Economics

Cap-and-Trade Delusions

Proponents need to stop pretending cap-and-trade will cost nothing and create tons of jobs.

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"The Waxman-Markey bill will create jobs by spurring investment in renewables and efficiency." So declared the liberal Center for American Progress as it announced support for the new cap-and-trade climate change bill introduced in Congress last week.

Clocking in at nearly 1000 pages, the American Clean Energy and Security Act—or Waxman-Markey after its sponsors Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)—proposes to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below their 2005 level by 2020, by 42 percent by 2030, and by 83 percent by 2050. In addition, the bill requires that electricity retailers meet 20 percent of their load by 2020 using either renewable sources of electricity or conservation. To achieve these goals, the U.S. will have to spend money on clean energy technologies which are far more expensive than conventional energy technologies.

All rhetoric aside, mandates cost money. Today, for example, President Barack Obama declared that new U.S. automobiles must get an average of 35 miles-per-gallon by the year 2016. Yet it is widely acknowledged that meeting this new standard will add $1,300 to the cost of each new car. In general, when prices go up, people buy less. So, all other things being equal, less demand for a product (like cars) means fewer jobs, not more. (Of course, there is one way to raise prices and create more jobs: reduce worker productivity. If policy makers deliberately encourage inefficiency in an industry, more jobs will likely follow. But that reduced productivity also means workers will receive lower wages.)

Producing low-carbon electricity will also cost more money. Currently, producing solar photovoltaic electricity costs about 33 cents per kilowatt hour; wind generated electricity is about 9 cents per kilowatt hour; and coal-fired production with carbon capture and sequestration is estimated to cost up to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. In contrast, producing electricity by means of conventional coal-fired plants now costs 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour and nuclear power comes to 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Once again, all other things being equal, higher costs mean that the energy industry will raise the prices of its goods and services. Which means that consumers will buy less, thus leaving the industry with less to spend on producing goods and services or to pay its workers. Will there be more people specifically employed making and installing higher-cost, government subsidized wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, batteries for plug-in hybrid automobiles, and weatherized houses? Sure. But on net, there will fewer new jobs thanks to rising low-carbon energy costs.

In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year, Peter Orszag, Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, admitted that a 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions would reduce American incomes. According to Orszag, the lowest quintile of households would pay an average of $680 more each year for goods and services (3.3 percent of their incomes) and the highest quintile would pay $2,180 more (1.7 percent of their incomes) than they would have in the absence of carbon rationing.

Another way to look at the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade proposal is that it functions like a tax increase. Under the bill, about half of all revenues raised by the cap-and-trade system between 2012 and 2025 will be recycled to businesses and consumers, with the other half spent by federal government. While recycling revenues is better than nothing, it introduces inefficiencies because the process distorts how workers and businesses would have spent the money had it not been collected and redistributed by the government.

Finally, Christina Romer, the head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, calculated last year that a 1 percent increase in taxes reduces economic output by 2 to 3 percent over the following three years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cap-and-trade scheme will collect about $80 billion per year in revenues, a figure that represents about 3 percent federal tax increase.

Man-made climate change may be a huge problem, but cap-and-trade proponents need to stop pretending that the solution will cost virtually nothing while producing more jobs than it destroys.

Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  1. “Not so, says Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey. The cap-and-trade scheme functions like a tax, which even the head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors says will reduce economc growth. And reduced economic growth means fewer jobs, not more.”

    Of course.

    But the problem is that if you have a big enough megaphone to repeat a lie often enough you can get enough gullible people to support it.

    The TV and radio ads by the all the advocy/rent seeking groups are in full swing on this right now. I saw one with some actor portraying some farmer john type in a old fashined diner peddling the same line about “creating jobs” and helping the economy.

    The socialized medicine crowd is doing the same thing with ads claiming it’s a “vital” part of fixing the economy.

    1. Yet as National Socialist – Nazi – dictator Adolf Hitler said:

      “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

      It seems that the administration thinks that all Americans are Lenin’s “useful idiots”

  2. The cap-and-trade scheme functions like a tax, which even the head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors says will reduce economc growth. And reduced economic growth means fewer jobs, not more.

    Don’t burden us with facts. Obama told us that he will create green jobs ad green jobs he shall create [until he changes his mind].

  3. There will be plenty of green jobs.

    See those greens? Pick ’em.

  4. It’s the broken windows fallacy.

    Oh well.

  5. Wait, wait, wait. I’m confused. How can cap and trade produce millions of jobs with no cost to me and tons of environmental benefit? I thought that weatherizing was going to create millions of jobs with no cost to me and tons of environmental benefit. But only after Obama’s fearless leadership of GM was going to produce millions of jobs with no cost to me and tons of environmental benefit.

    They clearly can’t all produce something from nothing, so clearly one (and only one) of them is being slightly oversold. Now if I could just figure out which one…

  6. Cap-and-trade is a sham for the peeps in power. It gives the government a revenue stream for K-street antics, and the crew down on Wall Street another revenue stream to dream up bizarre financial products (Carbon Default Swaps!). And the whole guise is never mentioned as a tax.

    I of course imagine that the biggest carbon-emitter in all of American society – the Feds – are somehow exempt from all this cap-and-trade? Any bets?

  7. If we just break enough windows, we can turn this economy around!

  8. If we just break enough windows, we can turn this economy around!

    Henry Hazlitt once wrote that if people followed this fallacy to its logical extreme, they would conclude that sending out planes to bomb on one’s own country was a good idea.

    Insert joke about ‘starting with Washington DC’ here.

  9. If I smothered Al Gore, would I get a carbon credit?

  10. Henry Hazlitt once wrote that if people followed this fallacy to its logical extreme, they would conclude that sending out planes to bomb on one’s own country was a good idea.

    No joke necessary. We’re preparing to start carpet bombing our own economy, you know, because of all the green jobs that’ll be created on the cleanup effort.

  11. Of course, there is one way to raise prices and create more jobs: reduce worker productivity. If policy makers deliberately encourage inefficiency in an industry, more jobs will likely follow. But that reduced productivity also means workers will receive lower wages.

    I have been arguing for year that this is effectively the philosophy of the economically illiterate left. Decades of belief that merely “spreading the wealth around” will magically improve prosperity (a bit of propaganda intended to convince people that socialism wouldn’t be bad for the economy) has encouraged a belief that “spreading the wealth” among more workers by mandating inefficiency will have a similar “multiplier effect”.

    One of the manifestations of this is the opposition to industrialized agriculture. Hand plowing and picking of produce is often applauded precisely because it “increases the demand for labor”, and hence drives up wages for unskilled manual laborers.

    The fact that it results in higher prices for consumers is a consequence that is traditionally lost on progressives, who, after all, deride vulgar “consumerism”. As is the fact that earning more money is pointless if you also have to spend more to get the same amount of consumer goods. As is the fact that the net loss in overall efficiency is a net loss in overall standards of living.

  12. See Peter W. Huber’s “Bound to Burn” in City Journal: “No one can doubt Washington’s power to bankrupt almost anything – in the United States. But China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. … What we can do, if we are foolish enough, is to let carbon worries send our jobs and industries to their shores, making them grow even faster, and their carbon emissions faster still.”

  13. Ummm, Ron, most serious estimates (Stern, for example) of the costs of a robust cap-and-trade or tax run around 2% of GDP. This makes a lot of sense, as we typically spend about 6-7% of our incomes on energy, and either policy will likely increase costs by a quarter to a third.

    Therefore, we will have to give up a whopping TEN MONTHS of economic growth. Wow! That’s like armageddon. How can the people of 2100 possibly comprehend waiting until October for the economy that they could have had in January? I mean, who would dare suggest holding off on our IPod Mini Personal AI Pico-Femto Bots for a few months, all for the sake of, you know, not wiping out half the species on the planet that we just fried.

    No, renewables won’t create lots of jobs. Economies will always equilibrate towards full employment regardless of which energy technology we choose. However, renewables will still be better than fossils with respect to jobs for two reasons. First, full employment is an equilibrium concept. As we have seen many times, including now, various shocks can upset that equilibrium and result in much less than full employment. Fossil fuels have supplied many of these shocks and will in all likelyhood continue to do so. Second, renewables do create more jobs DIRECTLY. This is precisely the reason that they cost more. Not only do they directly create jobs, they create the type of jobs that we most need – decent, blue-collar type work.

    Jobs will be about the same overall, and costs are minimal relative to our generation being branded as the one who not only committed the worst acts of the sixth mass extinction on earth, but was the first to do so knowingly. I am actually embarrased to be associated with many of my contempories. We will not be remembered kindly.

  14. Before we increase the cost of energy with cap-and-trade, I believe it’s imperative that the United States establishes a non-political, scientific commission to review all facts and evidence surrounding global warming. The stakes are huge. If we respond to global warming incorrectly, our children and grandchildren will likely lead lives of increasing hardship and desperation.

    For the past 20 years I believed global warming was caused by CO2. Now, after reading the United Nations’ Climate Change 2007 report, I’m not so sure. I think they loaded the dice. Whereas the report should have considered all possible global warming culprits then narrow the field, the IPCC (the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change) instead removed everything from consideration except greenhouse gases. For further discussion see
    http://energyplanusa.com/ipcc_reports_dont_pass_smell_test.htm

  15. @Rmoen:

    I agree with you regarding the CO2 over-emphasis. I read the IPCC as well, partly in an effort to learn about the subject. After considering all the relevant evidence I have come across, what I think about the current climate evolution in relation to people is:

    1. Anthropogenic activities are having an effect on global temperatures, but this effect is a relatively insignificant input on a much larger, natural trend that has been going on since the end of the Ice Ages.

    2. I think the primary driver of anthropogenic input on temperature gradients is not CO2 per se, but a short-term effect sustained by deposition of greenhouse gases (primarily water) in a part of the atmosphere that naturally is almost bone-dry, which would be the stratosphere in the jet-age. I find a compelling indicator of that in the temp reduction noted by the AGW hysterics when planes were grounded in 2001 for a week. Grounded the planes, and the heating effect went away.

    All the cars and coal stations kept chugging away, and temperatures in other places with developed air-routes that kept the planes flying did not see the same effect. That’s just my two cents.

  16. “…our generation being branded as the one who not only committed the worst acts of the sixth mass extinction on earth, but was the first to do so knowingly. ”

    Oh good lord.


  17. For the past 20 years I believed global warming was caused by CO2. Now, after reading the United Nations’ Climate Change 2007 report, I’m not so sure. I think they loaded the dice. Whereas the report should have considered all possible global warming culprits then narrow the field, the IPCC (the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change) instead removed everything from consideration except greenhouse gases.

    You either didn’t read the report or didn’t understand it. They darned well did consider other options. See section two.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf

    The fact is, there is no other cause besides anthropomorphic greenhouse gases that can explain the observations. There is no serious debate on this matter.


  18. 1. Anthropogenic activities are having an effect on global temperatures, but this effect is a relatively insignificant input on a much larger, natural trend that has been going on since the end of the Ice Ages.

    What magical trend is that? Is the sun getting brighter? No, or at least very little. Is our planet’s plane of rotation changing? Not on a relevant time scale.

    “Natural” does not mean “without cause”. SOMETHING has to change. Why can’t we find it, despite a hell of a lot of very very intelligent people looking?

  19. Spartacus | May 19, 2009, 7:23pm | #

    “…our generation being branded as the one who not only committed the worst acts of the sixth mass extinction on earth, but was the first to do so knowingly. ”

    Oh good lord.

    You do realize that we ARE in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, and climate change will make it far worse, right? Or perhaps you prefer to be ignorant of the facts.

  20. “The fact is, there is no other cause besides anthropomorphic greenhouse gases that can explain the observations. There is no serious debate on this matter.”

    There is no serious debate on the matter? And when you say “anthropomorphic” don’t you really mean “anthropogenic?” Just curious, maybe in that IPCC report that I didn’t “understand” pertaining to the ergonomics of carbon perhaps?

    Help me oh smart guy! I’m confused by all the big words here!

    And let’s just give you the benefit of the doubt, “anthropomorphic” gases are responsible for recent warm trends, no debate. So, I assume cap-and-trade also enjoys the same unassailable ivory tower as the solution to this problem in your mind, then? It’s like the TARP, don’t think…JUST VOTE “YES” NOW TO GIVE US MONEY AND POWER! I love it.

  21. “What magical trend is that? Is the sun getting brighter? No, or at least very little. Is our planet’s plane of rotation changing? Not on a relevant time scale.

    “Natural” does not mean “without cause”. SOMETHING has to change. Why can’t we find it, despite a hell of a lot of very very intelligent people looking?”

    Our current cutting-edge science on climate by “very, very intelligent people” is currently without consensus on where the last ice-age came from…despite tons of research on that point. If we can’t agree on the obviously powerful natural processes that can put Manhattan under a sheet of ice a mile thick because of a severe multi-millenniums long bout of cold, it stands a fair question if we really understand what makes things mildly warmer for a comparative blink of an eye geologically.

  22. Tell you what, Chad. You say we are in the midst of a mass extinction of species? All right, then. Name, specifically, ten species that have gone extinct in the past year. Feel free to use references and cite them.

  23. they would conclude that sending out planes to bomb on one’s own country was a good idea.

    And everybody gets a share!


  24. Our current cutting-edge science on climate by “very, very intelligent people” is currently without consensus on where the last ice-age came from…despite tons of research on that point.

    Really? When did the theory of Milankovitch cycles get overturned? There may be some debate about the details, but these cycles were the primary drivers. Even the remaining debates are a result of an inability to measure things that occured in the past with the type of accuracy that we can measure things that are happening now.

    The earth cannot magically heat up without cause. To do so, either more heat has to come in, or less has to get out, or both. All of the other plausible mechanisms besides green house gases have been studied to death and found to have minimal effects. Is it possible that some overlooked cause could spring out of nowhere, or that some new data could revolutionize our thinking? Yes. But is is very unlikely. You don’t bet the farm on a few percent chance.

  25. Tell you what, Chad. You say we are in the midst of a mass extinction of species? All right, then. Name, specifically, ten species that have gone extinct in the past year. Feel free to use references and cite them.

    Obviously, I can’t prove a negative. It is rare that we know when the last member of a species dies.

    There have only been about 800 recorded extinctions in the last 500 years, but that is because we simply didn’t see a lot of what we destroyed, while also having a tendancy to protect what we can see. We are actually losing thousands of species per year out of an estimated ten million, and the trend is accelerating. One estimate that I saw in the journal Environmental Science and Technology concluded that each degree C in temperature rise we experience will result in the extinction of about 10% of the world’s species, on top of what we have already done.

  26. From The Heritage Foundation

    Comments referring to original draft are the estimated costs from the Waxman-Markey orignal draft. The actual cost estimates as the bill now stands are the numbers after the original draft numbers

    For example the estimated GDP losses resulting from the current version are $9.6 trillion!!!

    May 18, 2009
    Son of Waxman-Markey: More Politics Makes for a More Costly Bill

    by William W. Beach, David Kreutzer, Ph.D., Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and Ben Lieberman

    * Compared to no cap and trade, real GDP losses increase an additional $2 trillion, from $7.4 trillion under the original draft to $9.6 trillion under the new draft;
    * Compared to no cap and trade, average unemployment increases an additional 261,000 jobs, from 844,000 lost jobs under the original draft to 1,105,000 lost jobs under the new draft; and
    * Peak-year unemployment losses rise by 500,000 jobs, from 2 million under the original draft to 2.5 million under the new draft.

    * Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.6 trillion;
    * Destroy 1,105,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 2,479,000 jobs;
    * Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation;
    * Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent;
    * Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent;
    * Raise an average family’s annual energy bill by $1,500; and
    * Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 26 percent, or $29,150 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation.

    complete article on link

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2450.cfm
    ——————————–

    Then we have the Z5 for only $208 retail installs on all gasoline engines

    Israeli whiz kid aims to transform the car industry
    By Karin Kloosterman
    April 26, 2009

    If you could spend $208 on a small device that fitted to your car engine, saving you up to 40 percent on your gas consumption, the earth from pollution, and which also gave your car more power, you’d think it was too good to be true, right? Well this is exactly the promise of a new invention, the Z5, devised by an Israeli teenager Zion Badash when he was only 16

    cont. on link.

    http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Articles^l2536&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enVersion=0&enZone=Profiles

    Z5 Website
    ———————
    http://www.z55555.com/

    What are the chances that we will see this product installed on American made cars?

    My guess is zero. After all it doesn’t create more work for the UAW.

  27. Obviously, I can’t prove a negative. It is rare that we know when the last member of a species dies.

    Don’t feel bad. Nobody else I’ve asked has been able to name even five.

    We are actually losing thousands of species per year out of an estimated ten million, and the trend is accelerating.

    Yeah, thousands, but no one can actually name ten (or even five). That doesn’t tell you anything?

    BTW, estimates of the total number of species vary by an order of magnitude. Any “estimate” of any global species-related phenomenon is going to have massive error bars, which tend to conveniently get neglected.

  28. Spartacus | May 19, 2009, 8:27pm | #

    Yeah, thousands, but no one can actually name ten (or even five). That doesn’t tell you anything?

    Yes, that we are destroy that which we do not even understand. That’s even scarier.

    You are right that estimates vary wildly. But current extinction rates are hundreds or thousands of times higher than background rates and rising. There are plenty of orders of magnitude of wiggle room.

  29. Really? When did the theory of Milankovitch cycles get overturned? There may be some debate about the details, but these cycles were the primary drivers. Even the remaining debates are a result of an inability to measure things that occured in the past with the type of accuracy that we can measure things that are happening now.

    Hate to say it, but Milankovitch cycles are not considered the primary drivers of ice ages, at least as a consensus within acadamia, even when all the effects line up to re-enforce each other. Milankovitch cycles are considered an important input on the amounts of glaciation during ice ages. But that’s it.

    Also, if “remaining debates” in the consensus on the cause of ice ages in acadamia are due to a lack of ability to measure such things, then why do we take the IPCC as the Gospel, when it is a report that tracks climate change over a period in excess of a MILLION YEARS in reaching its AGW conclusions? I see a disconnect there.

  30. Therefore, we will have to give up a whopping TEN MONTHS of economic growth. Wow! That’s like armageddon. How can the people of 2100 possibly comprehend waiting until October for the economy that they could have had in January?

    Will such a cap-and-trade proposal delay armageddon by more than ten months? If we’re already “currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction,” won’t it continue even if we somewhat slow CO2 output?

    Chad, it seems to me that the cap-and-trade proposal rests on an idea that there is an extremely important tipping point in CO2 concentrations. If we emit less than that certain amount, no severe problems. More than that, armageddon. Your claims that we’re already “in the middle” of an extinction event weakens your case, not strengthens it. It implies that somewhat decreasing the rate of CO2 emissions will only put off slightly the date of disaster.

  31. Yes, that we are destroy that which we do not even understand. That’s even scarier.

    To me, it says that we allow wild-ass speculations to substitute for actual knowledge.

    PS–if we can’t usually observe extinctions, how does one establish a background rate?

  32. And when you say “anthropomorphic” don’t you really mean “anthropogenic?”

    I think he means that there is no serious debate about global warming being caused by clouds that look like people. As you are debating this, you are ipso facto unserious. QED

  33. Chad,

    As humans expand, things get pushed aside…regardless of climate change…that’s the dirty secret. If we keep fucking and reproducing, we’re inevitably going to push out other species, its what happens regardless of the technological prowess of any particular species. There is no way to have 12 billion people on the planet and fit in all the species that currently exist. Now, if you want to argue about stopping population growth, I invite you to get snipped first…for the planet of course.


  34. To me, it says that we allow wild-ass speculations to substitute for actual knowledge.

    PS–if we can’t usually observe extinctions, how does one establish a background rate?

    but with most scientific journal numbers, there are SWAG (scientific wild ass guesses). I’m willing to accept the general principle that humans push many species that didn’t develop with us to extinction, but I have a hard time getting riled up about it. After all, unless we as a species decide to collectively commit genetic suicide, theres really no room for the less successful species in any case. Some people just can’t accept the consequences of what population growth brings with it.

  35. Chad,

    You’ve convinced me. For some time now I’ve heard people compare AGW theorists to young earth creation theorists. I’ve long doubted them. No more.

  36. “The Waxman-Markey bill will create jobs by spurring investment in renewables and efficiency.” So declared the liberal Center for American Progress George Soros’s mouthpiece.

    There fixed it.

  37. No patriotic and informed American can support the global warming/cap and trade scam, more fraudulent than any Nigerian scam. Cap and trade is a huge tax on the poor and the middle class designed to give the powers of a dictator to Obama and to further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, etc.)

    Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy-all without any scientific justification,” says famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer. It would significantly increase taxes and the cost of energy, forcing many companies to close, thus increasing unemployment, poverty and dependence.

    Those brainwashed to the point of wanting to destroy the economy to “prevent global warming” remind us of primitive humans who believed that killing and sacrificing others would ensure them good weather. Human beings don’t have the power to control climate!

    More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers. http://www.climatechangefraud.com/content/view/3562/218/

    Additionally, more than 30,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” http://www.petitionproject.org

    We pray that honest leaders – both Democrat and Republican – are able to save us from Obama’s criminal global warming/cap-and-trade scam.

  38. You are right, Gilbert Martin. The mainstream media has been brainwashing us with the man-made global warming lies while Obama and his friends were getting ready for “the kill” — cap-and trade.

    To increase their power and wealth at our expense, Obama and his billionaire fraudulent friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, etc.) have been busy brainwashing us through the media.

    George Soros has bought much of the media. Additionally, GE, for example, has bombarded us with daily propaganda — through its NBC networks, including MSNBC and CNBC — to make us swallow the scam. Why? Because they stand to make BILLIONS from the scam at our expense. Not only is GE the largest wind turbine generator maker, but it may benefit as the sole “secondary market” trader of the cap and trade credits.

    And then we have the U.N., the most corrupt organization in the world, ready to use the global warming scam to get more of our money and to dictate what we should and should not do.

    All these fraudulent people and organizations used the media to help Obama to win the elections and are helping him now impose socialism/communism on us to increase their own wealth and power at our expense.

  39. pssst: praying ain’t gonna help.

  40. Environmental Science and Technology concluded that each degree C in temperature rise we experience will result in the extinction of about 10% of the world’s species

    That’s astonishingly stupid. The inter-day variance in temperature is more than 1C, we would have mass dieoffs every summer if the world’s species were that fragile.

  41. Regarding extinctions.

    Start with amphibians if you want to get you hit rate up…

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/9/3231.full

  42. Bob Smith,

    I don’t think you thought that one all the way through.

  43. # Economies will always equilibrate towards full employment regardless of which energy technology we choose.
    Thank you, Chad. Now we can repeal that stimulus bill, and not a moment too soon!

    As we have seen many times, including now, various shocks can upset that equilibrium and result in much less than full employment. Fossil fuels have supplied many of these shocks and will in all likelyhood continue to do so.

    I would love a tax-neutral oil import tax, or a 100% rebate to taxpayers from an oil tax. But no, it’s far more efficient to pass a 1,000 page bill detailing which special interests will get special consideration, at least for now, until it’s time to make changes, at which point Congress will be a goddamn free-for-all.

    # What are the chances that we will see this product installed on American made cars?

    My guess is zero. After all it doesn’t create more work for the UAW.

    You can’t stop progress. I will bet you $208 that if this device works as advertised it will come standard on all American cars.

    # And then we have the U.N., the most corrupt organization in the world, ready to use the global warming scam to get more of our money and to dictate what we should and should not do.
    [citation needed, not for the corrupt part but the dictating part]

  44. A (incomplete) list of extinctions since 2000

    http://dodosgone.blogspot.com/

  45. Neu – interesting stuff, but I also wonder how many “new” species we find each year. Not only that, but when we figure in how species can evolve and how ambiguous one species can be when compared to the next, I have to wonder if extinction of a species, when looked at as a individual event, is really that important. From an esthetic sense, absolutely, but from a “practical” or “important” sense, I’m not so sure.

    Read Beak of the Finch for details as to how niches can be very flexible in nature.

  46. For the past 20 years I believed global warming was caused by CO2. Now, after reading the United Nations’ Climate Change 2007 report, I’m not so sure. I think they loaded the dice. Whereas the report should have considered all possible global warming culprits then narrow the field, the IPCC (the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change) instead removed everything from consideration except greenhouse gases.

    I’m shocked, shocked, that a political body would be political.

    Actually the members of the IPCC are good honest scientists. The big trouble is that most people only know what writers have written about the IPCC reports. And most writers have only read the executive summaries of the reports, which are themselves written by political hacks.

    So what people like Chad know about Climate change they have gotten from summaries of summaries all heavily laden with the reporter’s bias.

    If you could spend $208 on a small device that fitted to your car engine, saving you up to 40 percent on your gas consumption, the earth from pollution, and which also gave your car more power, you’d think it was too good to be true, right? Well this is exactly the promise of a new invention, the Z5, devised by an Israeli teenager Zion Badash when he was only 16

    Oh, come on. I know this guy whose cousin knows this guy who’s uncle invented this carburetor back in the 1960s, but like the oil companies bought the rights and destroyed the plans.

    You know, bullshit stories like this come along every few years, and a certain number of people believe them.

    They’re no stupider than the Green version that if only the oil companies weren’t so evil we’d have unlimited energy from unicorn smiles, but they’re still stupid.

  47. “Producing low-carbon electricity will also cost more money.”

    Don’t you realize that by that time we’ll be lighting our homes with sunlight extracted from cucumbers? Of course green energy will produce more jobs, whatever the government says will happen, will happen. There is nothing to worry about, go play on Twitter.

  48. Maybe Chad and others in the “we must destroy the economy to save it and the Earth” movement can tell us how many degrees their “tax and trade” policies and the “saving the US auto industry by making their products even more expensive and less desirable plan” will reduce the Earth’s temperature by? How many people are we directly saving here?

    Any figures, Chad? Humor all of us dolts with some specifics of your five and ten year plans to “save the world.” It’s our money, so you’re going to have to give us a damn good reason to part with it.

    If we’re going to try destroying everything we hold dear in pursuit of this hysterical, panting envirolunatic, Luddite nonsense, let’s have some hard numbers.

    Anytime you’re ready, Chad, we’re listening.

  49. If we’re going to try destroying everything we hold dear in pursuit of this hysterical, panting envirolunatic, Luddite nonsense, let’s have some hard numbers.

    So, if I understand this correct, you are saying that people who are hysterical about the dangers of a non-specific threat should not be taken seriously.

    To me this means I should ignore anyone who uses the phrase “destroying everything we hold dear” to discuss a cap-n-trade scheme that in a worst case scenario may put a mild drag on the economy and in a best-case scenario will result in a mild positive economic effect.

  50. One gets the impression that the real intention here is to completely destroy America’s position in the world and hope that no one will ever come after us. Cap and Trade is only one piece of that. Every week goes by and the unemployed increase in number. Instead of trying to help businesses get back on their feet, we need to put more burdens on them and tax the poor so as to keep them poor.

    One gets the impression we are trying to expand the permanently poor and keep them there, while simultaneously take away the wealth from those who had previously successfully reached those dreams.

    As Abraham Lincoln said in his Lyceum Speech the threat to the United States will come from within and people will put up with alot before we act. The time is coming soon that the people will need to march on Washington to try and stop the destruction of our Country. It will be risky to have millions march on Washington, but count me in.

  51. Obama’s Welfare Nation idiots don’t give a rats’ arse about jobs or the economy. They will simply look for Obama and his communist friends to steal more and more of other’s peoples’ money to “subsidize” their bills in exchange for their votes.

    The country as a whole will experience what California is experiencing, the Thatcher Law…

    “The problem with Progressives\Socialists\Communist\Democrats is they soon run out of other people money to steal”

    Look at the POS actions so far, he is simply raiding the pockets of people whom have lived responsibly, make investments and followed basic common sense to buy those have been recklessly living on the edge and gaining the system.

    When he spouts his nonsense about everyone sacrificing he is talking those responsible citizens and NOT HIS WELFARE NATION supporters.

  52. The whole idea of politicians running a business on the up and up makes about as much sense as ordering a time travel machine from Ebay.

    http://hydrologic.blogspot.com/2009/05/required-reading-for-pres-obama-and.html

    The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article about it today, “Why Government Can’t Run a Business.”

  53. I don’t think you thought that one all the way through.

    Please, do tell. By what mechanism does a 20C variance between winter and summer pose no risk to a species, but a 1C variance in average temperature cause its extinction?

  54. >in a worst case scenario may put a mild drag on the economy

    I don’t know if you’ve been reading any newspapers over the last six months, but saddling a ox struggling to pull one massive cart with an additional wagon is considerably more than a “minor drag.”

    Amazing. When Bush was in charge, adding 50,000 jobs to the rolls per month and millions over five straight years was “not enough.” Obamanomics go into effect within 100 days of his ascendancy, and the loss of over 2 million jobs since with more on the way is “a minor drag.”

    Got it.

    >in a best-case scenario will result in a mild positive economic effect.

    You mean, like “creating or saving millions of jobs” to replace the actual and ever-increasing millions lost as a result of President Obama’s “New New New Deal?”

    Sounds like the new math for this is follows the Underpants Gnomes School of Economics:

    1) Impose massive taxes on energy production and use, pretending that it won’t have an effect on the already struggling economy and even if it does, so what.

    2) ????

    3) Profit!

  55. quoting Chad (who is also quoting Spartacus):

    Chad | May 19, 2009, 8:32pm | #
    Spartacus | May 19, 2009, 8:27pm | #

    Yeah, thousands, but no one can actually name ten (or even five). That doesn’t tell you anything?

    Yes, that we are destroy that which we do not even understand. That’s even scarier.

    Chad, I note that you accept as true something that doesn’t have any adequate evidence to support it’s truth. THere’s a word we use for believing in something that is not proved by evidence that can be duplicated, understood and interpreted by others. Religion.

    You have confirmed that you are a “True Believer”, rather than someone grounded in non-faith based skeptical enlightenment.

  56. To me this means I should ignore anyone who uses the phrase “destroying everything we hold dear” to discuss a cap-n-trade scheme that in a worst case scenario may put a mild drag on the economy and in a best-case scenario will result in a mild positive economic effect.

    Neu Mejican:

    You have a good point here, but even in a best-case scenario there will be no mild positive economic effect. The best-case scenario is no economic effect, or a small negative economic effect outweighed by other societal factors. All calculations that show a mild positive economic effect are causing the broken windows fallacy.

    You’re correct that it’s “destroying everything we hold dear” only in the sense that the current economy is the Great Depression. At the same time, the expected environmental benefits are pretty small, too. 0.6 mm effect on sea ocean rise in 90 years, out of a much greater expected percentage?

    As I said, this is not about averting armageddon, merely slowing it down at best.

    So the benefits and costs are both exaggerated.

  57. Chad-antics and my fun with them aside, I cannot say authoritatively that people are not an input on temperature. People impact their environment, and there are some basic fundamentals that are pretty undeniable:

    The growth of the human population and their attendant chemical factories has been more logarithmic than linear over the past hundred, hundred and fifty years or so. When I say “chemical factories” I don’t mean that in the literal term. The engine in a car is a “chemical factory” in this context. So is a nuclear reactor (it manufacters elements not seen in nature) or a cocaine factory in Manaus somewhere. All these things impact the environment…”chemical factory” implies not just a change in chemistry, but a change in entropy and its variables on a relatively closed system of fixed capacities (the earth). As people become more technically sophisticated – both in aggregrate and in per-capita terms – it almost guarantees more “chemical factories.” Logarithmic growth over time is unsustainable, no matter the system you are measuring, even the entire universe if given enough time and a high enough rate of change (the hypothesized “Big Rip” from “dark energy” is a good example). Climate-change and all its variables including our place in that equation – whatever that actual equation may be – is absolutely fascinating stuff to read up on. Its full of potentially great science.

    Its that basic, sound, and somewhat obvious (I think) train of thought that emboldens the Chads of the world to then spew their pseudoscientific horseshit. The leap of thought from the basic premise above to then thinking we know that “its evil, evil carbon dioxide!” and the resulting AGW theory/cottage industry is like knowing that space exists, then making the immediate conclusion that Star Trek is real. To base an entire public policy as a response to this I think is kind of silly, a paen to human conceit about our place and awareness of things as much as anything else. The public policy being marketed though, is a crime; an insidous power and money grab by an increasingly entrenched and incestous corporate/bureaucratic elite being proffered as a “solution.” That shit’s more dangerous than carbon dioxide. These jokesters are always looking for a way around the Bill of Rights and an “important enough” ends to justify their miserable, greedy means. For the right-wingers who think like this, their ends has become dope and terrorists. For the lefties, it is to save the earth. But its the same psychology.

  58. good posts! TheZeitgeist

  59. Oops I’m late but here it goes.

    Again everyone spends time arguging about climate chnage like it’s possible to prove 100% one way or the other that it’s happening.

    Moreover, it doesn’t really matter. We don’t need to be 100% sure, or even 90 or 80, IMO. We just need to have enough evidence that there is a risk, and then we can look at taking “reasonable” measures to take mitigate that risk.

    IMO, cap and trade poses a lot of problems that could be solved by using a net zero carbon tax instead. Thus increasing the returns to labor, and decreasing the use of finite natural resources.

    Finally, let’s remember that not doing anything has costs too (even if climate change wasn’t real). Burning off fossil fuels has other costs that like increases in healthcare costs from things like asthma etc.

    So the key in developing a policy is to reduce the externalities, until the price people pay at the pump, or electric meter, more accuratly reflects the true cost (inclduing externalities) of the good they are using. Of course we will never get that number exactly right, but we don’t need to.

    IMHO, then the real debate should be on the best way to limit the risks of climate change in the most cost effective manner. Cap and trade, not ideal. Net zero carbon tax much better.

  60. Oops I’m late but here it goes.

    Again everyone spends time arguging about climate chnage like it’s possible to prove 100% one way or the other that it’s happening.

    Moreover, it doesn’t really matter. We don’t need to be 100% sure, or even 90 or 80, IMO. We just need to have enough evidence that there is a risk, and then we can look at taking “reasonable” measures to take mitigate that risk.

    IMO, cap and trade poses a lot of problems that could be solved by using a net zero carbon tax instead. Thus increasing the returns to labor, and decreasing the use of finite natural resources.

    Finally, let’s remember that not doing anything has costs too (even if climate change wasn’t real). Burning off fossil fuels has other costs that like increases in healthcare costs from things like asthma etc.

    So the key in developing a policy is to reduce the externalities, until the price people pay at the pump, or electric meter, more accuratly reflects the true cost (inclduing externalities) of the good they are using. Of course we will never get that number exactly right, but we don’t need to.

    IMHO, then the real debate should be on the best way to limit the risks of climate change in the most cost effective manner. Cap and trade, not ideal. Net zero carbon tax much better.

  61. damm, sorry for the double post

  62. Well Kroneborge, you are making the “go to church, just in case there really is a god” argument. It didn’t get better by double posting.

  63. John Thacker.

    No broken windows fallacy.
    Sorry, that is inapt here.
    The changes are not being made “in order to” improve the economy. They are being made for other reasons. They will have an effect on the economy, but it is hard to predict what that will be.

    Best case scenario is that a shift in the cost profile shifts practices to a more efficient model that ends up having a mild positive effect on the economy overall. No need for voodoo.

    FWIW, I think a revenue neutral carbon tax that shifts cost from labor to material throughput makes more sense.

  64. Bob Smith | May 20, 2009, 12:52pm | #
    I don’t think you thought that one all the way through.

    Please, do tell. By what mechanism does a 20C variance between winter and summer pose no risk to a species, but a 1C variance in average temperature cause its extinction?

    You’ve got an apples to oranges thing going here. Like I said, I don’t think you’ve thought it all the way through.

  65. >>
    Man-made climate change may be a huge problem, but cap-and-trade proponents need to stop pretending that the solution will cost virtually nothing while producing more jobs than it destroys.

  66. Please don’t blindly accept the premise that any climate change is man-made. What if we enter a cooling trend, as we now have? Well, all the justification for so-called “greenhouse gasses” goes up in smoke. But will this stop those who aggitate for horrid destructions of liberty and prosperity? No.

    Indeed, “climate change” is a strong horse for the left to ride, for it justifies any tyranny in the name of saving the planet. They will ride this horse until it dies on them. But not to worry, it won’t be long before some other reason will be found to futher the same old agenda.

  67. Amazing. When Bush was in charge, adding 50,000 jobs to the rolls per month and millions over five straight years was “not enough.” Obamanomics go into effect within 100 days of his ascendancy, and the loss of over 2 million jobs since with more on the way is “a minor drag.”

    Are you sure the president has this much power over the economy. Does Bush get credit for all jobs gained and lost during his tenure? And then, the second Obama takes over, they are his?

  68. Here at America’s Power, we know not everyone is following what’s happening in Washington, but right now there’s a hotly debated bill in Congress called Waxman-Markey that deals with the issue of climate change.

    We need a climate plan that’s affordable and effective. Americans should support a plan that:

    ? Achieves emissions reductions
    ? Creates jobs
    ? Preserves fuel diversity as a means of promoting greater energy independence
    ? Protects consumers against unnecessarily
    high energy costs

    We support a federal plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the Waxman-Markey bill needs to do more to guarantee that consumers are protected from unnecessary increases in energy costs. Because without these changes the bill is not affordable – and therefore, not effective.

    To find out more about America’s Power’s stance on Waxman-Markey, watch our video.

  69. In the long run the unemployment rate will not be effected, only what people are employed doing.
    But of course if energy is more expensive the total output of the economy will be less.

  70. What I see happening with this plan is redistribution of money by the Obama admistration to its friends. It’s just another way of gouging businesses and giving the spoils to others.

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