pageok
pageok
pageok
No Reason to Follow the E.U.'s Climate Path:

Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting op-ed (subscribers only) on Europe's climate change policies, their results, and how their emissions compare with those in the U.S.:

the numbers show that if America is the Great Carbon Satan, Europe is certainly no angel.

Since 2000, emissions of CO2 have been growing more rapidly in Europe, with all its capping and yapping, than in the U.S., where there has been minimal government intervention so far. As of 2005, we're talking about a 3.8% rise in the EU-15 versus a 2.5% increase in the U.S., according to statistics from the United Nations.

What's more, preliminary data indicate that America's CO2 output fell by 1.3% from 2005 to 2006. If these numbers hold up, it would mean U.S. emissions growth is nearly flat so far this decade. Europe hasn't yet released figures for last year, but it did report in June that emissions from the participants in its carbon-trading scheme, which account for almost half of Europe's CO2 production, rose slightly in 2006.

The news gets worse for Europe when you consider that during this decade, the U.S. population has grown at roughly double the rate of the EU-15 while the American economy has been expanding about 40% faster. It seems Europe is becoming less efficient in its carbon production while U.S. efficiency is improving.

The author, WSJ Europe editorial writer Kyle Wingfield, makes clear that this is no reason for Europe to adopt the U.S. (lack of) climate policies, but it should give American policymakers pause before following the E.U.'s lead. He further explains how the E.U. carbon-trading scheme has failed to deliver.
As a measure of the gap between Europe's rhetoric and its reality, nothing beats its emissions trading scheme. The idea is that CO2-intensive companies -- chiefly those that produce power or use a great deal of it -- receive a certain number of permits to emit the gas. If they reduce their emissions and end up with a surplus, they can sell the extra permits to firms needing more allowances. In this way, market mechanisms are supposed to punish or reward companies for their carbon output, encouraging them to reduce it in the long run.

In Europe, however, the "market" consists of demand that government has created artificially and -- more important -- supply that the state distributes arbitrarily. Not surprisingly, companies lobbied hard to ensure favorable allocations when trading began in 2005. The number of permits exceeded actual emissions and prices plummeted. Today, allowances for 1,000 tons of CO2 are priced at about 11 euro cents, hardly high enough to prod a company to cut its carbon instead of just buying more permits. If you think the U.S. Congress -- whether led by Democrats or Republicans -- would be more likely to shun special interests in the name of environmentalism, then I've got some tariff-free Brazilian ethanol to sell you.

Emission trading schemes sound great in theory, but they can be very difficult to implement effectively. Among other things, the credit allocation scheme is particularly vulnerable to rent-seeking, as the E.U. experience shows. For this reason, I would prefer a revenue-neutral carbon tax (offset by reductions in other taxes) over a cap-and-trade scheme. (For more of my thoughts on this, see here.)

Carbon emission credit allocation across the pond has been a particularly thorny problem given the entrance of additional countries into the E.U. As Julian Morris noted in another WSJ op-ed from last week, several eastern European nations are challenging the E.U.'s credit allocations arguing that they are being penalized for other European nations' failure to abide by their Kyoto commitments.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the 27 EU nations must collectively cut greenhouse gas emissions 8% below 1990 levels by 2012. When the protocol was signed in 1997, the European Union had only 15 member states, each of which accepted a specific commitment to reduce emissions. Since then, however, only two of the original EU countries have lived up to their pledge: the U.K., which switched from coal to gas-fired power stations (though the high price of gas has led to a substantial switchback in recent years), and Sweden, which is increasingly postindustrial.

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic -- the seven countries that are challenging the EU's allocation decisions -- accepted partial responsibility for the EU's Kyoto commitment when they joined the EU. Their emissions fell substantially in the early 1990s following the collapse of communism, as they replaced an aging power infrastructure and closed down inefficient industries. They therefore had reason to believe that Kyoto might be actually a good business opportunity, allowing them to sell surplus emission permits to other EU countries.

But rapid economic growth in these former communist countries also fueled their greenhouse gas emissions -- though they are still well below their 1990 levels. When the Commission cut their emission allocations far below the levels those governments had originally expected, it meant fewer permits for the new member countries to sell. This, in turn, is set to drive up the price of each permit, making everyone else in the EU pay more for their emissions.

Like me, Julian Morris thinks that some form of carbon tax, combined with investment in adaptation, makes more sense than a global cap-and-trade scheme.
A more cost-efficient and effective alternative to stem global warming would be to invest in new technologies that could cut greenhouse gas emissions in the future. One way to incentivize such investments is to impose a small but rising tax on carbon. Environmental economist Ross McKitrick has suggested a carbon tax that would be tied to the mean temperature of the tropical troposphere (a region of the atmosphere that is believed to be particularly susceptible to greenhouse gas-induced warming). If the temperature rises, the tax should rise; if it falls the tax should fall. This is an intuitively appealing idea, since a higher tax would probably spur more rapid developments of low-carbon technologies, countering further carbon-related increases in temperature.

Such a tax would also, among other things, motivate private-sector investments in climate forecasting, since companies would want to know what the tax level was likely to be in coming years. This would introduce long-needed competition and progress in a field currently dominated by government funding.

In the short term, though, the main response to climate change must be adaptation. That is because most of the problems associated with climate change are extensions of problems that we already face today -- from malaria and water-borne diseases to flooding and crop failure. If we could tackle those problems now, reducing their severity, incidence and consequences, then they would be also less of a problem in the future, with or without climate change.

Justin (mail):
The Milwaukee Brewers rate of salary increase far outpaces the New York Yankees - thus the salary cap hurts Milwaukee.
8.21.2007 12:36pm
karl (mail):
Tying a tax rate to the rise or fall of CO2 emmissions would be a good idea if we were sure the government would comply with fall as well as rise.
8.21.2007 12:47pm
karl (mail):
Another thought. Are we battling the wrong argument? While it looks increasingly true that the world is getting warmer (starting 165 million years ago with the peaking of the Pleistocene Ice Age Epoch) but is man the cause? After all, we have only been here about 3 million years and only started real industrialization a few hundred years ago. Have we stamped man as the culprit without furthur rigorous study as to whether the relatively small volume of CO2 compared to the whole atmosphere is relly as powerful as some would make it?
8.21.2007 1:02pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Of course, in every category--industry, appliances, consumption for heating and cooling (both residential and commercial), transportation, power generation, etc., Europe is vastly more energy efficient than the United States. So to claim that our rate of increase is lower than Europe's over a time period when gas prices were going to the roof and we are finally beginning to break our sick fascination with ever huger SUVs is hardly anything to be proud of or mock the Europeans for.

If we even pretended to care as much as the Europeans about the build up of greenhouse gases we would soon find out that we could have significant reductions in our emissions without much impact on our lifestyles at all. Heck, switching to front-loading washing machines, radiant rather than forced air furnaces in new construction, and on-demand water heaters (which are ubiquitous in Europe) would make a huge dent in the energy consumption of this country.
8.21.2007 1:23pm
bittern (mail):
Jonathan, good for you, keeping this on the front burner. Some interesting thoughts you've put forward.

Emission trading schemes sound great in theory, but they can be very difficult to implement effectively. Among other things, the credit allocation scheme is particularly vulnerable to rent-seeking, as the E.U. experience shows. For this reason, I would prefer a revenue-neutral carbon tax (offset by reductions in other taxes) over a cap-and-trade scheme.

Everybody needs to recognize that the main thrust of either a carbon tax or cap is to raise the price consumers pay for energy and for energy-intensive products. So who does all that extra money go? Should Duke get to keep extra money because Duke's a power generator? Nunh-unh. Should I get more than an equal share because I use more than an average amount of energy, or because I am higher income? That's not right. The money raised either by tax or auction of permits ought to be sent right back to American consumers on an equal per-capita basis. Remember George McGovern's proposal to send everybody a grand? Sounds like an idea that was in search of its proper application.
8.21.2007 1:44pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
My answer to J.F. Thomas is easy - I don't care. I don't have problems with people like J.F. doing their thing to reduce what they see as an environmental problem. My problem is when they impose their beliefs in this area on me.

That said, I agree 100% with Adler's and the WSJ's view on carbon trading, offsetting, etc. All basically worthless, if the goal is to reduct carbon emissions. The rent seeking is part of the problem. Another possibly more pernicious part of the problem is that the wrong industries are incentivized. It is the smokestack industries that are given the carbon credits, offsets, etc. for their current or past levels of emissions (putting the rent seeking to the side). And it is the emerging industries that often have to pay to emit.

The problem I see with that is that the industries that should have capital flowing into them, because they are the wave of the future, etc., are instead subsidizing the industries that should have capital flowing out of them. Thus, you might have a software company essentially subsidizing a steel company that is now uncompetitive in the world economy, but has carbon credits for sale because of its historical emission levels (plus ability to rent seek for even more of them).

So, maybe it is just coincidence that the U.S. economy is growing so much faster than the EU, and in the right direcitons, but maybe subsidizing the declining energy intensive industries by the emerging ones might, just might, be making things worse.
8.21.2007 1:48pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"For this reason, I would prefer a revenue-neutral carbon tax (offset by reductions in other taxes)"

I'm with you up to the parenthetical--why the offset? This is a negative externality (and a significant one) CO2 emitters have been getting away with not internalizing for years, a windfall from the inability to solve this collective action problem (through Coasean bargaining or other means). Since at least in tax theory, corporate income tax is intended to raise revenue and is not intended to be a Pigouvian tax (i.e. what you propose), why ought the overall tax burden to be neutral?
8.21.2007 1:51pm
Sigivald (mail):
Personally, I think "complete inaction on carbon emissions" is our best plan at this point.

JF: Do you have data for "Europe" as a whole being vastly more efficient than the US in every category?

And efficient how? Less power used per unit of industrial production? Per person moved? Per home?

(Nevermind the obvious easy counterexamples; people dying of heat stroke in a French summer because nobody uses A/C is not what most of us would call "efficient" in the overall sense, even if they use less power per person.)

Residential power use is only about one third of US total consumption, and marginal changes like front-loading washers aren't going to reduce that seriously.

Front-loading washers aren't going to fix that - especially since one can get an efficient washer that's top-loading, and front-loading washers have endless complaints by consumers who buy them, unfortunately. (I know this from watching a coworker research them, thinking of a purchase.)

And tankless water heaters aren't stunningly efficient either.

No significant reduction in emissions is possible without serious impact on lifestyle*; everything you've suggested is thoroughly marginal (especially changes in new construction).

* At the consumer level, that is. Replacing all the coal plants with nuclear power would be significant, and not impact lifestyle at all.
8.21.2007 1:53pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
So who does all that extra money go? Should Duke get to keep extra money because Duke's a power generator? Nunh-unh. Should I get more than an equal share because I use more than an average amount of energy, or because I am higher income?
That is part of the problem with carbon offsetting and credits - Duke gets them because of their past level of emissions, which has nothing to do with how much they manage to reduce them.

That is one reason why Adler, the WSJ, and I prefer a tax over the sort of cap and trade being practiced in the EU, cap and trade, etc.

But, yes, there is still the problem of what should we do with the money collected by a tax. My vote would be to continue the phaseout of the Estate Tax, continue the lower rates for dividends, and AMT relief. I am sure that others have their preferences too.

But the question comes down to, is this another money grab by the government (to fund all those earmarks and other rent seeking), or will it be used to redistribute the tax burde?
8.21.2007 1:55pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Replacing all the coal plants with nuclear power would be significant, and not impact lifestyle at all.
Oh, no. Can't have that. It has "nuclear" in its name and thus is dangerous. Just think of the devastation that the "nuclear" bombs did to Hiroshima and Nagisaki.
8.21.2007 2:00pm
warsong (mail) (www):
karl,

You're on the right track, but, there are other questions to consider:

1. Why has NASA suddenly, without fanfare, revised its list of the 100 hottest years, dropping the last half of the 20th Century virtually off the list (only 1998 remains)?

2. How are 'we' causing the Polar Ice Caps on Mars to vanish?

3. How did we cause the second Storm that is evolving into another "Great Spot" on Jupiter?

4. In what way did we contribute to the startling and precipitous rise in the surface temperatures of Neptune and Uranus?

5. What can we do to stop the catastrophic "Global Warming" symptoms now evident on Pluto and all the Moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune?

6. And, which should we fear more, the armed "undocumented immigrant" Dope Dealer on the Corner, or, Albert Gore's "Carbon Credits Corporation?"

Personally, my greatest fear is that if Birds didn't have Wings, Frogs couldn't fly (dueling non-sequitors, anyone?).
8.21.2007 2:01pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> why ought the overall tax burden to be neutral?

The poster may believe that increased govt spending is not a benefit. Or, the poster may believe that reducing other taxes would have more benefits than would increased spending funded by a carbon tax.

If carbon research and mitigation is such a good idea, why don't significant numbers of the proponents suggest cutting other spending to fund it? If everything that the US govt current spends money on is more important, does that tell us about the actual importance of these issues? Or, does it tell us that these issues are mostly a ploy.

If the solution to every problem is more taxes, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that more taxes is actually the goal.
8.21.2007 2:11pm
bittern (mail):

But, yes, there is still the problem of what should we do with the money collected by a tax. My vote would be to continue the phaseout of the Estate Tax, continue the lower rates for dividends, and AMT relief. I am sure that others have their preferences too.

Bruce, I think you're illustrating the problem with conceiving of the carbon revenue source as a tax. As a tax it belongs to the government, and as you've pointing out, people have a separate, pre-existing, acrimonious money relationship with their government. How about instead of making this a benefit for dead people and dividends, we equally split this newly created asset? You've got no right to a bigger slice of a brand new pie than I do, notwithstanding your seeming pile of wealthy dead ancestors.
8.21.2007 2:14pm
Gav:

The Milwaukee Brewers rate of salary increase far outpaces the New York Yankees - thus the salary cap hurts Milwaukee.


The point of this sarcasm is a mystery. The article never claims a US superiority over Europe in terms of emissions. If fact, it states clearly: "It's true that emissions -- both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis -- remain higher in America than in the EU-15."

I struggle to see how the comment challenges anything written by JA or in the original article.
8.21.2007 2:22pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Bruce, I think you're illustrating the problem with conceiving of the carbon revenue source as a tax. As a tax it belongs to the government, and as you've pointing out, people have a separate, pre-existing, acrimonious money relationship with their government. How about instead of making this a benefit for dead people and dividends, we equally split this newly created asset? You've got no right to a bigger slice of a brand new pie than I do, notwithstanding your seeming pile of wealthy dead ancestors.
I get it. Since the money came from ancestors, it is really the government's money. After all, the government made all that money and should get to keep it. It is only through the meddling of the traitorous Republicans in Congress and the White House that the governmentw was somehow cheated out of all that money.

Sorry about the cynicism, etc. My problem was with the initial proposition that wealth belongs to the government, instead of the people, and that somehow intergenerational wealth transfers are somehow free money for the government.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that the amount of taxes generated by Estate taxes is de minimis compared to the amount of taxes that would need to be imposed to notably change behavior through a carbon emissions tax, and that ignores the burdens that Estate tax avoidance has on the economy. It has always been primarily a social engineering tax, instead of a revenue generation one.

But, if you are going to insist on the Estate tax coming back, then fine. We can use the carbon emissions taxes to offset AMT repeal. Otherwise, as I and others have pointed out above, you face the reality that this tax is just another way for the government to raise taxes on us.
8.21.2007 2:41pm
Smokey:
CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a necessary and beneficial plant food. We are made mainly out of carbon.

It is disturbing that the Left [and this is politics, not science] has pushed the ridiculous and completely unnecessary 'sequestration' of carbon as a solution.

Can anyone name a more insane proposal? Burn carbon in order to take CO2 -- burned carbon -- and put it under ground.

Even the UN/IPCC's scientists are beginning to dissent, which takes significant courage, considering their careers. And those who are past worrying about their future employment, like Professor Freeman Dyson, strongly disagree with those who claim that CO2 is bad.

The simple, proven fact -- that the Earth's history shows CO2 skyrocketing to many times current levels, at the same time that the climate was plunging the Earth into a severe Ice Age -- should suffice to show that the very, very tiny increase in current CO2 levels will not cause any further global warming than that caused by the same natural cycles that are still bringing the planet out of the last Ice Age.

But those facts do not matter to the Left, which is only interested in control. And what better boogeyman to pretend to slay than Global Warming?

The proposed solution is straightforward as always: Open your wallets!!
8.21.2007 2:41pm
The General:
Amen, Smokey!
8.21.2007 2:56pm
bittern (mail):

I get it.

Bruce! Listen up. I'm recommending that the carbon tax / auction proceeds NOT be considered the government's money. It's OUR money. It's coming back to us as new pie. Let's not roll in all the arguments about old pies. If the tax/auction proceeds get split back to people as equal shareholders, all our arguments about AMTs and estate taxes etc. can roll on ad infinitem, detached from the carbon permits.
8.21.2007 3:18pm
BGates (www):
If we even pretended to care as much as the Europeans about the build up of greenhouse gases
I agree, the Europeans pretend to care much more than we pretend to care. It gives them a warm feeling of smugness, and makes them look better to the simple-minded and those predisposed to dislike America.
8.21.2007 3:41pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I would have no problems with returning the money collected by a carbon tax to the people, in whatever form, as long as it actually came back to them. I had read your suggestion as suggesting just the opposite. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

My big worry about this, as well as any other new tax, etc. is that we are talking a money grab instead of a redistribution of the tax burden. My view is that the government doesn't need more money, at least right now, until it can show that it can effectively and efficiently spend what it already has. More money just hides the problem for a short while, until the latest dollup is spent.

But as long as Congress is spending all that money on earmarks, agricultural subsidies, and other pork barrel projects and rent seeking, it has too much money already. It doesn't need more money, just more spending discipline.
8.21.2007 3:47pm
bittern (mail):
Bruce, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Program could be a model for distributing carbon revenues. My understanding is that Alaska's program has worked out fairly well. It's clear that the most efficient place to count the carbon is when it comes out of the ground / across the border. Either charging a straight tax or auctioning carbon permits would work; so far I don't have a strong preference between the two. Anyway, I think we could agree with Adler's point that Europe's system is fairly useless?
8.21.2007 4:01pm
Crunchy Frog:

Can anyone name a more insane proposal? Burn carbon in order to take CO2 -- burned carbon -- and put it under ground.

Of course since the majority of the carbon to be burned comes from under the ground, the next effect of the exercise is the removal of oxygen from the atmosphere. Can anyone explain to me why this would be a benefit?
8.21.2007 4:08pm
Crunchy Frog:
Ack! next = net
8.21.2007 4:08pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Bittern, Agreed with your points, and I don't have a problem with the Alaskan system. I have friends who have done well by it. Not that it would make it worthwhile to me to spend a winter with so little sun. So, I could live with that sort of system.
8.21.2007 4:27pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Crunchy - we are running out of oxygen, aren't we? I seem to remember it being a scarce resource. Or was that on Mars?
8.21.2007 4:29pm
Justin (mail):
Gav,

Other that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

You can't get around the most important point that just drives a stake into your argument by acknowledging it and then ignoring it.
8.21.2007 4:45pm
bittern (mail):
Justin, the clips seem to show that, in the absence of any real activity to limit energy use, U.S. and European per capita energy consumption are converging. Correct? Agreed that Europe's higher rate of increase doesn't prove their program is worse, but what's the evidence that it's any better? A price of 0.11 Euros/ton suggests the program has so far been highly ineffective, no?
8.21.2007 5:39pm
bittern (mail):

Crunchy - we are running out of oxygen, aren't we? I seem to remember it being a scarce resource.

Oxygen: 20 percent of atmosphere
CO2: up to 380 ppm (0.038 percent)
Nobody's making any dent in the oxygen level.

Of course since the majority of the carbon to be burned comes from under the ground, the next effect of the exercise is the removal of oxygen from the atmosphere.

Frog, you can't breathe the oxygen out of the CO2. Stuffing the excess CO2 underground won't change your croaking.
8.21.2007 5:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
J. F. Thomas: "If we even pretended to care as much as the Europeans about the build up of greenhouse gases we would soon find out that we could have significant reductions in our emissions without much impact on our lifestyles at all."

To date, we have no reason to care.
8.21.2007 5:51pm
anym_avey (mail):
There's no "stake", Justin, because the comparison is utterly devoid of context. Such as:

1. Europe benefits from a confluence of geographically unique factors, including a large, warm Atlantic ocean current, that provides a broadly temperate climate across a continent that is centered at a lattitude north of Minesota. In fact the UK is roughly at the lattitude of where Canada's Northern Terriories begin. There may be a very good argument that it is idiodic for Phoenix to be prime real estate territory at present, but that's a small argument compared to the fact that the United States has one of the most varied climate and weather patterns of any geographic region on earth. Presto, higher heating and cooling needs across the board, irrespective of any other factors.

2. Large swaths of European property and infrasturcure were heavily damaged destroyed during two world wars, and thus, Europe had the opportunity to rebuild in a centralized, high-density format centered aroud efficient public transportation. That's one way to get there, but I don't recommend it.

3. Consequent of (2), high-density housing is naturally smaller and much more energy efficient on a per-person basis.

4. Europe's set-backs from two world wars meant that they were investing the bulk of their resources in rebuildling for two to three decades after WWII, rather than developing new products. The US, meanwhile, got rich by developing new products and selling them during the same time period. As a result, overall incomes are higher in the US and US citizens can afford more of everything (including roads and cars). These are all mainly a consequence of practical realities cascading out of world history, not some uniquely European virtue.

5. The European political climate favors solving problems collectively with large tax burdens, in great contrast to the US political climate, which is entirely different for reasons which are entirely valid.

6. Consequent of (4) and (5), the average European has less money available to buy larger housing, a first/second/larger car, air conditioning, etc., even if his or her life would be greatly improved by it.

7. Europeans made peace with nuclear power a long time ago, and implement a lot of it. Nuclear energy expansion has been fought against in the US, and we may recall that it wasn't the earth rapers who lead the charge on that battle. Meanwhile, since it's easier to build a coal-fired plant than a nuclear plant in the recent US political climate, AND we have large native coal reserves AND we have a healthy appetite for power...guess what? Lots of coal-fired plants, skewing our carbon ratios in the wrong direction.

Is that enough to show that the European energy efficiency argument is a bit facile without the context...or should we continue? (I've also got some fun comparison data about use and abuse of water resources...)
8.21.2007 6:06pm
Gav:

Other that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

You can't get around the most important point that just drives a stake into your argument by acknowledging it and then ignoring it.


Justin, the sarcastic references didn't work before and don't work now. You are (deliberately, I fear) misrepresenting the main argument of the piece which is that for all Europe's fine words and apparent championing of climate change, the emissions policy has not worked and appears to have no realistic chance of achieving its goals. I suggest you pick up the WSJ and read the entire article before you make these straw men arguments. After doing so, I think that you will agree that pointing out any US failings with regards to emissions is a rather poor counter.
8.21.2007 6:31pm
karl (mail):
J. F. Thomas: Yes let's all switch over all our appliances and cars, and build windmills and solar panels, and invest in hydrogen cells. That will drain a lot of capital out of the system and where are we going to get all the steel and and aluminum and electricty to supply this big turnover? I guess we will have to burn more coal.
8.21.2007 10:32pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Oxygen: 20 percent of atmosphere
CO2: up to 380 ppm (0.038 percent)
Nobody's making any dent in the oxygen level.
That is why I threw in the quip about Mars. O2 really is an issue for making the Red Planet inhabitable for humans and whatever other animals we ultimately bring along.
8.21.2007 10:41pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Ralph Keeling showed that O2 is decreasing, however, a loss of ppm (parts per million) in 20 pph (parts per hundred) is hard to see
8.22.2007 12:32am
Smokey:
Yes, Keeling studied changes in oxygen isotope levels. But his snapshot in time began in 1958, which quite limits his analysis. The result is only consternation, when global warming alarmists state that according to Keeling's data, ''CO2 levels have not been as high as they are today for the past 400,000 years.''

That is true -- as far as it goes. But as usual, global warming peddlers have cherry-picked the specific time frame that would support their otherwise falsified conjecture. Even 400,000 years is an extremely small snapshot of the Earth's history, as this chart clearly shows.

The indisputable fact is that paleogeologic CO2 levels have skyrocketed to many thousand ppm, with no effect whatever on the Earth's temperature. Furthermore, the chart above shows that there is no correlation whatever between CO2 levels, no matter how high or low, and global temperatures.

Thus, the central pillar of the human-induce global warming alarmists -- that CO2 causes runaway global warming -- has been decisively falsified by hard data.

But just try convincing the Gorebot and his religious AGW True Believers. Their minds are made up, and no further data is of any use to them.

As H.L. Mencken said: ''The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.''
8.22.2007 2:46am
George B (mail):
I'm skeptical that humans burning hydrocarbons are causing a significant change in climate. Maybe locally by overgrazing and cutting down forests... However, I do accept that the US is marginally safer when certain countries have less oil revenue.

Assuming a burning too much oil problem exists, why is more government always proposed as a solution? Federal government regulation is the main reason that diesel cars, popular in Europe, are almost unavailable in the US. Not sure about nuclear power economics, but government regulation sure isn't making it more cost effective. I'm willing to look at some new energy efficiency regulation if the other side of the political spectrum will accept some energy deregulation too.
8.22.2007 2:46am
BenG (mail):
Given that the whole anthropogenic global warming "crisis" is a bunch of crap, I prefer that everyone just shut-up about it and spend their energies on, you know, actual problems.
8.22.2007 11:45am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
This is all predicated on CO2, amplified by the water cycle, driving climate.

What if that is false? After all, despite what the AGW folks say the science is not settled.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Falsification_of_CO2.pdf

http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pubs/HeatCapacity.pdf
8.22.2007 2:20pm
anym_avey (mail):
Assuming a burning too much oil problem exists, why is more government always proposed as a solution? Federal government regulation is the main reason that diesel cars, popular in Europe, are almost unavailable in the US.

Ironically, government is also the reason that diesel cars are popular in Europe. Gasoline taxes are through the roof, but diesel taxes are subject to certain limitations that were originally intended to avoid crushing the shipping industries; so car designs naturally followed the path to the cheaper fuel.

As for the US...we have traditionally had a problem with sulphur dioxide pollution leading to acid rain, and strict sulphur emissions laws are a primary reason diesels are in shorter supply here.
8.22.2007 3:14pm
Smokey:
anym_avey:

As for the US...we have traditionally had a problem with sulphur dioxide pollution leading to acid rain, and strict sulphur emissions laws are a primary reason diesels are in shorter supply here.
Not trying to argue, but deisel cars and trucks are not in short supply here.

Anyone can buy one. But not many people want a diesel because the power is significantly lower than that of a gasoline engine.
8.22.2007 6:04pm
Stan Peterson (mail):

If any open minded scientist read the scientific papers of the 70 or 80s, that serious scientist could only recognize that a small effect, difficult to measure above the natural noise, called global warming, seemed possible. It warranted further study.
Any scientist, who reads the scientific papers of the late 90s and 2000s, now sees it as an alarm that has turned out to be answered. Some assumptions were disproven, and the GHG effect has been reduced in scope, in its power to alter climate extensively. Concerns have been mostly answered and relieved.
Organized science increasingly agrees. The IPCC, hardly a Global Warming denier, has reduced GHG power to alter the climate by some 35% already; and promised more reductions when the effects on clouds by the solar wind are understood, calibrated, and included.
In the interim, the reductions in the power of the GHGs have been withheld, but promised. This deferred change is recognized to be massive; and comparable in strength, to the original GHG effect.
All GHGs other than CO2, i.e. CH4, NO2, Chloroflouro-hydrocarbons, have been stabilized or are now declining. that terminates al these other gases abilities ot further warm the Earth. (H2O is not included). The rate of CO2 increase is moderating too; and changes in atmospheric levels may partly be measurement errors, and mostly ocean solubility issues, and not be mostly anthropogenic in nature at all. CO2 is questionable as a causal or correlative effect, as well.
The answer that Science is increasingly confirming is that the Sun is a (slightly) variable star. The Earth (and the rest of the Solar system), warms and cools in response to periodic changes in its output. Further, Science is revealing that the Sun warms and cools the solar system in ways that were unexpected; as well as the simple changes in intensity of its direct radiation, i.e. its light.
CO2 seems to be a much smaller effect, unable to change temperatures by more than parts of tenths of a single degree per century.
Problems will not occur for Millennia, rather than the originally feared time frame of decades or centuries, if all else stay steady.
And it isn't, and doesn't.
Meanwhile, the political and popular press, like generals fighting the last war, is the last to know and way behind the scientists.

I must say in response the USA has the best and most realistic response, to the political and economic problems of fossil fuels. The problems posed by limits on supply and precarious sources in unstable regimes.

In the long term, post 2030, build clean inexhaustible Fusion p[power plants, and right now finance the International Fusion Test Reactor experiment in Cadarache France, to make sure they are available then.

In the intermediate term 2012-2030, authorize and build lots of fission power plants, doubling the US percentage of electricity from 20 to 40% from nuclear sources. There are now 29 big modern fission Nukes in the US pipeline. All are Gen III+ much safer designs than the safe ones working today. A year ago there were none. These are needed to power the Electrified Ground Transport revolution coming on about then. The US and world auto fleet will convert to Hybrid-electric and Plug-in Hybrid-electric designs. This conversion will start to collapse the World oil markets about 2020, as the single market for 80% of the worlds oil converts to cheaper and cleaner electricity instead.

In the short term, today until 2013, we should have been drilling in Alaska, the West Coast and the East Coast and also building some new refineries. But the Congress objected. So we will live with and muddle through the next decade, facing periodic price run ups and declines, trying to balance a tight supply and demand situation, until demand starts to slacken markedly.

Nowhere is there Kyoto hysteria, nor Carbon Taxes or other non answers.
8.23.2007 1:59am
antebellum:
In fact, emissions trading has proven to be quite effective.
8.23.2007 8:55pm