Umm, already been sunk…

Cap-and-trade plan will sink Michigan (via Instapundit)

President Barack Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gas emissions is a giant economic dagger aimed at the nation’s heartland — particularly Michigan. It is a multibillion-dollar tax hike on everything that Michigan does, including making things, driving cars and burning coal.

Now, there is a lot wrong with Michigan. But if auto manufacturing is worth bailing out, why turn around and torpedo it with something like this? The only way that makes sense is if the bail-out money isn’t really about saving the auto makers as much as it’s about giving money to the right people.


  1. “The goal, according to the president’s budget outline, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide to 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.”

    Won’t this hurt plants?

  2. Relying on Editorials to form your opinions is like relying on Oprah for the same.

    This one fails to mention the tax break integrated into the bill to cushion the economic shock on consumers/taxpayers. Also ignored is the property of the cap and trade/carbon tax going away, once we move away from fossil carbon energy. As we are likely to invest those tax breaks in energy efficiency and real alternatives, the problems this article is trying to frighten you with go away rather quickly and its scares are a molehill compared with the Mountain sized threat to global civilization that rapid climate change represents.

    11bravo, plants were doing just fine at preindustrial CO2 levels.

  3. In general, cap and trade plans work provided that government does not dictate how the private sector works the plan, they work because they internalize formerly external costs and provide an incentive for efficiency. They worked great with acid rain mitigation due to sulfur levels…

    Now many environmentalist, hate cap and trade plans because they see it as a license to pollute or more to the point, many environmentalists have idealized agendas on telling how everyone else is supposed to live. For them environmentalism is a ways to a desired end, and not actually an altruistic conviction. Take the opposition to the iron seeding experiment in the antarctic. Seed the ocean with iron, and get a ten fold+ increase in plankton which in turn fixes a whole lot of CO2.

    Now what many scientists will tell you if you ask, is that the current environment of the last ten thousand years has been an abnormally stable period in earth weather history. Its entirely probable that environmental change is going to happen and happen soon regardless of what man does. A single volcano can alter our climate for years. The sun’s output has been fluctuating of late and sustained drop of fraction of a percent can throw us into another ice age. I am not stating that global warming should be ignored, but I am arguing that CO2 reduction strategies should be market based and not ideologically based.

    That said, the argument that tax structures promote energy efficiency, is a fallacy. For example, there are many discussions to raise gas taxes, because people are not driving as much. If gas taxes were to promote efficiency, a decline in gas tax revenue would be viewed as a success and not as a revenue loss.

    Taxes are a means for governments to raise money. Historically tax “breaks” are only retained for those items whose price is highly elastic (eg. the luxury boat tax of 10% that wiped out the American small boat industry has since been repealed) or for those items that the government has not figured out how to tax (eg. the internet) Otherwise, taxes are kept has high as possible so as to fleece as much money as possible.

  4. Yeah, yeah
    Tricky, let’s show ’em some love
    Welcome to Detroit City!

    Where’s my gangstas and all my thugs?
    Throw them hands up and show some love
    And I Welcome you to Detroit City
    I said welcome to Detroit City
    Every place everywhere we go
    Man we deep everywhere we roll
    Ask around and they all know G.M.
    That’s what’s good man they all say G.M. GONE!

  5. “… they work because they internalize formerly external costs … ”

    What are the formerly external costs in this case?

    Seems to me that all this plan does it internalise “costs” that didn’t previously exist in any form.

    “Also ignored is the property of the cap and trade/carbon tax going away, once we move away from fossil carbon energy.”

    To what? Nuclear is the only really viable alternative and that’s been blocked by the government for ages. So they’re trying to force people to move away from one technology while preventing them from adopting the only logical alternative? Really clever.. NOT!

  6. There is no logic to this stuff. It’s all about feelings.

    There are millions of people out there who think things like “Big corporations are evil, I’m getting screwed, Somebody is going to pay, We’ve got to save the planet, I might as well stuff my pockets like everyone else, etc, etc.”

    If you can make those people feel good, they will twist their perception of reality many different ways in an effort to justify these actions.

    There’s a term related to logic called “dispassionate analysis”, and it is the antidote to such thinking. There’s some debate over whether that is a skill that can be learned, or if it might be an innate ability that some folks have, but others don’t. Whatever the case, we’re currently experiencing a sever shortage of it….

  7. Nic,
    the externalized costs is the dumping CO2 in the atmosphere, which alters the climate; altering the climate imposes costs onto others by forcing them to adapt. THe externalized costs are the adaptation costs down the road. We will either pay it then or mitigate it now by internalizing those costs. The much much cheaper option is to mitigate it now.

    “To what?”
    Efficiency improvements pay for themselves and don’t require any new powerplants. Renewable energies are almost at $ per watt parity with coal. Shall I provide links?

  8. Sam you said, “the externalized costs is the dumping CO2 in the atmosphere, which alters the climate; altering the climate imposes costs onto others by forcing them to adapt.”

    I don’t agree with that answer because I don’t accept anthropogenic warming yet. I would agree with that statement in regards to pollution, e.g. a factory that dumps waste into a river.

    The reason people are getting upset is that we are in a financial crisis and Obama and company want to use this crisis to push their ideologically driven agenda versus getting the economy back on track.

    Convince us that AGW is happening and maybe we might sign up. Start by answering 2 questions:

    1) There have been several ice ages in the past, how did they end?
    2) Assuming the Earth’s temp is rising again, how do we know it is caused by man and not related to the reasons the ice ages ended in question 1?

  9. 1. Milankovich Cycle changes created effective changes in irradiance received from the sun, provoking rapid cooling along 65º N land masses.

    2. Lack of change in our current point in the Milankovich cycles.

    Notable change in the same not expected for 20,000+ years. Yeah, we are in for a long warm period, and that’s not counting the influence of all the excess CO2 we just dumped into the system; which if all fossil CO2 emissions were halted more or less now, then the warm period extends comfortably for 55,000 years. If Fossil fues are burned Business-as-usual, it will be an UNcomfortable ‘nother 170,000 years before the ice hits. I have a link to more of this if you want.

    2.1. And yes we know the CO2 increase is ours because the change in proportion of Carbon and Oxygen isotope signatures are consistent with CO2 made by nburning fossil fuels, and not volcanoes’ CO2 nor surface CO2 emissions (fires& cow farts etc).

    2.2. And we know the recent climate change is not due to changes in the irradiance of the sun as there hasn’t been any such increase in over 50 years. If anything mean solar irradiance has gone down…very slightly.

    Other thoughts: I see investing in climate mitigation (renewables and efficiency etc) as being the same as investing in a quality standing army. Disaster might not strike even if we do invest, and being prepared makes it less likely to strike, so why bother? Because when it does we are likely to survive because we so invested.

    Enviroweenies are enviroweenies. I am a Civilizationist.

  10. “the externalized costs is the dumping CO2 in the atmosphere, which alters the climate; altering the climate imposes costs onto others by forcing them to adapt.”

    I’d like to see some evidence of this. I’ve been reading science papers for years trying to find it, and so far haven’t found one shred of actual evidence (as opposed to arm waving of the type “increase in carbon diode … numerous unwarranted assumptions … climate change”). Until there’s some solid evidence I think damaging anyone’s economy is unwarranted.

    Sam: What I get from the scientists I’ve talked to/read about is that they don’t think the Milankovich cycles are enough to explain the ice ages. They think it might be more geological – that plate tectonics cause land masses to move and affect ocean and atmosphere circulation. What’s more, there are multiple Milankovich cycles and some of them are on quite short cycles (e.g. ~1000 years) which could very well explain phenomena like the MWP and Little Ice Age.

    So I’m afraid I think your explanation is insufficient. You seem to think we know things with a lot more certainty than we actually do.

  11. “I’ve been reading science papers for years trying to find it,”
    I would like to see some evidence of this. Exactly which peer reviewed scientific papers have you read? Name them. I would like to read them.

    “What I get from the scientists I’ve talked to/read about is that they don’t think the Milankovich cycles are enough to explain the ice ages.”

    You are right that geological conditions also influence the properties of Ice Ages …on the Million Year scale. But the time frame we are discussing is too short for those to be relevant. The great extinction events, which see,s to resemble what is occurring now, took place on the scale of tens of thousands of years. Incidentally, the shortest Milankovich Cycle is actually 21 years long, and governs the 10.5 year mean average solar sunspot cycle.

    “You seem to think we know things with a lot more certainty than we actually do.’
    There is much we don’t know, true. But by the time we are 100% certain in all categories, it will be too late to act.

    “Until there’s some solid evidence I think damaging anyone’s economy is unwarranted.”
    (sorry this is out of sequence, but it is important.)
    This is NOT damaging the economy. The existing subjective economy has so far not included in its arithmetic important parts of what actually is the objective economy, such as our climate. We are Redefining our economy to include this important part. This will not damage the economy, it will only make it stronger. Why? Healthy economies depend on stable pleasant climates. Lose either, and civilizations get tossed into the trash bins of history. Build both, and civilizations prosper. We now have the power to build a better climate (or destroy it)…and now we need the wisdom to use that power responsibly.

  12. The argument on CO2 production & the environment is IMO a false argument. If the CO2 production is altering the environment, by the time you have proof beyond a doubt it is too late to fix things.

    Now is human activity to blame? It is uncertain – the consensus is that it is more likely then not. Then again the Earth is very complex system and we do not know all the variables and how they influence each other. That said, the drive to limit pollution from whatever source or type is a good thing.

    Personally, a cap and trade system on pollution in general is better then a cap and trade system that picks on one aspect of polluting activity, but CO2 is a key index of pollution. Limit the production of CO2 and you limit the production all of the associated pollution with is arguably worse then CO2 output. Particulate matter for example – particulate pollution causes and or aggravates various lung conditions. Chemical byproducts, do a number on food chains. Over fishing, depletes ocean stocks, and poor crop management destroys topsoil. All of these are byproducts of the tragedy of the commons. []

    If you understand the tragedy of the commons, you’ll understand why cap and trade systems work and why we need them.

    For the record, if the theory of global warming as the result of human CO2 production is true, the results would actually be to trigger an ice age. It sounds odd

    Personally, I believe that there is a global warming taking place, but the cause is not CO2 production but due to water pollution decreasing the ocean’s ability to absorb the CO2 being produced.

  13. Sam,

    If you truly believe the crap you are spewing, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    Al Gore is a charlatan, an imposter, leading the willfully blind and the just plain stupid into a hell hole of “green” fantasy and hocum. He’s laughing all the way to the bank, boyo, and you and others who believe humans are in any way responsible for climate change are tools and fools.

    Just because lots of folks sign on to the big lie doesn’t make it any less of a lie. The climate isn’t changing, AlGore is still fleecing your wallet, and this nation, especially, is headed for a frikkin’ disaster if we follow the idiotic concepts of the eco-terorists and other “greeners”. Luddites, and stupid Luddites at that, the lot of them.

    Thus endeth the sermon. Go forth and get a life.

  14. AW1 Tim said. “The climate isn’t changing,”

    I am not interested in Al Gore; do you have any science to back this assertion?

  15. Yes. I have my thermometer on my house, and I have historical data for my region supplied by the National Weather Service. People who actually keep ACCURATE records. It’s much more accurate than the fudged data that Robert Hansen used to justify his alarmist screechings and his “Hockey Stick” graph.

    What you are relying on is the theory put forward by people, most of whom have never worked in Climatology, that the climate is changing, and the cause is human actions. Theory is not now, nor ever has been fact. It is theory, and until proven, is as malleable as the lunatics who support the theory of human-induced climate change. Temperature data derived from sensors placed in the middle of an asphalt parking lot, or alongside hot air vents, is not the sort of “science” to support your assertions.

    Now go away, Sam. I have no use for anyone who supports your silly theory-based ideas.

  16. “I have historical data for my region supplied by the National Weather Service. ”

    Could you please supply a link? I tried to search the NWS site, but have not had much luck, and have had less time. Thanks.

    Since you don’t seem to care for the NASA GISS data set, be advised that there is competition from the brits:

    p.s. the Hockey Stick thing was from Michael Mann, not ‘James’ Hansen.

  17. Anthony Watts is doing the work that should have preceded all the claims by Gore, Hansen, His group is documenting the sensor network that underlies the climate record in this country. It is a disgrace how poorly this system is set up and maintained. Notice how few of the stations meet the NOAA’s own standards: It would be nuts to trust a graph made from this ground temperature data. Anthony’s main discussion site is here:

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