Energy

Energy Price Deceit

Congress tries to hide its cap-and-trade energy price increases

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Last month, leading Congressional climateer, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, pushed out a sweeping 1000-page bill that aims to dramatically reshape how Americans will use energy in the 21st century. At the heart of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act is a cap-and-trade proposal for limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide by American industry and consumers. Carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels and chopping down forests, is building up in the atmosphere where it is thought be the chief cause of man-made global warming.

The ACES Act would establish an artificial carbon market by setting a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted each year. Beginning in 2012, a national cap—or total maximum CO2 emissions—would be set and then ratcheted downward annually. Under ACES, the U.S. would emit 17 percent less carbon dioxide in 2020 than it did in 2005, eventually falling to 83 percent less than emitted in 2005 by 2050.

Electric and gas utilities, cement plants, steel foundries, and other companies would be required to have one emissions permit for every ton of CO2 discharged from their smoke stacks. Under a cap-and-trade scheme, emissions permits can be allocated and/or auctioned up to the set cap. Once allocated, the market allows companies emitting less than their quota to sell their excess permits to emitters needing to buy extra to meet their cap. This process sets a price on each ton of carbon dioxide.

The central fact of the cap-and-trade proposal is that it will increase the price of energy. If energy prices don't go up, the goal of getting energy producers, manufacturers, and consumers to shift away from carbon generating fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) toward low-carbon sources of energy (nuclear, solar, wind, conservation) will not be achieved.

Whatever else they are, the folks in Congress are not stupid when comes to protecting their electoral viability. They are painfully aware of the fact that, while Americans express support for regulations to reduce greenhouse gases, 77 percent in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll declared themselves either "very concerned" or "concerned" that "federal regulation of greenhouse gases could substantially raise the price of things you have to pay for."

So in an attempt to ward off voter displeasure over higher energy prices brought about by Congressionally-mandated carbon rationing, the denizens on Capitol Hill have tacked on a number of Rube Goldbergesque policy obfuscations designed the mask the price increases. These include subsidies and tax breaks for retrofitting buildings to use less energy, setting energy conservation appliance standards, subsidies for higher mileage automobiles, and imposing a renewable fuel standard on utility companies, among many other things.

The chief technique that Congress is using to hide the mandated price increase in electricity and natural gas from voters is giving away free emissions permits to local electricity and gas distribution companies. In the ACES bill, some 30 percent of emissions permits are allocated free to local distribution companies who are supposed to sell the permits and then pass along the money to consumers as a lump sum rebate to offset their higher utility bills. Why a lump sum?

As Harvard University environmental economist Robert Stavins explains in his article on "The Wonderful Politics of Cap-and-Trade," the hope is that such rebates will compensate "consumers for increases in electricity prices, but without reducing incentives for energy conservation." Even if they are getting a rebate, higher monthly electric bills will still likely annoy voters. But let's assume that this scheme actually works as intended and blunts household displeasure about paying more for electricity and natural gas.

There's one big problem: The proposal merely shifts the price paid by consumers for energy from local utilities to other products and services. For example, Resources for the Future economists Rich Sweeney and Dallas Burtraw calculate that auctioning all of the carbon emissions permits would result in a price of $20.91 per metric ton. However, allocating 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions permits free to local utilities as proposed under the ACES bill would mean lower electricity prices, and lower prices would mean more consumption. The result is that there would 24 percent fewer emissions reductions in the electricity sector than would have been the case had all permits been auctioned.

The higher emissions in the electricity sector make it harder for other sectors of the economy—automobiles, construction, steel, cement, food processing, retail, agriculture—to stay below the national cap on carbon dioxide emissions. And this pushes up the demand for the remaining permits, which boosts their prices. Sweeney and Burtraw calculate that the requirement for increased emissions reductions in other sectors under a national cap would raise the allowance price to $26.90 per metric ton. The result, according to Sweeney and Burtraw, is that "this raises the costs of goods and services from these sectors."

So this plan to allocate "free" permits could well end up costing consumers even more than they "save" on their household electricity and natural gas bills. Fearing the electoral consequences of honesty, Congress is trying to hide the fact that they are increasing energy prices by distracting the American people with a torrent of rebates, subsidies, and tax incentives, along with plenty of happy talk about renewable energy and creating "green jobs." The result is that Congress has devised a complicated and inefficient scheme where distributing a "free" commodity actually makes products and services more expensive than it would otherwise have to be. That's truly "wonderful politics"!

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. The real deceit is that this will do ANYTHING to alter, affect, adjust, manipulate, regulate or stabilize the climate.

  2. Congress, deceitful? Preposterous!

  3. Obama’s global warming/cap and trade scam will cost us much, much more than $3,100 per household! It will cost many of us our businesses. It will cost many of us our jobs. It will cost all of us our freedom.

  4. Libertarians for higher (carbon) taxes!

  5. No patriotic and informed American can support the global warming/cap and trade scam, more fraudulent than any Nigerian scam.

    Cap and trade represents huge taxes and cost increases, which will hurt mostly the poor and the middle class. Cap and trade will give dictatorial powers to Obama and will further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, etc.) — all at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

    Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy-all without any scientific justification,” said 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” are behaving like the most primitive human beings who were duped into believing that human sacrifices would ensure them good weather. Human beings don’t have the power to control climate! And killing the economy will not help the environment. Poor countries can’t protect the environment. Just look at Haiti!

    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.

  6. What I really want to know is, who will the companies be receiving these allocations? The time to buy is now, before the stock market noticed what a gold mine this is.

    It isn’t in my power to prevent this stupid policy from going through. But it is in my power to transfer some of the plunder back to myself.

  7. The central fact of the cap-and-trade proposal is that it will increase the price of energy

    No, it will increase the price of energy that requires the emission of carbon, which is most fossil energy and to a lesser degree some “renewable” energy. The cost increases will be proportional to the emissions.

    A second flaw with this statement is that the price is not really being increased. Rather, something closer to the true price is being reflected in the sticker price that we all see and pay. Any supporter of market economies should support accurate prices. The fact that our current prices are artificially low due to flawed markets should not be something any true libertarian would defend. Honest people can disagree about how we should go about creating markets that reflect accurate prices, but not whether accurate prices are desirable.

    It really does baffle me that libertarians would prefer market failure to government regulation, even in a case where no viable privatization scheme exists. The atmosphere cannot be owned or privatized, and our basic choices are either the tragedy of the commons or government regulation. It must take some enormously thick ideological blinders to prefer the former.

    However, your general point is correct. The vast majority of energy sticker prices will increase, by something like 20-30%. Since energy (including the embedded energy costs in your purchases) are 6-8% of GDP, the total cost increase will be around 2% of GDP. This is non-trivial but hardly back-breaking, and would have an effect on the economy roughly similar to the Iraq war.

    , 77 percent in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll declared themselves either “very concerned” or “concerned” that “federal regulation of greenhouse gases could substantially raise the price of things you have to pay for.”

    Well, it is obvious that Republican spin is working. There will be price increases, but they will be modest. And of course, health care costs will go down (or at least grow more slowly) due to the reduced pollution. How often do Republicans mention that?

  8. Sounds like we are in agreement then, no allowances should be given away, lol.

    Course cap and trade is still bad, a net zero carbon tax would be WAY better. But I guess most people don’t have enough economics background to understand the concept. That plus the right has spent so many years demonizing the word tax. That all taxes now have to be hiddin in other things like higher insurance premiums etc.

  9. I am a Democrat who for the past 20 years believed global warming was caused by CO2. But more and more it looks like is a natural phenomenon to me, possibly exacerbated by CO2.

    A year ago I launched http://www.energyplanusa.com where I try to bring common sense discussion to our country’s energy policy. I set out to find the ‘smoking gun’ that proves global warming is driven by CO2. Instead, I found that the wellspring of man-made global warming theory, the UN’s IPCC reports on climate change, are compromised by politics and an agenda, and that man-made global warming theorists cherry pick facts and ignore contradictory evidence from reliable studies. In short, there is no smoking gun. Yhe man-made crowd refuses to entertain other possibilities. Yes, CO2 MAY contribute to global warming but to say it DRIVES global warming goes beyond science into the realm of agenda driven politics.

    Before the United States increases the cost of energy with a carbon tax or cap-and-trade, we need to establish a non-political commission to review the facts and evidence surrounding global warming. The UN, a political organization, should not be determining American energy policy. The stakes are huge. If we respond to global warming incorrectly, our children and grandchildren will likely lead lives of increasing hardship and desperation.

  10. Chad,

    the price is not really being increased.

    Cap and trade will increase the price of ALL energy.

    The price really is being increased,you know,it will go UP.Hey you say so yourself:

    There will be price increases, but they will be modest.

    wait, you said there would be no price increase!

    And of course, health care costs will go down (or at least grow more slowly) due to the reduced pollution.

    Would you care to support that statement?
    It doesn’t really matter as it is a non sequitur.


  11. Cap and trade will increase the price of ALL energy.

    Only in the very strictest sense. Since using current production methods, renewable energy uses small amounts of fossil energy in order to construct and maintain it, those costs would be pushed through to the final renewable price. However, most renewable technologies pay their energy cost back at least ten-fold (and often 20+), so the cost increase would be miniscule.

    As for the health effects of air pollution, it is obvious that you have never even bothered to do a lick of research on the topic. I am not going to bother to google for you.

  12. I am not going to bother to google for you.

    Thus failing to support your statement.
    Are you classifying CO2 emissions as a pollutant?
    I’m not going to “google for you” either but I can’t imagine a marginal decrease would have any impact on “health care costs” whatsoever.

  13. Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy-all without any scientific justification,” as famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer says. Additionally, Cap and trade would be another giant step towards Marxism — and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

    Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at imposing socialism/communism/Marxism (or whatever you want to call the government taking over, enslaving people, and destroying the economy). No wonder the Russians are gloating:

    From Pravda: “?the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people?” Read the article in Pravda? http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

  14. It really does baffle me that libertarians would prefer market failure to government regulation, even in a case where no viable privatization scheme exists. The atmosphere cannot be owned or privatized, and our basic choices are either the tragedy of the commons or government regulation. It must take some enormously thick ideological blinders to prefer the former.

    What tragedy?

    There will be price increases, but they will be modest. And of course, health care costs will go down (or at least grow more slowly) due to the reduced pollution.

    Prove it.

  15. What tragedy?

    How about the deaths of 70,000 Americans each year due to air pollution?

    http://www.lungusa.org/atf/cf/%7B7A8D42C2-FCCA-4604-8ADE-7F5D5E762256%7D/key_air.pdf

    Or how about the 300,000 deaths and $125 billion in damage world-wide that is already being caused by climate change?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/science/earth/29climate.html?_r=1&ref=earth

    Since renewables virtually eliminate emissions of most air pollutants, these numbers will go down relative to what they otherwise would have been.

  16. Don’t feed the Chad troll.

    He is a one note johnny in all these threads – yapping about about “huge externalities” that he isn’t the least bit capable of proving.

    Meanwhile, here’s an excellent article from National Review Online about the economic idiocy of the solar power installatinon at Nellis Air Force Base that Obama was touting and about how the Europeans are backing off this shit.

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MjRkNmE5ZmVmMzI4NGExMmNhYzgwYTAyODM5Y2RjYmY=

  17. Gilbert Martin | June 3, 2009, 8:31am | #

    He is a one note johnny in all these threads – yapping about about “huge externalities” that he isn’t the least bit capable of proving.

    That’s funny. I just provided strong evidence to back my claim. If 70,000 dead Americans and hundreds of thousands around the world each year are not a “huge externality”, than I don’t know what is.

  18. Chad, am I preparing for global warming or global cooling?

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92557

  19. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92557

    Ahh, worldnetdaily, the mother of all scientific sources.

    Get back to me when you have passed third-grade science and understand the difference between weather and climate. Actually, don’t bother to get back to me until you can explain the impact of El Nino / La Nina, and the sunspot cycle on global temperature.

    Hint: Both have been in the “cool” phase for the last few years.

  20. Chad: I actually addressed your claim that when you include fuel costs that current renewables are cheaper earlier. According to the International Energy Agency they are not. See and read again the IEA conclusions here.

    With regard to people dying of pollution, how many more will die from being poorer because they must pay higher energy prices? You can’t just look at alleged “benefits” but also costs before making your assertion.

    The 300,000 number you cite is quite controversial.

    As U. Colorado science policy professor Roger Pielke says:
    “[The report] will give ammunition to those opposed to action and divert attention away from the people who actually need help in the face of disasters, yet through this report have been reduced to a bloodless statistic for use in the promotional battle over climate policies. The report is worse than fiction, it is a lie,” Pielke wrote.

  21. Chad, I asked a real simple question. But since you’re the science expert, perhaps you could explain to me how carbon saturation levels would effect your climate models and that the likelihood of a positive feedback loop is almost infinitesimally small.

    Also, isn’t it convenient that your sources are sacred.

  22. “That’s funny. I just provided strong evidence to back my claim”

    No you didn’t.

    You just thought you did.

  23. Ron Bailey | June 3, 2009, 10:16am | #

    The 300,000 number you cite is quite controversial.

    I am sure it is. However, if you follow your links through, you can get to the words of Dr. Pielke, who led the attack against this report.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/a-methodological-embarassment-5314

    Let me apologize for the length of this reply. But it is important to be clear and to set the record straight.

    Let me say first that human-caused climate change is an important problem requiring our utmost attention. Second, the effects of disasters, particularly in poorer countries, is also an important problem that to some degree has been overlooked, as I have argued for many years

    However, I cannot express how strongly I feel that this report has done a disservice to both issues…

    Dr. Pielke is disputing methodology and the final number, but not the broad conclusion. His point is basically that the error bars are bigger than the signal, which is likely true. Note the intellectual honesty of a man who is attacking numbers which support his cause. I don’t think I have EVER seen that from a libertarian around here.

    However, the 70,000 American deaths due to air pollution (about a third from coal) is much more solid. Yes, there are eight 9/11’s EVERY YEAR due to coal plants. We went into a tizzy over the chance that we might get attacked once every decade by a radical, yet ignore something a hundred times worse that happens every day. Such is human nature – to worry about extreme events and ignore much more common dangers.

  24. Why do I have the impression that Chad has never taken any science courses beyond what were required for high shool graduation and to complete a liberal arts degree?

    Furthermore a liberal arts degree without any economics classes.

    His total inability to see any possibility of tradeoffs when he talks of “externalities” confirms that to him all externalities are negative. None are ever positive and hence compensatory.

    Chad, no one else here has that much to base an opinion on Climate Change on, either. The difference is no one here is claiming to be an expert because they saw The Day After TomorrowAn Inconvenient Truth.

  25. “However, the 70,000 American deaths due to air pollution (about a third from coal) is much more solid.”

    None of the 70,000 American deaths due to air pollution are caused by carbon dioxide.

    It would take a far greater increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2* than the tiny levels that are involved in GW discussions to ever be a threat to human health.

    There are many reasons to discuss changes in the way coal is used. But they have to involve the tradeoffs. Poor unemployed people have rather poor health outcomes too.

    To refer to CO2 as a pollutant is misleading (and dishonest) since most laypersons think of actually direct harmful agents when the hear the word pollution.

    *I’d do a subscript if I knew how.

  26. ABC “News” had a 2 hour program on last night that appeared to be (from what I saw of it – which wasn’t a whole lot because I hate to watch total BS like that) nothing more than hysterical predictions about global warming and malthusian wailing about diminishing resources.

    There was not one single second of actual “news” contained in the entire two our program.

  27. Abner MacGillicuddy

    His total inability to see any possibility of tradeoffs when he talks of “externalities” confirms that to him all externalities are negative. None are ever positive and hence compensatory.

    Oh, there are definitely such things as positive externalities. For example, research and development has substantial positive externalities and would be under supplied in a purely free market. This is the fundamental justification for the patent system and government-sponsored R&D.

    Now go ahead and list the positive externalities of a coal plant.

    It would take a far greater increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2* than the tiny levels that are involved in GW discussions to ever be a threat to human health.

    No one is claiming that atmospheric CO2 kills people directly. It kills by affecting the climate, which DOES kill people both directly and indirectly.

  28. Ron Bailey | June 3, 2009, 10:16am | #

    With regard to people dying of pollution, how many more will die from being poorer because they must pay higher energy prices? You can’t just look at alleged “benefits” but also costs before making your assertion.

    Ron, if we were to follow through on our commitments to the UN Millenium Goals and use 0.7% of our GDP to fund development in the poorest parts of the world, far, far more lives would be saved. In the long run, we will all come out ahead.

    In any case, I don’t feel that economic growth as we currently measure it is a very useful number. Too many things are left out of the calculation, and too much waste is counted as a positive. Just think how much I could boost the local GDP by throwing a few dozen bricks through some random car windows around town!

    Or imagine that I installed a geothermal system on my house, paying $12000 up front but saving myself $2400 per year. After five years, being free and clear on the system, I decide to work a bit less, reducing my income by $2400 per year. Now despite the fact that this system is an economic wonder, GDP suffers. What does that tell you about GDP?
    My hypothetical neighbor, who works an extra two weeks a year so that he can import fuel oil from Saudi Arabia to heat his home may contribute more fat to the bloated GDP belly, but he sure isn’t making the world a better place.

  29. Those brainwashed like Chad to the point of wanting to destroy the economy to “prevent global warming” are behaving like the most primitive human beings who were duped into believing that human sacrifices would ensure them good weather.

    Human beings don’t have the power to control climate! And killing the economy will not help the environment. Poor countries can’t protect the environment. Just look at Haiti!

    But the brainwashed are not the main culprits. The main culprits are the billionaire and powerful brainwashers who are expecting to make billions from Obama’s global warming/cap and trade scam at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

    Obama, Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, the U.N., GE, etc. have been busy brainwashing us with the global warming myth.

    GE, for example, has bombarded us with daily propaganda — through its NBC networks, that includes 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 we have also the U.N., the most corrupt organization in the world, ready to get more of our money and help dictate what we should and should not do.

    All these fraudulent people and organizations were desperate for Obama to win. They were preparing to use Obama’s megalomania to increase their own wealth and power at our expense.

    Fortunately, we are not all brainwashed and we will defend ourselves.

  30. Dr. Arthur Robinson, in “Yes to Energy Freedom – No to Cap-and-Trade,” points out that government regulations are already destroying the economy and harming the environment, and that cap and trade would make things much, much worst. What we need to improve the economy and the environment is ENERGY FREEDOM.

    “As U.S. government authorities debate “cap-and-trade,” a gigantic new tax and rationing burden with which they plan to further hobble American coal, oil, and natural gas technology, consider for a moment the qualifications and accomplishments of the lawyers, bureaucrats, and now community organizers who have gradually displaced, as energy “decision makers,” the engineers and industrialists who built America’s energy industries.

    “Under the guidance of these worthies over the past several decades, a vast system of taxation, regulation, and government-sponsored litigation has been imposed upon our energy industries. These policies have created a business climate in the United States that is unfavorable for the production of energy, so most new energy production has been located abroad. Americans, therefore, now import 30% of their energy from foreign countries — a luxury that they can no longer afford.

    “Cap-and-trade is just more of the same. Much more?.

    “Free enterprise built our energy industries. Only free enterprise can build the new energy capacity that we need. Free enterprise cannot do this unless the burden of taxation, regulation, and litigation (and subsidies of favored industries) that Washington has placed on the backs of American workers is removed — not increased by the additional oppression of “cap-and-trade.”

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32086

  31. I found a nice summary of non-CO2 external costs for electricity generation here:

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html

    The European Commission launched the project in 1991 in collaboration with the US Department of Energy, and it was the first research project of its kind “to put plausible financial figures against damage resulting from different forms of electricity production for the entire EU”. The methodology considers emissions, dispersion and ultimate impact. With nuclear energy the risk of accidents is factored in along with high estimates of radiological impacts from mine tailings (waste management and decommissioning being already within the cost to the consumer). Nuclear energy averages 0.4 euro cents/kWh, much the same as hydro, coal is over 4.0 cents (4.1-7.3), gas ranges 1.3-2.3 cents and only wind shows up better than nuclear, at 0.1-0.2 cents/kWh average. NB these are the external costs only.

    Coal is deader than a door-nail the day it has to pay its full costs, as are tar sands and oil shale. Everything else is reasonably close, and a properly organized market should be able to sort it out.

  32. Ron, if we were to follow through on our commitments to the UN Millenium Goals and use 0.7% of our GDP to fund development in the poorest parts of the world, far, far more lives would be saved. In the long run, we will all come out ahead.

    Except, of course, that development aid probably does more harm than good to the countries where it is deployed. See, e.g., Africa.

    Or imagine that I installed a geothermal system on my house, paying $12000 up front but saving myself $2400 per year.

    A geothermal system with a five year payback is, indeed, imaginary.

  33. “No one is claiming that atmospheric CO2 kills people directly. It kills by affecting the climate, which DOES kill people both directly and indirectly.”

    Chad, referring to CO2 as a pollutant leads ordinary people to believe that there’s some danger in breathing the air.

    And, yes, I suppose that climate change might kill some people some time in the future, but the number will be tiny compared to the number of impoverished people who will die if the world’s economy is totally destroyed.

    And, no, I don’t think that saying the economy will be destroyed by shutting down all economically viable power generation methods is unwarranted hyperbole.

  34. Neverthless, I agree that coal is nasty filthy stuff even without the threat of possible GW.

    But many of the harmful combustion products can be removed and mine safety standards and waste disposal can be improved.

    And. I’d be quite content to see the stuff stay in the ground if imposing the full costs on users results in it being too expensive.

    The minute you figure those costs and come up with a way to do that get back to me.

    And if a tax is your solution, you’d have to show me that the revenue would actually goo to mitigate the externalities rather than just be spent on vote-gittin’ schemes.

  35. However, the 70,000 American deaths due to air pollution (about a third from coal) is much more solid. Yes, there are eight 9/11’s EVERY YEAR due to coal plants. We went into a tizzy over the chance that we might get attacked once every decade by a radical, yet ignore something a hundred times worse that happens every day. Such is human nature – to worry about extreme events and ignore much more common dangers.

    For that, we can blame the Greeniacs who oppose the construction of nuclear power plants and the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.

  36. A geothermal system with a five year payback is, indeed, imaginary.

    Perhaps this year. Not if fuel prices are persistently what they were last year. Either way, you don’t understand my point.

    Labor or money saving devices lower GDP if the owners use the savings for leisure rather than alternative income-generating labor or purchases.

    GDP in many cases counts good things as bad, bad things as good, and many things bothgood and bad as nothing at all, making it a highly suspect number.

  37. Burning coal isn’t the only thing that messes up the air. Anyone that’s been in LA for anytime at all knows that cars due the same thing.

    Granted we don’t have a replacment “yet” for the ICE, but I do think we should be pushing torwards it. If for no other reason that basing our economy on a finite resource seems stupid to me.

  38. For that, we can blame the Greeniacs who oppose the construction of nuclear power plants and the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.

    I have no objections to a fully unsubsidized push to build more nuclear power. Good luck.

  39. I think Michael puts it best. If the greens were truly only concerned with improving air quality and rolling back GW (or is it climate change now), they’d embrace nuclear with reprocessing. But that isn’t their only goal. They are driven by an anti-consumer/anti-capitalistic agenda. With GW, they have an agenda item that can resonant with the general population.

  40. If for no other reason that basing our economy on a finite resource seems stupid to me.

    Our economy is based on finite resources only because they happen to be cheaper or more convenient than the alternatives.

  41. If for no other reason that basing our economy on a finite resource seems stupid to me.

    OK, kids, name one “infinite resource” for me!

    Quick now, I’m waiting.

  42. For all intents and purposes the sun could be counted as one. The 5 billion years or so it has should be sufficient for us to get to another planet.

    recoverable amounts of oil and coal (especially at an economic level) are far shorter. Plus if you combine that with increasing demand for a decreasing supply, you see how much trouble we are in.

  43. I live in Indiana and we use to be under an iceberg. My question is did the cavemans fires cause global warming and cause the iceberg to melt? This is just rediculous.

  44. One can only hope that the utilities receiving free credits decide to pocket the profits instead of passing them on to consumers.

    Then as electricity prices go up consumers find out why and blame politicians. (instead of the electric companies?–I guess we’re already a ways into la la land here. nvm)

    oh well, one wrong turn deserves another.

  45. slutmonkey, blame Obama and his accomplices — Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, the United Nations, etc.

    They have been preparing the scam for years. 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.

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