Cap and Trade
If you Google Waxman-Markey, the ‘Climate Change Bill’ coming up in Congress this week, you’ll see that opinions on it are all over the map. Waxman-Markey Will Mandate Greener Building, Drive Green Renovation, Waxman’s Economy Killer, Waxman-Markey bill to address indirect land use change, Global warming bill still contains some smoke and mirrors, – no two giving the same opinion.
It’s a difficult topic, because it touches on economics, science and yes, politics. From an economic point of view, Megan McCardle notes that the bill seems to be low-cost.
But the real question, I think, is whether the low cost is a feature or a bug. The only way a bill is going to have an impact is if it causes real financial pain to American households–enough to get them to change their behavior. Waxman-Markey obviously is not going to do that. And indeed, the projections of its effect on global warming are entirely negligible.
Why should that be? Does this economist have the science to back up that statement? No, and she doesn’t need it. She explains that the reason is political, not scientific. The reason is – China.
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. Global warming isn’t even high on the list of environmental concerns they’ll want to attack as they get rich; local air pollution is far more pressing. Thinking that we’re somehow going to lead them by example is like thinking that poor rural teens are going to buy electric cars because Ed Begley jr. has one.
In other words, if you believe that climate change is anthropological in nature, you must believe that nothing is going to change until and unless China and India come on-board.
Well, what about the rest of the world? From RealClearPolitics, Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin point out that it’s not happening in other countries either.
As the US Congress considers the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, the Australian Senate is on the verge of rejecting its own version of cap-and-trade. The story of this legislation’s collapse offers advance notice for what might happen to similar legislation in the US—and to the whole global warming hysteria.
So what do the scientists say? Dr. James Hansen, the director of the Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS) said this, as he was being arrested:
I am not a politician; I am a scientist and a citizen. Politicians may have to advocate for halfway measures if they choose. But it is our responsibility to make sure our representatives feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is politically expedient. Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, should be abolished.
I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think he’s saying that the science doesn’t matter; it’s what people feel is right that matters. That sort of works, because the science is apparently being ignored. But contra Hansen, it’s being ignored for the politics. The scientists are playing politics.
A source inside the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed many of the claims made by analyst Alan Carlin, the economist/physicist who yesterday went public with accusations that science was being ignored in evaluating the danger of CO2.
The source, who chooses not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said that Carlin was rebuffed in his attempt to introduce scientific evidence that does not accord with the EPA’s view of global warming, which largely relies on IPCC reports.
Kevin Mooney at the Washington Examiner publishes on the story:
Scientific findings at odds with the Obama Administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change are being suppressed as a result of political pressure, officials at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) charge.
“This suppression of valid science for political reasons is beyond belief,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “EPA’s conduct is even more outlandish because it flies in the face of the president’s widely-touted claim that ‘the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.’”
If this story was about anthrax, possible political manipulation in Congress and scientific intrigue, the story would not sell. It is a mess, too convoluted, too unbelievable. And there it is. We buy it, we believe it’s plausible – why exactly?