Wednesday, May 30, 2007

If only we could link ALL federal subsidies to AGW

WaPo editorial, May 30:
CONVENTIONAL wisdom holds that support for clamping down on greenhouse gas emissions has reached a tipping point. With gasoline prices above $3 a gallon and only a rump of hard-core skeptics still questioning the science of global warming, the time seems ripe to begin weaning the country off carbon. if these "hard-core skeptics" were closing their eyes, clamping their hands on their ears, and yelling "la la la la la la...." in the face of evidence that is so overwhelming, anyone who questions it should have their head examined.

Okay, that was a little over the top, but I'm getting a little tired of the mantra that stubbornness is the only reason the skeptics haven't switched over to the Light Side. There is a credible scientific argument to be made that the anthropogenic nature of climate change hasn't been demonstrated -- not that the WaPo editors would listen.

That said, the actual topic of the editorial is something that draws a hearty Amen from me:
But as The Post's Steven Mufson reported recently, an outdated federal program that provides cheap financing to rural power plants will undercut all of these efforts. The Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service gives low-interest loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives, nonprofit outfits designed to generate or transport electricity to rural areas of the country. With coal abundant and cheap, and without the tax incentives for clean electricity that are given to other utilities, such co-ops have little reason to invest in alternative sources of energy. Consequently, they get about 80 percent of their electricity from burning coal, a process that releases liberal amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Worse yet, federally subsidized cooperatives plan to spend $35 billion over the next 10 years building more coal-fired power plants.
The constitutionalist side of me cheers whenever one of the media organs of the left proposes ending an unconstitutional federal subsidy, even if their reason for doing so is shaky.