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Cap And Trade - Bad Medicine
For A Sick Economy

By Joel Skousen
Editor - World Affairs Brief 
What the Obama administration has rammed through Congress in the name of saving the environment is not only a hoax of draconian proportions (that Carbon Dioxide is a harmful pollutant, responsible for Global Warming) but also a means to mandating government control over all forms of energy production. By implementing an arbitrary and restrictive cap on the production of Carbon Dioxide (17 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels), and then forcing high CO2 producers to buy carbon credits from zero or low CO2 producers this bill will alter and distort the current cost structure of the markets and not actually change the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere at all. In essence this is a massive wealth transfer scheme from efficient energy producers to inefficient producers, and energy users everywhere will pay for this multi-billion dollar boondoggle.
MSNBC interviewed Pat Buchanan who was quick to point out the fraudulent basis of this package in Congress:
MSNBC's Witt: "Why doesn't anyone want to call it a climate bill?
Buchanan: "Well, because the science is suggesting that maybe all of this [global warming] isn't really happening or it's not really dangerous or it's not really man made. Barack Obama, the President is right when he said we shouldn't be afraid of the future. [But] That is exactly how this bill got passed--through fear. [Obama is saying:] 'We're all going to change. The climate's going to change. The oceans are going to rise. Our cities are going to be under water.'
"But more and more scientists are coming forward to say this is a hoax and a scam which is designed to transfer wealth and power from the private sector to the government sector and from the government of the United States to a world government. Which is what we're going to get in Copenhagen when we get this Kyoto two agreement."
One of the growing number of defectors from the Global Warming camp of propagandists is Dr. David Evans, of the Australian Greenhouse Office, (now Office of Climate Change), a top consultant who no longer believes Carbon Dioxide has any major impact on global warming. Here are excerpts from his recent article in The Australian.
"I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.
"The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:
"1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.
"Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.
"If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.
"When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot.
"Recently the alarmists have suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, but instead take the radiosonde wind measurements, apply a theory about wind shear, and run the results through their computers to estimate the temperatures. They then say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot. If you believe that you'd believe anything.
"2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.
"3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.
"4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.
"None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance. The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.
"Until now the global warming debate has merely been an academic matter of little interest. Now that it matters, we should debate the causes of global warming. So far that debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions.
"In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved. If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now?
"The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.
"What is going to happen over the next decade as global temperatures continue not to rise? The Labor Government [of Australia] is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP [Australian Labor Party] is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid [not if the media continues to suppress the truth] for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.
"The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway [not so--even as the world cools, they keep blaming any changes in any direction on Global Warming], so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy."
Dr. Evans doesn't understand that there are other hidden agendas at work here that have nothing to do with solving any real problems. This is not about saving the planet but all about creating a false crisis that allows for government intervention and control of energy. The same forces that have foisted this massive hoax upon the public will use their ample resources and control of the media to ensure that the truth never gets out. The PTB have very imaginative ways of explaining away almost anything to a dumbed-down populace with marginal abilities to analyze.
Even the claim that the Polar Bear population is declining due to global warming is bogus. As the UK Telegraph reports, "Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission) will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.
"This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN's major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world's leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week's meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with those of the rest of the group.
"Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined.
'Dr Taylor agrees that the Arctic has been warming over the last 30 years. But he ascribes this not to rising levels of CO2 - as is dictated by the computer models of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and believed by his PBSG colleagues - but to currents bringing warm water into the Arctic from the Pacific and the effect of winds blowing in from the Bering Sea."
As for the new legislation itself Peter Schiff weighs in: "Today the House voted on 'cap and trade' legislation. Disguised as an environmental bill, this proposal would merely be another gigantic tax. The lion's share of the new revenue is already committed to politically connected special interests that will reap windfalls at everyone else's expense. To make matters worse, the bill before Congress amounts to a blank slate, with the EPA empowered to draft the details in any manner they see fit. If Congress is going to shoot the economy in the knee, they should at least be required to pull the trigger themselves.
"'Cap and trade' will do nothing to reduce pollution [even assuming CO2 is a pollutant, which it is not], yet it will drive up production costs throughout the economy - rendering us even less globally competitive that we are today. In addition to the huge cost of paying the tax, its enforcement involves the creation of an entire new bureaucracy, the costs of which will be borne by American consumers in the form of higher [utility] prices.
Peter Orvetting calls the "American Clean Energy and Security" Act a "rip-off," and reveals the typical political machinations that go on in Congress to get bad bills passed. "On Friday evening, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a well-intentioned but misbegotten Frankenstein monster of a bill intended to combat climate change. Republicans Mary Bono Mack, Mike Castle, Mark Kirk, Frank LoBiondo, John McHugh, Dave Reichert, and Chris Smith joined 211 Democrats to put the bill over the top 219-212. Showing the profiles in courage typical to elected politicians, about three dozen Democrats hung back during the roll call until passage was certain, waiting until they could safely vote no without riling their party's leaders [a typical tactic of politicians who want to later be seen as having opposed something they go along with but know is eventually going to turn out bad].
"As its sponsors struggled to make it palatable to representatives from energy-producing states, the bill swelled from 942 pages to just over 1,200, leaving undecided members little time to digest the new material. This brings to mind Rep. John Conyers's admission to Michael Moore that members of Congress 'don't really read most of the bills' they vote for, because it would 'slow down the legislative process.'
"Two weeks after his election as president, Barack Obama said, 'Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.' Shortly thereafter, more than 100 scientists signed a newspaper advertisement responding, "With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.' The scientists [actually, numbering over 30,000] from places as varied and esteemed as Los Alamos National Laboratory, the American Physical Society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, said the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated.'
"But even many who are not skeptical about global warming found things to dislike in ACES. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who voted against it, said, 'It won't address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse.' Kucinich faulted the bill's 'Enron-style accounting methods' and allocation of $60 billion for Carbon Capture and Sequestration, 'a single technology which may or may not work.' Kucinich faulted the corporate welfare embedded in the bill, saying that the 'trillion dollar carbon derivatives market will help Wall Street investors,' with any benefits 'passed through coal companies and other large corporations, on whom we will rely to pass on the savings [an important point, and demonstrates how the big boys always find a way to profit from government perverse incentives].'
"'I take climate change seriously,' libertarian economist Megan McArdle wrote last week. But she said the projections for ACES's 'effect on global warming are entirely negligible,' and any hope that U.S. passage of the bill will 'persuade China and India to get on board' is 'entirely wishful thinking on the part of American environmentalists. China is not going to let its citizens languish in subsistence farming because 30 years from now, some computer models say there will be some not-well-specified bad effects from high temperatures. Nor is India.'
"While the Congressional Budget Office says ACES will drive up the average family's energy bill by about $175 per year by 2020, that does not take into account the larger economic cost. A Center for Data Analysis study concludes ACES will hurt the gross domestic product by $9.4 trillion by 2035 and cost the average family $1,241 per year. That's because, as the Wall Street Journal put it last week, 'the whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars.' A British analysis finds the average family there is paying nearly $1,300 a year for carbon-cutting programs that were introduced just a few years ago.
"As Obama himself said during his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, 'Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Businesses would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that cost onto consumers.' Meanwhile, reductions in consumer spending will necessarily mean a decline in production which could eliminate more than 1.1 million jobs. This is an awful lot to pay for legislation that will not reduce global warming and will not encourage other major economic powers to become more environmentally conscious. Maybe next time, Congress should read the bill before voting on it."
Tim Ball writing for the Canadian Free Press covers why alternative energies are a long way from replacing cheap and effective nuclear and fossil fuel technology.
"On June 23 Obama said, 'This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power.' These currently produce only 3.9 percent of US energy. Wind and solar have severe limitations because they require 100 percent back up from conventional sources. They cannot replace a sufficient portion of current energy needs to supply even a dramatically reduced demand [and the cost per unit of generating power is so much higher than fuel or nuclear generating plants, that it is extremely inefficient to look to these technologies as a total replacement].
"Obama's said, 'At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe." This is false. He incorrectly substitutes carbon for CO2 which is not a pollutant for air or water; it occurs naturally in both. It's true that industries producing CO2 will initially pay through Cap and Trade but they will pass the costs to the consumer. A critical question is who pays when all the 'polluters' are out of business?
"Coal currently produces 46.8 percent of US energy. Obama identified it as his main target during the campaign. 'What I've said is that we would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is more--that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody else's out there, so if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.' If they go out of business as Obama expects, the economy will collapse as industries dependent on the energy disappear. Ironically alternative energies will also suffer because the 100 percent backup they require will not be available.
"A report from Britain about attempts to replace traditional energy with renewables notes, 'Britain is already struggling to meet its ambitious target of supplying 10% of electricity needs from renewables by 2010 and 15% by 2015. Today's figure is about 2%.' Once you realize the renewable strategy is not working how quickly can you recover?
"The big question is whether the UK can act fast enough to tackle the looming crisis. Even if the government's nuclear plans remain intact, it could be at least 10 years before the first new nuclear station is ready. A typical coal or gas-fired project could take between three and five years to construct. Recovery potential is worse in the US because regulations extend construction time for nuclear plants and environmentalists will do everything to block coal plants. Meanwhile economies of these countries suffer even though they didn't do anything as drastic as Obama proposes. Recovery can't possibly occur within Obama's first term, which may make it his last.
"Will the Obama policy work any better? NO, because it is based on the same lie other countries used that CO2 is a problem and made worse by using deception of inaccurate scientific terminology. He then guarantees failure with policies that have already failed. So D. H. Lawrence was wrong in Obama's case. You can't trust the teller or the tale. There is no question Obama is clever but as Goethe said, 'A clever man commits no minor blunders.' His climate and energy policies are blunders of devastating proportions" Well said!
I'll let Congressman Ron Paul have the final say: "The Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 was voted on last Friday. Proponents claim this bill will help the environment, but what it really does is put another nail in the economy's coffin. The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry as the Catholic Church used to sell indulgences to sinners. HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies. The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each! The real inconvenient truth is that the cost of government regulations, taxes, fees, red tape and bureaucracy is a considerable expense that has to be considered when companies decide where to do business and how many people they can afford to hire. Increasing governmental burden directly causes capital flight and job losses, as Spain has learned. In this global economy its easy enough for businesses to relocate to countries that are more politically friendly to economic growth. If our government continues to kick the economy while its down, it will be a long time before it gets back up."
This entire Global Warming series of solutions will exacerbate and make worse the prospect for economic recovery. But that, of course, will merely allow for yet further government intervention. As Harry Browne, the former Libertarian Party candidate for president, used to say: "the government is great at breaking your leg, handing you a crutch, and saying, 'You see, without me you couldn't walk.'
End Excerpt
World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.
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