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The Climate Change Bill

Tom PattonThe House of Representatives has passed a sweeping climate change bill that The Congressional Budget Office says will cost the average homeowner $175 per year. OK, so that’s just a little over $14 a month, but honest to Pete, a lot of people just don’t have an additional $14 per month right now. And there’s no real indication that it makes an iota of difference in actual climate change.

We’ve had this debate before. We’ll have it again. The science isn’t settled and the climate’s going to change no matter what puny efforts we might put forth. It’s just that simple.

Now, I’m all for a clean environment. I’m not going to sit here and write that companies should be allowed to pollute at will. I want clean air and clean water just like any sane, thinking person. And I think saving energy is a good idea. I’m all for bio-fuels, solar, and wind as they become available and affordable. I don’t, however, think the price of existing energy should be jacked up to make alternatives competitive. I’ve been reading a lot about a blended bio-jet fuel that is being tested for use in airliners, and I think that’s a good thing. Petroleum is a scarce resource, and once it’s gone … well … they’re not making any more dinosaurs. Conservation and renewables are a good thing.

But don’t tell me it’s about global warming. I’m not convincible.  If that makes me a cretin in your eyes, so be it.

The global climate changes. Slowly, inexorably, and regardless of what we might do. There have been ice ages and times when Greenland was actually green. And as soon as someone somewhere declared “the science is settled”, scientists started coming out of the woodwork to say, in the immortal words of Quick Draw McGraw, “Hoooooooolllllllddddddd On Thar, Baba Louie.” It really doesn’t matter how loud you say it, shouting won’t make it so.
I mean, think about it. If former Vice President Al Gore REALLY believed in climate change, he’d stop flying the private, chartered jets, do away with the motorcades, and find a way to make his Nashville mansion more energy efficient. Former President Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch is far more efficient, and green, than Gore’s castle. Even Snopes, the famous Internet urban legend debunker, says it’s so.

domeBut climate change, and the cap-and-trade scheme that is the darling of the global-warming crowd, is huge business. Forget Big Oil. Big Carbon Credits are going to put that to shame. At least for oil, there’s a commodity, something you can touch for the money you spend. Carbon credits are just that. Credits. Businesses pay for the right to pollute. Businesses that don’t pollute get credits. Middle men, like, oh, former Vice President Al Gore, who has interests in carbon credit trading companies, will make a big, big pile of money.

Can you say “conflict of interest” boys and girls? Sure, Sure, I knew that you could.

In any event, like anything coming out of Washington, it’s unlikely that it will be the panacea that it’s supporters say it will be, nor will it be the disaster its detractors warn against. Is the bill a “Job Creator”, as its proponents say? Are those jobs “unexportable”.  I’ve not met a job yet that couldn’t be shipped offshore, or be taken over by foreign investment. But neither is it likely to be the job killer that opponents claim, and the $3,000 per year cost to the “average homeowner” has already been debunked. That debate’s fair, and necessary.

But don’t tell me it’s going to stop climate change. Because no matter how much emissions are cut here in the U.S., if the Chinese, and India, and Russia, and some other developed and developing nations don’t play, we can trade all the carbon credits we want, and the only net effect will be to make a big pile of money for Al Gore. Cutting emissions is expensive. Are you surprised that there’s no real indication that they want to play?

Nah, I didn’t think so.

40 years ago, the hue and cry was about global cooling. The Ice Age was coming. That didn’t work out so well, either. No snapshot of the weather can predict climate 10, or 50, or 100 years into the future. The planet may warm. The ice caps may melt. Sea level may rise. It’s all happened before, long before there was a single man-made emitter of so-called greenhouse gasses. And it seems to me that, on a geologic scale, if those man-made greenhouse gasses shift the timeline by 100, or even 1000 years, well, that’s kind of in the margin of error.

I’m not a scientist, and I don’t play one on TV. But I do know that there are enough credible scientists saying that climate change is a natural order of things that the skeptic in me just can’t buy into the anthropomorphic factor. We might make a fractional difference, but is it measurable? I don’t know. And I can’t just say the sky is falling until I do know.

The bill faces a much more difficult time in the Senate. Also not surprising. In the meantime, don’t stop trying to clean up the air, or the water. Don’t stop researching renewables and biofuels and fuel efficiency. Do it all. Come up with a credible energy policy. Create jobs. Green collar jobs, even. But climate change? Caused by us?
Not So Much.

8 Responses »

  1. Tom Patton, gets the history wrong about climate scientists. He is retarded.

  2. If you want to know more about the science, I'm happy to give you a tour. There's absolutely no other explanation for the spike in temperatures scientists have measured over the past several decades. Natural factors such as the sun's power, the Earth's orbit and volcanic activity haven't changed, but the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has changed dramatically.

    The book Dire Predictions also gives an excellent overview of the climate science in its first chapter.

    Regarding global cooling: back then scientists didn't know if aerosols (particle matter from coal plants in particular that reflect sunlight) would have a cooling effect that more than offset the warming from carbon dioxide. Scientists never issued "cooling warnings." The whole cooling myth is based on 3 or four prominent mainstream press articles around that time period.

    Thanks,
    Aaron Huertas
    Union of Concerned Scientists
    ahuertas@ucsusa.org

    • You said: "....no other explanation for the spike in temperatures scientists have measured over the past several decades."

      Spike? Would you please reference some detail of the magnitude of this spike you speak of and when it happened. The average earth temperature has been less for each year since 1998 (an inconvenient drop for the Alarmists, but that's a fact). So the spike wasn't during the last decade. The temperature cooled for the first part of the 20th century then warmed a similar amount through 1998.
      We're talking fractions of a degree here - not SPIKES.

      You may be concerned, but you know nothing of what you are posting here.

      RP

  3. If you read the bill it has very little to do with climate change. It is all about buracracy and government control. Rep. Bohner was right when he called the bill ... well you know what he called it. The bill does have some interesting sections to it. Carbon credits sound like a big ponzi scheme. Its a long weekend, read the legislation.

  4. First Tom, that $175 per year is just the thin edge of the wedge. The target of the Greens has always been 1% of GDP or $500 per year per person.

    The trouble with Cap&Trade is it is a form of econonomic protectionism. If a country does not have a Cap&Trade system in place, they will not be able to play in our sandbox. Trade barriers will eventually force all trading nations into the Cap&Trade scheme. It has nothing to do with saving the planet, it's about money.

    And Gore will make billions. He could become the worlds richest man, then he'll run for the presidency again and this time he'll win.

    Oh by the way, the really big money happens when the tax is expanded to include individuals. It's called personal carbon trading. It's just Cap&Trade for people. Everyone will be issued a personal carbon debit card, to be swiped every time we buy gas, diesel, fly or use electricity. So say good bye to BBQ ribs and helo to tofu burgers, I kid you not. Personal carbon trading is the holy grail of the Green movement. Just Google personal carbon trading and see what's coming down the pike with cap&Trade. What we're seeing now is just the beginning.

  5. "There’s absolutely no other explanation for the spike in temperatures scientists have measured over the past several decades."

    I beg to differ. C02 comprises 1/28th of 1% of the air, it is a trace gas and is a minor contributor to the greenhouse effect. According to Wikipedia, because there is so little C02, it contributes only 5%-9% of the earth’s greenhouse effect while water vapor contributes 90% or 10 times the greenhouse effect of C02. Yet climate science does not include water vapor in their climate models! They don't study it, or investigate variations in water vapor concentrations. They only consider C02 as the explanation for temperature changes. It's bazaar. I guess if the only tool you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Water vapor is the 800 lb gorilla of climate. Clearly targeting water vapor is the most logical approach to controlling the climate. So why aren’t we targeting water vapor with Cap&Trade? Because C&T isn’t really about saving the planet. It’s about a new tax, it’s about money. All of this C02 fear is a ruse.

  6. When has science ever been settled? Imagine if after the wheel man decided the science was settled and we could travel no faster.
    In the 1970's science said nothing about the safest way for babies to sleep.
    In the 1980's science said all babies must sleep on their stomach's because they could choke to death.
    In the 1990's science said all babies must sleep on their backs or else they will smother.
    I found this type of science ridiculous. I let all my babies sleep however they wanted to. They are all doing great. When I researched this I found whenever someone is positive about something scientific they always have an agenda that has nothing to do with real science. My father worked for NASA throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's. Every time we sent someone into space he would say, "we think this and that will happen but we are never sure till they splash down." That is true science from the mind of a true scientist.
    The science of man-made global warming is so easy to doubt based on the simplest logical questions?
    1. Is it possible to examine a CO2 molecule and tell if it is man-made or nature made? If it were this would be very convincing.
    2. Where are all the temperature stations located? are they constantly watched for tampering, environmental changes, human or animal interference? Are they state of the art? I read somewhere there are thousands of them all over the world. Who cares for them? Are there stations out over the ocean?
    3. When did the science decide that CO2 was dangerous and bad? In my science education I have always been told that the combination of carbon and oxygen are necessary for life. If global warming is true and man has caused a dangerous CO2 increase, then where is the science to prove our future actions will fix the problem perfectly? What if we loose too much CO2?

    I seriously cannot believe how poorly most people understand and analyze scientific data. In today's scientifically illiterate culture it is no wonder a modern P. T. Barnum like Al Gore can come up with a scheme like "just buy these carbon credits and offsets, give me the money and you will make the world a better place"
    I mean seriously Aaron, the sun's power has never changed! You do know that the sun is a star. Where is the science that our star is not a burning gas and plasma ball which is getting older and weaker? O r that it was not significantly more powerful when it was younger. Where did you go to science school?