Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rep. Joe Barton on Cap-and-Trade and the U.S. As Haiti

Haiti-Micah-Group We had a bit of fun with Rep. Joe Barton yesterday, but politicians say all kinds of things and a good amount of it leads to fun. But fair’s fair and Barton has put up an article more fully explaining his position on cap-and-trade. It can be found at American Daily Review, which describes itself as “News, politics and conservative commentary without compromise,” so Barton can speak with at least some political filters dialed down.

His article is called “Democrats Cap & Trade Plan: Sending us back to 1875”

Here’s a taster:

Nobody understands exactly what the legislation means in dollars and cents - more on this later - but to experience how it would feel to lower your personal carbon footprint to the size this bill proposes, set the flux capacitor to 1875. That’s the last time Americans’ carbon emissions matched the goals set by the Waxman-Markey legislation.

What, the old DeLorean is up on cinder blocks in the front yard again? In that case you can test drive Waxman-Markey by sailing down to Haiti, because current CO2 emissions are where Waxman-Markey wants America’s to be in 2050. Radical environmentalists think such a CO2 level will be heaven on Earth, but the place that has actually achieved it is a nation swimming in bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, typhoid fever, dengue fever and malaria, with 47 percent illiteracy and a life expectancy of 49 years. So excuse me if I remain unconvinced.

We definitely appreciate the Back to the Future references, but what we really take away from this is that Barton feels that progress will cease and even reverse if the bill is passed as written. This is a much more dire forecast than we’ve seen before.

His Haiti comparison doesn’t really work, though, since Haiti is not a country that reversed carbon emissions from the position of being a highly developed industrial nation. Obviously, The United States is not starting from the same place and therefore cannot end in the same place as Haiti. (Actually, history has put Haiti in a position to advance industrially without utilizing carbon emitting technology.)

One more taste and then head over to read the rest:

Just why anyone beyond reliably liberal politicians and environmental activists would support cap-and-trade is getting harder to understand. It is true that some utility companies that used to be suspicious now embrace it, but probably only so long as they get their free emissions permits.

The last try at this was called the Lieberman-Warner bill, with John McCain involved at an early point. We’re pretty sure cap-and-trade is a fairly conservative solution to this issue – a direct carbon tax would be the go-to liberal solution – but only if you think there’s an issue to address. We agree with Barton, though, that free emissions permits rather dilutes the purpose of the legislation.

(EIA, by the way, said the Lieberman-Warner bill would need a substantial amount of nuclear power to meet its emission reduction goals; EPA has said much the same about Waxman-Markey. And Barton, as a long time supporter of nuclear energy, has a solution that fits a cap-and-trade regime nicely. See here for Barton speaking via video to a 2006 NRC conference.)

In any event, we could have an entertaining conversation with Barton about this stuff all day. Check out his article and see what you think.

Children in the Haiti-Micah program. This is a group that takes in orphaned – and, we might fear, abandoned – children and supplies them with the basics – shelter, food, education. More on these good people here.

No comments: