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By MARTIN LIVERMORE | FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
The Obama administration has, as expected, re-engaged the U.S. in the negotiations for a global climate change mitigation regime after the Kyoto protocol expires at the end of 2012. A bill setting greenhouse gas reduction targets is currently progressing through Congress, with strong backing from the president. But apart from the warm feeling that comes with an improvement in America's international image, what is likely to be achieved in real terms, and at what cost?
To get a good idea, U.S. policy makers need only look across the Atlantic. The European Union, keen to show global leadership, introduced the world's first Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in January 2005, just before the Kyoto protocol came into force. The principle of this and similar schemes -- including the proposed U.S. cap and trade regime -- is that certain sectors of industry are allocated permits to emit fixed amounts of carbon dioxide, held to be the primary driver of climate change. If they manage to reduce emissions more than planned, companies can sell their excess permits; if they need more, they have to buy them.
Advocates of the system like it because "the polluter pays." Setting aside for the moment the question of whether it is justifiable to call carbon dioxide a pollutant, companies of course do not simply absorb these extra costs. Instead, they pass them on to their customers who are also, by and large, taxpayers. Not only does the taxpayer carry the cost of any cap and trade scheme, but their money also provides profit for a whole new industry: the new carbon trading sector, the middlemen who make the system work.
Unlike normal tradable commodities, carbon dioxide emissions can only be estimated, rather than quantified exactly. And it is only international agreements and national law that give these permits a price at all. The result is a system open to misuse, since all parties -- seller, middleman and buyer -- have an incentive and opportunity to manipulate the estimates. Sellers want to show how much they are reducing their emissions, buyers benefit from lower prices as more units come to market, and traders do good business in a buoyant market.
The biggest abuse began right at the start of the ETS when regulators handed out too many free permits. As a result, utilities companies made windfall profits by simply selling on large numbers of unneeded credits and not passing the savings on to their customers in the form of price cuts. Despite the EU's declared goal to dole out permits based on objective criteria, industry lobbying led to an overallocation. When push comes to shove, governments will always protect their national champions. The German government, for example, negotiated an easing of planned caps on emissions from cars to the advantage of manufacturers of higher-powered cars such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
And this is in a bloc where the environmentalists have far more influence than in America. Translated across the Atlantic, any climate change bill will become the subject of the worst kind of pork-barrel politics riddled with loopholes for key industries before it becomes law.
The climate is ALWAYS changing, yet the AGWers want to stop a process that has been occurring for billions of years.
Energy Independence Act of 2010
Federal Money is used to build a HUGE facility in New Mexico to grow Algae oil for domestic liquid fuel consumption. Closed system algae bio-reactors can produce 20,000 to 100,000 gallons per acre per year (for reference corn provides 18 gallons an acre per year, over a 1,000 times less fuel).
This would be a huge public works project requiring pipelines from the ocean needed to reach New Mexico for water. Glass can be made at location (sand) and glass vertical tube closed system bio-reactors constructed to include processing and refining facilities. Any extra water can easily be put through solar distillation and piped to your city of choice as clean water. Rail lines, barracks, roads, support, etc would also be required and the whole thing could be managed by the military with 6 month assignments of active duty personal to oversee the operation and civilian workers bused in and rotated (similar to working on oil platforms currently). Through constant expansion, 1/10 of the state of New Mexico would be utilized to harvest and process the product (carbon neutral liquid fuel).
Rules would have to be in place that the "product" is domestic use ONLY and would not be available to paper traders to speculate on price, etc. Once this is up and running as a NON-PROFIT entity, the cost of the product would be production cost + X% with the X% going to Federal Revenue. Once domestic needs are met, any excess would be sold on the open market.
Garbage Plasma facilities set-up at ALL major landfills.
Implementation of "solar-cell" easy-roll roofing materials massed produced in the U.S. (only by law)
Originally posted by ALLis0NE
OP, I star and flagged your post because it contains a lot of truth.
However, ATS is full of conspiracy theorist who would rather believe a conspiracy than look at any scientific facts about how our atmosphere works and how humans effect it. So you will get a lot of ridicule, lots of denial of basic science, and a bunch of knowingly incorrect statements about global warming being fake because of certain observed things that fool them, and they ignore any logic that explains said observations.
So good luck replying to their ignorance.
As I guess you know, I enter this debate at the current time essentially on the 'believer in the mankind influenced climate change' side of the fence, but I am open minded, this is just where I am based on what I've seen to date, and I'm not going to try and convey all that.
However, my position does not stop me from suspecting, as you do, that there are many unfortunate spin-off opportunities for exploitation and manipulation of the movement up the agenda of this issue/debate.
Going back to your post, it makes me think many Americans would perhaps be surprised how far down that road that you imagine/depict we have already gotten over in Europe - but it's not all due to environmental policies, there are many other contributing factors.