Hurricane Lieberman-Warner

For conservatives who would like to think the whole government should be handed over to the liberals for a few years until the Reagan wing of the Republican Party can get its act together, a quick look at a monstrosity under consideration by Congress is in order. Liberal Democrats and “green” Republicans are proposing a massive reorganization of the American economy to fight so-called global warming. Worse yet, proponents of this bill are attempting to sell this eco-socialism as a “market-based” policy, and their allies in the national media are going along with the charade.

For decades now, the media have shoved down our throats the idea that Planet Earth is in grave peril of catastrophic global warming. Now that Washington’s elites feel confident that everyone from McCain to Obama agrees that doom is imminent, it’s time to push something they call “cap and trade.” Put an emphasis on the “cap.” That means that the federal government is aspiring to dictate for every individual and business in America the absolutely perfect level of carbon-dioxide emissions. Once the government mandates how much emission will be allowed, then it will allow the public to “trade” on the rights that remain. The sponsors on this power grab are independent Sen. Joe Lieberman and the walking poster child for term limits, so-called Republican John Warner.

Remember the Hillary Clinton health-care plan of 1993? It’s deja-vu time. The media will sell this bill as an important solution that absolutely everyone who considers himself a responsible citizen will support. Virtually absent from the discussion will be the cost, both financial and in the loss of freedom. If either of these prices are covered, they will be vastly underestimated.

A Heritage Foundation analysis is sobering. If you think Katrina was an expensive proposition, consider that according to Heritage, the economic damage of the bill would equal the cost of “660 hurricanes – 35 per year – for two decades.” Don’t expect that statement to make it on the evening news. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Lieberman-Warner would effectively raise taxes on Americans by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. That won’t be a headline in USA Today, either.

Making assumptions that are not at all guaranteed (like a 150 percent increase in nuclear-power generation by 2050), the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the Lieberman-Warner bill would result in annual reductions of U.S. gross domestic product ranging from $238 billion to $983 billion in 2030, and from roughly $1 trillion to more than $2.8 trillion in 2050. Gas prices would grow by $0.53 per gallon in 2030 to $1.40 per gallon in 2050; and electricity prices are projected to increase 44 percent in 2030 and 26 percent in 2050. You won’t find reports on CNN explaining this.

No, numbers like this won’t flow easily from liberal-media outlets because they undermine the argument. Instead there will be fluff, fluff and more fluff. On PBS’s NewsHour on June 2, anchorman Ray Suarez interviewed Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Lamar Alexander. He began with a giddy sentence: “The most significant legislative effort so far to tackle climate change began winding its way through Congress today.”

Suarez asked Lieberman an opening softball: “How would your bill achieve near-term reductions in emissions and drastic cuts over the long haul?” Lieberman answered, predictably, that it would happen through a “market-based system.” Suarez then turned to the Republican senator and applied pressure: “The words ‘market’ and ‘marketplace’ are usually music to Republicans’ ears. Do you think it will work?”

Alexander threw EPA numbers at the PBS anchor: “The first problem is, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has analyzed it, it’s a 53-cent gas tax increase per gallon on top of the nearly $4 we’re paying today. Second problem with it is the 53 percent gas tax increase per gallon, according to the EPA, isn’t enough of an increase to make much difference. And so it wouldn’t reduce carbon. So it wouldn’t reduce what it’s said it would do.” For his part, Lieberman laughably replied: “This Climate Security Act is probably the one best way to reduce the cost of gasoline or other energy in the years ahead.”

Suarez, like most anchors, presumed this monstrous bill needs to be passed, by next year, if not this year. But Alexander underlined the crucial question the media will try to ignore: if created, how much will this massive government bureaucracy reduce the average global temperature?

Climatologist Patrick Michaels thinks it would have virtually no effect on the climate, an additional 0.013 degrees (Celsius) of “prevented” warming. That’s another little bitty fact that will never see the light of day on most press reports. Instead what we’ll get is the usual hot air, except this time it has the price tag of 660 hurricanes.

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  • slbute

    God help us when so called Republicans start acting like the Dems. Could we just call them Republicrats?

  • The global warming hoax is an excuse for the most anti-human policies since the One Child Policy in the People’s Republic of China.

  • pdaoust

    To the author: I don’t mean to come across as rude, but this article really really dismayed me. When my brothers and sisters in Christ abdicate their responsibility to be stewards of the earth, a responsibility that both JPII and Benedict have called on us to assume, it makes me lose hope for our world.

    I don’t think that any of us can afford to ignore the scientific research that shows that it’s very likely our gluttony (one of the seven deadly sins, I might add) that’s causing the current changes we see. If we heed the warnings and we’re wrong, well, we spent a bit too much money, but now we have a nice clean planet, right? If we ignore them and they’re right, it’s probably curtains for us. This is just plain old prudence (a virtue, I might add).

    G Tracy Mehan, a columnist on the Catholic Exchange, wrote a great editorial on Pope John Paul II’s thoughts on environmentalism:

    All this stems from our distinctly Catholic belief that the physical world is good and important, and is at the centre of God’s plan for humans. This has been confirmed time and time again, in our battles against Gnosticism, Albigensianism, Manicheanism, Janssenism, etc, etc, etc. As God’s representatives to the created universe, we have a responsibility to save it, not damn it.

    Ecological degradation is not something that anyone with a conscience can ignore or deny the reality of, regardless of whether global warming is real. I’m also confused by the incongruity of the author’s apparent disdain for the climate change hypothesis, and subsequent quote from climatologist Patrick Michaels that implies that our ecological concerns are valid.

    All this having been said, I do worry, along with the author, that our governments will either enact useless plans to combat climate change — I think that any purely market-based solution is woefully inadequate — or use the crisis to create laws that infringe on our freedoms.

  • pdaoust

    whoa, that was longer than I intended. I guess the article just got me really angry.