The signature provision in ACES—“cap and trade”—in fact takes up only 400 pages of this massive bill. The rest includes a dizzying number of federal dictates—including unrealistic renewable fuel standards, aggressive federal energy-efficiency standards and trade barriers.
The end result of the bill, should it become law, would be an unprecedented expansion of taxes and federal control over energy production and use.
And the climate benefits? None, according to the science. Unless you consider 0.1 degree Celsius of cooling in 2100 a benefit.
This point is worth repeating. The bill’s onerous mandates would not prevent the global warming predicted by the science behind the bill.
Proponents of the ACES scheme claim that a looming planetary meltdown justifies its passage. Yet an explanation of the bill’s “temperature-saving” benefits is conspicuously missing.
If the official science is “beyond dispute,” as climate alarmists insist, then they must stick to the numbers in this science. The scientific driver in the U.S. legislation and the major international programs is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report. Plug into the IPCC’s modeling formula the volume of man-made CO2 from U.S. emissions to be eliminated by ACES’s caps: no measureable cooling occurs.
ACCORDING TO the IPCC arithmetic, when the bill’s final cap applies in 2050—and carbon emissions fall supposedly 83 percent below 2005 levels—predicted global average temperatures may drop by 0.05 degree Celsius. By the year 2100, at unprecedented risk and cost to the economy, the bill may “save” 0.11 Celsius. (www.masterresource.org/?=2355)
To what purpose, though, when it takes a globe?! The IPPC science contends that an 80 to 85 percent reduction of global CO2 is necessary to avert catastrophic global warming by the end of this century.
Unless developing global giants like China and India enforce CO2 limits comparable to ours, the IPCC science shows no “temperature-saving” effect. Yet China and India have adamantly rejected carbon limits ever since negotiations began for the Kyoto Protocol in the 1990s. An Indian official recently said it would be immoral to mandate CO2 reduction when 40 percent of Indians lack electricity.
Enter global governance. A tougher climate treaty was at the top of President Obama’s agenda at the recent Big 8 meeting in Italy. China and India, leading the 13 largest developing countries, once again dismissed binding CO2 limits. The developing countries will have nothing to do with mandates that slow or halt economic development.
Never say never. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first item of business on her recent visit to India was convincing India to accept CO2 cuts. “What part of no do you not understand?” would paraphrase the Indian environment minister’s response. “There is simply no case for the pressure that we face to actually reduce emissions. … And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours,” Minister Jairam Ramesh told Secretary Clinton. (Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2009).
Developing countries such as India understand energy reality far better than do many members of the U.S. Congress. An affordable, reliable, and plentiful supply of energy is critical to economic growth. And there are no near-term, comparable alternatives to the fossil fuels on which the overwhelming majority of world-wide energy relies.
As a global warming alarmist admitted, “the world’s principal source of man-made greenhouse gases always has been prosperity. … Human history is the history of our ascent-up what the naturalist Loren Eisler calls the ‘heat ladder’: coal bested firewood as an amplifier of productivity. … Fossil-fuels have enabled us to leverage the strength of our bodies.” (David Owen, New Yorker, March 30, 2009).
President Obama and Secretary Clinton recently apologized for the CO2 emitted by the U.S. over the last century. Why? The economic dynamism that U.S. energy helped forge has spurred economic development across the world, bringing to many of the poorest on the planet full stomachs, comfortable homes, and longer life spans.
With carbon tax and ration, sweeping federal controls over energy during a serious recession with no assured benefits—set aside the climate madness that is ACES—may we only hope that cooler heads than those in the House prevail in the U.S. Senate!
Kathleen Hartnett White is Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment, at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. email@example.com