, it is apparent that the last decade shows no warming trend and recent successive annual global temperatures are well within each year's measurement errors. Statistically the world's temperature is flat.
The world certainly warmed between 1975 and 1998, but in the past 10 years it has not been increasing at the rate it did. No scientist could honestly look at global temperatures over the past decade and see a rising curve.
It is undisputed that the sun of the later part of the 20th century was behaving differently from that of the beginning. Its sunspot cycle is stronger and shorter and, technically speaking, its magnetic field leakage is weaker and its cosmic ray shielding effect stronger. So we see that when the sun's activity was rising, the world warmed. When it peaked in activity in the late 1980s, within a few years global warming stalled. A coincidence, certainly: a connection, possibly.
My own view on the theory that greenhouse gases are driving climate change is that it is a good working hypothesis - but, because I have studied the sun, I am not completely convinced. The sun is by far the single most powerful driving force on our climate, and the fact is we do not understand how it affects us as much as some think we do.
So look on the BBC and Al Gore with scepticism. A scientist's first allegiance should not be to computer models or political spin but to the data: that shows the science is not settled.
Dr David Whitehouse is an astronomer, former BBC science correspondent, and the author of The Sun: A Biography (John Wiley & Sons)
5. CHATTING WITH AMERICA'S GAS PRICE SURVEY MAVEN (edited)
(CNN) -- Trilby Lundberg is publisher of the Lundberg Survey, a national survey of gas prices quoted regularly by major news organizations, including CNN.
Q: Where will we be in five or 10 years in terms of gas prices?
A: I think the chief determinants will be these three things: whether or not there is a disruption in world oil supply, intransigence in petroleum politics among some of the producers, and U.S. interference with its free gasoline market. The various energy bill proposals that are on [the] table in Washington, D.C., can have a deleterious affect on price or on gasoline demand or both. Forcing subsidized non-petroleum fuels on consumers can greatly add to cost.
If an energy bill passes which does nothing extreme to affect price or demand, then our chances of having gasoline prices lower in future or at least lower than they otherwise would be are enhanced. And I say that because the world gasoline market is becoming a reality.
As our demands have exceeded our refining capacity -- because adding capacity here in the U.S. is slow, difficult and costly -- those in other countries where adding refining capacity is not so slow, difficult or costly, they are doing just that. They are adding capacity not only to satisfy their domestic and regional demand for gasoline, but also to export internationally as merchants.
And one of the plum destinations for that gasoline will be the United States. So there will be much more capacity in the world being built, ... [and] the higher the price has gone here in the United States, the more excited these foreign refiners and future refiners have become. They're building them practically all over the world, some from the ground up, except here in the United States. So I expect there will be much more gasoline supply in the world, and that the supply tightness that we've seen in 2007 here at home is not likely to be repeated. And therefore that would favor lower prices.
Q: What are the effects of alternative fuels?
A: The [government] subsidization of alternative fuels -- non-petroleum fuels -- has already added a great deal of cost for gasoline consumers here in the U.S.
To further mandate these uneconomic sources that cannot compete -- even with heavy subsidy -- would make gasoline prices higher and hurt consumers. When the market is ready -- if it ever is -- for such fuels, then they will not need subsidy. Meanwhile, the much heavier use of ethanol in the United States is affecting world prices -- not only U.S. gasoline prices, but world prices for those consumables that use corn. And the planting of so much more corn here has displaced planting of other crops, so that there are other indirect effects.. And they're all negative.
Q: So you see these as hurting Americans more than helping them?
A: Yes. The use of tax money to prop up these uneconomic sources of fuel is itself a negative for consumers. ... The use of ethanol, despite all that subsidy, makes gasoline prices higher than they otherwise would be, through the difficulty of achieving EPA regulations and the final gasoline product, and through the requirement from the 2005 energy bill that minimal volumes of ethanol are sold. ... It's even been shown that the cost of tortillas in Mexico has been affected by our new government-mandated consumption of ethanol, which has raised the cost of corn.
Q: As far as conservation, what are the trends you are seeing?
A: I'm hoping that consumers will see through the rhetoric about consuming less, demanding less, as faulty. It is not a given that consuming less will be good for our economy or for our personal freedom. It is not even established for our environment that we [should] deprive ourselves of gasoline for our personal mobility as well our commerce. And to suppose that it is good to do that, and pretend that we have consensus and put our heads together to deprive ourselves of this great product that makes the country go around, commercially and individually, I think is flawed. I'm hoping consumers and voters will see through that and be able to ignore some of the most extreme suggestions.
I think that there has been friendly as well as unfriendly brainwashing taking place. And when I say friendly and unfriendly, I'm talking about decades of extremist views that have now achieved mainstream acceptance. And the No. 1 item among those affecting current oil politics in Washington is the boogeyman, also known as global warming.
I don't accept it as established fact, nor do I accept that it would be caused by petroleum consumption, nor do I accept that the human species should not affect its environment. So even if it were someday to be shown to have some small effect on the environment, I see no crime. In fact, taking into account the many, many millions of people around the world that envy our way of life, it would seem more humanitarian to wish them the kind of plentiful petroleum products and vehicles ... that we enjoy ... to lift themselves out of [a] backward, poor way of life.
6. CARBON OFFSETS — BUYER BEWARE
By Steven Milloy, Fox News, July 19, 2007
Congress began investigating the carbon offset industry this week. The inquiry could produce some “inconvenient truths” for Al Gore and the nascent offset industry.
Carbon offsets ostensibly allow buyers to expunge their consciences of the new eco-sin of using energy derived from fossil fuels. Worried about the 8 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted each year by your SUV? Similar to the indulgences offered by Pope Leo X in the 16th century, you can absolve yourself of sin by purchasing $96 worth of CO2 offsets – typically offered at $12 per ton of CO2 emitted – from offset brokers who, in turn, supposedly use your cash to pay someone else to produce electricity with low or no CO2 emissions.
Last year, offsets representing 23.7 million tons of CO2 were sold to businesses and consumers. Sounds like a lot of CO2 emissions were avoided, except when you consider that annual natural emissions of CO2 amount to hundreds of billions of tons.
The physical world aside, the CO2 offset marketplace itself is questionable – hence this week’s congressional hearing entitled, “Voluntary Carbon Offsets: Getting What You Pay For.” The hearing is particularly notable since it was called by a Democrat-run Congress, concerned that global warming alarmism is being jeopardized by dubious marketing and consumer rip-offs involving offsets.
A prime example of dubious offset marketing involves Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The movie's producers, Paramount Classics and Participant Productions, announced that they purchased offsets from broker NativeEnergy to compensate for 100 percent of the CO2 emissions from the air and ground transportation, hotel use, and production and promotional activities associated with the movie.
So how many offsets supposedly compensated for the CO2 sins of Al Gore and the dozens of individuals credited with producing a movie shot in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Beijing? According to a Web site release from NativeEnergy – which has since been removed – it only cost 40 tons of offsets (worth about $480) to make “An Inconvenient Truth” carbon neutral. It’s an absurdly low figure given that the making of a 30-second television commercial can easily produce 50 tons and the movie “Syriana” – another NativeEnergy project – was supposedly offset with 2,040 tons worth of offsets.
When I called NativeEnergy to inquire about the 40-ton figure and the Web page that mysteriously disappeared, I was rebuffed and told that the company “does not share information about its clients without their consent.” This immediately made me wonder why the producers of “An Inconvenient Truth” either withheld or revoked their consent since so many of NativeEnergy’s other clients’ offset purchases are so prominently touted on the company’s web site.
NativeEnergy told me I would have to go through Paramount's legal department to obtain the necessary consent. Despite repeated attempts, Paramount never returned my calls – quite odd given the Oscar-winning producers’ mission and audacious self-acclaim of pioneer status as the world’s first carbon-neutral documentary.
NativeEnergy still boasts on its web site about offsetting “100 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution” associated with “An Inconvenient Truth” – but there’s still no mention – let alone any “carbon accounting” – of what that “100 percent” actually represents.
There is reason to explore this issue further than just the spotlighting of more Al Gore-related hypocrisy – the climate alarmist community is even concerned about the offset racket. As recently reported on the left-wing web site Grist.org http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/6/19/123649/857 , it’s worthwhile asking whether carbon offsets are offsetting anything at all. According to the Grist article, NativeEnergy is selling offsets that are supposed to be helping to pay for wind-generated electricity supplied by the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) to 52 Alaskan villages.
When the Grist reporter first interviewed an AVEC official, the money received from NativeEnergy was described as a “bonus” – a potential problem given that the agreement between AVEC and NativeEnergy requires that the offsets are “a significant contributor to economic viability and the seller’s efforts to build additional wind capacity.” AVEC and NativeEnergy have since backed off the “bonus” characterization, according to the Grist article. While acknowledging the possibility of a slip of the tongue on the part of the AVEC official, the Grist reporter raised the salient point – presumably because of the black box-nature of CO2 offsets – that we will never actually know whether the offsets purchased through NativeEnergy were used to produce any wind power or reduce any CO2 emissions.
NativeEnergy sells offsets to the public at a cost of $12/ton. But how much of that price goes to reduce CO2 emissions versus NativeEnergy’s pockets? A recent CNNMoney article reported that NativeEnergy raised $250,000 to pay for 50,000 tons of CO2 reductions on South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux tribe reservation – that is, as little as $5/ton may go toward emissions reduction. A gross profit margin of $7/ton for NativeEnergy is not bad, especially since there appears to be little follow-up and verification as to whether the consumer’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions are actually accomplished.
Finally, taxpayers provide additional support for projects in which NativeEnergy is involved – the Department of Energy contributed more than $448,000 to the Rosebud Sioux project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave AVEC $2.5 million for wind turbines. A Capitol Hill staffer told me that the congressional inquiry would look into the possibility of “double-dipping” in the offset industry.
There’s an awful lot of consumer and taxpayer money flying around offset-related projects with little, if any, accountability. On one hand, it’s good that Congress, in the name of consumer protection, has commenced an investigation of “the efficacy and accounting of these unregulated commodities.” On the other hand, only time will tell if a Congress controlled by the global-warming lobby will conduct a bona fide investigation that risks discrediting one of its major themes.
Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, an advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
7. GLOBAL WARMING'S TRILLION DOLLAR GIVEAWAY
Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) recently introduced their "Low Carbon Economy Act" (LCEA) intended to combat global warming. The bill ought to be called the "The Trillion Dollar Giveaway and Wealth Redistribution Act," says Steven Milloy, adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
o The LCEA's ostensible goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2006 levels by 2020; to 1990 levels by 2030; and by more than 60 percent from today's levels by 2050.
o These goals are to be accomplished not by directly mandating reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) but rather by compelling larger emitters to pay for the right to emit GHGs.
o The lack of a mandate to reduce GHGs emissions means that they could actually increase under the LCEA, as long as emitters are willing to pay to do so.
Further, the federal government would issue rights or "allowances" to emit the GHGs, says Milloy:
o The bulk of these allowances -- 76 percent for the first five years -- will be given away at no charge to special interests, including private industry, farmers and states.
o This giveaway works out to a total of $1.34 trillion -- not adjusted for inflation -- that would be handed out to global warming special interests from 2012-2030.
o Additionally, companies that must purchase allowances will most likely pass along the higher costs to consumers in the form of higher prices for all goods and services that involve the energy use.
Ultimately, even if GHG emissions were lowered as per the LCEA, there would most likely be little impact on climate, especially since it won't keep China, India, Brazil, Mexico and other developing nations from more than making up for the GHGs that America may reduce, explains Milloy.
Source: Steven Milloy, "Global Warming's Trillion Dollar Giveaway," Foxnews.com, July 16, 2007.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,289149,00.html Courtesy NCPA
8. IMPROVEMENT REQUIRES WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE
By Governor Jeb Bush, in Reason magazine (edited)
The world has changed dramatically in a short period of time. Advances in technology have revolutionized the way we live. Thirty years ago, no one had a computer in his home. Now, many people have Blackberries in their pockets. The Internet allows inspiration and ideas to travel at warp speed across continents and oceans in seconds. Medical breakthroughs are allowing people to live longer, with a better quality of life.
The world is "flatter" and more connected than ever before. Trends that used to take years to develop, now take months to take hold. Economies are emerging every day to challenge our dominance in the global marketplace, where innovation and ideas are as commonplace as goods and services.
Yet, government, with few exceptions, still works like it did in the 1950s, with a pyramid-style, top-down bureaucracy that moves with tortoise-like speed. For America to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy, our government needs to be able to quickly adapt to this new, changing world.
The first step is clearly defining the role of government. I believe the fundamental role of government should be to keep us safe from threats both foreign and domestic, build the infrastructure and human capital that creates opportunity and fuels our economy, and care for the truly vulnerable among us.
A government that grows significantly beyond these core responsibilities will eventually grow beyond our ability to pay for it. When government grows in scope, its size and cost grow too—often exponentially. Requiring a balanced budget, allowing the line-item veto, prohibiting earmarks, and capping the growth of government are sound fiscal measures to rein in runaway government spending.
Overcoming the inherent fear of change within a bureaucracy is a constant challenge to the success of outsourcing, and transformational reform as a whole. As Albert Einstein wisely said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." To improve services and systems, we need to be willing to change.
Changing the way government operates opens the door for entrepreneurs to offer innovative and cost-effective solutions to today's problems. Outsourcing provides numerous benefits—economies of scale, greater expertise in diverse fields and much-needed flexibility in this new changing world.
The most efficient, effective and dynamic government is one composed primarily of policymakers, procurement experts and contract managers that provide quality assurance and accountability, with the private sector doing a bulk of the actual work.
Jeb Bush was the 43rd Governor of Florida and is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Florida's Future, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for education reform.