Friday, July 25, 2008

Sure, he may go to jail, but he may also have earned a carbon credit or two

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, July 25:
A 57-year-old south side man, who might have been struggling with a hangover, is charged today with shooting his lawn mower with a sawed-off shotgun.

"I'll tell you the truth," a criminal complaint quotes an apparently inebriated Keith Walendowski. "I got pissed because my lawn mower wouldn't start, so I got my shotgun and shot it.

"I can do that. It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want," Walendowski told police.
That beast'll never belch carbon again. Sure, it's only one lawn mower, but if each of us would commit to shooting our own lawn mowers, we might just end up saving the planet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The War on Global Warming is the health of the state

Small-"l" libertarians are known for their opposition to policies that expand the power* of the state at the expense of individual liberty. That makes it all the more fascinating that the big-"L" Libertarian Party has nominated a man who has endorsed a plan that -- if implemented -- would amount to one of the biggest-ever expansions of government power*.

As CNSNews reports:
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr praised Al Gore, who challenged the United States Thursday to run on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity within 10 years.

Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia who attended the former vice president’s Washington, D.C., speech Thursday, said Gore’s plan “makes sense.”

“America responds well to challenges, if it is laid out, if it’s in terms that people can understand and relate to, if it makes sense – and what he’s laid out makes sense,” Barr said in an interview with Cybercast News Service after Gore spoke.

In a speech at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall, Gore said the United States should move towards producing all of its electricity from renewable energy and clean carbon-free sources, a strategy Gore said would “re-power America."


Barr, who attended Thursday’s speech, said he was “deeply” indebted to Gore for “laying the challenge out there.”
As any true libertarian will testify (I don't consider myself to be one, but I lean in that direction), the government almost never surrenders power* that is usurped in times of crisis.

So what do you think, LP members?

Of course, the candidate I'm most likely to vote for, although he represents the party that had a better-than-even chance of articulating a sane point of view on the AGW issue, has also completely embraced Gore's presuppositions (if not all of Gore's policy prescriptions). Sigh.

* (Given the subject matter of Gore's speech, I apologize for the repeated but unavoidable pun)

Gore's plan to bankrupt America

In a remarkable feat of understatement, The New York Times entitled its account of Al Gore's July 17 speech: Gore Urges Change to Dodge an Energy Crisis.

The word "change" has been bandied about so much in the current presidential campaign that people don't expect any specifics to be attached to the word. But Gore cannot be accused of empty rhetoric in this case. He believes that trillions of dollars should be shifted away from keeping our country's economic engine running and toward a complete replacement of our country's energy infrastructure. In ten years.

Gore was in fine TEOTWAWKI form in his Washington speech, as the NYT reports:
Former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday urged the United States to wean the nation from its entire electricity grid to carbon-free energy within 10 years, warning that drastic steps were needed to avoid a global economic and ecological cataclysm.

Like a modern Jeremiah, Mr. Gore called down thunder to justify the spending of trillions of dollars to remake the American power system, a plan fraught with technological and political challenges that goes far beyond the changes recently debated in Congress and by world leaders.

“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” he said in a midday speech to a friendly crowd of mostly young supporters in Washington. “And even more — if more should be required — the future of human civilization is at stake.”
As this excerpt shows, no cost is too great for you and me to bear, because the future of human civilization is at stake.
“To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider seriously what the world’s scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don’t act in less than 10 years,” he said.
No, no, no... don't evaluate -- there's no time! The time for thinking is over -- it's time to act! So the complete reengineering of our power infrastructure would completely bankrupt our economy, likely taking the rest of the world with it -- what's your point?

Obama and McCain, while they may not have endorsed Gore's plan yet, seem all too happy to go the first step, which appears in the form of the EPA's Proposed Plan To Control Every Aspect Of Your Life. The Bush administration won't let that monstrosity move forward for now, but January 2009 is not far away.

Friday, July 11, 2008

US dodges economy-crushing bullet: EPA declines to regulate CO2 (for now)

Environmentalists rejoiced when scientists* sitting on the US Supreme Court ruled that the government had every right to regulate CO2 -- a gas essential for life on earth -- as a pollutant. Although it would seem a bit of a challenge to distinguish anthropogenic CO2 molecules from naturally-occurring ones (perhaps we could tag ours), or to prevent foreign-generated CO2 from mixing with domestic CO2, it appeared certain that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under mounting pressure from the greens, was ready to assert jurisdiction over nearly every aspect of human activity in America.

Stunningly, the Bush administration's EPA declined an opportunity that would in effect have given the environmentalists everything they wanted.

In its voluminous document [588 pages!], the EPA laid out a buffet of options on how to reduce greenhouse gases from cars, ships, trains, power plants, factories and refineries.

"One point is clear: The potential regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act could result in unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and touch every household in the land," the EPA's Johnson said in a preface to the federal notice.

EPA said that it encountered resistance from the Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Transportation departments, as well as the White House, that made it "impossible" to respond in a timely fashion to the Supreme Court decision.

"Our agencies have serious concerns with this suggestion because it does not fairly recognize the enormous — and, we believe, insurmountable — burdens, difficulties, and costs, and likely limited benefits, of using the Clean Air Act" to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the secretaries of the four agencies wrote to the White House on July 9.

So, we've dodged a bullet, at least until the next administration takes office. It seems that John McCain, although he has embraced much of the propaganda, is far less inclined than Barack Obama is to use a heavy-handed, bureaucratic end-run technique like this to advance the AGW agenda.

* (Tim wrote with a straight face)