Friday, February 8, 2008

Keep The Lights On

This is an editorial that appeared in "The Dallas Morning News" today. It echoes what we have been saying on this blog for nearly a year now. Some say global warming is purely a scientific issue, and the science is settled. They say the debate is over, there is a consensus opinion that man is causing global warming and we must take action now to prevent catastrophe.

Well there are other opinions, and some are coming from Congress. Read the following editorial from Joe Barton. Republican Rep. Joe Barton represents the 6th District of Texas and is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Contrary to what many people believe, the debate over the causes and cures for global warming are alive and well. Where does it go from here?

Joe Barton: Keep the lights on

Global warming alarmists need to slow down, allow more time for science and make sure we retain our quality of life

06:21 AM CST on Friday, February 8, 2008
It is dogma in Democratic circles that the specter of global warming is so manifest and terrifying that facts matter less than action, and the party has begun to insist that Congress must attack carbon dioxide and save the planet in time for the November election.

Keep in mind that CO2 is not a pollutant. It performs the desirable work of making life possible by regulating planetary surface temperatures. And it is everywhere.
I hope that if Congress' global warmists are going to have their anti-carbon dioxide legislation, they will accommodate some discussion first.

Here's my modest opener:
Electricity must be available and affordable; keep the lights on, please.
Transportation to work, school and shopping is a daily necessity; don't yank people out of their cars.
A warm home is a necessity, too; don't make natural gas so expensive that families can't pay their bills.
When you're saving the earth, save the jobs of working people. Not everybody can be on welfare, and you'll need them to pay for the programs, won't you?
Don't do these things well and you'll strangle the American economy and a world full of people who depend on it.

Consider the situation in Detroit. I thought it was interesting that as the political euphoria generated by increasing mileage requirements began to fade, U.S. automakers at the 2008 Detroit auto show quietly conceded that the new corporate average fuel efficiency mandate will raise their prices about $6,000 per car.

It's hard to imagine how we might achieve a more heart-stopping impact on the economy than by raising the price of cars by a sum so much larger than any driver can save through the mileage mandate. If drivers do not buy such expensive cars, autoworkers will no longer make them. The perfect global warming law won't do Americans much good if it boosts unemployment 5 or 10 points.

Many are coalesced around the idea that American economic and environmental interests can be advanced by capping carbon dioxide emissions and creating an artificial marketplace in which companies will trade the rights to produce emissions. A misguided cap-and-trade policy could wipe out our economy.

If you think I am being too dramatic, consider what's happened to Europe. In Germany, electric rates have risen at least 40 percent, and some estimate the steel industry there will lose 50,000 jobs. The German petrochemical industry has almost been completely dismantled, and yet CO2 emission rates have gone up.

Apologists say that officials don't have it just right, but a little tinkering will fix everything. However, the price that Europeans are paying in lost jobs and constrained economic activity is growing, and so are greenhouse gases.

It doesn't look much different for America. Projections on the household impact of various cap-and-trade proposals now pending range as high as $6,000 per home per year, with job losses topping 8 million under some scenarios.

Activists say we need to lead and the big CO2 emitters of the Third World will follow, but I think it's absurd to anticipate that China, India, Brazil, Mexico or others in the developing world will adopt stringent controls when that's a recipe for poverty. Aside from blood-spattered perversions like the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Kims in North Korea, no leader facing the choice of poverty or a better standard of living for his population has chosen poverty.
Our own choice to modernize was made more than 100 years ago. We electrified America, built the interstate highway system and constructed a modern economy that relies on the mobility of labor, products and services and, lately, on the instant availability of data. The result has been the highest standard of living ever experienced.

Americans wrote the recipe for prosperity, and foreigners have read the cookbook. Does anybody believe they're not going to bake the cake?
Both the science and the economics of global warming continue to evolve. Some say everything that needs to be known is known, and we better start legislating. I don't think so. But surely all sides can accept the idea that no matter what, we should keep the lights and the heat on, keep people mobile and keep them working in real jobs.

Republican Rep. Joe Barton represents the 6th District of Texas and is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He can be reached through


megandjon said...

My husband and I are both environmentally minded and yet we too feel that the Global Warming thing is out of control. I wish people would stop yammering on about Global Warming and talk about real issues like pollution and children getting asthma and cancer, etc, from all the toxic crap. CO2 is not really hurting us!
So, interesting blog, keep up the good work.

p.s. Mt. St. Helens is in Washington state, not Oregon. I grew up near there, it's not even that close to the border!! Just trying to be helpful :)

slclemens said...


The jobs issue is a real one. If we gave up on coal, it wouldn't only be executives like me who suffer but coal miners. Think about all the high paying, low stress, safe jobs with great benefits that would be instantly eliminated if we did away with coal mines.

What do the enviros expect the coal miners to do? Come above ground and build wind turbines or solar collectors? That's ridiculous! Who wouldn't rather mine for coal?

The environmental community is trying to ruin the lives of coal miners--people with some of the best jobs in the country.

Keep the faith, my friend.

S. L.

Peter said...

Thanks for visiting and thanks for correcting the location of Mt. St. Helens! I agree about CO2, too many people link it with real pollutants and overlook other issues.

Peter said...

Thanks for visiting. You're a real admirable individual. Tell us more about all you do for humanity.