Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and trade nightmare

The cap and trade bill that is being rushed through the House this week can be boiled down to three essential elements: 1) a massive increase in Federal Bureaucracy, as illustrated in this chart (HT: Club for Growth), 2) a forced increase in the cost of hydrocarbon fuels, via scarcity and rationing created by bureaucratic fiat, and 3) an assumption, adopted by these same bureacrats, that reduced consumption of hydrocarbon fuels will save the planet.

What the bureacrats and politicians ignore, however, are the unintended consequences of this bill, which are many: 1) the potential for corruption, as those who depend on hydrocarbon fuels lobby politicians in order to be exempt from rationing or to increase their permit allocations, 2) the potential for inefficiency, as politicians and bureaucrats make faulty assumptions about who should be granted exemptions or more permits, 3) the likelihood that reduced hyrdocarbon fuel use in the U.S. might result in even greater carbon emissions in countries that don't artificially raise the price of hydrocarbon fuels (because their energy costs would be lower and their use of fuel is not as efficient as ours), 4) the likelihood that the U.S. would lose jobs as energy-intensive industries relocated to countries that have cheaper fuel costs, 5) the likelihood that whatever reductions in carbon emissions might eventually result from this monstrous apparatus might make no difference whatsoever to the global climate, and 6) the likelihood that voters (especially those in colder climates who consume more energy than those in temperate climates) might be very upset when their fuel bills escalate. (I'm sure that readers will be able to supply many more unintended consequences.)

All of this cost, and all of this effort, for something that has an extremely small probability of bringing benefits to anyone except those who will be running the program. Are our Congresscritters nuts, or what?

UPDATE: Don't miss reading Kimberley Strassel's excellent WSJ article "The Climate Change Climate Change" that describes the rising tide of global warming skepticism.


Donny Baseball said...

I don't think it will pass. At this very moment, business people, small and large, are presenting their elected representatives with their post-cap and trade "business plans". Essesntially they are showing Congresscritters how many people they will lay off, how high they will raise prices, and (most importantly) how much tax revenue will be going off to foreign shores.

For example, one of the only way out of your state's fiscal mess to find several billion $ of new non-tax revenue. You could get that by allowing for the exploration of oil onshore and offshore. Oxy is happy to drill in the Golden State. So, is the California congressional delegation going to strangle that baby in the crib? Maybe, but I am betting that the realities are arrayed against it and that saner heads prevail.

Unknown said...

Yes they are nuts, and corrupt

Scott Grannis said...

I hope you're right. In any event, the bill is already structured so that nothing much will happen for the next several years. Big carbon restrictions won't kick in until after 2017, so that gives us some time to rethink things, especially when the public discovers all the shenanigans going on behind the scenes.

KC said...

I sure hope you are right that it won't pass. I heard the dems in rural areas are being blasted by the farmers back home who know what a disaster it will be. But the public will never get to hear the truth with these thugs in power.

Sixty days ago yesterday, EPA chief Lisa Jackson released the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. The proposal initiated a statutory period of public commentary – ending yesterday – providing a forum to experts and interested parties on both sides of the “CO2 as pollutant” issue prior to any regulatory action.

But on the final day of the public commentary period, a dispatch was submitted to the EPA accusing them of attempting to cover-up an internal study that imperiled the outcome predetermined by both the agency and its puppeteers – the Obama administration. And the intraagency emails attached to the letter -- submitted by Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) general counsel Sam Kazman [PDF] -- leave little room for doubt.

One EPA office director actually demanded that the endangerment-challenging study be barred from circulation within the agency, never disclosed to the public, and not placed in the docket of the proceeding. And, as Kazman observed dead-on, the communications between that EPA National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) Office Director -- Al McGartland -- and study author Alan Carlin, an NCEE Senior Operations Research Analyst, made clear that it was the study’s conclusions rather than its merit that earned it its place on the trash heap.

alstry said...


You and I agree completely on this one.....HOWEVER, I am almost certain it will pass in one form or another.


Public Library said...

We need smaller, less intrusive government starting with congress through to the Fed and treasury. Is that too much to ask people???

The Therapist Is In said...

and for another thing, lets not make laws we cannot enforce.

Cabodog said...

2012 cannot come soon enough.

Catherine Jaime said...

"2012 cannot come soon enough" -- I hope we can make some major changes in 2010, we don't want to wait till 2012!

Congress seems to have "ignoring unintended consequences" down to an art -- look at what they've done, and continue to do, with the Consumer Product Safety "Improvement" Act!

bob wright said...

This is stupidity gone to seed.