Image credit: Reto Stöckli, NASA Earth Observatory
By Drew Johnson
The Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized yet another regulation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The new rule, which deals specifically with gases known as hydrochloroflourocarbons or HFCs, is just the latest in the Obama Administration’s misguided efforts to slow climate change through government regulations.
But while carbon dioxide and other emissions regulations continue to pile up, the basis for such policies is looking weaker each day. In the last few years, a number of scientific studies have suggested that the climate is less sensitive to carbon pollution than previously believed. What is beyond dispute, however, is that that sweeping emissions rules cost our economy jobs, drive up the price of energy, and hold back promising domestic industries like oil and gas.
Before they inflict any more harm on our economy, environmental regulators should make sure their greenhouse gas rules reflect the most up-to-date science. That’s not currently the case.
After rising for decades, the Earth's average surface temperature has effectively leveled off since 1998, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This so-called "pause" in global warming has revealed the inadequacies of climate models that forecasted a steady rise in temperature for years to come. As recently as 2007, the IPCC was predicting that the planet's temperature would rise by an average of .2 degrees Celsius over the next two decades.
The unexpected pause also calls into question the relationship between carbon emissions and climate change. After all, since 1998, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have risen by more than 27 percent, with little noticeable effect on the climate.
A host of recent research has cast doubt on prevailing views about the climate's sensitivity to carbon emissions. In a study published in September’s edition of the scientific journal Climate Dynamics, for instance, scientists Judith Curry and Nicholas Lewis show that the change in temperature that results from a doubling of atmospheric carbon is considerably lower than many current climate simulations suggest.
Other studies published in journals like Nature Geoscience and Earth System Dynamics reach similar conclusions.
None of these scientific findings, however, seem to have fazed EPA regulators. Earlier this year, the agency proposed a historic rule that would cut emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The new restrictions on HFCs are yet more proof that the EPA stands firm in its belief that cutting emissions is the best way to address climate change, even though science says otherwise.
It's bad enough that a group of regulators that pride themselves on their commitment to science is so willing to ignore straightforward evidence. What's worse is that, by continuing to issue such strict greenhouse gas rules, the EPA is exacting an enormous cost on average Americans.
For example, the proposed power plant rule is expected to raise electricity prices by as much as 20 percent in some states by 2031, according to the consulting firm NERA.
Carbon restrictions also threaten the wider economy, particularly the nation's thriving energy sector. Recent advances in extracting oil and gas from shale rock formations have sparked an unprecedented domestic energy boom.
In 2012 alone, the shale revolution supported 2.1 million jobs and contributed $283 billion to the national economy, according to the consulting firm IHS. By the end of the decade, this sector is expected to create an additional 3.3 million American jobs, while adding $2,700 to the average household's disposable income.
Heavy-handed greenhouse gas regulations, however, could easily disrupt this segment of our economy by making it far more expensive to take advantage of our country's energy resources.
In order to comply with the 30 percent emissions cut proposed in the EPA's power-plant rule, for example, natural-gas plants will need to install carbon capture and sequestration systems. According to IHS, such technologies increase the cost of constructing natural-gas power plants by 60 percent. In effect, such restrictions transform an affordable energy source into an expensive one.
All told, the emissions rule for power plants will cost our economy an estimated $51 billion dollars and 224,000 jobs a year for well over the next decade. This would be an enormous price to pay even if carbon emissions were as hazardous to the environment as many in the green movement believe them to be.
But it's far from clear just how sensitive the Earth's climate is to atmospheric CO2. And until the relationship between global warming and carbon emissions is better established, the EPA owes it to Americans to proceed cautiously.
Drew Johnson is a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to a smaller, more responsible government.
Cap-and-trade legislation will require 60 votes to pass the Senate. According to Bloomberg, at
least 15 of the Senate's 60 Democrats have said the
House-passed version -- the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade tax climate change legislation -- would hurt the economy and must be changed before they can support it. Most Republican Senators oppose the cap-and-trade measure.
Indiana Republican Congressman Dan Burton on Cap and Trade Tax, Obamacare and those Town hall meetings:
Cap and Trade Tax
Spain has tried this already. And for every job, a new job created that
would help the environment they lost two and a half jobs.
the new programs its gonna cost American jobs, American people
jobs. It's gonna drive jobs overseas.
Its gonna cost the American
consumer about $3000 a year in additional expenses because when
they turn on their lights it'll cost more because the producer of the
electricity is gonna have to pay more taxes. Its gonna cost more for
gasoline and anything that's an energy source that pollutes in
any possible way.
I don't think the Senate ultimately will pass it because
constituents across the country are becoming very interested in this
and the health care issue.
We don't need more taxes. We don't need more
spending. We don't need to have jobs driven overseas when we need to
create more jobs here at home.
take money, billions of dollars, out of Medicare.
Its gonna do away
with Medicare Advantage.
Its gonna cause the rationing of health care.
This is a bad, bad bill and its socialistic.
We need to make some improvements in health care, but this ain't
The Democrats are starting to feel what the American
people want them to feel -- real disgust about this bill [Obamacare].
Town Hall Meetings
had town meetings now for a long, long time. And I can tell when
there's a put up job and when there's real concern among constituents.
These people are angry. They're not being sent there by anybody.
Watch the following video of Congressman Burton's interview with Jamie Colby.
The agreement seeks to cut half of all emissions linked to climate change by 2050 and calls for halting the world's average temperature from rising 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above current levels by switching to green-energy sources, such as wind and solar power.
Obama Signing the G-8 climate change pact that does not require emission reductions by China and India is the same as Clinton/Gore signing Kyoto. At least in 1997 the Senate warned President Clinton not to give the emerging industrial powers an economic advantage. The Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution. Byrd-Hagel stated the sense of the Senate that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." Byrd-Hagel prevented Clinton from even trying to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
"I cannot support the House bill in its present form," Byrd said in a statement. "I continue to believe that clean coal can be a 'green' energy. Those of us who understand coal's great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians."
Also, Senator Byrd's was one of the two sponsors of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which the senate unanimously passed, 95–0, in 1997. Byrd-Hagel stated the sense of the Senate that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." Byrd-Hagel prevented Clinton from even trying to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which like the Waxman-Markey "cap and trade" climate change legislation, would have put the U.S. economy at an economic disadvantage to China and India.
Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.
Contrary to Obama's rhetoric his administration has suppressed inconvenient scientific evidence that global warming isn't as bad as the cap and trade advocates have been telling us.
The following video outlines the story:
Declan McCullagh reports that according to recently disclosed emails, the Environmental Protection Agency suppressed an internal report that was skeptical of claims about global warming:
Less than two weeks before the agency formally submitted its pro-regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty "decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data."
The EPA official, Al McGartland, said in an e-mail message (PDF) to a staff researcher on March 17: "The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward...and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision."
The e-mail correspondence raises questions about political interference in what was supposed to be an independent review process inside a federal agency--and echoes criticisms of the EPA under the Bush administration, which was accused of suppressing a pro-climate change document.
E-mail messages released this week show that Alan Carlin, the primary author of the 98-page EPA report, was ordered not to "have any direct communication" with anyone outside his small group at EPA on the topic of climate change, and was informed that his report would not be shared with the agency group working on the topic.
The suppressed Carlin report was especially inconvenient for Obama's cap and trade push:
Carlin's report listed a number of recent developments he said the EPA did not consider, including that global temperatures have declined for 11 years; that new research predicts Atlantic hurricanes will be unaffected; that there's "little evidence" that Greenland is shedding ice at expected levels; and that solar radiation has the largest single effect on the earth's temperature.
If there is a need for the government to lower planetary temperatures, Carlin believes, other mechanisms would be cheaper and more effective than regulation of carbon dioxide. One paper he wrote says managing sea level rise or reducing solar radiation reaching the earth would be more cost-effective alternatives.
How long will President Obama get away with saying one thing while he does the opposite?
According to Samuelsohn's article, the Senate count stands at 45 yes or probably yes, 32 no, and 23 fence sitters:
To start, there are 45 senators in the "yes" or "probably yes" camp, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
There are 23 fence sitters. Alaska's Mark Begich (D) and Lisa Murkowski (R) need to keep their home state's oil and gas interests in mind, while Ohio's Sherrod Brown (D) and Michigan Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow are pressing for provisions that help agriculture and their state's ailing manufacturing and auto industries.
There are also 32 Republicans who are unlikely to vote for a climate bill of the shape and size that Obama and congressional Democratic leaders envision, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Missouri Sen. Kit Bond and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, an outspoken skeptic about the link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
In 1993, the legislation containing the Clinton energy tax was adopted on a 219-to-213 vote with 38 Democrats defecting. On Friday, the House bill was approved 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats defecting.
Clinton's energy tax didn't pass the senate and the Democrats lost the senate in the following election.
The whole point of both Clinton's BTU energy tax and the current cap and trade energy tax is to price fossil fuels out of the market. Imposing higher energy costs on our economy, costs which don't apply to economic competitors such as China and India, does not make sense for a struggling economy facing Obama's out of control spending, higher taxes and ever growing multi-trillion dollar deficits.
In 1997 the Senate unanimously passed, 95–0, the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." Byrd-Hagel prevented Clinton from even trying to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which also would have put the U.S. economy at an economic disadvantage to China and India.
Have things really changed so since the 1990s that the U.S. Senate would vote to give our economic competitors an advantage?
"With all due respect, Mr. President, if we're out of money, quit spending it." - Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, CNN's State of the Union, June 28, 2009
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty discussed, health care, cap and trade and stimulus on CNN's State of the Union with John King. Pawlenty did a terrific job countering Obama/Democrat talking points:
On President Obama's so-called stimulus:
The General Accounting Office, said recently of the $800 billion stimulus bill, only about $150 billion of it is really stimulative for the economy. The rest was spent on government programs, government social service programs that are not stimulative. And so this is a bill that was misdirected,mis-targeted, mis- prioritized, mis-focused.
On Out-of-Control Spending:
Well, the president said not long ago in an interview quote-unquote, "we are out of money." With all due respect, Mr. President, if we're out of money, quit spending it.
This is a nation that has got a debt load and a deficit load that is unsustainable. We're going to have, in my view, the federal government debt crisis equivalent of the mortgage crisis within 20 years.
On Cap and Trade:
It's a cap and trade bill. It's going to cap our job growth and trade our jobs to other countries who provide a more competitive business environment.
We should do things to reduce emissions and pollution, but we have to do it in a way that doesn't wreck our economy or put unreasonable burdens on our citizens. And this bill does not meet that test.
On Health Care:
Well, there are goals of three parts for health care reform, John. One is extending coverage, called access, but there are other goals, as well, which is cost containment, because it's bankrupting cities, states, businesses, the federal government. And the third is making sure we maintain quality.
So you can obsess just about access, but if you don't also contain costs and preserve quality, you're in big trouble.
We share, as Republicans, the goal of health care reform, to get more access, to control costs, to improve quality. But the way to do that isn't to have the government take over the system.
Watch the video:
The full transcript of Governor Pawlenty is available here.