by Robert Bradley MasterResource
August 3, 2009
“[The Waxman-Markey] 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities…. I would not only not vote for it. I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”
– Senator John McCain to Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal, August 1-2, 2009, p. A9.
“The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”
-James Hansen, “Strategies to Address Global Warming,” July 13, 2009.
The death of federal climate legislation in 2009 will not only be because traditional Republicans and conservative Democrats said “no”. It will also be because true believers like Senator John McCain realize that politicized cap-and-trade is all pain and no gain. A scorched earth economic policy that does not meaningfully address a feared “scorched earth” to come is worse than no policy at all.
Consider the conversation between Stephen Moore and Senator McCain in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal:
Since Mr. McCain was the co-sponsor of the McCain-Lieberman bill last year to limit CO emissions through a cap-and-trade system, I ask him about the climate change bill that passed the House last month and he surprised me with his opposition. “I believe climate change is real . . . but this 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities,” he says.
So you wouldn’t vote for the House bill? “I would not only not vote for it,” he laughs, “I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”
And compare this to what NASA scientist, climate alarmist, and Al Gore confidant James Hansen has said about the original version of Waxman-Markey:
“Governments are retreating to feckless ‘cap-and-trade,’ a minor tweak to business-as-usual….
“Why is this cap-and-trade temple of doom worshipped? The 648-page cap-and-trade monstrosity that is being foisted on the U.S. Congress provides the answer. Not a single Congressperson has read it. They don’t need to – they just need to add more paragraphs to support their own special interests. By the way, the Congress people do not write most of those paragraphs—they are ‘suggested’ by people in alligator shoes.”
And Dr. Hansen later spanked harder on the final bill:
“The alternative approach is Cap & Trade, or perhaps more honestly Tax & Trade, because a ‘cap’ increases the price of energy, as a tax or fee does.
Other characteristics of the ‘cap’ approach: (1) unpredictable price volatility, (2) it makes millionaires on Wall Street and other trading floors at public expense, (3) it is an invitation to blackmail by utilities that threaten ‘blackout coming’ to gain increased emission permits, (4) it has overhead costs and complexities, inviting lobbyists and delaying implementation.
The biggest problem with [cap and trade] is that it will not solve the problem. It may slow emissions, but because of the long lifetime of atmospheric CO2, slowing the emissions does little good. As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy they will be used eventually. There is no hope that cap and trade can get us back to 350 ppm CO2.
Hansen also addressed his critics on the Left who are politically stuck with Waxman-Markey:
Some environmental leaders have said that I am naïve to think that there is an alternative to cap-and-trade, and they suggest that I should stick to climate modeling. Their contention is that it is better to pass any bill now and improve it later. Their belief that they, as opposed to the fossil interests, have more effect on the bill’s eventual shape seems to be the pinnacle of naïveté.
The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless, because it would delay by at least a decade or two the possibility of getting on a path that is fundamentally sound from economic and climate preservation standpoints.
And Hansen will not kow-tow to the Administration:
Officials in the Obama administration privately admit that the science demands much more rapid emission cuts than Waxman-Markey would yield, but they say that their hands are tied by a recalcitrant Congress. Is that so? Has President Obama provided direction or guidelines for what he expects from Congress?
Waxman-Markey–aka the Enron Revitalization Act of 2009– is in deep trouble because it fails to either help the economy (the ‘green jobs’ myth) or address alleged climate change. Its death will be bipartisan.
Be sure to visit Robert Bradley’s MasterResource for more insight