Politicized Global Warming in the GOP

The Washington Post writes today about the contrasting climate change views of Texas Gov. Rick Perry vs. his rival for the GOP presidential nomination Mitt Romney. First, Perry's view:

At his New Hampshire campaign stop on Wednesday morning, Perry said: “I do think global warming has been politicized. ... We are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing our climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. It has been changing ever since the Earth was formed. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have, in some cases, been found to be manipulating data.”

Next, Romney's view: 

At a June 3 town hall meeting in Manchester, N.H., Romney was asked about climate change. He said: “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past, but I believe we contribute to that.”

So what do Republican voters believe about climate change? A March, 2011 Gallup Poll reports that while 72 percent of Democrats say that they worry about global warming, only 31 percent of Republicans do. Similarly, only 22 percent of Democrats believe that global warming has been exaggerated in the news, whereas 67 percent of Republicans do. As it turns out 51 percent of Americans claim to be personally worried about climate change. 

The real question is: Do these divergent views on climate change result in significant policy differences. From Perry's 2010 book Fed Up

Despite overwhelming majorities of Democrats in Congress, environmental statists could not (yet, thankfully) shove their climate security bill designed to cut emissions of greenhouse gases -dubbed cap-and-trade - through this past session. Moderate Democrats recognized the economic devastation that would visit their states if they slapped a de facto energy tax on the entire economy. The statists are now asking the administrative state to do through regulatory fiat what they could not persuade enough elected legislators to do through the constitutionally appropriate lawmaking process. It appears that the Clean Air Act will be the vehicle used to regulate carbon emissions. Applied to carbon - which it was never intended to cover - the economic effects could be absolutely devastating. 

With regard to Perry's complaint about EPA overreach, see my column, Carbon Rationing by Other Means.

Looking over Romney's 2010 book, No Apology, one finds an analysis of various greenhouse gas reduction policies including cap-and-trade, energy efficiency mandates, subsidies to new enegy technologies, and a carbon tax that coincides with the reduction of other taxes, e.g., the payroll tax. On cap-and-trade: 

Cap-and-trade is an energy tax, disguised in the sheep's clothing of market terminology. And it is an energy tax that would have little or no effect on global warming. 

As bad as a well-crafted cap-and-trade program may be, what was passed in 2009 by the House of Representatives was worse. Even cap-and-trade proponents like Senator McCain voted against it. 

Interestingly, while Romney mentions the Northeastern states' cap-and-trade scheme - Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative - he fails to mention that, as the governor of Massachusetts, he was initially planning to join it.

In any case, both would-be Republican presidential candidates are commendably opposed to cap-and-trade carbon rationing. I think that Perry is wrong on the science (and I know many H&R readers disagree), but also think that what government is likely to do about man-made global warming is probably worse than the future effects of global warming. As I have written:

Man-made global warming may simply be a negative externality for which the transaction costs are too high. In other words, any benefits achieved from trying to mitigate global warming will most likely be swamped by the costs of distributing the corporate welfare used to buy the political acquiescence of various industries. As much as one might hope to implement good public policy to deal with the problem, policy nihilism might be the only rational response to global warming.

So back to the earlier question: Do these divergent views on climate change result in significant policy differences?

From Perry's Fed Up

I also see an America with abundant energy, a generous mix of wind, solar, and hydroelectric power; fossil fuels; and many other resources of which we are blessed with large quantities. There is no reason we cannot lead the world in developing clean energy while continuing to fuel our economy with the energy it needs to create wealth, jobs, and opportunity. 

From Romney's No Apology

In the final analysis, we should aggressively pursue domestic energy sources such as oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, and solar. And as we consider game-changing measures and incentives, we should make our choice with three things in mind: Will it actually achieve energy security? Will it strengthen the economy? Will it avoid unfairly creating winners and losers? 

When addressing energy and climate policy, both deploy feel-good rhetoric that largely avoids making any thorny trade-offs. However, I interpret Romney's "game-changing measures and incentives" as favoring federal energy mandates and subsidies. Scanning through Fed Up, Perry comes out strongly against federal agricultural subsidies (hooray!), but he curiously takes the Obama administration to task for halting NASA's next-generation space exploration program. Apparently, there is some federal role in supporting science. 

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  • Tim||

    The only science I support is the science that supports me.

  • ||

    Liberaltarians going after Perry, gotta love it.

  • ||

    Over at Radley Balko's site, he says Perry is big government because he executed an innocent man. The liberals are coming unhinged by Perry, I love it.

  • ||

    I'm not saying this necessarily applies to you--but, just for the record, anybody who thinks climate change denial is a conservative issue?

    Is a fake conservative.

  • OO||

    which liberals?

  • derp derper||

    Keep sucking the cock of power and authority, statist. Your masters may give you a treat someday.

  • derp derper||

    (that was for pat L)

  • ||

    We just found another London rioter!

  • ||

    Conservatarian embarrassing himself, gotta love it.

  •  ||

    How's that No-troll Thursday working out. Good?

  • ||

    Ron, I believe Houston is in Texas. What did you expect Perry to say about space exploration?

  • ||

    JA: I have no expectations of honesty from any politician. And I'm hardly ever disappointed in my expectations.

  • ||

    Eliminationist rhetoric is not appropriate in the CIVILIZED world, Ron. Take it all back!

    /MSNBC

  • Almanian||

    This is why White Indian is right - we need to go back to some kind of pre-society thing that I don't quite understand, and then Ron won't be able to say ELIMUNASHUNIST RHETORICKSS!!!

    Or something.

    /White Wimmens Indian

  • Ecru Indian||

    I knew I'd find a gem amongst the earth-raping trash at Reason if I tried hard enough!

  • ||

    Story Request (Double-Posted!):

    Ron B., could you give this a gander and let us know what you think?

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/facult.....i-2011.pdf

    The paper supposedly argues that current models overstate the effect of CO2 on surface temperatures by about 300%, and that the actual feedback effects are negative, not positive.

    I've always wondered, personally, how the feedbacks could be positive, since the planet has had CO2 levels historically that are higher than they are now, yet somehow never went into a climate death spiral.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    The planet has also, historically, been warmer than it is now. We're in the interglacial period of an ice age at the moment.

  • omg||

    Link is broken. Mind fixing it? I'd really like to take a look at that paper.

  • omg||

    I think I found it. Is this it?

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/facult.....i-2011.pdf

  • ||

    Yep.

  • ||

    RCD (& omg): Thanks very much for the link. Will take a look at it soon.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    ooooo SF'd the link and now must share a coveted hat tip...Tactical error RC, a damn shame.

  • ||

    Dammit, I copied and pasted like I always do.

    Effing squirrels.

    [Kicks top hat, throws monocle, stomps off]

  •  ||

    Hat and monocle! Funny every time!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Haven't looked in detail yet, but this is a redo of an earlier study that was widely criticized for poor methodology. The updated version claims to have addressed the methodological issues and to have found largely the same results. Lindzen is sharp, in general. It will take some time to see if this holds up, but it will not be ignored.

  • NASA||

    Aliens might attack Earth and kill us all because of AGW.

    Although we're not sure why aliens didn't come during past warming periods with high c02 concentrations.

  • Aliens||

    Look, it still takes us a while to get to Earth, even with faster-than-light capable spacecraft!

    Give us a break!

  • ||

    I must say, Ron, I find your pivot to Perry's support of space exploration to be a non sequitur.

    The two policies you juxtapose are not alike. "Federal energy mandates and subsidies" are not in any way a "federal role in supporting science".

  • ||

    RCD: Advocating federal energy R&D subsidies cannot be fairly juxtaposed to advocating federal spending on NASA? NASA doesn't do R&D?

  • ||

    That works better. But "energy mandates and subsidies" =/= "energy R&D subsidies".

  • ||

    Yeah there is a distinction between giving money and tax breaks to build and operate windmills vs. funding R&D for windmill technology.

    What is Odd is that Ron in the past has advocated for government spending in on R&D. Such as for stem cell research. You would think he would prefer to emphasis the difference.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Prepare for shitstorm.

  • ||

    "We are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing our climate to change."

    Under close examination, that carefully worded response seems to be almost defensible--despite amounting to little more than climate change denial.

    How many damaging forms of denialism are there out there?

    The Democrats deny that deficit spending and fiscal irresponsibility are something we should worry about! Certainly not something we should take any serious steps to change--that would be too harmful for the economy!

    Denialism--denial of climate change or denial of our fiscal problems--either way? That's not a feature I'm looking for in our next president.

    And I don't care if he just said it for show --that's not a feature I'm looking for in our next president either.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I'm not following you. What is damaging about denying the existence of AGW, when the science can't even affirm it?

  • ||

    How can denying the problems associated with deficit spending be damaging--when economists still disagree about that?

    I mean--seriously?!

  • ||

    No response?

    So you get it that disagreements between people about climate change and actual climate change are two different things?

    Just like economists arguing with each other and the actual effects of deficit spending--are likewise two different things?

    Yes, if people listen to denialists on either issue--and ignore a very real problem? Then we could suffer the effects of a very real problem.

    Glad we had this conversation.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I wasn't following what you said. Calm the fuck down.

  • ||

    But Ken, you are comparing apples and oranges. Deficit spending, and Economics in general, is not a science. That alone makes your analogy weak, IMO.

  • ||

    If you read what I wrote below, keep in mind that I'm not saying that fiscal policy and economists are just like AGW and scientists--in every way.

    I'm saying that they're alike in a couple of really important ways. ...and the few ways they're alike are very instructive.

  • Apogee||

    if people listen to denialists on either issue--and ignore a very real problem? Then we could suffer the effects of a very real problem.

    I don't think the problems are comparable.

    If you find me a group of economists that claims to have a computer model that will predict the dollar's value in the year 2100 with an error level of a couple of cents, then I'll agree that the two are comparable.

    Otherwise, you are conflating two very different predictive theories.

    Deficit spending involves the input and output levels of the final measured value, namely the US dollar. It is an accepted fact that printing 1M$ for every person in America will not make them rich - it will devalue the dollar.

    AGW, OTOH, states that the level of CO2 directly influences global temperature - a secondary variable that all admit is influenced by more than just CO2.

    In other words, AGW theory deals with the influence of CO2 on a secondary factor - global temperature, while deficit spending deals directly with what is being spent, namely the valuation of the currency. You're not trading paper, you're trading value.

    If you want to talk about CO2 levels without temperature, then you have a comparison. And a somewhat comparison would be IF we were approaching the addition of double the level of CO2 from a very short time ago.

    Looking at CO2 levels over time, we see that's not the case

    The Deficit, however, has doubled since the 1990's.

    It's a far worse problem.

  • ||

    "It is an accepted fact that printing 1M$ for every person in America will not make them rich - it will devalue the dollar."

    That is a fact--regardless of any economist's opinion--but where we are at any point in time and exactly what the impact will be of some specific smaller amount of money being printed--based on a plethora of various variables?

    That's just like AGW.

    If you don't see that some economists are arguing that the government should spend more stimulus right now--and that other economists are arguing that we should pursue fiscal restraint?

    ...and that both sides in the political battle are rallying around their own favorite economists?

    It's just like the AGW debate--I don't know what else to say.

    We've got supposed experts on both sides--and the anti-AGW people might have as much credibility as Krugnutz--pounding the table for their favorite policy...

    Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, if AGW is real and we don't do anything to stop it--no matter what the experts say--we're gonna suffer the consequences. ...just like devaluing the dollar per your scenario would devalue the dollar--regardless of what any economist says to the contrary.

    It's the same thing. If the people who argue that we can continue to deficit spend without major consequences are wrong--we will have to suffer the consequences.

    Likewise, there will be consequences if climate change deniers are wrong.

    Just because you believe in one hoax and not the other--doesn't mean there won't be any consequences if you're wrong.

    The Progressives believe that Anthropomorphic Entitlement Underfunding is a hoax! If they continue to behave as if Anthropomorphic Entitlement Underfunding is a hoax, then there will be consequences if they're wrong about that.

    People who think AGW is a hoax are not immune to the consequences of reality either! ...certainly not because they have experts who agree with them.

    It's amazing to me too that the same Progressives who deride climate change deniers--are typically the same people who seem to believe that our budget challenges are a hoax!

    The sole purpose of theories about fiscal policy and climate change isn't to win elections! There are very real world consequences if we're wrong about these things--and citing the opinions of our favorite experts will not save us from real world consequences.

    ...no matter how many scientists Perry counts per day or per week.

  • Apogee||

    where we are at any point in time and exactly what the impact will be of some specific smaller amount of money being printed--based on a plethora of various variables?

    There's only one variable in the value of the US dollar, and that is the value of the dollar.

    This specific "smaller amount" of printing you're talking about is almost (if not already) beyond the entire GDP of the country, which is larger than any other country's GDP. And they want to add more.

    There are also real world examples - (Zimbabwe anyone?) of the consequences of continuing to print money to prop up an unsustainable economic model.

    There exist no such examples WRT AGW. In fact, the temperature record has confounded every model put forth by the AGW predictors. That is not a reliance on an 'expert' testimony, but an examination of the temperature record versus predicted levels. It is a refutation of 'expert' opinion, not a blind allegiance to same.

    There are very real world consequences if we're wrong about these things--and citing the opinions of our favorite experts will not save us from real world consequences.

    Then pay attention to Lomborg, who rightly argues that if AGW is real, then focusing on the holy grail of CO2 levels might distract us from the real causes. Your problem is that you have an army of scam artists who are tied to the profits that the CO2 model confers - and they don't want anything to do with you or Lomborg. The sooner you figure that one out, the sooner you stop using descriptors like "denialist", as it ignores the massive problems and predictive errors in the AGW 'argument' in favor of some sort of religious and dogmatic non-description.

  • ||

    "There's only one variable in the value of the US dollar, and that is the value of the dollar."

    If that's true then considering we just raised the debt ceiling and only added some meager cuts, then the value of our treasuries must have plummeted over the past few weeks!

    But it hasn't! They've actually rallied! Hell, the yield on the ten year treasury fell below 2% earlier today!

    Why doesn't your money theory work?!

    Answer: It's because the flight to the relative safety of dollar denominated assets--mostly from riskier Euro denominated assets.

    There are an awful lot of variables to keep track of--even if the rule you're citing is absolutely correct!

    And it is correct. We have a weaker dollar today than we would have had otherwise if we had our budget under control. ...and if we keep spending the way we're spending, then the value of our dollar will fall precipitously--unless some other loose unforeseen variable overwhelms the general rule.

    That's just like AGW.

    There may be other variables to countervail the trend. The trend may not be as overwhelming as some suggest. Doesn't mean there isn't a general trend. Doesn't mean greenhouse gases aren't a major contributing factor.

    "Then pay attention to Lomborg, who rightly argues that if AGW is real, then focusing on the holy grail of CO2 levels might distract us from the real causes."

    I am vaguely aware of Lomborg--but I don't need to pay any attention to him. You keep reading what I write in terms of someone else--to the point that I'm not even sure you hear what I'm saying...

    Scroll down--I'm the one arguing that we should use AGW as an excuse to improve our economy by slashing corporate taxes and getting rid of the income tax. Even if AGW were a hoax, I'd rather have a sales tax on carbon emissions than an income tax anyway.

    What we should do is do the things we should be doing to improve our economy anyway. It can cost more than $50,000 a year to pay someone $35,000 a year in take home pay! This at a time when unemployment is over 9%? It is profoundly stupid to artificially raise the cost of hiring unemployed people--when there are so many unemployed people out there.

    Why aren't we moving away from the income tax to a national sales tax anyway? We need to do that--regardless of whether AGW is real. We need to slash corporate taxes and instead charge them up the ying yang for pollution anyway!

    If we can split the environmentalists off of the left to get their support to do that--so long as it's a sales tax on carbon emissions? Then why the hell wouldn't I as a libertarian get on board with that?

    ...regardless of whether AGW is a hoax.

  • Apogee||

    Scroll down--I'm the one arguing that we should use AGW as an excuse to improve our economy by slashing corporate taxes and getting rid of the income tax.

    I did read it, and I can't argue with that. However...

    Even if AGW were a hoax, I'd rather have a sales tax on carbon emissions than an income tax anyway.

    So would I, except that has never been the prescription - because it's not about solving the problem of CO2 or 'getting people back to work' - it's about finding an excuse to grab more money. My problem with this 'tax' tradeoff is that you'll end up with both.

    It is profoundly stupid to artificially raise the cost of hiring unemployed people--when there are so many unemployed people out there.

    Why aren't we moving away from the income tax to a national sales tax anyway?
    Agreed. But you seem to assume that this 'artificial' cost of hiring evaporates into the ether.

    It doesn't. It finds its way into pockets - coincidentally the same pockets of those who don't want the collection system to change - or to have anything to do with an actual allocation of monies to actual problems.

    Why? Because then there's less for them.

    And that's really my argument.

    You're not going to reduce government influence by trading taxes away. They don't do that. They use any tax money to bribe others to support more taxes and fees.

    Our problems aren't due to CO2 or tax discussions - they're due to a system that has become a corrupt ponzi scheme of asset mis-allocation.

    Like I said - they don't want to hear from you or Lomborg. They don't want solutions. Solutions are poison to their income level.

  • ||

    "So would I, except that has never been the prescription - because it's not about solving the problem of CO2 or 'getting people back to work' - it's about finding an excuse to grab more money."

    And breaking that connection in people's minds--the connection between AGW solutions and money grabbing socialism--is probably one of the most important things libertarians can do.

    I refuse to accept that the appropriate solution to AGW is socialism--even if the prevailing AGW theory is as right as rain.

    So maybe that decoupling of AGW problems and socialist solutions starts with Ron Bailey, Ken Shultz and Apogee. It had to start somewhere...

    "But you seem to assume that this 'artificial' cost of hiring evaporates into the ether."

    Getting rid of the income tax won't come easy--it may be harder than legalizing marijuana...

    Still, we could start at the bottom of the income range, and that would make the medicine a lot easier to go down. People on the bottom of the income spectrum pay a relatively small portion of federal tax receipts anyway--and if cutting their taxes first makes it more palatable? Then we should start there first.

    Start with people who make less than $40,000 a year! There are so many poor people who are harassed for years by the IRS--getting garnished and whatnot. If we abolished the income tax for people who make less than $40,000 a year first, and introduced a sales tax on carbon emissions at the same time in the name of fighting for the environment?

    I think we'd get a lot of support--from rational environmentalists who lean left now.

    I suspect it would be more popular than effectively nationalizing our healthcare was.

    Hell, if two presidents of different parties can help themselves to $700 billion in taxpayer's paychecks to bail out Wall Street? Anything is possible.

  • Apogee||

    I refuse to accept that the appropriate solution to AGW is socialism--even if the prevailing AGW theory is as right as rain.

    And everyone agrees with you - even those pushing 'socialist' solutions. There's a reason that both parties jumped at the chance to chuck 700B to their buddies - and it has nothing to do with socialism.

    But what if those same people aren't looking for a solution?

    What if the only value they see is in the crisis, because that allows them to pretend to offer solutions? Solutions that never quite come to fruition.

    Sound familiar?

    The big lie isn't that some secretly want Socialism. The big lie is that there could be Socialism. It doesn't work. In reality it's either a dictatorship (Cuba, Venezuela, NoKo) or becomes a ponzi scheme when enough of the citizenry games the system in their favor (Greece, Europe).

    Socialism can't be a solution, any more than derivatives could be the solution to the mortgage crisis. They're both financial scams, and people push them for the same reason - not because anybody believes they'll actually work.

    So maybe that decoupling of AGW problems and socialist solutions starts with Ron Bailey, Ken Shultz and Apogee. It had to start somewhere...

    You're bringing a knife to a gunfight. Look, Ron Paul asked whether people would do heroin if it were legal in a presidential debate, and yet we're to believe that he's not newsworthy enough to mention, even for the purposes of ridicule. You can forget about any discussion of his plans for the reduction of government.

    The monetary crisis is a worldwide house of cards, and the last thing that our elected officials and their bureaucratic friends want is anyone in the room waving their arms and stomping their feet. Government hiring and salaries are up, and so is their power due to the level of said economic crisis. Free markets mess that up, because shit gets done, and for a lot less.

    You're a good guy Ken, and I think your heart is in the right place, but I think you're wildly mistaken if you think that the grifters are interested in your solution. They're only interested in cash or force, and they'll gladly take half of your idea and then sabotage it so that it can't succeed.

    After all, if carbon reduction is so important to saving the planet, you wouldn't want to be one of those greedy money hoarders standing in the way of progress - and in order to sell this carbon reduction idea you'll necessarily put yourself in a weak argumentative position relative to taxes.

    All you'll get from this is another tax on top of all the rest.

  • sunny black||

    What is, in your view, the very real problem exactly?

  • Pudgeboy||

    That doesn't make any sense. If you have researched a topic (AGW, economics) and you have formed an opinion, what is damaging about expressing that opinion? If you believe AGW is bunk, saying so isn't damaging anything. Hiding behind so-called experts for your opinions is lame, unless you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself.

    AGW is a fraud, deal with it.

  • ||

    This guy isn't running to express an opinion.

    He's running to be the president of the United States of America.

  • Pudgeboy||

    I want to know a person's opinions before I have to vote.

    It doesn't take advanced scientific knowledge to understand the science of climate change, just common sense.

    And thanks, I thought he was running for the school board.

  • ||

    If he formulates his polices based on how many scientists he sees moving from one side to the other per day or per week?

    The he isn't fit to serve on a school board.

  • Pudgeboy||

    Please. Of course that's not what he's sayinig, so your point in irrelevent.

  • sunny black||

    How do you know based on the quote above that the basis of his understanding of AGW is grounded exclusively in the shifting tides amongst climate scientists? You're reading way too much into that.

  • Pudgeboy||

    '...regardless of whether AGW is a hoax.'

    If it's a hoax, then it shouldn't form the basis of any policy; it should be exposed and removed from serious debate. The arrogance of elite opinion is tiresome. 'We are lying to you for your own good.' If you can't convince me on the merits, then either you or the policy is flawed.

  • omg||

    Saying that the earth is warming and that man-made hydrocarbon emissions are contributing to it seems reasonable to me. Doesn't mean it is true, but it should be within the realm of possibility.

    What rubs me the wrong way about global warmists is that according to them there is only one (AND NO MORE) ways to deal with this "problem", which is cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The kindest thing you can say about this is that it is lazy. Has anyone checked to see if there is another, better way? Make more clouds, perhaps?

    The fact that there is UN PRECISELY VON way to deal with this causes me to question the motives of the people calling for action.

  • Tony||

    Who are you referring to?

    Cutting emissions is simply the most logical first step in dealing with the problem. The only reason it's considered awful is because the wealthiest industries on the planet depend on fossil fuel burning. People are certainly exploring more radical steps, which may be necessary because of the political and industrial roadblocks to the obvious.

    At least the motives for those obstructing action are quite clear: it would cut into the profits of the oil and coal industries.

  • AZ||

    And they are "the wealthiest industries on the planet" because they provide something utterly essential to a modern standard of living, both directly and indirectly given the power needs of industrial manufacturing and farming. That's why it's awful, it's asking for a direct reduction in everyone's standard of living based on future predictions made by necessarily limited science.

  • Tony||

    I'm amazed by how libertarians confuse themselves for defenders of the corporate status quo--even as they're convinced government's tentacles have completely corrupted the marketplace.

  • sunny black||

    "At least the motives for those obstructing action are quite clear: it would cut into the profits of the oil and coal industries."
    --a dubious assessment.

  • Fluffy||

    If it was so obvious, you would be able to tell me:

    X. The exact economic costs of global warming by US county for the next 50 years.

    Y. The exact economic costs of your proposed global warming amelioration program for the next 50 years.

    We could then decide if X>Y.

    But all the people demanding new programs refuse to commit to telling me either X or Y.

  • Apogee||

    But all the people demanding new programs refuse to commit to telling me either X or Y.

    But, oddly enough, these same people stand to profit from such programs.

    Free money! Go figure.

  • ||

    Not to mention who cares? Climate change happens. Some regions will become farmland. Wine country will migrate north. SOme coastline will be encroached on.

    YAWWWWWN

  • ||

    "What rubs me the wrong way about global warmists is that according to them there is only one (AND NO MORE) ways to deal with this "problem", which is cutting greenhouse gas emissions."

    I get a little tired of being shoehorned into some position that really doesn't have anything to do with me...

    My solution is to eliminate the income tax, capital gains taxes and corporate taxes and replace them with a sales tax on carbon emissions.

    I've been hoping to get rid of all those taxes and replace them with a sales tax all my life anyway, and if the government had to shrink itself some to fit within whatever limits that placed on them fiscally? ...well, this libertarian could learn to live with some smaller government anyway.

    I think the net effect of such a policy change would certainly result in less carbon emissions--but you're really talking about people substituting away from carbon intensive activities in as free a way as possible.

    Just like sales taxes are the most voluntary form of taxation--in that people take the price of the tax into consideration when they choose to make a purchase.

    But the purpose of doing this isn't just to lower carbon emissions--eliminating income taxes, capital gains taxes and other corporate taxes would have a world of benefits unrelated to carbon emissions all on their own! Like I said, I was trying to get rid of all those socially harmful taxes since long before I'd ever heard of global warming...

    So, suffice it to say, I may be a "global warmist" as you put it, but I don't think cutting greenhouse gas emissions by itself is the only way to deal with "this problem". In fact, my solution to the problem looks a lot like an extreme form of free market capitalism.

  • omg||

    I get a little tired of being shoehorned into some position that really doesn't have anything to do with me...

    I wasn't responding to your post or calling you out in any way, my post just ended up next to yours in the comment tree. I was more referring to the James Hansons of the world who want to cut emissions at any cost by going through the regulatory apparatus of the state. I don't think your solutions would bear any resemblance to his.

    My point is that I doubt the sincerity of individuals that say there is only one solution to the global warming "problem". I think they have a political agenda that they advance, using global warming as a pretext for doing so. If you are open to other ways of solving it then you won't fit into my rant about "global warmists".

  • ||

    But it has come to the point that most anyone who believes in AGW is assumed to want tons of regulation and taxes--in addition to those we already have--to deal with it.

    That's how politicized it's become. I bet half the population thinks the moment you say you believe in AGW, it means you want tons more regulation and more taxation on top of that.

    And it just isn't so.

    On the other side, some people are really betting the farm on AGW not being real. If AGW is real, then thinking free market capitalists better get out ahead of the taxation and regulation argument like right freakin' now!

    We need more people who believe in AGW to come out against tons more regulation and taxation and international sanctions and all that other crap--no doubt. But everybody who's against that approach doesn't have to pretend they don't believe in AGW either.

    I'm not saying that's what you're doing specifically, but there's more to believing in AGW than supporting regulation and more taxation, etc.

    Buying into AGW doesn't tell anyone anything more about me than other than that I buy into AGW. ...and the people on the left out there who are using AGW to support their socialist ideals? They're doing a great disservice to the environmentalist movement.

    The environmentalist movement should kick all those who would use environmental causes to justify wealth redistribution, etc. to the curb.

  • Apogee||

    But everybody who's against that approach doesn't have to pretend they don't believe in AGW either.

    Bjorn Lomborg takes almost that exact stance. Unexpectedly, he gets very little press other than a stint at TED and here at Reason.

    The environmentalist movement should kick all those who would use environmental causes to justify wealth redistribution, etc. to the curb.

    You don't really understand the level of the Scam, do you? Hint: Go to 8:09.

  • sunny black||

    Every time Ken Schultz sees someone in the street yammering about the end of the world being near, he repents to a God he doesn't believe in. Ya know, just in case.

  • ||

    Yeah, the evidence for AGW is just like some kook in the street screaming that the end is near.

  • Apogee||

    I don't know about you, but I usually get suspicious when being part of a group advancing an argument coincides with the ability to make wads of cash in the execution of said argument.

  • ||

    Ask an oil patch gubernator about governing fossil fuels and you'll get an oily answer.

  • ||

    Excellent observation.

  • MJ||

    "Perry said: “I do think global warming has been politicized. ... "

    Global warming was politicized the very moment someone proposed governments do something about it. The government is the domain of politics. You do not want a problem politiczed, do not involve the government in the solution to whatever problem it is.

  • Tony||

    It is a problem that calls for policy changes. Better that government policy be informed by science than the profit-based needs of specific industries.

  • ||

    Which, of course, will have deleterious effects on poor people if these policy choices are pursued with any vigor whatsoever.

    The left has painted themselves into a corner on this one. They will never prevail at anything more than token measures.

  • ||

    "The left has painted themselves into a corner on this one. They will never prevail at anything more than token measures."

    Which is why I make the proposal I made above.

    Advocacy and policy changes get us exactly the amount of solution we have now--which is not enough to solve the problem.

    Not even close. ...and they can't get enough support within the Left to get a solution big enough to solve the problem.

    Ergo, they must reach out beyond the left. I'm proposing an alliance between the environmentalists on the left--and supply siders and fiscal conservatives on the right.

    If some conservatives aren't willing to starve the beast--if it means they have to support a tax on carbon emissions? Then they're not really fiscal conservatives anyway.

    On the other side of the equation, if environmentalists aren't willing to save the environment--if it means they have to support getting rid of the income tax? Then they're not really environmentalists.

    It's the true environmentalists only hope of saving the environment. If we hit carbon emissions with a tax big enough to solve the global warming problem, and we didn't slash taxes elsewhere to offset that? It would crush the economy anyway...

    Environmentalists will never get the support they need to really fix the problem until they reach out, compromise and make inroads with the opposition.

    The left just isn't big enough to crush the economy with its solutions and really get keep their solutions in place anyway--so if they're going to succeed, they're gonna have to get serious and embrace capitalism wholeheartedly.

  • ||

    No, no, no.

    Don't you know when the profits at taken away from teh evul coal and oil industries, the poor peepuls will miraculously become rich beyond therie wildest dreams?

    In Tony's world the only reason teh poor peepuls are poor is because all the greedy robber barons have the biggest hands and they grab the biggest handfuls from the fixed total quantity of wealth.

  • Tony||

    I don't see why you feel it your job to defend the profits of the most profitable enterprises in history.

    If their product is destroying our common environment, maybe they don't merit those profits? Why is it your job to defend the status quo?

    The oil industry is not exactly an example of a robust competitive marketplace that illustrates the glories of the free market.

  • ||

    A society where people are free to do things--but only if they don't adversely effect anyone else in any way?

    Is not a free society, Tony.

  • Tony||

    Um, if they adversely affect someone else, they should at least pay for it. Unchecked environmental damage doesn't make for a free society either.

  • ||

    That wasn't what you said. What I said was let them pay for their pollution!

    What you said is:

    "If their product is destroying our common environment, maybe they don't merit those profits?"

    Nobody owes you or the government anything for making a profit. Making a profit through voluntary exchange doesn't hurt anybody...

    If they're polluting the atmosphere and that's hurting a lot of people through carbon emissions? Yeah, that's something they should pay for--and we should offset those costs by slashing their corporate tax rate...

    Because making a profit by itself through voluntary exchange doesn't hurt anybody. It's a good thing. ...and instead of actively discouraging it by taxing profits--we should focus our tax collection efforts on voluntary payments for doing things like polluting our atmosphere.

    And if they don't want to pay the tax for polluting our atmosphere, they can substitute away from pollution. ...there are thousands of ways to substitute away from carbon emissions, and there's getting to be more and more all the time.

  • BigT||

    I only passed 7 different companies selling gasoline on my short drive to work today. The oil industry is so non competitive!

  • sunny black||

    "Better that government policy be informed by science than the profit-based needs of specific industries."
    --assumes that government policy is "informed" by science.

  • Zuo||

    Its pretty funny how reason will go out of their way to give Mitt the benefit of the doubt on something that is extremely important to future prosperity (the availability and cost of Energy), and say "yeah, well, even though he believes all this bullshit, which we also believe in, he says he probably won't act on it, so it's all good." And then they freak the fuck out about Perry and his constitutional amendments to quash gay marriage and abortion. Which are a fuckload(fuckload!) harder to actually act upon than global-warming-the-sky-is-falling federal regulations.

    Next can you guys write a story about Mitt Romney's outspoken protectionist rhetoric and Perry's free-traderism? Except, spin it so Mitt is helping Americans escape from the clutches of internationalist Crony Corporatism, while Perry is trying to enslave Americans to their Spanish/Mexican masters. I look forward to it.

  • BigT||

    Same for Bachmann. I'd rather have someone who is right on the important issues and crazy about meaningless shit than vice versa, ie Obama.

  • Georgia Resident||

    "Apparently, there is some federal role in supporting science."
    Maybe because scientific advancement has positive externalities?

  • Colin||

    Yes, damn the Constitution. If it feels good, do it.

  • yes but...||

    Why do we need the guys with the army and police force to do it?

    If people are willing to collectively support science through their taxes given to government, why can't they just skip the feds and mail their checks directly to the researchers. It would save a lot on overhead.

    Either you agree we have a govt that does not perform the will of its citizens or you agree the government's role here is pointless.

  • Seer||

    Pretty funny watching Perry try and call someone else a statist.

  • Colin||

    Perry's far from perfect, but the more I hear from him the more I like (for the most part.)

    In fact, outside of Paul, he might be the only Republican candidate that's even remotely likable.

  • Brett L||

  • Mr. Soul||

    the issue is not whether climate change is happening, its whether you can ever believe anything these liars say. The only known here is that these "scientists" are liars.

  • sunny black||

    But according to Ken Schultz we should pretend to believe in AGW *just in case*.

  • BigT||

    Pascal's wager! POS then, POS now.

  • Richard Nous||

    The so called climate 'scientist' are more like preachers of any faith. Actual science is based in observable evidence and so far the computer modelling has not panned out whatsoever.

  • meh||

    I'm willing to accept that humans contribute to global warming.

    But I don't worry about it. That poll doesn't quite say everything.

    I'm sure we'll either
    A. find something even worse that gets us first, in the hundred years it takes global warming to actually make things significantly warmer.
    B. discover new technologies that solve the problem.

  • sunny black||

    ...and when you say "humans contribute" do you mean 50% or 0.001%?

  • ||

    Where's Another Isolated Incident when you need him? Probably running a train on the thug cops from this story.

  • ||

    On the whole carbon tax thing.

    Isn't this really just another sin tax?

    One with mutually contradictory goals, like the tobacco tax? Namely, both raising scads of money from the widespread use of X and simultaneously suppressing the use of X?

    How is having contradictory goals not a recipe for failure? Either on the revenue side, or the carbon reduction side, or both?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Is RC Dean saying that reducing government revenue is a failure? ((((@_@))))

  • ||

    I'm saying that the carbon tax seems designed to fail on its own terms.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I was just pulling your leg, but as to your point...um, not really. The carbon tax is designed to reduce carbon usage. The revenue side is not "its own terms."

  • ||

    Uh huh. The carbon tax won't be sold politically as a huge revenue raiser, capable of solving oh so many fiscal problems?

    Totally unlike the cigarette taxes, sold as big revenue raisers for schools and healthcare and fluffy bunnies?

  • Neu Mejican||

    It shouldn't be...whether it is or not, well...

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Neu Mejican,

    The carbon tax is designed to reduce carbon usage.


    Oh right, and the tobacco tax is "designed" to reduce smoking.

    Fucking dumb statists.

  • Apogee||

    Is RC Dean saying that reducing government revenue is a failure? ((((@_@))))

    No, he's saying it's wasteful.

    It is akin to burning down a town to prevent a fire. Afterwards, there's a huge reduction in the possibility of a fire, but only because the fuel has already been burned.

  • Neu Mejican||

    It is akin to burning down a town to prevent a fire. Afterwards, there's a huge reduction in the possibility of a fire, but only because the fuel has already been burned.

    Maybe I am dense, but how is a carbon tax like burning down a town? What is it destroying besides income or labor taxes?

  • Apogee||

    how is a carbon tax like burning down a town? What is it destroying besides income or labor taxes?

    Burning down a town to prevent a fire. IOW, using the most destructive method available to remove the fire danger. Burned land won't burn again, will it?

    Can't let people deal with brush clearance or heat resistant building materials. That would reduce the top-down power of those in charge - and something might go wrong!

    Removing wealth from the system and bestowing it to preselected cronies (How on earth did the Mob get involved in carbon trading?) is a financially destructive method to get to the endpoint of carbon reduction. (Ignoring the lack of empirical evidence regarding the CO2 influence on climate)

    Like the 'green jobs' debacle, it will mis-allocate funds that could be used for better investments, while rewarding corruption and rent seeking.

    The biggest polluters are automotive and power generation. Removing the ridiculous barriers for construction of things like Molten Salt reactors would help provide more energy at a cheaper price, while reducing FF burning plants. Automotive will solve itself with a breakthrough in battery capacity, as most motorists don't want the complexity and price of an ICE.

    Taxing the shit out of carbon will just give a bunch of assholes a wad of cash, some of which will find its way back to the pockets of the politicians.

    I understand why they want such a scheme. Why do you?

  • Neu Mejican||

    The proposal typically floated is a revenue neutral carbon tax that replaces a tax on labor and income with a tax on carbon. So it doesn't change the level of wealth removed from the system, does't exacerbate the problem with rent seeking...yadda yadda.

    In other words, all it is burning down is the current tax structure. I understand why some want to keep the current tax structure in place...Why do you?

  • ||

    The proposal typically floated is a revenue neutral carbon tax that replaces a tax on labor and income with a tax on carbon.

    So, it is a proposal that depends critically on its ability to raise scads of money, and also is proposed on the basis of reducing carbon.

    Still sounds exactly like cigarette taxes to me. Doomed, IOW, to failure.

    Say it actually works to reduce carbon emissions. Oopsie, now the revenue has gone down, and its no longer a dollar-for-dollar replacement for other taxes. And has failed on that count.

    Say it fails to reduce carbon output. Another failure on its own terms.

    Most likely, it will reduce carbon output, a little, but less than claimed, and raise less money than claimed.

  • ||

    "Say it actually works to reduce carbon emissions. Oopsie, now the revenue has gone down, and its no longer a dollar-for-dollar replacement for other taxes. And has failed on that count."

    Oh noes! Smaller government!

    How will we cope?

    Actually, I'd like to refer you at this point to that chart Gillespie and de Rugby are always quoting--showing that the government will never get more than 20 percent of GDP anyway. No matter how high rates are raised...

    When we raise taxes, the question isn't whether the government will take a higher portion of our GDP. The percentage is always going to be 18 to 20 percent or so of GDP...

    The question is how high we want unemployment to be. The question is how much economic growth we want.

    I will grant you that taxing some things is more destructive to economic growth than other things. ...but I'll insist that from an economic growth standpoint, taxing carbon emissions is much less destructive economically than taxing productive activity like income, corporate profits and capital gains!

    How could actively discouraging capital gains be less destructive than taxing carbon emissions? Don't change those misinvestments! You'll rack up capital gains taxes?

    How could actively discouraging hiring unemployed people through income taxes--artificially making it more expensive to give them their take home pay--be LESS of a drag on economic growth than a sales tax on carbon emissions?

    In the meantime, if carbon emissions become a non-issue through businesses and individuals substituting away from carbon intensive activities? They'll find something else to tax!

    Believe me, that won't be the problem. ...but hopefully, if that ever happened, we as a nation would come to see the profound stupidity of taxing income, investment and corporate profits.

    Maybe people will come to realize that the only thing they owe each other is liberty and justice--and that's all the government owes them too.

  • Apogee||

    The proposal typically floated is a revenue neutral carbon tax that replaces a tax on labor and income with a tax on carbon.

    Which is calculated how? And will there be any waivers given to friendlies?

    Sounds like replacing taxes on things that can be measured (income and labor costs) with a tax that needs to be calculated by those levying the tax.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    A consumption tax would be fine as long as it's based on the actual cost of the items, but without cutting spending, none of it will matter.

  • What?||

    One can be against the current tax structure and also be against a carbon tax.

  • Wash Pol||

    Carbon tax! Wow, a whole new spoils system to help me collect bribes! Gimme, gimme.

  • MJ||

    "(How on earth did the Mob get involved in carbon trading?)"

    It's an easily corruptible system funneling oodles of cash. Why on earth would they not try to get involved in it?

  • Apogee||

    It was rhetorical.

  • ||

    We need to just have them whip it out, so we can pick the better man.

  • GILMORE||

    A March, 2011 Gallup Poll reports that while 72 percent of Democrats say that they worry about global warming...

    I find it slightly ironic that when it comes to the environment, the more 'liberal' you are, the more you defend the need to anything and everything possible to "ensure to preserve nature for future generations"...

    Yet when it comes to deficit spending, they seem to really not give a wet fart for 'Future Generations' at all; they don't mind kicking current-bills-due permanently down the road until we are downgraded, default, and destroy the opportunities for improvement of living standards for many future generations, who will be forced to shoulder the burden of the massive entitlement programs the Elders get to enjoy *now*.

    But yeah, whatever... money = evil / trees = good

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Glimore,

    I find it slightly ironic that when it comes to the environment, the more 'liberal' you are, the more you defend the need to anything and everything possible to "ensure to preserve nature for future generations"...


    There's nothing ironic about it. Liberals believe also the canard that the more educated, the more liberal the person because of how many liberals have college degrees - despite the fact that most graduates have zero productive skills and their minors (or majors) are for totally useless knowledge.

    This should tell you that most liberals are woefully gullible and pedantic fools.

  • Robert David Graham||

    Sigh.

    Rick Perry's comments, as you quote them, aren't necessarily at odds with even Al Gore's gloom and doom.

    It's true that weekly, scientists are coming forward questioning "global warming". But it's likewise true that weekly, formerly skeptic scientists are coming forward with their support of "global warming".

    Likewise, it's true that there has been a lot of variation in the climate in the past. That neither confirms or denies the question: is the current warming within the range of natural variation, or unprecedented in recent history?

    Some key scientists have been found manipulating data. But there is also a lot of evidence that everyone agrees was not manipulated.

    Thus, you cannot say that "Perry was wrong on the science", since he didn't say anything concrete that could be pinned down to something specific.

    What's going on here is that you, like most people, get your ideas of global warming from political rhetoric rather than paying attention to the science.

    "Global warming" is a simple scientific question: what does the evidence say? And the answer is also simple: it's neither the comfortable answer that Republicans want that mankind has no effect on the whether. Neither is it the answer Democrats want that mankind is causing doom. Virtually all scientists agree that mankind has some effect, but virtually no scientist agrees with Al Gore. There is a wide range of disagreement/agreement somewhere in the middle.

  • sunny black||

    Fantastic...well, until you can provide some concrete evidence one way or the other, my default position is AGW is bunk, the whole thing is a bit of a scam, and the government doesn't need my tax dollars to prevent, solve, minimize an, as yet, non-existent problem.

  • Tony||

    How convenient for you.

  • Brett L||

    Citations of evidence are common in both policy and scientific discussion. Get on it.

  • Brett L||

    Citations of evidence are common in both policy and scientific discussion. Get on it.

  • BigT||

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    H L Mencken

    AGW fits the description perfectly.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Robert David Graham,

    "Global warming" is a simple scientific question: what does the evidence say? And the answer is also simple: it's neither the comfortable answer that Republicans want that mankind has no effect on the whether.


    As long as the evidence shows no effect on climate instead of the whether or the tither, I don't know what's all the fuss about.

  • Richard Nous||

    "what does the evidence say?"

    The evidence says the computer models are consistently wrong.

  • ||

    It has been demonstrated repeatedly that human activity has had no significant influence on climate. Google 'sunspot "time integral"' to discover what has, with 88% accuracy since 1895 and counting.

  • Bob Webster||

    A generally quite good article, however, regarding the paragraph:

    "So what do Republican voters believe about climate change? A March, 2011 Gallup Poll reports that while 72 percent of Democrats say that they worry about global warming, only 31 percent of Republicans do. Similarly, only 22 percent of Democrats believe that global warming has been exaggerated in the news, whereas 67 percent of Republicans do. As it turns out 51 percent of Americans claim to be personally worried about climate change."

    There is a critical unknown here ... that being the difference between "climate change" and "human-caused climate change." To which do these polling data refer? I would bet the former, because that is how the issue is obfuscated and sensationalized.

    I am a strong skeptic on AGW based on my scientific background (mathematician/physical scientist) and over 50 years of interest in earth sciences (meteorology, climatology, and geology). Yet, I am concerned about climate change, but NOT human-caused climate change.

    The next ice-age cycle could precipitously being within a ten year period. How many people are aware of that and the consequences that would have to humanity?

    Without clarity when discussing (and polling) this issue, we'll get nowhere.

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