For the last two days Mother Nature has expressed her opinion of the global warming debate by dumping a ton of white powder on yours truly. The snow drifts in my back yard are waste high and my beagle transformed into a dolphin this afternoon to navigate them.
Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell me something, only it is difficult to determine what that is. It seems obvious to me that a very cold day, or week, or even a decade of flat line temperatures tells us little or nothing about long range climate trends. Judah Cohen, writing in the New York Times, thinks otherwise.
It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.
Only a fool could doubt the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis since, apparently, virtually any data confirms it.
Tomorrow will be a bitterly cold day here, whatever that means, and it will be the first day of the rest of Barack Obama’s first term. One of things that Obama/Reid/Pelosi failed to do so far was to pass strict limits on carbon emissions. If they couldn’t do it when they controlled the White House and both branches of Congress, they won’t have better luck now that Orange John Boehner is replacing Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Never mind. The Pittsburgh Post-gazette informs us that the limits are coming anyway.
The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move forward on limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries is a welcome step, especially because it comes as Congress stubbornly refuses to enact measures to protect the nation’s air.
The EPA announced last week that it will propose standards for new and refurbished power plants in July and for new oil refineries next December; rules for existing power plants — there are 16 coal-fired power plants in Western Pennsylvania — would follow in 2015 or 2016. Nationwide, the plants and refineries emit about 40 percent of all greenhouse gases, and the rules are aimed at reducing carbon dioxide and other substances that are fouling the air today and harming the planet in the long term.
I am not quite sure what it means to “protect the nation’s air.” Air is one of those things that no government, however rapacious, has yet found a way to seize. Clouds drifting ashore over Seattle drift from further east, and the EPA has precious little jurisdiction over China.
I do know what it means for a bunch of executive branch bureaucrats to try to impose a policy favored by Democrats that failed in a Congress that Democrats controlled. It means big trouble for the President and his party.
Cap and Trade legislation failed because there is no way on God’s green earth that the American people would put up with it. Maybe green technologies will one day flower and give us abundant energy while shrinking our carbon footprint back to the days when firewood was carried on donkey carts. Meanwhile the only way to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions is to dramatically reduce energy consumption by making energy much more expensive. That means that everything produced with energy becomes more expensive, and all of us become poorer. The voters will notice.
Congress failed to pass restrictions on carbon emissions because Congress is directly responsible to the voters. Even in boom times such legislation would have been a dubious proposition and these ain’t boom times. The folks who staff the EPA don’t have to run for office, so they are more insulated from the people.
Barack Obama does have to run again, if he wants a second term. If the EPA really tries to protect the nation’s air by putting the screws to the nation’s power plants, that will mean either a big rise in energy bills for pretty much everyone or energy shortages. Either would be a great gift to whoever wins the 2012 Republican nomination.
I have a hard time believing that Obama will really give the Republicans so generous a gift. He surely wants to convince his core support on the Left that he is serious about this issue, because the Left cares. So the EPA will do something. Congress has provided the template. The Cap and Trade bill that passed Pelosi’s House contained so many loopholes that it would have been ineffectual if it had become law. That’s how cap and trade worked in Europe. I am guessing that the EPA regulations will look something like that.
Welcome to the second half of Barack Obama’s first term. Happy New Year!