The Climate Change Bill
The 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.
But 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.