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Published on: June 6, 2014
Thank Fracking
To Save the Planet, Defeat the Greens

The President’s new emissions rules are as historic as they are contentious, and it’s too early to see whether they can efficiently achieve their intended effect. What is clear, however, is that this breakthrough was made possible in spite of—not thanks to—the environmental movement, and that lasting green progress will come at the expense of the biases and ideals of those who claim they want to save the planet most.

The Obama Administration unveiled what will be looked back on as one of its marquee domestic policy rollouts earlier this week, a set of new emissions regulations on our country’s power plants. These plants account for almost 40 percent of U.S. emissions, a significant enough chunk to attract federal regulatory attention, and the new rules set out by the Environmental Protection Agency will force states to put in place plans to reduce average plant emissions (unit of carbon dioxide per unit of electricity) 30 percent by 2030 from their levels in 2005. It’s a bold move—the boldest American policy yet to address climate change—and not surprisingly it’s set off a storm of controversy of corresponding size.

While polls show the American population is generally in favor of the direction in which these new emissions rules are pushing the country, politically there’s plenty to quibble about. Many on the right are concerned with the effect the new rules will have on the U.S. coal industry (and some coal-state Democrats must understandably feel like they’ve been hung out to dry by the President ahead of this year’s midterm elections). Coal accounts for nearly 40 percent of American power, and it’s just about the dirtiest fossil fuel around. As such, coal-fired plants are square in the sights of these new EPA restrictions, and while the EPA believes coal will still make up 30 percent of our country’s energy mix in 2030, a 10 percent reduction will cut jobs and economic prospects in coal mining communities even as it cuts the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Cutting out coal will have other costs, too. There’s a reason why countries around the world rely so heavily on what everyone knows is a dirty energy source: It’s cheap. In most places, switching away from coal is expensive, and that is certainly true in the United States. In its report, the EPA believes these costs will be offset by efficiency gains, and that electricity bills will actually be lower in 2030 under these new rules than they are today. Forgive us if we’re a little skeptical of that optimistic prediction, which relies on the assumption that there’s enough to streamline in the power-producing process to offset the costs of switching to more expensive sources.

Forgive us also for being cynical; presumably a lot of those efficiency savings would slash the cost of coal-fired electricity, too. It will cost consumers money to move away from coal, and happy-clappy green propaganda can’t change the facts.

More compelling is the argument that a coal phase-out will have measurable public health benefits in the form of cleaner air to breathe and, therefore, fewer associated respiratory problems. The EPA estimates these savings could rise to as much as $59 billion in 2030. This is a serious point, and it’s one that even global warming skeptics can acknowledge.

The green left, of course, wants stricter and less flexible regulations and they want them to take effect yesterday. Some on the right object to the designation of CO2, a naturally occurring substance that is essential to life and that every human being exhales day and night, as a “pollutant” and therefore something that the EPA can regulate. There are legitimate concerns that power-hungry do-gooder bureaucrats empowered to control CO2 emissions will start regulating everything that produces CO2, from factories to racehorses, to create an ever tighter and ever more dysfunctional regulatory web that, however useful the initial power rules might be, will ultimately strangle economic growth.

Time no doubt will tell; the EPA will listen to public comments before drafting a final version of its proposal next June, and in the intervening months we’ll learn more about the details of the 645 page draft policy.

We are withholding judgment on the EPA rules until we can tell exactly what the plan is, but it’s worth noting that the EPA story is anything but the kind of total victory that the green movement seeks. There is one thing and one thing only that made the switch away from coal possible: fracking. Without the huge new supplies of natural gas, one of the lowest-emitting fossil fuels, the U.S. would have no feasible way to escape its dependence on King Coal.

In other words, for greens to win on coal they have to lose on fracking. Your typical environmentalist has a deeply ingrained impulse to fight any kind of extractive process aimed at producing any imaginable fossil fuel, and that bias makes it difficult to see the fracking boom for what it really is: an environmental triumph on a scale solar and wind can only dream of.

This uncomfortable truth isn’t unusual. For greens to really bend the carbon curve, they will have to lose their war on nuclear power, an effectively zero-emissions energy source. Shale gas is enabling Obama to begin the transition towards a more sustainable energy mix, but it has a very important drawback in common with coal: There’s a finite amount of it. Fortunately, next-generation nuclear technology is fast making its way down the pipe, and promises to provide consistent and safe baseload electricity with negligible emissions. Renewables, those favorite green options, can only satisfy peak demand; that is, due to the intermittent nature of solar and wind power, these energy sources can only act as the gravy on our energy entree. Nuclear can be the meat.

And in the long run, if greens are going to see solar power really reach its potential to change the way humanity creates and uses energy, they are going to have to lose their war on GMOs and the biological revolution: A field of genetically modified soybeans that don’t need chemical pesticides and fertilizers means that the sun’s power is replacing the oil-fired industrial plants that make those chemicals now.

But few greens will give credit where credit is due, and the official green movement will laud Obama’s decision while damning fracking as an earth-destroying practice with no awareness of their hypocrisy. We might chuckle at the irony of this self-righteous blindness to reality if the stakes weren’t so high. For the modern environmental movement, bloviating about the way the future ought to be is enough. For those who think that climate change is something more than a field for self-indulgent posturing, and for anyone who understands the vital importance of safe, abundant, and secure energy for the happiness of future generations, something more serious is required.

Too many greens take their science a la carte. Where scientific research tells greens things they like to hear, greens get all self righteous about “science deniers.” But whenever some poor scientist somewhere attacks a cherished green shibboleth, hordes of vicious and bitter green activists hurl angry accusations about the corruption of the scientific process by corporate interests.

We need solutions grounded in our best understanding of science, and we need to put those into practice. We need fracking, just like we need nuclear, just like we need GMOs. And we need an environmental movement that is realistic, balanced, and committed to the needs of human beings.

So: to save the planet, beat the greens. That is the paradoxical situation green anti-science bigotry puts us in: for green goals to be met, the green movement must often fail.

show comments
  • Jersey McJones

    What we really need is massive infrastructural investment, including in energy, to grow the economy for everyone, lest the trends continue and we gradually become a two-tiered third world hell hole.

    JMJ

    • dave peters

      When the new n-plants are completed in the South, the superiority of their correct climate strategy will become so obvious, that price-sensitive manufacturing will flee New York and prove the point made here. Climate sense requires seeing green nonsense for what it has been all along. Irrational and anti-science.

  • Rick Johnson

    The Greens are not interested in ‘saving the planet’. They want to turn back the industrial revolution. They want to stop coal,nuclear, fracking and any other source of energy that can power large scale industry. Wind, water and sunlight will never be able to provide large scale, reliable energy no matter how much the ‘technology improves’. That’s why the Greens support these forms of energy. They lead to de-industrialisation, which is the Greens goal.

    • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

      And conservatives want to rape little girls, torture anyone with dark skin, and steal from the poor.

      See what it’s like to be caricatured?

      Get back to me when you grow up and can argue with something other than straw men.

      • KAB

        Actually, there’s a great deal of truth to both caricatures.

        • Rick Johnson

          Actually, there’s no truth at all in Chad’s caricature of conservatives.

          • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

            OK, you usually prefer to rape adult women with vaginal ultrasound equipment. There, I stand corrected.

          • Rick Johnson

            Thank you Chad. I thought you would eventually show how unhinged you were. :-)

      • kendrick1

        You have proof of those unfounded accusations?

      • Corlyss

        A childlike victim of a 40 yr. propaganda campaign to “save the planet.”

      • Rick Johnson

        Why would I bother. It wasn’t a caricature. :-)

      • Fred_Z

        Your comment is self caricature, what with the laughable lefty ‘steal from the poor’ meme. The poor are poor, by definition they have nothing worth stealing.

  • vepxistqaosani

    I suspect that the new regulations will certainly achieve their intended effect, as has all of Obama’s economic program: to destroy the domestic economy of the United States.

    But many of you will be skeptical of such a calumnious assertion (as I was myself, preferring, as the adage has it, not to attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity). So ask yourself this: What would Obama have done differently if his twin goals were not to destroy both the US economy at home and US power abroad?

    • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

      The Chamber of Commerce claims that the regulations will cost 0.2% of GDP. That’s six weeks’ worth of growth, if you believe them. Of course, you shouldn’t, as they didn’t consider a whole host of benefits, and industry has always vastly over-estimated the cost of environmental regulations (EPA usually misses high, too!).

  • Fat_Man

    “And we need an environmental movement that is realistic, balanced, and committed to the needs of human beings.”

    You won’t find it amongst the current crop of greens. They want to get rid of humans and replace them with wilderness. They are most worried about the super abundance of brown babies.

    • DiogenesDespairs

      The crux of these discussions is carbon dioxide.

      Here are some crucial, verifiable facts about human-generated carbon dioxide and its effect on global warming everyone needs to know when they consider this subject.

      The fact is, there has been global warming, but the contribution of human-generated carbon dioxide is necessarily so minuscule as to be nearly undetectable. Here’s why:

      Carbon dioxide, considered the main vector for human-caused global warming, is some 0.038% of the atmosphere[1]- a trace gas. Water vapor varies from 0% to 4%[2], and should easily average 1% or more[3] near the Earth’s surface, where the greenhouse effect would be most important, and is about three times more effective[4] a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So water vapor is at least 25 times more prevalent and three times more effective; that makes it at least 75 times more important to the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide[5]. The TOTAL contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect is therefore 0.013 or less. The total human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution has been estimated at about 25%[6]. So humans’ carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is a quarter of 0.013, works out to about 0.00325. Total warming of the Earth by the greenhouse effect is widely accepted as about 33 degrees Centigrade, raising average temperature to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. So the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is less than 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or under 0.1 degree Centigrade. Global warming over the last century is thought by many to be about 0.6 degrees Centigrade.

      But that’s only the beginning. We’ve had global warming for more than 10,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age[7]. Whatever caused that, it was not human activity. It was not all those power plants and factories and SUVs being operated by Stone Age cavemen while chipping arrowheads out of bits of flint. Whatever the cause was, it melted the glaciers that in North America once extended south to Long Island and parts of New York City[8] into virtually complete disappearance (except for a few mountain remnants). That’s one big greenhouse effect! If we are still having global warming – and I suppose we should presume we are, given a 10,000 year trend – it seems highly likely that it is still the overwhelmingly primary cause of continued warming, rather than our piddling 0.00325 contribution to the greenhouse effect.

      Yet even that trend-continuation needs to be proved. Evidence is that the Medieval Warm Period centered on the 1200s was somewhat warmer than we are now[9], and the climate was clearly colder in the Little Ice Age in the 1600s than it is now[10]. So we are within the range of normal up-and-down fluctuations without human greenhouse contributions that could be significant, or even measurable.

      The principal scientists arguing for human-caused global warming have been demonstrably disingenuous[11], and now you can see why. They have proved they should not be trusted.

      The idea that we should be spending hundreds of billions of dollars and hamstringing the economy of the entire world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is beyond ludicrous in light of the facts above; it is insane. Furthermore, it sucks attention and resources from seeking the other sources of warming and from coping with climate change and its effects in realistic ways. The true motivation underlying the global warming movement is almost certainly ideological and political in nature, and I predict that Anthropomorphic Global Warming, as currently presented, will go down as the greatest fraud of all time. It makes Ponzi and Madoff look like pikers by comparison.

      [1] Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition

      by Michael Pidwirny Concentration varies slightly with the growing season in the northern hemisphere. HYPERLINK “http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html” http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

      [2] ibid.

      [3] HALOE v2.0 Upper Tropospheric Water Vapor Climatology Claudette Ojo, Hampton University; et al.. HYPERLINK “http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf” http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf. See p. 4.The 0 – 4% range is widely accepted among most sources. This source is listed for its good discussion of the phenomena determining that range. An examination of a globe will show that tropical oceans (near high end of range) are far more extensive than the sum of the earth’s arctic and antarctic regions and tropical-zone deserts (all near the low end). Temperate zone oceans are far more extensive than temperate-zone desert. This author’s guess of an average of 2% or more seems plausible. I have used “1% or more” in an effort to err on the side of understatement.

      [4 NIST Chemistry Webbook, Please compare the IR absorption spectra of water and carbon dioxide. ] HYPERLINK “http://webbook.nist.gov/” http://webbook.nist.gov/

      [5] Three quarters of the atmosphere and virtually all water vapor are in the troposphere. Including all the atmosphere would change the ratios to about 20 times more prevalent and 60 times more effective. However, the greenhouse effect of high-altitude carbon dioxide on lower-altitude weather and the earth’s surface seems likely to be small if not nil.

      [6] National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. HYPERLINK “http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html. The estimated 90ppm increase in carbon dioxide, 30% above the base of 280 ppm, to a recent reading of 370 ppm, equates to just under 25% of present concentration, the relevant factor in estimating present contribution to the greenhouse effect.

      [7] Oak Ridge National Laboratory http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nerc130k.html

      [8] New York Nature – The nature and natural history of the New York City region. Betsy McCully http://www.newyorknature.net/IceAge.html

      [9] Global Warming: A Geological Perspective John P. Bluemle HYPERLINK “https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Newsletter/NL99W/PDF/globlwrmw99.pdf” https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Newsletter/NL99W/PDF/globlwrmw99.pdf This article, published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, is drawn from a paper by the author in Environmental Geosciences, 1999, Volume 6, Number 2, pp. 63-75. Note particularly the chart on p.4.

      [10] Ibid.

      [11] Wikileaks: Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009 HYPERLINK “http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009″ http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009.

      See also HYPERLINK “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html and

      HYPERLINK “http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html and, more diplomatically: HYPERLINK “http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html. Et al.

      ADDENDUM

      What initially troubled me was the aberrant behavior of the climate research unit at East Anglia University, which has been the main data source for AGW arguments. They initially refused (!) to reveal their algorithms and data on the grounds that they were proprietary(!!). They responded to critics with ad hominem attacks and efforts to block their publication in scientific journals. Now, as I am sure you know, this is not how one does honest science, in which you PUBLISH your data and methodology and invite critical comment to ferret out error or oversights. It took the now-famous Wikileaks “Climategate” to pry loose the data and expose their machinations. Yet despite the devastating blow these revelations should have to their credibility, the AGW “cause” has taken on a life of its own.

      Fundamentally, the argument seems to rest on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc – after this, therefore because of this. We see a rise in temperature and a rise in (principally) carbon dioxide, and therefore conclude one must have caused the other. It does not necessarily follow at all. There can be other causes entirely behind both phenomena, and as you see above, almost certainly there are. Beyond that, I have encountered numerous assertions of fact that cannot add up given the physical properties of water vapor and carbon dioxide that go unchallenged. One-sided arguments proliferate and people arguing the other side are frequently denounced as being employed by business interests rather than rebutted on the merits.

      In sum, I have not come lightly to the conclusion that the AGW argument as it applies to carbon dioxide is largely untrue and certainly does not account for more than a very small, nearly negligible part of the phenomena we are seeing. The implications of widespread assertions of and belief in such an untruth are staggering, and potentially enormously destructive. It is unwise indeed to let oneself be stampeded in this matter, and stampede is clearly what many have been and are trying to induce.

      I can understand politicians behaving this way; a carbon tax or carbon trading regime would allow enormous revenues to fall into their hands. I can understand “Progressive” ideologues; it logically leads to enormous expansion of government power over industry, the economy, and the daily life of individuals, which they regard as a good thing. I understand the environmentalists; they want to shrink the size and impact on the environment of modern civilization. But responsible citizens need to put aside such considerations.

      • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

        “We’ve had global warming for more than 10,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age”

        Since the end of the last ice age, it has been cooling again, not warming. You write all that and can’t even tell east from west and up from down?

        From your own link:

        12,800 y.a. (+/- 200 years)- rapid onset of cool, dry Younger Dryas in
        many areas

        11,500 y.a. (+/- 200 years) – Younger Dryas ends suddenly, back to warmth
        and moist climates (Holocene, or Stage 1)

        9,000 y.a. – 8,200 y.a. – climates warmer and often moister than today’s

        about 8,200 y.a. – sudden cool and dry phase in many areas

        8,000-4,500 y.a. – climates somewhat warmer and moister than today’s

        Since 4,500 y.a. – climates fairly similar to the present

        (except; about 2600 y.a. – relatively wet/cold event (of unknown duration)
        in many areas)

      • dave peters

        One needs quite a bit of warped reasoning to string together your particular collection of facts, but if you want to see the direct counter-case, it is here:

        http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/la06400p.html

      • Fat_Man

        TL.DR.

  • Finbar

    A TRUE patriot KNOWS that when a PROUD American corporation urinates on his/her leg, it IS raining. A TRUE patriot KNOWS that the truth CAN be improved and remain the TRUTH, and a PATRIOTIC lie CAN replace an unfortunate truth.

    Dam those Greens, why can they only see the coat hanger when a PROUD American corporation holds up the emperors worlds most beautiful suit?

  • Bruce

    Have we given up hope on fuel cells and other technologies? That is the solution, but if it happens, it will be because an entrepreneur figured it out, not because a president or bureaucrat demanded it.

    • Corlyss

      “Have we given up hope on fuel cells and other technologies?”

      Surely you aren’t serious about putting your faith in boutique technologies beloved of rent-seeking anti-scientific morons who simply want to destroy the privileged Western economies in the name of “social justice?” None of the boutiques have been able to deliver energy to the masses cheaply enough to make them useful in replacing fossil fuels.

      • Bruce

        Where did you see faith in anything I said? I am hoping an entrepreneur figures this out. I understand that the “green” technologies of today are not economically viable, but am hopeful that it won’t always be the case. I would like to see an unsubsidized, economically viable alternative to fossil fuel. I don’t know what about that set you off.

  • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

    Mr Horgan and Mr Mead:

    Your CO2 is on my property. This is an easily proven scientific fact. As great champions of property rights, I am sure you will quickly and completely abide by my request that you cease emitting any more CO2 until you have purchased enough carbon credits from a reputable source to offset all the emissions you have generated, and only emit CO2 going forward to a lesser extent than your on-going purchases of offsets.

    You have no right to put your trash on my lawn. I shouldn’t have to tell you this.

    PS: Unlike you, I am not a hypocrite. I live up to what I demand of you.

    • kendrick1

      You can prove that a certain molecule on your propery camve from Horgan/Mead?

      Mr. Property Rights Champion. Consider this! A man owns his own improved property and decides he wants to put in a small restaurant. There are certain people he doesn’t want in there. Can he refuse entry and service to those people?

      • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

        “You can prove that a certain molecule on your propery camve from Horgan/Mead?”

        Easily. There are enough carbon atoms in a single gallon of gas to put hundreds of CO2 molecules into every cubic meter of the atmosphere. Therefore, it is statistically impossible for them not to have placed carbon dioxide on my property, unless they want to claim that their CO2 emissions are on the scale of grams rather than the tons that is the norm for a resident of a developed country.

        Your latter question is irrelevant to the situation at hand.

        • kendrick1

          You say that you can identify a specific carbon molecule on you property as having come from Horgan/Mead?
          I see you claim to be a corporate research scientist. Which are you, an alchemist or a astrologist?

          • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

            I don’t need to. I have the preponderance of evidence and that is all that is necessary. Actually, I am sure I have certainty to at least a dozen nines. There is simply no way that your or their CO2 is not on my property, unless you are carbon negative.

          • kendrick1

            Nice cop out!

          • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

            What? The law is a “cop out”? Math is a “cop out”?

          • kendrick1

            We are supposed to believe what you say simply because it is you that is saying it? You are the rooster that thinks the sun rises only to hear you crow. Give us some real proof of what you say!

          • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

            Ok, let’s do some high school chemistry homework.

            How many carbon atoms are in a gallon of gas? Well, a gallon of gas weighs about three kilos, about 2.5 of which are carbon. One mole of carbon atoms weighs 12g, so you have a bit over 200 moles, each of which contain 6.02e23 carbon atoms. Rounding down in your favor, that’s about 1e26 carbon dioxide molecules that are released when you burn a gallon of gas.

            How many cubic meters are in the atmosphere? Well, the surface area is 5.1e8 km2, or 5.1e14 meters squared. Being generous and calling it 100km (1e5 meters) deep gives you 5.1e19 cubic meters in the atmosphere. Let’s be generous and call that 1e20 because the radius would be bigger at the top than the bottom. Of course, CO2 is heavier than air so it tends to sink, but I’ll ignore that.

            Therefore, one gallon of gas puts something on the order of a million CO2 molecules into every cubic meter of the atmosphere on the scale of a few days. I own plenty of cubic meters, too.

            Pro-hint: Never argue with a scientist about science when you can’t even grasp high-school stuff.

          • kendrick1

            I never argue with a scientst. Only alchemists and astrologists such as you! You are still attempting to prove yourself by what what YOU are saying. Is there no consensus from REAL scientists to prove what you are saying?

            I taught in the sciences for twenty-three years and am familiar with Avogadro’s number. I studied chemistry under a National Science Foundation grant, and yet don’t proclaim to be a scientist.

            Scientists nowadays are ten cents a gross! Even with that degradation in mind, you flatter youself by claiming to be one!

    • Corlyss

      “Your CO2 is on my property.”

      Your plants are probably very grateful.

    • Rick Johnson

      Please desist emitting CO2 by breathing. You know that would make the world a better place. :-)

      • http://sustainablestate.blogspot.jp/ Chad Brick

        I do not eat or drink any fossil fuels. As I am sure you learned in third grade (but apparently forgot), there is this thing called the “carbon cycle”. Any CO2 I exhale was recently removed from the atmosphere, typically within the last few months.

        • Rick Johnson

          Ahhh! So CO2 is plant food and is one of the two most important gases to sustain life on this planet. Is that the gas you are complaining about. The gas that sustains life. What have you got against life?

    • http://imaksim.com/ Maksim

      Hey genius, your lawn would die without CO2, or as you call it “trash”.

    • Karl Bock

      Moron. That CO2 you’re bitching about is what’s growing your precious lawn.

  • dave peters

    JH & WM — I worked to save a nuclear plant from the greens in 1988, for climate’s sake. In all that time, there has been no place in the American spectrum (or discussion), for your immanently rational view. Astonishing. Thank you.

  • jxxx mxxx

    For greens to win – period – they will have to lose their war on regressivity of taxes because the most effective weapons against AGW are the carbon tax and the consumption tax (VAT or FAIR TAX).

    The perfect solution for AGW and the economy is a 20% VAT and a $1/gal CO2 equiv carbon tax that REPLACES the income tax.

    I can’t tell you how many self-styled “greens” reject that idea.

    The VAT (a staple of EU socialist countries) is verboten by the US left, despite the fact that it taxes exactly what they hate (consumption) and encourages exactly what they espouse (reduce-reuse-recycle).

    The carbon tax they advocate features a rebate for the poor which in essence subsidizes the polluter; would they advocate cigarette taxes that are then rebated to poor smokers?

    “Climate hawks” will have to throw their social-justice brethren under the bus, if they are to succeed. When they do, I will be right there to help them.

  • Corlyss

    “it’s too early to see whether they can efficiently achieve their intended effect.”

    What is their intent? To lower emissions in a nation that already leads in harmless CO2 reductions while the silly gits ignore China and India?

    With the administration strong-arming car makers into electric cars, and the fact that 50% of Americans’ energy comes from coal, these rules are at once mindlessly counterproductive of the administrations own ambitions and impossible to implement. They are never going happen.

    Greens are useful idiots in the classic sense of the term.

  • johnwerneken

    War, poverty, and totalitarianism are the thing from which the planet needs saving. Carbon is not even in the top ten, but wood smoke IS. Things green entail dictatorial methods as no one will adopt ANY such thing voluntarily – people must be subsidized fined compelled and lied to.

    Green is a mask for the idea that what a bunch of people think should matter. Why that should be the case escapes me entirely. Best value for the lowest price and greatest profit considering the risk seem to produce overwhelming improvements in health, in life choices, in peace, in prosperity, and in freedom. People should be empowered to decide everything ONE PERSON AT A TIME, through buying, selling, and managing and using what they own exactly as they please.

    As far as carbon goes, giving free reign to the development of cheap and profitable energy sources (fracking for gas, undersea drilling, possibly various nuclear designs currently functioning as successful prototypes), increasing reliance on those sources displaces coal and wood, the chief health threats and no slouches at carbon release either.

    More importantly, abolish the mortgage interest subsidies in the tax code and in the Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac boondoggles, stop subsidizing road and utility construction, repeal exclusionary zoning, and charge residential users the full cost of the small quantities of electricity, water, waste disposal and so on that they use (EXPENSIVE services to deliver in a state of sprawl). Shazam! The cost of creating and operating American homes and cars as they currently are will become prohibitive except for millionaires.

    Kind people would phase in any such change over a generation, and would at least propose a fund with which to subsidize conversion costs. Being normally of a kind disposition, I favor making great changes honestly, with complete openness, slowly, and with aid for those facing the greatest barriers to adaptation.

    The corker for me is that the OTHER foundation of green, besides communitarianism, is fear of power of institutions and of established authority. Reasonable fears in my opinion. But look at the proposed remedies: more concentrated power, more almighty regulators, and more unchallengeable authority.

    I think greens need a Sanity Commission appointed…

  • rlhailssrpe

    If the green movement was rational, it is not, their proponents would have sit-ins in Tienanmen Square. China burns over twice as much coal as the US, and the ratio is climbing. From a global view point, it does not matter what the US does with coal. We could cease to exist, the impact on CO2 emissions would be tiny relative to the developing world. If coal is really bad, they must stop burning it, but there is no way, short of war, that the US could control their use of coal.

    Nat gas combustion produces about half as much CO2 as coal, so if you burn twice as much natural gas, you produce the same amount of CO2 as your earlier coal combustion infrastructure. You did nothing chemically, but you did destroy millions of American livelihoods.

    Decades ago, I read an engineering report that stated that some 94% of the cost of a nuclear power plant was caused by government regulations. Since then, entire libraries of regulations have been published.
    After engineering a score of nukes and two score fossil fuel power plants, I am certain that the American energy segment has, and must become a centrally controlled dictatorship, with all the problems which the USSR experienced with this economic structure. There can be no free market among competitive energy technologies. Greens hate corporate America. The pogrom on coal is not rational; it is ideological anti capitalism cloaked under pseudo science.

    We will experience very high energy costs soon. The era of cheap US energy has ended. It was the bedrock of our heavy industry. Our smoke stack industries moved off shore a long time ago, and has left extreme unemployment among inner city blue collar males.

    Unless your uncle is a powerful Senator, I do not recommend that any technically bright teen go into any energy engineering. One unknown reg, or ended subsidy, will bankrupt you in mid career. It is very common.

    I do not judge that America can survive our energy fiasco.

  • OWilson

    The Chinese are creating artificial islands in the Pacific for military purposes. All over the world the new industrial societies are expanding their urban cities and infrastructure on reclaimed land for airports and even whole new cities (see South Korea – a new city built on reclaimed land over 15 years to house 3 million).

    Meanwhile, the Americans are in the thrall of a climate fearing President who is trying to convince the voters that Miami and New York are in dire danger of being washed away.

    And we wonder why the once great U.S.A. has turned into a banana republic.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    Economist Charles R. Frank of the liberal Brookings Institution has completed a study definitively showing that wind and solar power are not sustainable ways to reduce C02 (due to lower capacity factors of running on when wind blows and sun shines). Hydro, nuclear and natural gas power roughly reduce the same amount of C02 (due to higher capacity factors of 24/7/365). In other words, wind and solar are the worst ways to reduce C02. So even if we assume that C02 needs to be reduced to avoid some cataclysmic event of warming, wind and solar are still not viable means to do so because they have negative costs requiring huge subsidies while conventional energy can accomplish the same reductions but without subsidies (and with more energy reliability).

    Charles Frank’s study can be found at the Brookings Institution website by Googling “The Best Path to a Low Carbon Future is Not Wind or Solar Power”

  • charris208

    The EPA estimates these savings could rise to as much as $59 billion in 2030.

    Could you detail why you think that is a valid number, even with the caveats ‘could’ and ‘as much’? Does the EPA have a record of good science? Do you believe that even when they label CO2 a ‘pollutant’ ? How do they separate respiratory problems caused by coal from respiratory problems caused by, for instance, pollen? How do they quantify the costs? My sense is that that number is politicized pseudo-science nonsense and I’d like to know why you take it seriously.

  • stefanstackhouse

    Cutting back on coal now doesn’t mean cutting back on it forever. It remains in the ground, an inventory available for future use when we need it. Coal can be converted to gas, a fuel just about as environmentally benign as natural gas, but right now that isn’t economically viable. Once the natural gas starts going away, that will change, and then the coal will still be there.

    What Greens really want, of course, is 100% renewable energy. That will come, too, once the technology has improved enough and the non-renewable energy sources have depleted enough to make renewable energy truly economical. Even then, though, I doubt that we will possibly be able to generate more than 25 Quads, or maybe being wildly optimistic, 50 quads, which is about 1/4 to 1/2 of what we use now. Energy conservation and efficiency are thus at least as important as renewable energy development for our pathway to the future sustainable energy economy that Greens want.

    In the meantime, we need to actually have a pathway that gets us from here to there.

  • Curious Mayhem

    That guy in the picture — is that Robert Plant? What year is this?

  • Tom Servo

    “Climate Change” is the Hellfire and Brimstone religion for people who think they’re too smart for a Hellfire and Brimstone religion.

    REPENT YE, REPENT YE, O YE SINNERS, OR YE SHALL ALL PERISH IN FLAME! AND GIVE US ALL OF YOUR MONEY TO PROVE THAT YE ARE WORTHY OF SALVATION, O YE EVILDOERS!!! REPENT YE, O REPENT YE!!!

    it’s the same old game as always.

  • russedav

    Like the various spurious “global warming/climate change” models “conveniently” omit the “minor” factors of clouds & the sun (!) to get the desired results (so much for it being about true “science”) the “greenhouse gasses” nonsense likewise conveniently omits the hugest factor of “water vapor” that exposes the whole thing as another typical manifestation of the vicious lawless, fascist pseudo-science scam of the gross bigotry of post-Christian atheist “orthodoxy” destroying the planet, something the true, great scientists of the past, e.g. creationist greats Newton, Galileo, Pasteur, et al, would have exposed and ridiculed as the vile fraud it is. See creation.com for true science vs today’s lawless, fascist evolutionist delusions that do it for $ sex & power, like antitheist clergyman apostate Darwin did, hating God for the death of his daughter and therefore hell-bent on destroying science and the Christian faith as a result.

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