Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cap-N-TradeTax Put On Ice...For Now

Excellent news!

President Barack Obama's push for quick action by Congress on climate change legislation suffered a setback on Thursday when the U.S. Senate committee leading the drive delayed work on the bill until September.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer said her self-imposed deadline of early August for finishing writing a bill to combat global warming has been put off until after Congress returns from a recess that ends in early September.

"We'll do it as soon as we get back" from that break, Boxer told reporters. Asked if this delay jeopardizes chances the Senate will pass a bill this year, Boxer said, "Not a bit … we'll be in (session) until Christmas, so I'm not worried about it."

But Boxer did not guarantee Congress will be able to finish a bill and deliver it to Obama by December, when he plans to attend an international summit on climate change in Copenhagen.

Here's Hot Air's analysis, which seems to me to be right on the money:

Two weeks ago, when the House barely pushed this through a vote, Barack Obama's poll numbers still looked good enough to imply that there may not be consequences for hobbling the economy with ludicrous taxes, fees, and penalties for energy production.  With his poll numbers eroding quickly and the electorate losing patience with high unemployment and Porkulus' failure, that doesn't seem like a safe bet any more.  As the economy continues to drag, cap-and-trade will look more like a disaster than the mythical one it purports to avoid.

The Democrats simply don't have the votes now on cap-and-trade, and unless the economy suddenly lurches back to life, the political situation will be worse in September.

How did this happen?  Well, first of all, as I've mentioned before, the madness in the House brought some much-needed exposure to it.  And, having an extra week or two for people to dig into the actual text of the bill has brought one bombshell after another.  Aside from what has already been posted on this blog, here are a few more:

EPA admits cap-and-trade will fail
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) won a startling admission from Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson. Inhofe produced an EPA chart generated last year during the Senate's debate of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade legislation. The chart showed that the carbon reductions under that bill would not materially effect global carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. Inhofe then asked Jackson if she agreed with the chart's conclusions. Jackson replied: "I believe that essential parts of the chart are that the U.S. action alone will not impact CO2 levels."

Also, at the hearing, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he did not agree with chart. This is interesting ,since all the best science confirms Inhofe's and Jackson's conclusions. For example, a recent study of cap-and-trade by MIT concluded: "The different U.S. policies have relatively small effects on the CO2 concentration if other regions do not follow the U.S. lead…The Developed Only scenario cuts only about 0.5 °C of the warming from the reference, again illustrating the importance of developing country participation."

Speaking of those developing nations...

G8 a bust on climate accord
Instead of agreeing to cap carbon emissions or commit to industrial limits on energy use, the Western nations instead opted to pledge not to make the Earth warmer...

What does this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  It allows the leaders of the G-8 nations to brag about reaching an agreement that literally binds them to do nothing at all.  With temperatures decreasing since 1998's peak even by the earlier, flawed NASA study, the issue could just as easily be moot.

Then there were questions about who actually owns your own home:

Let me introduce you to a little section of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill called the "Building Energy Performance Labeling Program". It's section 304 of the bill and it says, basically, that your house belongs to the state. See, the Federal Government really wants a country full of energy-efficient homes, so much so that the bill mandates that new homes be 30 percent more energy efficient than the current building code on the very day the law is signed. That efficiency goes up to 50 percent by 2014 and only goes higher from there, all the way to 2030. That, by the way, is not merely a target but a requirement of the law. New homes must reach those efficiency targets no matter what.

In addition to your house, it's just about everything inside your house, too:

And how will this bill affect you? It has regulations on every single aspect of your daily life. There are light bulb restrictions (no more than 60 watts in your candelabra); in fact there's a whole section that deals with lamps. If you decide to build a new home, it must meet new and specific energy requirements. If you decide to sell your existing home, a federal inspector must inspect your home, determine it's energy rating, and if your home is found to be unacceptable then you must retrofit and make changes before you will be able to sell.

There's an entire section on planting trees including guidelines on "scientific based measurements outlining the species and minimum distance required between trees planted…in addition to the minimum required distance to be maintained between such trees and building foundations, air conditioning units, driveways and walkways…". Do we really need the federal government telling us where we can plant trees?

There's a section dealing with outdoor lighting in which you are given instructions about landscape lights, lights in your swimming pool, lights on artwork and other architectural lighting. The federal government is going to tell you what wattage that light can be and how many you can have. In some cases the lights must be capable of producing two different light levels (100 and 60 watt).

There are new government regulations for water dispensers, hot tubs and other appliances. They're going to regulate water usage, and regulate wood stoves. Any wood stove that does not meet regulation must be "destroyed and recycled."

But that's not all:

They're coming after your TVs, your furnaces, your blenders, you name it. And there is a requirement that CO2 output be part of the labels on appliances. More cost.

They're coming after your water usage. They'll bombard you with Nanny State ads about your water usage. They're coming after your dishwashers and washing machines, your faucets, your toilets, vis a vis "performance standards." They will also push to make sure that only professionally licensed people work on everything water. Costs go up.

They're coming after your fireplaces.

Trips to the dentists will be more expensive if you want Nitrous Oxide, or, maybe dentists will just do away with it, due to the certain coming cost of maintaining the paperwork. If Los Federales allow dentists to even keep it. And notice that last part. the Administrator can designate whatever he wants as a bad gas. Sulfer hexafluoride has many applications, and regulation will drive your costs up. Nitrogen trifluoride is used in flat screen displays. Perfluorocarbon's have many medical uses, as well as in electrical devices and cosmetics. Cost. Go. Up.

Oh, and there's this trifling little ramification, too:

If you tax carbon, you tax fertilizer and pesticides. If you tax these things, you tax food, and by no small amount. A $15/ton CO2 tax would increase fertilizer production costs directly by about $60/ton, with the cap-and-trade bill's increased transport costs inflating the burden still more. That's enough to make many farmers use less fertilizer, and less fertilizer means less food.

To get a sense of what it would mean for farmers to abandon fertilizer, it is only necessary to go to the supermarket and compare the price of the "organic" produce, grown without chemical fertilizer, to the regular produce, which, while just as nutritious, typically costs less than half as much. It is one thing for wealthy organic food buffs to voluntarily pay such high prices for their food — that is their right. But to impose such costs for basic groceries on everyone else, and particularly the poor, as part of a largely symbolic effort to try to change the weather, is self-indulgent in the extreme.

This is the kind of information that should have been investigated and widely reported before the House vote, but the Dems didn't allow that to happen.  This is precisely why.  This should be a lesson to the nation - anytime Congress wants to ram through a monster-sized bill without any exposure to the public (or even Congress), it's always -- ALWAYS -- a bad sign and should be opposed on principle at minimum.  Unfortunately, the Reps in Congress have allowed this to happen several times since Obama took office.  You know the saying: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.  Hey, Reps in Congress: GET A CLUE!!!  From now on, the rule of thumb should be that if there isn't time to read and expose the bill thoroughly, you automatically vote no.

Anyway, one of the final nails in the coffin (for now) was this:

"I cannot support the House bill in its present form," Byrd said in a statement. "I continue to believe that clean coal can be a 'green' energy. Those of us who understand coal's great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians." …

Senator Byrd's was one of the two sponsors of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which the senate unanimously passed, 95–0, in 1997. Byrd-Hagel stated the sense of the Senate that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." Byrd-Hagel prevented Clinton from even trying to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which like the Waxman-Markey "cap and trade" climate change legislation, would have put the U.S. economy at an economic disadvantage to China and India.

Byrd is, I believe, the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate, and his 1997 measure was a good, common sense piece of legislation.  It's good to see him stand by it rather than fall into the party line.

You kinda had to know it was a losing battle when they hit the patriotism hysteria button:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has had an eventful couple of weeks to say the least, believes House Republican opposition to climate change legislation and the stimulus indicates they're cheering against the good ol' US of A.

"It appears that the Republican Party leadership in the Congress has made a decision that they want to deny President Obama success, which means, in my mind, they are rooting against the country, as well,"

When liberals resort to rhetoric or smears, you know they've reached the end of their factual foundation.  But, this doesn't mean it's dead and gone.  Remember, it's already passed the House, so it's just one Senate vote away from becoming law.  Some good advice:

Keep calling your Senators to tell them that a vote for cap-and-trade means adding to the unemployment lines — starting with themselves.

For all of you who called and e-mailed your Senators, well done!  Keep it up.  It's a virtual guarantee that this bill will come back later in the year.  We'll be all over it when that happens.

There's my two cents.

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