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  • Will Cap and Trade Save the Planet? (Part 3 in a 10-part Series)

    Global warming skeptics are quick to point out the exorbitant costs of global warming legislation because they are, well, exorbitant. The $1.9 trillion of tax revenue generated over eight years from a cap-and-trade bill would still be larger than the $1.5 trillion from NASA, the New Deal, and Hurricane Katrina. It amounts to a nearly $2,000 tax every year for every American household. Projected job losses that would have resulted from the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade would have surpassed 900,000 in some years.

    But if it saves the planet, isn’t it all worth it? Some radical environmental alarmists believe saving the environment should come at any cost and capitalist greed and short-sightedness is superseding the preservation of the planet for future generations.

    Herein lies the problem: When the benefits of a cap and trade are measured against the costs, the costs significantly outweigh the negligible benefits. We’ve highlighted the costs in the first two parts of this series (here and here). Let’s dissect the benefits.
    Analysis by the architects of an endangerment finding that would circumvent Congressional legislation to regulate carbon dioxide, the Environmental Protection Agency, strongly suggests that a 60 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 will reduce global temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2095. The bottom line:  The extraordinary perils of carbon dioxide regulation for the American economy come with little, if any, environmental benefit.

    So radical environmentalists are willing to pay anything, and more importantly, coerce others to pay heavily to save the planet. But when the benefit is barely noticeable, even that argument falls flat on its face.

    There are ways, however, to improve the environment in the U.S. and abroad without burdening the economy. It begins with establishing well-defined property rights. When property rights cease to exist, people do not have the proper incentives to devote their own resources to protect and improve their land. In this instance, whats referred to as the tragedy of the commons occurs. People are much more inclined to litter in a park than their own backyards. While this has environmental consequences of its own, the damage can occur on much larger levels. Overfishing, overgrazing, forest degradation are examples of overusing the earths resources when property rights are not clearly defined. Instead of continual lobbying Congress to meet their radical agenda, environmentalist groups could use their resources to purchase some of this land and improve it themselves.

    Also worth noting is that doomsday scenarios, new and old, often play out much differently than what the doomsayers projected. Economist Walter Williams writes,

    It’s not just latter-day doomsayers who have been wrong; doomsayers have always been wrong. In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the Secretary of the Interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association, there’s a 1,000 to 2,500 year supply.

    Here are my questions: In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of manmade global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should we have undertaken to prevent such a calamity? When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome? In 1939, when the U.S. Department of the Interior warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Roosevelt have taken? Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to manmade global warming?

    Good questions.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Will Cap and Trade Save the Planet? (Part 3 in a 10-part Series)

    1. Marsha, Wheeling Wes says:

      Cap and Trade is more dangerous to mankind than industry or CO2.

      Some people have to have something to doom about. Climate change occurs no matter what man does. Humans do better in warmer environments anyway. All you have to do is look at what happen to mankind during the mini ice age from the 1400 to the early 1800's.

      Before man existed there were several major climate shifts on earth. I guess the dinosaurs killed the planet with their methane gas and caused themselves to become extinct.

      Too many people who want to make a lot of money, who have large investments in alternative fuels and those who want to control how you and I live and some who think they are good doers all have some unhealthy desire to control mankind. There have even been suggestions by some of these people to remove and/or get rid of humans so that we can stop global warming. How sick is that?

      Government just needs to stop finding ways to steal our money.

    2. Loyd Reddig Weatherf says:

      Tell the US politicians about CNG. It's green enough to cook a burger on, we have lots of it, it is less expensive than gasoline and we don't need any from the Arabs. Isn't that enough to get anybody's attention? The automakers could be back at work in 3-6 months if they would build CNG powered vehicles and the US natural gas supplies will get us through the transition stage to solar, wind, or whatever. You also get hydrogen from natural gas. Wake up America. We have more natural gas than most countries in the world. You could put a put the US Energy workers back to work. What is going on? Does this make too much sense for this government? You can not cook a burger on coal. Stop the cap and trade lie.

    3. Charles-Odessa, Texa says:

      If we had 1900's energy needs today, there would not be enough hay for horses or enough piles of manure or "poison" gas expelled from horses to change the climate. Today's modern world can not change the climate either and these big time thinkers who "know" it will are wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Tis just another ploy for more government and government control. Seldom, if ever, have they been right for the long term.

    4. Ben Franklin, Kendal says:


      Governments will NEVER stop finding ways to steal peoples' money. It's what they do.

    5. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Don't try to understand Global Warming alarmism rationally, it has nothing to do with saving the planet. This is another in a long list of anti American moves from the Progressive Liberals. The only way any of it makes sense is to realize the Greenies are pawns in a hundred year destroy America campaign. The bad guys got the Universities years ago through the University of Chicago Teacher's College and the text book manufacturers. The only issue is how to destroy America and the American way. They will do everything they can to do so.

    6. Roger Cooper, Washin says:

      Just wanted to respond to the statement that “according to the American Gas Association, there’s a 1,000 to 2,500 year supply [of natural gas].” Not sure where that number came from, but it definitely needs some explaining. It all depends on what you mean by “supply”.

      10 Year of Supply: Sometimes people are referring to “proved reserves” of natural gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest estimate of proved reserves of dry natural gas in the U.S. is 237,726 billion cubic feet – enough to supply current U.S. demand for about 10 years. http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/da

      Proved reserves look something like inventory, what you have discovered and know you can produce if you go ahead and drill it. The U.S. usually has around 8 to 10 years of proved reserves.

      80 Year of Supply: Another way of looking at natural gas supply is to look at the U.S. natural gas resource base. The natural gas resource base can mean all natural gas that exists or, more commonly, all natural gas that is currently technically recoverable. Technical recovery also usually implies that the gas can be recovered economically. This is where we see the big differences in numbers. The 2007 report of the Potential Gas Committee of the Colorado School of Mines determined that in 2006 the U.S. had a natural gas resource base of 1,525 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the U.S. (about an 82 year supply).

      Thousands of Years of Supply: Does this mean that in 82 years we will run out of natural gas? No. It means that with today’s technologies and in today’s market we may have an 82 year supply. But there are mind-numbing quantities of natural gas that we do not count today. It is likely that the next report of the Potential Gas Committee will find that we now have much more natural gas because of the relatively recent perfection of drilling technologies that will allow the production of huge quantities of U.S. natural gas from shale. But even gas from shale may be a drop in the bucket compared to the staggering quantities of frozen natural gas that are in and around the United States. This is regular natural gas that is frozen because it is under pressure in the waters of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. This frozen natural gas is called methane hydrates or methane clathrates and we currently do not have the technologies in place to produce this natural gas from the OCS. However, methane hydrates are also found in Alaska and northern Canada beneath the permafrost. Recently experimental wells have been drilled and some natural gas from methane hydrates have been produced with today’s technologies.

      When you look at natural gas from methane hydrates, the numbers are staggering. It has often been said that the energy from the methane hydrates in the U.S. vastly exceed the energy found in all the coal, oil and conventional natural gas in the U.S. combined. One estimate of U.S. methane hydrates is 200,000 Trillion cubic feet – close to 9,000 years of supply at current U.S. consumption levels.

      So how much natural gas do we have in the United States? The realistic answer depends on technology and economics.



    7. Thomas Gray SC says:

      To Leon,

      Why would that not be a goal since the U.S.A. is/was a christian nation.

    8. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      Do we need to put this on a National Ballot?

    9. Pingback: The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room » MORNING READ

    10. Pingback: Climate Change Scientific Consensus Cloudy as Ever | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    11. Pingback: Climate Change Scientific Consensus Cloudy as Ever | Conservative Principles Now

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