Marquette Warrior: Climate Control Rent Seekers

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Climate Control Rent Seekers

From FrontPage Magazine, a list of good reasons to be skeptical of anthropogenic global warming:
We’ve all read and heard about shrinking polar ice, receding mountain glaciers, endangered polar bears and a variety of other environmental phenomena that supposedly reflect the allegedly harmful effects of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Alarmists have tried to induce the public to think that simply because the Arctic ice cap has shrunk on our watch, for example, then industrialized man must have caused it. The reason they do this is because they have been unable to prove their fundamental contention in the global warming debate - that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases drive global climate - despite the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars on climate research over the last 25 years.

Here are three indisputable scientific facts about climate that are sufficient on their own to throttle any claims of manmade global warming. First, we know from studies of Antarctic ice that, over the last 650,000 years or so, warmer temperatures have preceded increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by hundreds, if not thousands of years. The ice studies indicate that the carbon-dioxide-causes-global warming theory is precisely backwards.

Second, during the 20th century, there is simply no correlation between carbon dioxide emissions and global temperature. Not only did most of the century’s temperature rise occur before most of the century’s manmade greenhouse gas emissions, but during 1940-1975 global temperatures actually declined while atmospheric carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide emission levels steadily increased.

Finally, the ultimate test of a scientific theory is whether it has predictive value. We used Newton’s laws of physics, for example, to land men on the moon. Unfortunately, there are no climate models that predict trends and changes in global climate with any degree of accuracy. Think about the recent failures with hurricane season predictions or even the risk of relying on what your local weatherman predicts for tomorrow’s weather - and you’ll start to get an idea of how far away science is from predicting global climate 10, 50 and 100 years from now.
So what is the impetus behind government’s move, under Obama, toward massively expensive policies to combat something that probably doesn’t exist?
You may be surprised to learn that it’s not only or even mostly due to the persuasiveness and persistence of environmental activists. After all, how many people really believe Al Gore and Greenpeace? Ironically, we’re in crushing jaws of global warming regulation thanks to big business and other rent-seekers, including Gore, who hope to profit from new laws.

Leading the lobbying charge on Capitol Hill is the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a big business-environmental activist group coalition that is urging Congress to enact a so-called cap-and-trade bill. Under such legislation, Congress would issue permits to emit greenhouse gases (also called “carbon credits”) to electric utility companies and other major emitters. The permits represent more than mere regulation since they have monetary value and are tradable among emitters. An electric utility, say, that emits more greenhouse gases than it has permits for, would be forced to purchase additional permits from another utility that had excess permits. Under cap-and-trade, Congress would issue more than one trillion dollars worth of permits over the programs first ten years - so there’s a lot of money at stake. Who’s set to profit from all this?

Manufacturing companies and USCAP members like Alcoa, Dow Chemical and Dupont want Congress to award them free carbon credits for actions they’ve taken since 1992 to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. - like moving manufacturing operations to other countries. They’ve not reduced their emissions so much as they’ve displaced them.

Other USCAP members include electric utilities like Exelon, Florida Power & Light, and NRG Energy. They use emission-free nuclear power to generate much of their electricity and anticipate having extra carbon credits that they can sell at high prices to major greenhouse gas emitters like coal burning utilities. Wall Street is also a big proponent of cap-and-trade in anticipation of investing in and facilitating the trading of carbon credits. Goldman Sachs, for example, owns part of the Chicago Climate Exchange and European Climate Exchange where carbon credits would be traded.

Many would-be climate profiteers don’t care so much about cap-and-trade per se as they do any legislation that would mandate America’s switch to new and more expensive forms of energy production and energy efficiency. USCAP member General Electric, for example, wants to sell wind turbines, pricey equipment for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired utilities and high-priced but more energy-efficient industrial and consumer products. Al Gore is a partner in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins which, as described in a New York Times Magazine cover story hopes to make billions of dollars of profits off global warming legislation.

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Blogger James Pawlak said...

Other than speaker's fees, does Al Bore have any other financial interests in this matter? This is NOT an accusation; But, a request for information.

8:45 PM  

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