Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and Trade in the Balance

Too bad the Jackson tragedy will likely eclipse the House's vote on cap and trade Friday. Matter of fact, one must go to the UK Guardian to find much on the story at this hour. Surely in retrospect the Dem caucus is glad they stopped Al Gore from hopping a C02-spewing private jet to fly to DC and wax climatic in a last-minute push even if Hannity was preempted by the Jacko coverage. America is on the verge of taking the first giant leap into socialism, and only a few bloggers seem to care.

But will it pass? Word is the blue dogs are nervous due to the utility bill blowback but Powerline notes that it might just have enough to squeak through due to the farm compromise. Recall Obama vowed that low income folks would be immune from the skyrocketing utility rate increases kicking in during 2012 (well after they have to campaign for the 2010 midterm), so apparently they figure the stimulus will have stopped the Bush recession by then.

It's worth paying attention. Friday's House vote might be a nice little tell-tale as to how solid some of these former conservative districts really are for the Dems, not to mention how close the electorate is paying attention. But it would be irresponsible to leave this story without clarifying things. There is global warming--everyone pretty much agrees--but not everyone agrees on the exact cause. Nevertheless, the US Government is on the verge of proclaiming an ability to change the climate of earth on a large scale--just by taxing people. That's fairly audacious, isn't it? Certainly worth an ABC special, one might think.

PICTURES 6/26/09

Doesn't it make sense to first determine what Earth's global temperature might look like assuming there was no man-caused CO2 emissions at all? In other words, a baseline. There are many charts in cyberspace but let's use this one for context:

Clearly, even zealots like James Hansen cannot reliably claim that fossil fuels caused the global temperature dip prior to the 19th century. At some point the world was going to recover from that dip, which appeared to begin in the mid 1800s. So how much of what we saw in the 20th century was actually a natural recovery? Here's the United States temperature trend for the last 100 years. Keep in mind most of the above chart was from proxy sources (tree rings, ice cores, etc) while this chart comes from the most reliable climate measuring system in the world:

Why did temperatures level off in the middle part of the century? Why was the slope of temperature rise between 1910 and 1940 almost the same as it was between 1980 and 1998? These questions keep getting asked but few seem to be able to provide definitive answers.

Without fully understanding all these changes it seems rather dangerous to roll the dice with the world economy in the midst of the worst financial crisis since, well, the last spike in world temperatures, that is unless the change one seeks is strictly political. We know Obama wants change. We also know he's smart enough to understand that even he can't change the earth's natural climate system, nor raise and lower the sea.

UPDATE 6/26/09

From the administration:
"The bill contains provisions to protect consumers, keep costs low, help sensitive industries transition to a clean energy economy and promote domestic emission reduction efforts," the White House in a statement of support for the legislation.
Hmm. Sounds like something a used car salesman might say to sell a clunker. The administration seems intent on protecting consumers from evil capitalists who would sucker them on a variety of products, yet we seem to have no watchdog agency to protect citizens from the government selling us down the river in the name of global socialism.


The New York Times has an editorial essentially threatening the 30 or so Dems on the fence if they don't vote yes:
American politicians, from both parties, insist that they want to combat global warming and reduce this country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Members of the House will soon have a chance to show they mean it. Voters should watch carefully to see what they do.


But we know the answer to that. By any measure — drought, famine, coastal devastation — the costs of inaction, of clinging to a broken energy policy, will dwarf the costs of acting now. It is this truth that the House must keep firmly in mind as it votes.
Some may read that as "we'll spare no expense to tar you into oblivion for ruining the planet if you don't toe the line". Of course, wouldn't a ticked-off New York Times harassing a blue dog Dem actually help that person against a Republican challenger come 2010?

EPILOGUE 6/26/09

Boehner's faux filibuster was like flashing Waxman and Pelosi the moon on the way off the end of the gang plank--the GOP still ended up in the water. It was about all he could do to make news as Jackson coverage permeated cable and broadcast on a Friday evening. Opponents can now make the point that Congress passed a bill they didn't read, on a subject they don't understand, based on a scientific theory that's incomplete.

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