Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama Calls For Action On Global Warming: Is He Crazy?

Here it is a mere two weeks after the Election and Obama is already talking nonsense about carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. He is proposing what is essentially an increase in taxes (we all know any increased cost of producing energy, i.e. carbon credits, or cap and trade) will be passed on to the consumer. This will not just harm those producing electricity from the burning of coal, it will cost everyone, substantially. He is then proposing to take that money, tax-payer's money, and use it to fund the development of "alternative" forms of energy.

It is clear that Obama has fallen for the myth of man-caused global warming, hook, line, and sinker. This does not bode well for the future of Obama's reign in office.

Obama seeks immediate action to curb emissions
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

(11-18) 17:46 PST LOS ANGELES -- In his first speech on global warming since winning the election, President-elect Barack Obama promised Tuesday to set stringent limits on greenhouse gases, saying the need is too urgent for delay.
Many observers had expected Obama to avoid tackling such a complex, contentious issue early in his administration. But in videotaped comments to the Governors' Global Climate Summit in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, he called for immediate action.

"Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all," Obama said. "Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious."

He repeated his campaign promise to create a system that limits carbon dioxide emissions and forces companies to pay for the right to emit the gas. Using the money collected from that system, Obama plans to invest $15 billion each year in alternative energy. That investment - in solar, wind and nuclear power, as well as advanced coal technology - will create jobs at a time of economic turmoil, he said.

"It will ... help us transform our industries and steer our country out of this economic crisis by generating 5 million new green jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced," Obama said.
Many people listening to Obama's speech Tuesday had waited years to hear it.
Schwarzenegger 'very happy'

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger convened the Global Climate Summit along with the governors of Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin - states that have been developing their own global warming policies rather than waiting for federal action. Schwarzenegger clashed repeatedly with the Bush administration on climate policy and complained that the White House was dragging its feet on a looming crisis. He told the conference Tuesday that he welcomed a new approach from Washington and will work with Obama.

"Of course I am very, very happy," Schwarzenegger said. "This is so important for our country, because we have been the biggest polluters in the world, and it is about time that we as a country recognize that and that we work together with other nations in order to fight global warming."

Obama touted the idea of companies paying to emit greenhouse gases, a system known as "cap and trade," during the campaign. But many people had doubted he would make it an early priority as president.

Under such a system, the government would set an overall limit on greenhouse gas emissions and let companies buy and sell the right to emit specific amounts. The limit would decline over time.

Such systems are complicated to create. They're also controversial. Critics say they amount to a tax on energy use that would hurt businesses and consumers at a time when the economy is floundering.

But one business group threw its support behind Obama on Tuesday.
The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which includes San Francisco's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as well as several environmental organizations, started calling for government action on global warming two years ago. The group wants a cap and trade system as soon as possible, even though many of its members - such as oil giants BP and ConocoPhillips - emit large amounts of greenhouse gases.

"We stand united behind President-elect Obama's statement earlier today," said James Rogers, chief executive officer of Duke Energy, one of America's largest electric utilities. "Delaying this further doesn't make sense. And using the economy as an excuse is wrong. ... We can solve our economic and environmental crises simultaneously."

Paying for emitting carbons
A cap and trade system forces companies to pay for emitting greenhouse gases, effectively putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, alternative energy technologies should become more cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

"At its core, it's very simple - we need a price on carbon," said David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy, another Climate Action Partnership member. "We own coal-fired power plants. That's what we do for a living. We've been developing low- or no-carbon technologies as we look to the future. ... But again, we need a price on carbon, because it's not cheap."

Obama's four-minute, videotaped speech largely repeated elements of his energy plan from the campaign trail, saying the nation must cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

He repeatedly linked the fight against global warming to reviving the economy, saying the investment in alternative energy would put Americans to work.

Nuclear power, 'clean coal'
Obama also made a point of backing technologies that many environmentalists despise - nuclear power and "clean coal," which involves trapping and storing underground the emissions from coal-burning power plants.

Obama told participants at the governors' climate conference that he would work with any country, state or business that wanted to fight climate change. Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Mexico, India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom all sent representatives to the two-day conference.

"I promise you this: When I am president, any governor who's willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House," he said. "Any company that's willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that is willing to join the cause of combatting climate change will have an ally in the United States of America."

E-mail David R. Baker at

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