Carbon Rationing by Other Means

After Congress fails to regulate greenhouse gases, the president hands the job to the EPA.

Plan A was to get Congress to adopt a massive cap-and-trade carbon rationing scheme. The idea was to impose mandatory cuts on U.S. emissions of the greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide, that are thought to be warming the atmosphere. Six months after President Barack Obama’s inauguration, a cap-and-trade bill managed to squeak through the House of Representatives—once it was larded up with billions in pork.

But attempts to get cap and trade through the Senate foundered last July when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) admitted he could not muster the votes. The midterm elections, in which the Republicans took control of the House and increased their membership in the Senate, ensured that Plan A was off the table.

Now on to Plan B. At a press conference after the elections, Obama declared: “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.” The president then handed the cat-skinning job over to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is imposing limits on greenhouse gas emissions by means of regulations under the Clean Air Act. Not surprisingly, this attempt at atmospheric central planning has engendered considerable opposition.

A bit of history: Back in 1999, a bunch of environmental advocacy groups filed a petition with President Bill Clinton’s EPA asking the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Clinton-era EPA issued a legal opinion asserting that the agency did indeed have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. In 2003 the EPA under President George W. Bush denied the activists’ petition, asserting a lack of authority under the Clean Air Act.

The activists, joined by several state attorneys general, pursued their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2007 the Court ruled 5 to 4 in Massachusetts v. EPA that the agency did have the power to regulate greenhouse gases if the agency had reason to conclude under the Clean Air Act that they were a form of “air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” In December 2009, the agency issued a finding that concluded exactly that. That decision triggered the current EPA rulemaking process.

Traditionally, the EPA set national ambient air quality standards for a list of six pollutants: ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulates, and lead. Under the Clean Air Act, operating permits are required for any entity emitting more than 100 tons of these air pollutants per year or any new facility with the potential to emit more than 250 tons per year. New facilities must persuade regulators that they are installing the best available control technology before being allowed to operate. While the limits were set by the federal Clean Air Act, state environmental agencies generally administer the air pollution permitting programs.

The EPA acknowledged that millions of facilities emit as much as 100 tons of greenhouse gases annually, including small dairy farms, large apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, and churches. It would be “absurd” to impose greenhouse gas permitting requirements on that many sources, the EPA concluded, because the effort would overwhelm regulators. The agency’s solution: Ignore the statutory thresholds and “tailor” the regulations to fit what the government could handle.

Under a “tailoring rule” that took effect in January, all new projects must use the best available control technology if they would increase greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Essentially, any new or expanding industrial facility must show that it has reduced its proposed emissions by an amount that regulators deem acceptably cost-effective and technically feasible before it can obtain an operating permit. By July all industrial facilities that emit more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide must obtain such permits. The EPA promises no facilities that emit less than 50,000 tons annually will be regulated before 2016.

Last summer the EPA demanded that each state adopt implementation plans to meet the permitting requirements of its new greenhouse gas regulations. If the states didn’t, the EPA would issue the permits itself. As the EPA’s regulatory juggernaut steamed ahead, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) proposed a resolution to rescind the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. It was defeated in June by a vote of 53 to 47. In August, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the EPA saying his state refuses to comply with the new regulations.

Since September, a coalition of industry and farm groups, along with several state attorneys general, has failed three times to get a federal court to stay the implementation of the new EPA rules until they are fully adjudicated. The EPA has accepted the implementation plans of 42 states and given itself the authority to issue permits in seven states until they can revise their regulations. The agency will issue permits in Texas until further notice.

In addition to implementing these operating permit plans, the EPA in December announced a settlement agreement with 13 states and cities and four environmental lobbying groups. Under that agreement the agency plans by the end of 2012 to set limits on greenhouse gases emitted by electric power plants and oil refineries. Emissions from these facilities constitute about 40 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 

The state and industry lawsuits against the regulations are still wending their ways through the courts. The critics’ chief concern is that the new regulations will boost the cost of energy and delay the construction of new factories and facilities.

Last December, a Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips and the incoming Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), said the new EPA regulations represent “an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs.” Upton and Phillips want to overturn the regulations altogether, but if that can’t be done they want the rules to be delayed until courts have sorted out the lawsuits. It is unlikely that congressional Democrats or the Obama administration would accede to such a proposal.

Most economists agree that the EPA’s plan—a top-down scheme rife with uncertainty about what regulators will accept as the best available control technologies—is far from ideal. It is an absurdly expensive way to address any greenhouse gas problem.

The Obama administration may be strategically rushing these regulations as a way of ratcheting up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to adopt the lesser of two evils: something like the cap-and-trade carbon rationing scheme that failed last summer. In that case, the real Plan B is to make Plan B so odious that Plan A looks good by comparison. It just might work. 

Ronald Bailey (rbailey@reason.com) is reason's science correspondent.

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  • ||

    Who'd have thought that Congress delegating "rule-making" authority to the Executive branch would lead to problems?

  • ||

    ^^^THIS^^^

  • ||

    Oops, that was me, noted Obama fanboy.

  • The Central Scrutinizer||

    It used to be my job to enforce all the laws that hadn't been passed yet.

  • Frank Zappa's Ghost||

    Who'd thunk it!

  • ||

    The constitutional requirement for Congress to pass legislation exclusively is a mere technicality.

    Besides, we in government have full powers of interpretation of the Constitution. This power effectively makes the USA our country, not yours.

    http://youareproperty.blogspot.....udges.html

  • Realist||

    +10
    What could go wrong???

  • Tony||

    You wingnuts aren't smrt enough to understand that regulating how much you exhale is actually a good thing. We can let the evil rich people who breathe too much suffer a little to help out starving children in Somalia, or as I like to call it: Libertopia.

  • ||

    D- spoof

  • Old Mexican||

    Dillinger: "Tony?"
    MCP: "Yes. It felt like Tony"

  • fish||

    Tron references? Old Mex you do go back now don't you?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow. Spoof Tony almost = real Tony.

  • Choad||

    I still love you, Tony!

  • Chad||

    I love how you guys spoof me, even though I rarely post here any more.

    It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • Realist||

    Great Tony impersonation you even misspelled smart to make it look like an idiot wrote it.

  • Greer||

    Didn't read the whole thing, but to the point. This is probably the wave of the future. As the parties cause gridlock for the opposing party president, he can just use the enormous bureaucratic apparatus at his disposal.

    You want gun control? Get the health apparatus to declare it a health issue.

    You want video monitoring of all citizens? Get the LEO apparatus to declare it a crime crisis.

    I actually think that in the long run it isn't the president or congress we have to fear (as much as we do), it's the bureacracy that is going to do us in. A bunch of weasels runnig the FDA or FCC can make our lives miserable by claiming power for themselves.

  • ||

    You mean wave of the present, right?

  • ||

    Wave of the Future? Wave of the Future. Wave of the Future...

  • ||

    That's what the world is today
    hey, hey

  • ||

    No.

  • Middle Age Crazy||

    I saw what you did there.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_Pbx9mvWPY

  • kinnath||

    I read an article about 20 years ago that stated that when the US was overthrown it would be through a regulatory agency that has the power to write rules that carry the weight of law.

    I wasn't as paranoid back then, but I suspect that the TSA has secret documents showing that we are two or three steps into the process.

  • Wesley Mouch||

    That's an intriguing idea...

  • John Gault||

    See you tax day.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Misspelled Galt. On the plus side, Atlas Shrugged premieres on April 15th. And then they go make tax day the 18th this year. Hmmm....

  • John Galt||

    Right, you are, that was the old German spelling.

  • ||

    I am sure the true corruption of this will emerge once some buried-on-page-1,592 detail about 'waivers' comes to light. There has to be an exception-process at the level of actual politicos. They would never 'blindly' relinquish power like that, antithetical to their DNA that would be.

    The Warmers and the unions are increasingly in the same ironic boat: They finally got their guy elected, with super-majorities to boot at the Federal level. And since that's happened, outside of executive fiat there has been nothing other than one epic disaster after another for their pet causes. All their favorite legislation has not only been dispatched to the ash heap, but they find themselves running hard just to stay in place, to stay relevant and credible.

    And outside of their political echo chambers, neither one really is credible or relevant to rational people. Especially their proposed 'fixes' for what they see as problems in society - whether others perceive the same problems or not.

    WhiteMammaObama has been a poison-pill for all the lefty causes in a way Bush 43 only could dream of. Strange, bizarre irony there.

  • Johnny McRhino||

    "Fight with me, my friend!"

  • The Fringe Economist||

    Environmentally Prejudiced Asses?

  • Cy Nickelfuque||

    Under a “tailoring rule” that took effect in January, all new projects must use the best available control technology

    ... namely, not starting the project.

  • ||

    "It would be “absurd” to impose greenhouse gas permitting requirements on that many sources, the EPA concluded, because the effort would overwhelm regulators."

    And yet the IRS makes every single individual in this country with income account for almost every penny they make!

    We should tax carbon emissions instead of income. We should phase out the income tax and corporate taxes and replace them with a tax on carbon emissions.

    I'd rather have the IRS asking me about how much energy I use than how much money I've made anyway.

    There's no need to create an artificial market for carbon emissions when those emissions are built on an energy market that's already functioning quite well.

    So the trick isn't to create an artificial market for carbon emissions where there was none in the real world--the trick is bringing the very real costs of carbon emissions into the real market for energy.

    Regulation will never do that efficiently.

  • DNS||

    I'd rather have the IRS asking me about how much energy I use than how much money I've made anyway.

    Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Shultz.

  • ||

    Keep Gillespie's and de Rugy's government receipts as a percentage of GDP chart in mind...

    The government can project whatever it wants, but as the chart going back to 1934 shows, they're not getting more than 21% of our GDP anyway.

    Personally, I'd rather they took more of that 21% as a slice of the coal, oil, etc. consumed in this country--especially considering that there are so many substitutes for energy derived from coal and oil!

    They could raise taxes on both income and carbon emissions--but that's not what I'm proposing. ...and even if they do raise the rate--they're ultimately not getting any more than 21% of GDP anyway.

    And can you imagine the stimulative effect of eliminating all that taxation on people's incomes? I don't think there's any question but that we'd have a more vibrant economy with less unemployment than--if we only got rid of the income tax.

    ...OTBE, or course.

  • ||

    Absent a global carbon tax, equally applied to all industrial users regardless of the nation where it is generated, this too is a guaranteed fail. E.g. exempt India and India alone and all steel gets made in India. Nationalists across the globe will not stand for it.

    There is no easy answer to this problem. Learning to live with increased global temps may be the only viable option.

  • ||

    And taxing carbon emissions instead of income is one way to learn to live with increased global temps.

    I'll guarantee you this: if people had to pay for their carbon emissions, I think it's safe to assume that people would spend at least as much to reduce their carbon emissions as they spend on tax preparation. ...and people spend a fortune on that!

    You should also try to keep one other thing in mind: one of the reasons regulation stinks so bad? Is because it doesn't involve price signals like markets do.

    If people had to pay the full price for the damage they do to the environment with their carbon emissions--they would make different choices about how they spend their money.

    In other words, people respond to price signals. Not regulation--price signals! That's the problem with the current market--our market price isn't reflecting the true costs of using energy.

  • ||

    If people had to pay the full price for the damage they do to the environment with their carbon emissions--they would make different choices about how they spend their money.

    The can of worms opened there...ascertaining 'environmental damage' and trying to price that in the cost of something, anything, is absurd from a regulatory POV.

    You also assume there is a fixed cost that can even be calculated to carbon output in particular. And that is a contention I don't find believable in the slightest to begin with.

  • ||

    I'm not talking about doing this within a regulatory framework.

    How high does that tax need to be?

    There's no need for a policy wonk to figure out how high our income taxes need to be. They set them where they set them, and the government gets what it gets.

    We should aim for about 20% of GDP the first year--a target I don't think we could go over if we wanted to.

    ...and if we come in under 20%? Then as a libertarian, I'm not gonna feel bad if we reduce how much of our GDP the government consumes every year.

  • ||

    If you want to 'accurately price the real cost' someone's going to have to figure out that price on some scale based on actual carbon output/cost-in-dollars. If its just a revenue mechanism to arbitrarily pull down 20% or less of GDP that's a different goal and could very well be a different number than the 'real' cost.

    The someone who figures out what those numbers are to be is going to be a regulator. If a private entity does that trick ('consulting firms') then you've outsourced the regulator, but the fact remains it is what it is.

  • ||

    There's no question someone would initially have to figure out where the rate would be...

    That's true of every rate ever set in the history of the world.

    Initially, somebody would project "lost" revenue (by the government) and set a rate to offset that (or not).

    I mean, theoretically, couldn't the government be smaller? ...and maybe some people would like that!

    Regardless, yeah, they set the rates somewhere around where they think they're going to make up for "lost" revenue.

    Businesses do stuff like that every day. The government does it all the time. They raise taxes on one thing, and they lower them on another.

    It doesn't require anyone to invent some new mathematically indescribable form of rocket science.

    We need to offset tax increases over here with tax cuts over there--we've been doin' it since the days of Hammurabi.

  • ||

    But that makes it kind of arbitrary, i.e. you're not going to 'accurately' price carbon if you're just playing with tax rates...which I thought was one of your goals.

    What I'm saying is you're going to have to pick one or the other, and a desk-jock is going to be figuring that out one way or another. And if the tax doesn't hit the mark for 'true' carbon costs, then either it is being singled out and punished or its still wallowing in subsidies of hidden costs for its use.

    Either way its more of the same stuff that we have today (as you note), and not a solution for anything.

    All a carbon-tax does in that context is let the government arbitrarily set tax rates on one of the most fundamental molecular compounds in the universe based on some 'harm' the government gets to quantify at its leisure - with regulators. I don't know if that's an improvement over what we have now.

  • Doc S||

    So what's your actual concern? That it will be done in the first place? That it will be done incorrectly? Rates can be adjusted if they dont reflect the actual costs properly.

    You don't seem in favor of change or retaining status qou, but rather just offering a complaints on what we can't do, which in your opinoin seems to be anything.
    I also question the assertation of CO2 being one of the most "fundemental molecular compounds in the universe"

  • ||

    There's a federal tax on gasoline sales right now. Customers figure it into the price of what they buy, which is an enormous improvement over--say--government regulation capping how much gasoline people can buy...

    ...but then I'm old enough to remember when the president made it so my dad was only allowed to buy gasoline on even numbered days because our license plate ended in an even number!

    The proposal on the table is regulation like that. Regulation like that sucks like super-sucks! ...and worst of all, it doesn't generally solve anybody's problems.

    I'm not real fond of any taxes, but of all the ones I despise the least? It's the ones that I get to pay more or less voluntarily. If I don't want to pay the tax on airline tickets? I don't have to buy airline tickets. I don't have to pay the tax if I don't want to!

    If we got rid of all those awful economic vitality destroying taxes that aren't so voluntary and really didn't have any substitutes...? Oh what a wonderful world that would be!

    They tax our income for no reason at all except that we earned it! Why do they take our capital gains away with taxes? Why does the government actively discourage corporations from making more profits by taxing them?

    Those taxes are so unbelievably stupid compared to a tax on carbon emissions!

    If I can get rid of all of those stupid, stupid taxes with a tax on carbon emissions and fix the environment too? That's a no-freakin'-brainer!

    If I can get the environmentalists on the left to split with their income redistribution brethren and back the elimination of the income tax alone!

    Then I can make Barry Goldwater's dreams come true!

  • ||

    CO2 is up there with methane in its ubiquity. Most of Venus's atmosphere in molar terms is C02. Ditto for Mars. On planets where its too cold for C02 to be around, you end up with methane instead (Titan). Most of Martian 'ice' is dry ice. The earth is a strange planet in having all this free oxygen and nitrogen not bound up in oxides itself, a direct effect of eons of photosynthesis. The earth's atmosphere - before the advent of photosynthesis - was overwhelmingly carbon dioxide. The vast banded-iron formations and the 'carboniferous' epoch where we get all this coal from are direct results of that chemical transformation eons ago. Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are the four elemental 'switches' in DNA. Their respective compounds (note they all are chemical whores for bonding) are the most fundamental building blocks of life itself. Such as C02, I mean plants breath the shit dude. Its pretty fundamental.

    And I'm not a complainer about everything. And I'm actually more open-minded about anthropogenic impact on this earth than most skeptical people - or 'climate deniers' as you say elsewhere. But the notion of carbon taxes is bunk. In a land with 40,000 pages of tax bullshit already, I don't know how 1000's of pages more of carbon-shit - no matter how its grafted onto the existing pig - is a net benefit in any context - environmental, strategic, or fiscal.

    Now, you were sniffing something out on another post around here. You absolutely perceive the hidden subsidy of the 5th Fleet and thirty years of military antagonism in the Middle East on oil prices. Let's talk about that. Let's try a study of how much that costs or subsidizes oil? That's a rational question with accessible facts and figures to at least get a credible guesstimate. But 'pricing' carbon? Nope.

    And higher taxes is one thing. More tax codes at this point is an abomination. Taxes should raise revenue for public expenditures incurred by the sovereign and its granularities. They should not be social carrots and sticks nor 'pricing' mechanisms for commodities or services. That's where I'm coming from as libertarian anyways. And why I complain about perceived carbon taxes. Or funny-money hidden-tax schemes of something like cap'n'rape. I'll give you this Ken, at least call a duck a duck. But more ducks ain't the answer, if there's even a first answer for the original question (AGW) already. And I don't think there is.

  • Doc S||

    Ehh I've never used the term climate denier :)
    I rescind my questioning of CO2 being one of the fundemental compounds in the universe, I should have rather said that just because it is one, doesnt mean we necessarily want a whole lot more of it in the earths atmosphere.
    The planets that you mentioned that have an abundance of it don't really seem to be that habitable, and you also said commented on the odity of the earth's atmospheric components due to the eons of photosynthesis making it habitable. Once again I really don't think its a system we want to be altering too much due to the rarity of it's occourence, 4.5 billion years is a long time to perfect something

  • Doc S||

    as for cap and trade, I agree it is without question a tax, and I also agree it's not the best policy decision for achieving the end goal. However, in its defense, it at least relies on the power of markets and allows for ingenuity and creation of wealth, rather than the traditional route taken by the epa which does little to reward ingenuity and only benefits the producers of industrial scrubbers.
    There's a better way to account for the externalities to encourage intelligent and manageable consumption shifts.

  • ||

    Pull out of Iraq, pull out the Fifth Fleet from the Gulf, stop propping up the Arabian peninsula with F-16 Block 60's, THAAD Defense, and hordes of Strike Eagles sold into dictators' arsenals to keep Iran in fear (who still fly F-14's resulting from same bad habit with them decades ago) of its neighbors. Watch a barrel go to $200, $300, etc. Tax imposed, and the government SAVED money. That's what I say if you want to 'wean' the USA off foreign oil. Less paperwork, not more.

    I should have rather said that just because it is one, doesnt mean we necessarily want a whole lot more of it in the earths atmosphere.

    'Whole lot more?' That's a relative term. Going from three tenths of a percent to three tenths plus-a-hundredth-of-one-more-percent over the course of a century isn't 'a whole lot' even if its entirely attributable to anthropogenic causes. Especially if the earth's ecosystem is resilient on timescales of 4.5 billion years of everything in the cosmic kitchen-sink coming its way.

    The earth geo-eco-system (they are symbiotic) isn't this frail, delicate metaphorical Bambi the Warmers make it out to be. Probably has lots of tricks we don't understand or are even aware of; we can definitely put our panties back on over 'global warming' slipping us into some hellish Venus-lite as Al Gore's little book jacket pictorially exclaims. So I don't even see the rationale for the carbonized fear used as an argument for a carbon-cost riser of any kind in the first place.

  • ||

    "CO2 is up there with methane in its ubiquity."

    I don't need to read the rest of what you wrote to know that you seem to think that's important.

    ...more important, apparently, than whether we can get rid of the income tax?

    Even if CO2 were no more of a problem than H20, I'd rather tax CO2 than income.

    If I didn't give a rip about the environment and didn't think CO2 mattered at all, I'd still support taxing CO2 instead of income.

    The income tax is a socialist income redistribution scheme--and anybody who's thought about the issue and still supports an income redistribution scheme like the income tax over taxing carbon emissions?

    ...is a blood-sucking socialist parasite.

  • ||

    How bout we don't tax either one?

  • ||

    "I'd still support taxing CO2 instead of income."

    And you're absolutely naive iv you believe that the gov't wouldn't end up taxing both CO2 AND income.

  • Chad||

    Zeitgeist: Actually, the optimal carbon price is not the price equal to its "social cost", but one higher than that. Here is why.

    If you set the cost too low, you are leaving money on the table: you could raise the tax, eliminate a deadweight loss, and bring in more money to the government. One way or the other, this extra money implies that you need less money from other forms of tax (income, capital gains, etc) that also have deadweight losses. Therefore, you can eliminate some degree of these deadweight losses as well. Raising a too-low carbon tax actually reduces two different deadweights.

    Now what happens if you raise a "just-right" carbon tax to an even higher level? Well, you now start creating a dead-weight from the over-priced carbon. However, you are still reducing the deadweights associated with the income, etc taxes you are replacing. Dollar for dollar of government income, the deadweight from the carbon tax will be smaller at first, but gradually escalate as the carbon tax gets further out of balance. Only at some level notably above the "optimal" carbon tax will increasing the carbon tax by $1 dollar have a larger deadweight than raising the next cheapest (in terms of deadweight) tax. This higher level is actually the best place to set the carbon tax.

    In any case, the current price is zero, and therefore we should have no qualms about raising it. It is hardly plausible that we would raise it so high that it would have a worse dead-weight than income taxes.

  • #||

    this is something though that gets missed in all this debate? Lets assume we put in cap and trade or place a carbon tax. What do you set it at?

    Why does no one ask this detail?

    If the trippling of oil prices over the last decade has only caused US carbon emissions to stay roughly flat, how high of a tax do you think we need to get carbon emissions to fall substantially? Do we need after tax effective $300 barrel oil?

    Until there is some breakthough technology that either allows us to burn fossil feuls without releasing carbon or there is a new viable energy source, the only way to reduce carbon emissions heavily is to greatly reduce economic output and make us all poorer.

    And considering that we have had high energy prices for a decade now and Europe has been taxing the shit out of energy for decades now and no such breakthough has happened yet, I wouldnt be predicting that to change instantly once we get a carbon regime.

  • Doc S||

    There actually is good amount of data on the cap prices needed to make a difference in the GHG emissions. Unfortunately though, as usual, the disconnect existing between academia and policy makers leaves most people unaware that this information exists.

    You also make the assumption that the only way to reduce carbon emissions is to greatly reduce economic output and make us all poorer, with out offering any sort of justification why that would be the case. Why is that the ONLY solution?

  • #||

    "You also make the assumption that the only way to reduce carbon emissions is to greatly reduce economic output and make us all poorer, with out offering any sort of justification why that would be the case. Why is that the ONLY solution?"

    Because as of now, the only way to reduce carbon emissions is to use less carbon fuels. There is no way to burn carbon fuels and emit less carbon like what we do with sullfur-dioxide via catalitic converters.

    So the only way to create a market signal to reduce emissions is to raise the price and create a substitution out of using carbon fuel - which the point of a carbon tax.

    And the price elasticity of demand for energy is very inelatic -there are not really good substitutes. Oil prices have trippled in the last decade (coal has doubled) and US carbon emissions have stayed relatively flat. Despite the huige increase in price, carbon per dollar of economic output has only fallen at about the same rate of total economic growth.

    So either the decarbonization has to speed up, or growth needs to slow down. Considering for the first to happen at just 2-3 percent per year over the past decade, it required a trippling of oil prices, so how high of an effective aftertax market price on carbon fuels do you think is required to actually cut emissions substantially? It would be crippling.

    So this is what im saying. Unless there is a break through technology, a cap and trade scheme will result in one of two things. Either 1, it works to cut emissions, but does so primarily by reducing output, or 2. politicians cave to rising prices and political interests and issue a ton of permits so there is no carbon reductions (ie Europe the last decade)

  • ||

    Another consequence of Ken's Magic Carbon Tax is that it would serve as an implicit subsidy for non-carbon energy generation, as it would raise the price of carbon-based generation considerably, perhaps up to or beyond the cost of solar panels and windmills.

    So, we would get even more investment into technologies that have already demonstrated that they can't produce power at competitive price-points without massive subsidies. It's also very likely that we'll get more politically-connected boondoggles as we did with ethanol. Barring a breakthrough in these technologies ("It's just around the corner! Real soon now!"), get used to bending over for the electric bill every month.

  • ||

    "Another consequence of Ken's Magic Carbon Tax is that it would serve as an implicit subsidy for non-carbon energy generation, as it would raise the price of carbon-based generation considerably, perhaps up to or beyond the cost of solar panels and windmills."

    If the cost of windmills and solar panels don't cost as much environmentally as fossil fuels, then OTBE--why shouldn't they cost less?

    "So, we would get even more investment into technologies that have already demonstrated that they can't produce power at competitive price-points without massive subsidies."

    I'm not sure that's true. In fact, as I've said elsewhere, if you're counting in all the costs associated with oil--including taxpayers costs to keep the Middle East and North Africa nice and compliant with the oil industry, I'm not sure the technologies you're talking about aren't competitive...

    Remove the special exemption oil is getting in so many various ways... Why should we be surprised that oil is cheaper at the pump when keeping it so cheap is so much of what our economic and foreign policy is all about?

    Even given that, I'm not sure some of things you're talking about aren't cost competitive--or soon will be.

    Geothermal heat pumps seem to be mighty competitive at any price point!

    And I don't know what the price per kilowatt will be of First Solar in the future, but I know that their efficiency continues to improve by baby-steps every year.

    To what extent does scaling have an impact pricing?

    I see lots of reasons to be optimistic about substitutes being price competitive for consumers--once the government stops keeping the price of fossil fuels artificially low.

    I see reason for optimism on that point, and even more reason to be optimistic about economic growth once the government stops actively discouraging income generation, profits and capital gains too!

  • Doc S||

    The issue with your logic is that you assume a decrease in fossil fuels usage HAS to relate to a decrease in the economy. This assumes that every single process is already at its most efficient and all the energy that is used is used in the most effective ways possible.
    Be redesigning industrial processes, promoting conservation and energy efficiency, and in general becoming more efficient fossil fuels and other GHG emissions can be significantly reduced with little if any impact on the economy (or even improving the economy due to increased income ot being spent on highly subsidized energy sources).

  • Doc S||

    sigh... the above comment was to #'s post

  • Bucky||

    sigh, "by redesigning industrial processes...with little if any impact on the economy"?
    did you take Econ 102, 103, 104 or were you the frat boy with all the old tests that never showed to a single class?

  • Doc S||

    No, unfortunately they didn't offer those, but i did get a phd in engineering with a focus on econ. I've also been a part of several successful projects to redesign processes for companies like alcoa and bayer that saved them millions and lowered the impacts of the process themselves.
    I know it's a silly thing isn't it.

  • Realist||

    "No, unfortunately they didn't offer those, but i did get a phd in engineering with a focus on econ."
    You should sue....you're still ignorant.

  • Doc S||

    Hi pot.. Let me introduce you to my friend Kettle.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    A flat income tax would not pick winners and losers. Fuck social engineering taxes, such as carbon taxes.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    A flat sales tax would encourage less energy and material use to reduce the cost of goods. Environmental benefits would far exceed those of bullshit carbon tax.

  • Doc S||

    Once again a statement with no evidence to back it up. Why would a flat tax decrease encourage less energy and material use?

  • Zoltar||

    "I see in the near future more cold deaths than warm deaths."

  • sevo||

    Ken Shultz|3.28.11 @ 1:17PM|#
    "And taxing carbon emissions instead of income is one way to learn to live with increased global temps."

    And *not* taxing CEs does the same thing.

  • ||

    I should have also thrown in that not having corporate, income and capital gains taxes would make us more competitive internationally.

    By a long shot.

  • #||

    but you'd also be over quadrupling the price of energy if you wanted to raise the same amount of income. And with that high of a price you probably will end up with economic growth problems because you will be distorting energy markets considerably even if people's incomes are higher because of an offseting tax decrease. There are both income effects and substitution effects in play here.

    With that said, I'm not opposed to your idea in concept. I would be willing to take a sustantial carbon based tax if they made a big cut in income taxes to counter it. I just dont think you are going to make much of a dent in carbon emessions unless you massively tax carbon so that a fillup at the gas station costs you $200. There are not real viable substitutes right now.

  • ||

    "but you'd also be over quadrupling the price of energy if you wanted to raise the same amount of income."

    I'm not sure how much it would go up, but if we put the tax on carbon emissions, electricity would not go up much for hydroelectric power, nuclear power, geothermal power...

    Coal? Yes. That would go up. But just to be specific, a lot of people don't get their energy from coal, and even the utilities that do burn coal would a) find it behooves them to pursue clean coal technology and b) would find themselves without much in the way of income taxes paid for their employees or in corporate taxes!

    All those savings might find their way to the consumer too. So we should add that into your calculation.

  • ||

    except we don't get most of our power from those sources. Nevermind the fact that the people screaming their heads off about CE's (not you), are the same people bitching about nuclear and hydroelectric.

  • Doc S||

    It's not learning to live with the the increased global temps thats the issue, its the impacts from those changes that will be the part difficult to cope with.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    "Learning to live with increased global temps may be the only viable option."

    Considering how cold it gets in the Midwest in winter (let alone in Siberia or Canada), global warming isn't an entirely bad idea. A good chunk of the worlds land mass is in too-cold climes. Make some dikes to block flooding and it should be about peachy.

    Or we could go nuclear. That might work too.

  • ||

    "Considering how cold it gets in the Midwest in winter (let alone in Siberia or Canada), global warming isn't an entirely bad idea."

    As long as the people benefiting pay to help those who will be struck with smaller crops, scarcity of water and desertification.

    I know this is a difficult concept to grasp - but the globe is not covered by North America. There are other nations - inconvenient but true.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Ken Shultz,

    I'd rather have the IRS asking me about how much energy I use than how much money I've made anyway.


    "For you, Mr. Shultz, we will fuck you with BOTH!"

  • ||

    "For you, Mr. Shultz, we will fuck you with BOTH!"

    I don't think so.

    I think a lot of Americans on both the left and the right would get on board with taxing carbon instead of income.

    I think we could split the left with this kind of proposal. I think it's time to come right and tell the left, "Hey, if saving the environment means we have to get rid of the income tax--and you're not willing to do that to save the environment? Then you don't really care about the environment!"

    We should start by eliminating the lower brackets of course. Start with, say, individuals that make less than $40,000 a year--what if suddenly didn't have to file anymore? How many of them do you suppose are in favor of that?

    ...and then there's the other side of the equation. Since I was a kid, the Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater side of the conservative movement has dreamed about getting rid of the income tax--this is their chance!

    That's my message to conservatives: if paying an effective sales tax on carbon emissions is what it takes to get rid of the income tax--and you're not willing to do that? Then you're not really the heirs of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. You're a bunch of phony conservatives!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Ken Shultz,

    I think a lot of Americans on both the left and the right would get on board with taxing carbon instead of income.


    Since when has it been that what Americans want mattered? I mean, "Which country do you think this is?"
    (Ferris Buller's Day Off, garage scene.)

    I think we could split the left with this kind of proposal. I think it's time to come right and tell the left, "Hey, if saving the environment means we have to get rid of the income tax--and you're not willing to do that to save the environment? Then you don't really care about the environment!"


    Even the postmodernist left would see through such flimsy argument. They would ask the same thing I insinuated above: "Why not have both?"

  • ||

    Because they can't get the support of the people on the right.

    They've been trying since before Al Gore was in office, and they will never--ever under any circumstance ever--get the support of the American people to crush the economy by hiking taxes up high enough to make a dent in the global warming problem.

    I think that may be one factor that's holding us back on this--people don't understand the enormity of the problem so they don't understand the enormity of the solution required to make even a tiny dent in the problem!

    If all of the money we paid in taxes was paid on carbon emissions, that might be big enough to make a dent in the problem.

    ...there's no way the American people would stand for paying taxes that amounted to 42% of our GDP instead of 21% of our GDP.

    See what I wrote up top about de Rugy's and Gillespie's 21% of GDP chart. It doesn't matter how high they crank the tax rates up--the government will never, ever get more than 21% of our GDP in tax receipts.

    So--if the left wants a definitive solution to global warming that involves cost to polluters and energy consumers? Then they will necessarily need to agree to cut taxes elsewhere.

    They can only get what the American people will agree to, and the American people won't agree to economic suicide. ...and that's how high taxes would have to be to make a dent in the problem--suicidal levels. ...unless they cut all other taxes proportionately that aren't tied to things like carbon emissions.

  • Bucky||

    ahem, what percentage pay income taxes now?
    can we expect the same for carbon taxes, you betcha!

  • ||

    If you're suggesting that the people who make more than $75,000 a year don't pay their fair share of income taxes?

    I've seen more recent stats, but in 2008? The top 1% in terms of income paid 38% of income tax receipts to the government. The top 5% in terms of income paid 59% of the income tax income tax receipts to government, and people who made more than $67,280 that year?

    Paid 86% of all the income tax received by the U.S. Government.

    http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/.....taxes.html

    If you were suggesting that the top earners somehow won't have to pay a tax based on how much carbon they use--because no one makes them pay their share of the income tax now?

    I'm gonna start laughing.

  • ||

    I think Bucky was referring to the 50% of the population who don't pay any taxes. Now if that was Tony, then you'd probably be right.

  • Chad||

    "I think Bucky was referring to the 50% of the population who don't pay any taxes. Now if that was Tony, then you'd probably be right."

    Bullshit. Why do conservatives repeat this lie again and again? "Taxes" and "federal income taxes" are not the same thing. When you count all taxes, our system is actually pretty flat (see the wiki article on taxation in the us for details). This is because 48 states have regressive tax systems and FICA is regressive. These largely offset the progressive nature of the federal income tax.

  • Old Mexican||

    In August, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the EPA saying his state refuses to comply with the new regulations.


    And almost immediately, as if on cue, the Houston Chronicle ran shrill op-ed pieces that stated that the Texas government wanted to poison children or kill the environment just to help big business... or words to that effect.

  • alan||

    I hope he included the words, 'our federal system of government is not a suicide pack.' That would rile them.

  • ||

    I was going to point out that the word should be "pact", not "pack". But I think that works too!

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I expect there shall soon be a limerick about Bailey rhyming 'reasonable' with 'seasonable'.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Self-fufilling prophecy you've got there. Good job.

  • Old Mexican||

    Last December, a Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips and the incoming Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), said the new EPA regulations represent "an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs."


    Well, even if it were jobs neutral, the fact that is unconstitutional is still pretty bad.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You raise a good point. The wording of the sentence suggests that unconstitutional things are okay as long as they don't hurt jobs (or whatever it is this week, unicorns, woodlands, seaweed...). The thing should be illegal because it's unconstitutional...which is why it's illegal. There's no good excuses for overstepping the Constitution.

  • some guy||

    "In that case, the real Plan B is to make Plan B so odious that Plan A looks good by comparison."

    Kind of like what happened with Health Care "Reform".

  • ||

    "It would be “absurd” to impose greenhouse gas permitting requirements on that many sources, the EPA concluded, because the effort would overwhelm regulators."

    Never mind the crushing burden on the peasants, this would mean regulators, regulators mind you, the best and brightest of us, the pinnacle of America, would be "overwhelmed."

    A hundred years from now, people will be saying the great fiscal collapse of 2013 was a blessing in disguise, because it led to the death of the Entitlement State, the Welfare State, and the Nanny State. Shame about the Great Starvation of 2014, but hey, eggs, omelettes, you do the math.

  • kilroy||

    We can only hope.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Ever read Atlas Shrugged? The strike was pretty similar, in the general effects. Bureaucracy gets so bad that (with a little help from the freedom lovers) that the country collapses. Then they get to start over, without the oppressive nanny state and with a clear example of what it leads to.

  • ||

    "Ever read Atlas Shrugged?"

    No, because I am not a subhuman. What about it?

  • x,y||

    Hey, Ron, how's that "punishing the Republicans hard" thingee working out for you?

  • GOP||

    Spank me harder, big daddy! Thank you sir, can I have another (Obama presidency)!

  • ||

    Carbon emission has "very real costs"?

    Such as?

  • Old Mexican||

    3...2...1...

    EXTERNALITIES!!!!

  • Doc S||

    You say it as if it's inaccurate.

  • ||

    It's bullshit.

  • Doc S||

    Thank you for sharing your feelings.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Well you've got to use all that energy to do it.

  • ||

    Exactly. Can one put a price on speculative theoretical bullshit? Someone please try again, I wanna laugh some more.

  • ||

    "Exactly. Can one put a price on speculative theoretical bullshit?"

    Does the term "capital gains tax" mean anything to you?

    The government puts a price on speculative bullshit all the time!

    What I'm suggesting is that they stop that and instead put a price on something that isn't speculative and isn't bullshit.

    I'm tired of financing other people's college educations--with the justification being that I should have to pay for them because I earned a salary last year?!

    That's speculative bullshit.

    Being forced to pay for what you consume? That is not speculative bullshit.

    I don't want to pay for you. You pay for you and what you consume. ...anything else makes you a welfare queen.

  • ||

    You pay for you and what you consume.

    I'm pretty sure I do already there, big guy. I don't see anyone else jumping in to pay me gas and electric bills every month.

    Just to confirm, you want all the good stuff that comes with market forces and uncoerced collective efforts, just none of the bad stuff, right?

  • ||

    So, the biggest welfare queen is the earth itself, freeloadin' on alla my CO2, right???

  • Doc S||

    Or you free riding on all that fun stuff the dinosaurs and billions of years of evolution left for you. Guess it depends on the viewpoint.

  • sevo||

    Doc S|3.28.11 @ 7:03PM|#
    "Or you free riding on all that fun stuff the dinosaurs and billions of years of evolution left for you. Guess it depends on the viewpoint."

    Or free-riding on all those rocks volcanism left for you.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    I pay for what I consume...at the check-out line.

  • Bucky||

    more slop noise...

  • ||

    Even the climate-deniers should at least be able to get on board with the security costs.

    How much have we spent over the past 10 years in the Middle East and North Africa keeping the oil markets nice and orderly?

    What about over the past 20 years?

    The money we shelled out for that doesn't show up in the price at the pump. That money comes out of the taxpayers' pockets.

    Those costs need to be reflected in the market price. If the cost of keeping the Arab world nice and compliant for the oil industry isn't showing up in the price of oil--then the people who are benefiting from that aren't the ones paying the bill.

  • WTF||

    Ken Shultz|3.28.11 @ 2:04PM|#
    Even the climate-deniers should at least be able to get on board with the security costs.

    What is a "climate-denier"? I mean, who denies that there is climate?

  • ||

    Thanks!

    Do you do punctuation and spelling too?

  • WTF||

    I am actually being serious - wondering if that term designates some group of beliefs or other or is just short-hand for something else.

  • ||

    There is a flat-earth society. It sadly might be a valid question.

  • ||

    "Deniers" derives from the notion that the climatologists have some speshul access to objective truth, i.e. it is about religious heresy.

  • Doc S||

    So science is now a religion lol? GOD DAMN YOU SCIENCE AND REASON!!! IF I DONT BELIEVE IN YOU YOU'RE NOT REALLLL JUST LEAVE ME ALONE.

  • ||

    Shorter: show your work. Archive your data. Stop hiding behind bullshit data secrecy agreements whose main purpose is to prevent redistribution of live temperature data (opposite archival temperature records). Agree to have your work vetted by competent third party statisticians.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Uh, what? It seemed like you were going to a. say something smart or b. say something disprovable, but it looked more like Tony at the end of a string of rants.

  • Bucky||

    oh God, Owebama just came on...
    why do i suddenly feel like Ulysses tied to the mast...

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Hmmm, you're right about that.

  • ||

    Excellent arguments for removing government restraints on natural gas production in the US, and for conversion to natural gas electricity generation and vehicle fuel.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Plus, natural gas burns cleaner than most oil products. CO2 and H20, no CO and lots of other nasties from impurities.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    There's always nuclear. Lots of nice uranium deposits in Canada and Australia, and thorium is even cheaper.

    We don't have to rely on oil. Ergo, we shouldn't pay the extra expense.

  • ||

    Not to mention hydro and geothermal.

  • ||

    OK, if we're counting "externalities", the new weapon of eco-socialism, how much cost do we put on keeping 2 billion people in poverty due to energy? You don't get to re-write the laws of physics and economics via your green ideology.

  • Doc S||

    Pricing "speculative theoretical bullshit" but it would probably be along the lines of every dollar associated with political pundits and talking heads like oberman and beck.

    Putting prices on environmental services, however, is actually pretty doable. For example here's a pdf about the cost of the services provided by honeybees and their crop pollination.
    http://www.culturaapicola.com......adoras.pdf

    All sort's of environmental services can be calculated using similar methods.

  • Doc S||

    obvioulsy in response to the above comment by "TheZeitGeist" and not a stand alone comment.

  • ||

    There is logical disconnect between pricing carbon and pricing honeybees, to take your example.

    1. The benefits of honeybees are relatively well-known. To calculate what honeybees do, one does not have to resort to supercomputer simulations, abstract arguments over tree-ring growth rates, thermonuclear dynamics in the Sun over geologic time etc. Honeybees are much better known quantity.

    2. Lets say the supercomputer spits out accurate data about warming. How is warming an economic cost? 'Rising sea levels?' Maybe. Siberia being a lush ecosystem full of arable land? Maybe not such a cost. Sahara desert encompassing all of Africa? Maybe that offsets Siberian paradise. Or is less of a cost vs. that profit, or more?

    3. What's the cost of not being as effective and energy-rich in our civilization vs. not doing so? Let's talk about the economic benefits of using fossil fuels. Like the farthest urban corner of earth being two days away by airplane? Supermarkets exploding with cheap food via mechanized farming and distribution?

    All the contentions listed above are 'speculative theoretical bullshit' and that's exactly my point. The honeybee comparison is invalid as a pricing scheme example in the context of this subject.

  • ||

    Add to that, not every BTU/watt/erg of energy consumed (or whatever unit of measurement is correct) is equal. This is to say that the energy consumed/productive output of Sweden, US, Russia, China is not the same.

  • Doc S||

    I can't say that I get what your point is with this post. Clearly there's a difference between energy source/type/functionality and the effects of its usage, but I don't know what context your post is trying to provide to the discussion.

    I assume you're saying that this would lead to difficulty in pricing the benefits of the service provided?

  • Doc S||

    1) Just because the calculation is easier to do doesn't mean that its not a valid example. The atmosphere provides the service of a waste collection system for inefficient process designs. Simply because the costs and effects are more difficult to compute doesn't change the fact that a service is provided.
    2) I would have to say that the residents of africa and serbia would have to decide how much that impacted them. If the only effects of climate change were rising sea level 90% of africa's population dying to famine, and serbia becoming a vacation destination that might be a valid comparison. But the fact that there is little doubt in the educated community that the results of inaction will be pretty awesomely destructive sure implies that the short hand investment will be worth the long term results.
    3) It depends what time frame you're refering to in our civilization. Depending on your age (i'll stereotype and say white 40 year old male) the impacts of inaction would proably be limited to just increased violent weather patterns and maybe some fun impacts when you're an angrier old man. Sure being able to get to the furthest corner of the earth in 2 days by plane is pretty awesome, but I can talk to someone on the other side of the world right now using skype for a fraction of the energy and essentially no cost. Supermarkets exploding with cheap food is a great byproduct of the ridiculous subsidization of corn and soy bean- but overall food prices are rising and its caused by the volatility of fossil fuel prices. Also energy conservation and alternative energy sources would actually make us more energy rich, as they aren't necessarily depletable.

    People can keep denying to themselves that the situations occouring or that their actions have results beyond their limited scope of visual comprehension. But in the long run, a few trillion dollars in prevention will likely outweigh the 10's of trillions of dollars of the cure (if one's available)

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    All the more reason to get rid of farm subsidies and any food tariffs we might still have. Then maybe (if we didn't have a gargantuan deficit) we could direct that money towards practical carbon-free energy, like nuclear or geothermal. Forget solar and wind, they each get more than twice all other energy subsidies combined (saw that on Reason TV not too long ago, if I recall correctly). If they were going to work, they would with that kind of funding. Breakthroughs would be necessary to make them work, but nuclear already provides 20% of our power, with better and safer plants being designed.

  • Doc S||

    I agree with this, my reason for mentioning the farm subsidies was because he mentioned the prevelance of cheap food. The subsidies for corn and soy are incredibly stupid, and i would much rather be used in more productive matters.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Think about the kinds of opportunities in Canada if the tundra was warm enough to live on (by my perspective, obviously).

  • ||

    If we could heat up parts of the globe selectively, I'd be all for it, cunthead.

    But there are people in Africa and Bangladesh living in already unreliable climates. If sea levels rise and water gets even scarcer, they are going to fucking die.

    I have no problem with Jesus or Adam Smith - it's the fanclubs I can't stand.

  • ||

    Putting a price on an environmental service is not the same thing at all as putting a price on emissions of any kind, much less emissions of benign trace gasses.

  • Doc S||

    Sure it is. Do you pay for your garbage to be collected everyweek? What's the difference between having Waste management come and do you the service of removing the pollutants (the shit you throw away) from your environment (your tin foil covered house) and having industries have their pollutants released and dilluted by environmental processes so they can be "benign trace" substances rather than big piles of emissions laying in their factory floor.
    Clearly the environmnet is providing the service of absorbing and transporting these wastes, the same way as your waste disposal service does.
    Also, feel free to ihale nothing but CO2 and see how much of a benign trace gas it is.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    What about Deffenbaugh, requiring us to use paper leaf bags even though they hold less and disintegrate if it rains too much (not to mention the limits on how many we put out). And when do I get some of that compost they're allegedly making back?

  • Doc S||

    not all policy decisions are good decisions, I don't know the details of the transition nor whether the impacts of the switch were thouroughly assessed.
    Sorry I don't know much about your personal waste management issues, that wasn't the point of the post and it clearly should have been.
    I ask that you please excuse my failure to adequately address your needs

  • ||

    Is the photo from the intro to this article (Obama behind the podium) from the campaign or from a more recent presidential announcement? I only ask because the 'O' logo is visable, and I'm hoping he doesn't get to stick that on the presidential podium...

    Does anyone know?

  • Chad||

    *sigh*

  • kilroy||

    You just realeased some carbon there, bozo.

  • ||

    Thank God it wasn't methane...

  • Realist||

    What makes you think it wasn't...Chad always talks out his ass!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    The real methane cluprit is the cows. Even if we get CO2 emissions down to breathing and barbecue fires, that problem will still be going to town. We need cows that fart and burp less.

  • ||

    If you were more than cannon fodder, suitable only for paying taxes and other simple tasks, you would know the difference between flora-fauna CO2 (a closed loop of carbon where the amount of CO2-breathers and O2-breathers are balanced) and CO2 that has been stored in the earth (imagine if there suddenly appeared millions of new animals out of the ground, breathing all over the place - the plants would not be able to adapt).

    You want to know statists like me look down on you libertarians? Because we are polite enough to look the people we address in the eyes.

    Next time you want to queef out an opinion, ask a left-winger first so you don't waste everyone's time. Mediocre people like you are the reason mankind will never be able to reach a state where governments are no longer necessary...

  • Realist||

    "After Congress fails to regulate greenhouse gases, the president hands the job to the EPA."
    Very timely, Ronald, this happened 9 months ago. This should make AGW believer like you happy.

  • ||

    I read an article about 20 years ago that stated that when the US was overthrown it would be through a regulatory agency that has the power to write rules that carry the weight of law.

    That would be FEMA, which has a plan sitting on a shelf to serve as the vehicle for the Executive take over from the Constitutional government in the event of a suitable disaster.

  • Realist||

    "In that case, the real Plan B is to make Plan B so odious that Plan A looks good by comparison."
    Both plans are crap. There is no scientific proof of AGW. More than likely temperatures are going down.

  • Doc S||

    You're right, it should be referred to as anthropogenic climate change, of which there is an exceptional amount of scientific evidence that overwhelmingly agrees that it is occouring.

    Remember you can't prove anything in science.

  • ||

    Wake me when IPCC has followed the recommendations of the Wegman Report. Until then you are not doing anything identifiable as "science".

    "Hide the decline." Pfft.

  • Bucky||

    ^this^

  • Doc S||

    so 1 report by a bunch of statisticians (who couldn't possibly have an agenda) should outweight the scientific research of an entire global community of people actually quailified to do the work?
    Anyone who has a real PhD (read: one in engineering, physics, chem, etc...) is more than versed in statistical analysis tools, I doubt that many statisticians with PhD's are versed in the science involved with determining the impacts of climate change.
    If one group of 4 refutes it it must be true!!!

  • Realist||

    The crap "models" don't even predict the past, let alone the future.
    Speaking of agendas, the AGW charlatans are living off government grants...without which they would starve to death.

  • Doc S||

    The funny part about this comment and "AGW charlatans... living off government grants" is that the third recommendation in the referenced Wegman report requests that more funding be given to statisticians. Clearly they lack an agenda.

  • Realist||

    "If one group of 4 refutes it it must be true!!!"
    Remember in science consensus does not rule.

  • Doc S||

    And neither does 1 report that has been largely debunked by the statistical community as a whole, but is still clung to and cited by those who refuse to potentially have an open mind.

  • Realist||

    Remember coincidence is not scientific evidence of causality.

  • Doc S||

    If I continually put my hand in a fire and get burned every time is it a coincidence? Or can i potentially draw that the cause for the burning sensation is due to the action of placing the hand in the fire, before I lack a hand at all?

    Remember stating cliche sayings does not mean that you know what you're talking about.

  • Realist||

    Remember stating stupid anal ogies means you lost!

  • ||

    Adding more energy creates warming, adding less energy creates cooling. Proof: the sun rises and sets.
    Adding more excess CO2 does NOT create warming unless you add more energy. Reducing CO2 emissions does not create less warming unless you also reduce the energy absorbed. Varying solar and "Gravity (energy) Causes Climate Change". CO2 just sits there.
    The EPA has committed fraud by claiming that CO2 causes global warming which causes damages.
    It is the added ENERGY you morons. CO2 by itself can't cause warming.

  • Doc S||

    You said yourself why the logic behind your arguement is faulty... "reducing emissions does not create warming unless you also reduce the enrgy absorbed"

    The logic behind climate change is the increased amount of GHG's results in forming an insulative effect and thus not allowing as much of the solar energy to escape. This trapped energy results in increasing temperatures among other things. So in fact the increasing GHG levels do exactly what you say, increase the energy absorbed. No one is going to argue that CO2 itself is what is adding energy to the system, the sun provides more than enough energy to accomplish that.

    Good thing you called everyone morons though, that did a lot to support your point.. unless of course this was a troll - which is incredibly possible with how stupid your post was.

  • sevo||

    "The logic behind climate change is the increased amount of GHG's results in forming an insulative effect and thus not allowing as much of the solar energy to escape."

    OK, theoretically, I agree. And further am convinced that human activity adds to GHGs.
    How much is obviously open to question; it hasn't risen anywhere close to the catastrophists' claims.
    So, let's way you are (sorta) correct; what agency best serves humanity?

  • ||

    The thing is, on climate most libertarians are about as trustworthy and interested in open debate as freepers or Palin supporters.

    They don't care about making sure society makes economically or morally clear decisions - they want their anti-government hatred vindicated at every turn.

    So Balko's complaining about how the EPA's solution is a flawed one is of course subverted by the little dilettantes.

    Gas and energy causes damage that is not reflected in prices - this means fossil fuels etc. are subsidized.

    Jonathan Adler at Volokh has made a case showing that carbon imposes a social marginal cost that needs to be addressed - through the EPA or otherwise. Not a single one of you scum has read that paper, I am quite sure. Because you don't care about coming to the best and most well-read position on this issue.

  • ||

    Yes, the progressives and watermelon eco-socialists have been very trustworthy (e.g. Mann's hockey stick)and intersted in open debate (e.g. Al "No Debate" Gore).

    All energy has "externalities". You just want to choose the cost of the fossil fuel externality and make it inordinately high to try and level the playing field for your preferred, "clean" (and deficient) technology. And you place -0- "externality cost" on your preferred, "alternative", "renewable" sources.

    No sale. The cost you are missing is measured in lost opportunity cost across the globe and manifests itself - empirically - in less prosperity, lower life expectancy, continuing of back breaking labor, and the destruction of the ag technology that rendered people like you and Malthus wrong. THOSE costs are your "alternative" and "renewable" externalities. You deny them and refuse to measure them.

    Why? Simple. Your wind and solar and geothermal and biomass and biofuels are not as cheap, not as energy dense, not as on-demand, and not storable.

    You can call people "scum" for not coming around to your OPINION of what is "best and most well-read position", but you cannot re-write the laws of physics and economics to suit your utopian green ideology.

    And THAT is what the reasoned, intelligent people of the world are coming around to understanding thanks to people like me.

    Future generations will thank us, and you folks are going to be flat earthers and gaia-centric view of the universe campers when history is written.

    Good luck with that!

  • ||

    We all know Obama is acting like a dictator, and doing a regulatory end run around Congress. He's getting good at that even starting his own unauthorized wars! However, I'm not sure why he is going to the trouble. The combination of his blocking all new drilling in Alaska and offshore along with development of nuclear energy has stymied any growth in domestic energy supplies. Now with his foreign policy leading to chaos in the Middle East and his new war, oil will likely soar over $5 a gallon and could go to $10 or more. At those prices Obama will succeed in getting a reduction in green house emissions as we all sit shivering in our homes, and have to walk or bike to work!

  • ||

    Like I said - on climate issues there is little distinction between glibertarians and redneck freepers or even Christianists.

    Serious, valwayne, your comment would not look out of place over at freerepublic or godhatessweden or something.

    This is why I don't trust libertarians: they are as obsessed with their blithe and lazy philosophy as islamists are about the Qur'an.

  • Atlas whined like a bitch||

    I'm a lurker and you are one of the worst sockpuppet's ever.

  • ||

    A sockpuppet's what? You left out what kind of possession of a sockpuppet I am.

  • ||

    Congratulations. I could count the number of times a writer has properly and succintly described what the Supreme Court said in Mass. v. EPA on one hand. And if I had a dime for every time a "journalist" got it wrong, I'd own an island in the Caribbean.

    You've got the calculus about right. Here's my prediction for end result.

    Administration plays a game of chicken with plan B, trying to make plan A look better, as you've stated. Only, their bluff doesn't work because a) "endangerment finding" and b) "tailoring rule" both go down in flames in court.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    ThAnK U

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