Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘cap and trade’

This is what bipartisanship looks like

Posted by sanityinjection on March 4, 2010

In the latest advance for doublespeak, Democrats in Washington are busy trying to redefine “bipartisanship”. Apparently now the Democrats’ health care bill is “bipartisan” even if no Republicans vote for it. The President has helped out by cosmetically grafting token acknowledgement of a few GOP suggestions onto the existing bill (how do you have a “pilot program” of malpractice reform??)

Ironically, at the very same moment, the very same Congress is engaging in *real* bipartisan efforts on a different issue – climate change. A truly bipartisan group comprised of Senators Kerry (D), Lieberman (I), and Graham (R) are trying to forge a compromise that will get Republicans on board with a climate bill. Unlike on health care, they’re doing it by actually responding to GOP concerns.

The compromise proposal eliminates the idea of “cap-and-trade” which has drawn so much Republican opposition. It proposes to apply separate emissions restrictions on an industry by industry basis, rather than forcing all sectors to meet the same targets. The bill would also include new initiatives for nuclear power and offshore oil drilling., items that Republicans generally support.

And the approach is working, at least initially, with Republicans and conservative Democrats indiciating a willingness to seriously consider a revised bill along these lines.

Let me be clear, I am not advocating for such a bill. I am simply pointing out that contrary to popular belief, bipartisan negotiations are not some ancient lost art that has vanished from Washington. So when Democrats are running around saying it’s impossible to create a bipartisan health care bill, or worse yet, playing fast and loose with the very definition of the word, it’s *not* because they have no choice. It’s because they have been intent on ramming their own priorities down America’s throat from day one and have never had any intention of compromising. They are engaged in a giant charade designed to fool the American people.

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Senate’s other maverick seeks environmental compromise while others prefer conflict

Posted by sanityinjection on September 21, 2009

By the “other maverick” I am referring to independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Lieberman is a true believer when it comes to climate change. He feels it’s critical that the US pass some sort of climate bill before the next round of international negotations on carbon reduction efforts. In this respect, he is right in step with most in the Democratic Party.

Lieberman, however, is also a man who sees the world as it is, and not just as he wants it to be. He can see that much of America, and many of his colleagues in the Senate, are not at all sold on the cap-and-trade idea, and no amount of left-wing zealotry is going to convince them. So, he’s doing what a legislator is supposed to do – seeking compromise. His proposal is to make climate legislation more palatable to Republicans and conservative Democrats by including funding for “clean coal” and nuclear energy.

Of course, this is an outrage to the purists of the Left. But Lieberman may be calculating that the move would gain more votes in the middle than it would lose on the fringe. Not to mention, the far Left already hates Lieberman anyway so he has nothing to lose by pissing them off.

Can this strategy work? I’d bet it would pick up at least some votes in the coal states among “Blue Dog” Democrats. It may not be enough to sway too many Republicans, although it might persuade Lieberman’s friend John McCain who is known to be soft on climate issues.

Personally, I don’t think I could support a cap-and-trade bill under any circumstances. But that’s not the point. The point is that while the Democrat leaders point fingers and call names, and do nothing to help their cause, Lieberman is trying to find a way forward in the classic tradition of the Senate – through negotiation and compromise, leading to legislation that has bipartisan support. That shows you the difference between an effective legislator and a partisan hack.

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Energy reforms being held hostage by global warming lobby?

Posted by sanityinjection on August 14, 2009

There’s been an interesting development in the debate over carbon emissions “cap-and-trade” legislation, passed by the House and awaiting action by the Senate. Four Democrat Senators are asking that the cap-and-trade bill be dropped in favor of advancing as a stand-alone bill items related to energy efficiency and sufficiency.

The Senators are concerned that the larger bill will not be able to gain enough votes to pass, and that the energy provisions are important and should be done now. They include new mandates for energy efficiency and renewable energy, coupled with an extension of offshore oil and gas drilling. Such a combination of items favored by Democrats and Republicans stands a much better chance of passage.

Of course, the global warming zealots are not giving up so easily. “I don’t think we are going to take to the Senate floor a bill stripped of climate provisions,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). In other words, the Democrat leadership would rather see reasonable energy reform fail rather than abandon their hysterical push to destroy the American economy in service of their pseudo-scientific god.

I commend the four Senators for their prgamatism and hope that their request is heeded. Although I haven’t read the bill and am not sure what the implications of the new laws would be, I would rather see the energy provisions debated than cap-and-trade. If the larger bill is defeated, the Democrat leaders will be in no mood to talk about extending offshore drilling, which is something I definitely support. Both sides would be better off spending their time on a bill that might achieve bipartisan support and allow both parties to demonstrate that they are interested in real progress rather than scoring political points.

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Cap-and-trade debate heats up – in Australia

Posted by sanityinjection on June 24, 2009

The US House of Representatives debates this week on a climate change bill, the central facet of which is the creation of new mandatory carbon emissions restrictions and a “cap-and-trade” program for companies emitting less carbon to sell their excess emissions allowance to those who need it. The House is expected to vote on the bill by Friday. It will probably pass, but its future in the Senate is unclear.

Some of the most fervent global warming hysterics are actually opposing the bill, claiming it doesn’t do enough to reduce carbon emissions. But it’s important to remember that the fundamental rationale for the bill is the assumption that man-made carbon emissions are the major cause of global warming. I have argued here many times that this assumption is false, and if I’m right, then there is no point to this legislation.

There is a saying, “Why re-invent the wheel?” In other words, if you want to do something, you can often save yourself a lot of work by studying  how other people have done it rather than having to learn everything independently. With this in mind, it’s instructive to turn to our friends from down under, where a similar cap-and-trade bill passed the Australian House and is now being considered by the Senate. At the same time, a new book by Australian scientist Ian Plimer (to be released in the US July 1) argues convincingly that the “science” behind man-made global warming is not science at all, or at least not good science.

You can read about this and about the quest of one independent Australian Senator to understand the truth about climate change here:

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Obamawatch: Presidential multi-tasking

Posted by sanityinjection on June 15, 2009

The Obama Administration seems to be taking multitasking to the highest level in pushing for more than one major program at the same time. With Democrat legislators still trying to craft a carbon emissions “cap-and-trade” bill that can command enough votes to pass, the White House is already starting its push for a health-care overhaul which also will need to be carefully handled in order to pass Congress.

Conventional wisdom says that a President shouldn’t try to push through two major bills at the same time. In other words, if you’re going into battle, you want to concentrate your forces on one objective rather than splitting them up and having half as many resources to apply to each one. On the other hand, this President doesn’t seem to put much stock in conventional wisdom. I see four possibilities: 1) Obama is supremely confident that his emissions legislation will pass quickly and is teeing up healthcare to follow in short order; 2) Obama has decided that he is going to lose on the emissions bill and is trying to shift Washington’s focus to a new issue so that no one has time to dwell on his failure; 3) Obama has no idea what he’s doing; 4) Obama somehow believes that forcing two issues at once will cause more havoc for the opposition than for him. Folks, your guess is as good as mine.

If I were advising the President, I suppose I would be encouraging him to move on to healthcare too. The emissions issue is tough to push in a sour economy because any way you slice it, it is going to cost everyone money including the average working family. Health care reform at least looks and sounds like something that would help the little guy – although when you look at the details that’s not necessarily the case. Still, even I would agree that health care reform is needed and would be a good thing – however, I agree with Robert Samuelson that the reform that is needed is cost reduction rather than expansion of coverage.

Still, Obama runs the risk of energizing the opposition if he is defeated on one issue and then has to go directly into battle on a second one. The coalitions that oppose the emissions and healthcare bills will be different, but there will be Democrats among both. Once it is shown that the Administration can be beaten, they will lose a lot of their power to push things through Congress.

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Global Warming Conspiracy: Big Business

Posted by sanityinjection on May 21, 2009

Regular readers know that I frequently rail against what I see as a coordinated effort to manufacture a panic over climate change, designed to create jobs and financial and political profits for specific elite groups.

In this vein, Danish climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg returns with a WSJ column explaining how certain businesses have jumped aboard the “global warming” bandwagon (especially with regard to the Administration’s pending “cap-and-trade” legislation) – not because they are convinced by the science but because they have figured out how they can profit from it:

I am not one to embrace conspiracy theories, but we have seen this pattern too many times before. It began with wars:  as early as the 19th century, certain business interests agitated for war with America’s enemies because they saw opportunities for profit, ultimately leading to what President Eisenhower, a career military man, decried as a “military-industrial complex” whose interests were not necessarily those of the country as a whole. In the 1980s, it was the AIDS “crisis”: we were told that AIDS had become an epidemic among non-drug-using heterosexuals in America, which was patently false, but caused lots of  public and private money to flow to certain research and public health organizations as well as pharmaceutical companies. It’s not a coincidence that the global warming drumbeat got going right about the same time that the AIDS gravy train began to dry up.

It is generally a truism that the more apocalyptic the prediction, and the more vocal the pronouncements of its scientific certainty, the greater the skepticism with which it should be received – especially when you are talking about predictions of a system with the complexity of the earth’s climate over a period of decades. Most of the great scientific discoveries were not advanced by zealots who felt the need to shout down any and all opposition – that is the behavior of someone who is insecure about the validity of their theory.

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“Cap-and-trade” legislation: What the bill would really do

Posted by sanityinjection on April 10, 2009

The Wall Street Journal looks at the details of the proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation to limit carbon emissions and finds that the bill covers a lot more than many of us thought:

As usual with this Congress, the bill’s premise – a system that allows companies to trade carbon credits – is only the springboard for a smorgasbord of wide-ranging regulations on all sorts of products. And since Congress has already demonstrated with the stimulus bill that it doesn’t read legislation before approving it, why shouldn’t Democrat leaders feel they can stuff the bill with every nutty enviro-leftist idea they’ve come up with in the last 30 years? Remember, no one cares about the actual science anymore.

You can dish out a lot of punishment to the working stiffs of middle America. But let me tell you, if they pass a law that requires emissions upgrades that triple the price of John Q. Public’s John Deere riding lawnmower, there is going to be hell to pay. A man can only endure so much.

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