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Cooler Heads Digest
Cooler Heads Digest
July 10, 2007
Global Warming in the News:
Inside the BeltwayMyron Ebell, CEI
As the House leadership tries to figure out what pieces of anti-energy legislation to cobble into a bill and bring to the floor later this month, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has decided to play some hardball . In an interview on C-SPAN that was reported in several newspapers, Dingell announced that he planned to introduce a bill to tax carbon dioxide emissions. His purpose is to reveal the disconnect between what is being proposed in Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what the American people are willing to pay for those policies. “I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” Dingell said.
He's clearly right about that. A comprehensive poll conducted recently by Stanford University, Resources for the Future, and New Scientist Magazine found that most people are willing to pay a few dollars more per month for electricity to stop global warming, but many fewer support higher taxes on gasoline. This is probably because they think that they are already paying too much for gasoline.
Dingell said that his proposal would be equivalent to an additional fifty cents per gallon tax on gasoline (the current federal excise tax is 18.4 cents a gallon and state taxes average around 25 cents), but would also apply to other sources of emissions, such electric utilities. That would almost certainly provoke fierce public opposition, but if enacted it is unlikely that it would slow the growth of emissions more than slightly. So his proposal will be dead on arrival, but it will make an important point. The costs of effective global warming policies would be very expensive and far beyond what most people are willing to pay.
Dingell also said in the interview that the legislation he will try to move out of his committee this fall will be designed to force everyone to pay a little to address global warming, but that it won't make destitute or bankrupt anyone. That is to say, it won't actually reduce emissions.
Across the US Daniel Simmons, ALEC
New Jersey has “taken the lead in fighting greenhouse gases.” New Jersey 's new law, the “Global Warming Response Act,” requires New Jersey to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 16 percent by 2020 and requires an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Like California 's inaptly named “Global Warming Solutions Act,” New Jersey 's bill is long on ambition and short on how to achieve these reductions. In the politics of global warming, all you have to do to “take the lead” is to mandate something; the actual results and the impacts on regular citizens aren't important enough to be considered.
Hawaii also passed a cap on greenhouse gases. Their bill creates a 10-member Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Task Force. This task force will develop a plan for “maximum practically and technically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” These ten people will solve the thorny issue of reducing emissions without sacrificing their economy, though the world's best minds have not come up with a workable solution yet. Hawaii already has the most expensive electricity in the country and whatever they devise is sure to only increase electricity prices even more.
Around the WorldIain Murray, CEI
Live Earth was billed as the largest series of concerts ever seen, with a potential audience of 2 billion. Singer KT Tunstall said it was "the biggest global event ever" , perhaps forgetting the two world wars. Yet the audience figures showed that the shows did not live up to the hype. NBC's prime time coverage garnered a peak of 2.7 million viewers , below average for a Saturday night and losing out in the ratings to a rerun of the animated film Monsters Inc. In the UK , the audience peaked at 4.5 million, less than a third of the number who watched the Concert for Diana a week beforehand, and well below the 10 million who watched Live Aid back in 1985. The BBC blamed the low figures on the warm weather. In Johannesburg , South Africa , attendance was low, which the organizers blamed on the cold weather. In Australia , poor organization led to long queues for alcoholic refreshment and people leaving early. In many ways the events were emblematic of the way global warming alarmists work: They made a lot of noise, were poorly organized, and willing to spend a lot of money to achieve very little.
In the HomeJulie Walsh, CEI
How many people does it take to screw in a light bulb?
As many liberal politicians as there are in Washington.
The truth behind this is that, in terms of global warming, there are many in Washington who believe that it is necessary for Congress to curb “rapacious businessmen who must be forced to discharge their social responsibility instead of ‘simply' operating their enterprises to make the most profit and requiring also, it is said, vastly expanded government programs.” (Milton Friedman) These government programs include laws and regulations to also force consumers to purchase fluorescent light bulbs to do their part for the common good.
In contrast, free-marketers believe that the best vehicle to promote a healthy economy—one that is able to adapt to whatever comes its way be it a Cold War, a war with Islamist extremists, or a warming globe-is not inefficient, costly, restricting government programs. Friedman again states: “Central direction is a road to poverty for the ordinary man; voluntary cooperation, a road to plenty.” The vehicle to an adaptable society is the liberty that each individual possesses to go into WalMart and purchase a fluorescent bulb or not, if that is what is best for them. The common good is found through individual freedom.
News You Can Use
An extremely rare South African snowstorm ruined last Saturday's Live Earth concert in Johannesburg . Initial reports that no one showed up because the headliner was UB40 were later contradicted by concert promoter John Langford, who attributed woeful attendance at Live Earth Johannesburg to the blizzard ? the city's first snow in a quarter century. Mr. Langford blamed the storm on global warming.
Across the pond, snow fell on Buenos Aires last week for the first time since 1918. The storm was spawned by an unprecedented South American cold snap . The inclement weather has been blamed for three fatalities in Argentina and Chile so far.
One has to marvel at Mother Nature's impeccable sense of timing.
Action ItemExpose a Climate Change Hypocrite!
It is a fact that the most famous global warming alarmists tend to be fabulously wealthy. Vice presidents, movie stars, internet moguls – these are the types that stand before us in public or on the TV screen and implore us to curb our own consumption so that we may save the world from climate catastrophe. But do these jet setters heed their own words?
In the wake of the 2007 Oscars, Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) made national news after it uncovered the out-of-control energy usage at Al Gore's posh Belle Meade mansion. They exposed Mr. Gore's alarming tendency to tell the American public to sacrifice, while he consumes to his heart's content in his mansion or perhaps on his private jet.
Is your state similarly blighted with a sanctimonious blowhard? Do you want to do something about it? Here's what the TCPR did to expose to the world Al Gore's egregious carbon footprint.
• TCPR checked the gas and electric records for Al Gore's Belle Meade mansion and then compared Gore's energy use to the average American.
• Phone calls to the customer service line at both the Nashville Energy Service and the Nashville Gas Company netted them the results TCPR was expecting. They also gathered average electricity use figures from the US Department of Energy website.
• The results: They found that while the average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, in 2006 Gore consumed nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. And in last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year.
• Further analysis found that Gore's energy use increased as the Oscars got closer and as he spoke more often about the need for Americans to reduce their own energy consumption.
TCPR then posted its findings on its website and sent a press release to its media list and to the Drudge Report. This was a prominent story for weeks.
Remember, this information is usually public. If your organization is interested in exposing climate change hypocrites, it's as easy as contacting a utility company. And you are welcome to contact TCPR at www.tennesseepolicy.org if you have any questions about what they did. Also, if Cooler Heads Digest can be of any help, whether it be for research or dissemination of your findings, please let us know!
Cooler Heads Call for Content
Have stories we may want to include in our weekly news roundup? Is your organization working on something other members of the Coalition might be interested in? Let us know by contacting Julie Walsh at email@example.com.