We have come together today united by a common goal: preserving jobs, families and communities … seeking improved opportunities, living standards and quality of life … revitalizing blighted neighborhoods, like those along Route 64 and in North St. Louis … bringing health and prosperity to Earth’s most impoverished nations … and pursuing social, economic and environmental justice – for workers and poor families … of every creed and color … across this great land and in faraway nations.
But what do we mean by “justice”? How do we define this important humanitarian concept? What do we include in this definition or exclude from it? Perhaps most importantly, How do we achieve justice … without imposing unintended consequences that cause injustices to other people?
Our Judeo-Christian heritage speaks often of justice, ethics, responsibility and stewardship. But too often, in recent years, these terms have taken on new meanings, to advance narrow political agendas.
So I would like to present definitions of two terms that I believe are most relevant to this session. They and our discussion about them will help ensure that your awareness, advocacy and action achieve your goals for the people you serve. They may also challenge you to think differently about a number of current issues.
Justice: rendering unto each person his or her due … treating everyone fairly … doing unto others as you would have them do unto you … and not doing unto others as you would not have them do unto you.
Stewardship: Thoughtful, responsible care and management of the earth, lands, resources and wildlife which God has given us – so as to meet our needs, without wantonly using or destroying those gifts, without harming the rights and property of others, without creating new problems or amplifying old ones.
This morning, I would like to address these issues in the context of energy – abundant, reliable, affordable energy. Indeed, energy is the Master Resource: the foundation, the vital fuel for everything we eat, drink, drive, heat, cool, make, ship and do. With abundant, reliable, affordable energy, almost anything is possible, and we can improve, enrich and safeguard countless lives. Without it, jobs, living standards, healthcare, civil rights and the pursuit of happiness are hobbled.
That is why the issue of “manmade catastrophic global warming” is also important. This hypothesis is being used to justify legislative, regulatory and judicial actions that will tax, regulate and restrict energy use … and promote a shift from hydrocarbon to renewable energy, and from free markets to centralized economic planning. It will also, I fear, gravely harm businesses, jobs and families … and hobble the pursuit of justice, civil rights and environmental stewardship.
Global warming: A critical moral issue
Climate activists insist that manmade global warming is the biggest threat facing minority Americans – and impoverished families in Africa, Asia and Latin America. That human carbon dioxide emissions are causing higher temperatures, droughts, melting icecaps, rising seas, and stronger, more frequent tornadoes and hurricanes. That these disasters will most grievously affect the least fortunate among us.
Therefore, climate activists argue, we must drastically curtail our use of hydrocarbon or fossil fuels, and our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
We have limited time here today, and this is not the proper forum for a protracted discussion of climate science claims and refutations. Suffice it to say that literally hundreds of climate scientists, and literally thousands of other scientists and experts, vigorously disagree with assertions of an impending manmade climate apocalypse. These “climate realists” make the following fundamental points.
- The many disaster scenarios forecast for fifty or one hundreds years hence are the product of speculation, assumptions and computer models. They are not supported, and indeed are largely contradicted, by actual data and observations on historic and current global temperatures, ice caps, sea levels, polar bears, tropical diseases and other matters.
- Earth history demonstrates quite clearly that our planet’s climate has changed frequently, suddenly, dramatically and at times disastrously in the past. The Ice Ages, interglacial periods, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, Little Ice Age and Dust Bowl are but a few examples of major changes. Many other climate changes have brought less severe periods of warming and cooling, every few decades or so.
- Carbon dioxide is a minor player in climate change – compared to natural forces and influences, such as water vapor and cloud cover, evaporation and precipitation, periodic shifts in ocean currents and jet streams, continental movements and volcanoes, planetary alignments and the shape of the Earth’s orbit, the tilt and wobble of Earth’s axis, and variations in solar energy output and cosmic ray levels.
- Right now, the sun appears to be entering a less vigorous phase, as evidenced by a dramatic drop in sunspots, and average annual planetary temperatures have fallen slightly since the latest peak in 1998. If this cooling period is prolonged, it would be far more threatening for humanity than moderate warming – because it would worsen winters and reduce both growing periods and arable farmland.
- Our ancestors responded to past changes by adapting to them: enjoying the agricultural bounties and prosperity brought by the warmer periods … and modifying their houses, heating systems, clothing and farming practices during cooler periods. Our far more advanced technologies, housing and energy systems make us infinitely better able to adapt to whatever climate changes nature, or man, might visit upon us in the future.
But adaptation requires a vibrant economy, the ability to innovate – and abundant, reliable, affordable energy, to support economic vitality, creativity, construction and other actions … in response to climate and weather events and disasters. In fact, merely maintaining and improving living standards, clawing our way out of this economic recession, putting people back to work, enabling more Americans to achieve their dreams – and helping the poorest people on Earth enjoy some of the blessings that many of us sometimes take for granted – all these things likewise require abundant, reliable, affordable energy.
That is why I strongly believe global warming and access to energy are critical moral issues. Indeed, all of us, and especially Missouri’s and the world’s least fortunate families, are gravely threatened not by climate change – butby policies implemented in the name of preventing climate change. It is for this reason that energy and climate change deliberations truly are critical moral issues.
Impacts of global warming policies
The fundamental purpose of all global warming legislation and regulation is to curtail greenhouse emissions – by driving up the cost of hydrocarbon energy, making it less affordable and accessible, and controlling manufacturing, economic growth, living standards, transportation and consumption habits. President Obama has said that, under cap-and-trade, energy costs will “necessarily skyrocket.” Congressional proponents of global warming legislation have made similar statements.
I have always strongly supported energy and resource conservation and efficiency. (Just ask my kids how incessantly I nag them about turning off the lights and water.) But I do not support cap-tax-and-trade and energy rationing proposals, because I do not believe we face a climate disaster – and because I am afraid the harmful, unjust, unintended consequences of these actions will overwhelm any good they might accomplish … and hurt the poor, minorities and seniors on fixed incomes most of all.
As many of you know, the House and Senate climate bills would impose a complex cap-and-trade system and require the United States to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 83% below 2005 levels, by 2050. What you may not realize is that the last time our CO2 emissions were that low was 1908!
And that’s before accounting for the far smaller population levels and the antiquated manufacturing, transportation and electrification systems of that era. Once those factors are taken into account, 2050 carbon dioxide emissions would have to equal what the United States emitted just after the Civil War!
Think about that a moment, and about what it means for you, your clients, your state, the United States and our world. Think about the role of energy in your lives, the importance of electricity for this university, your home, your office and this city – and how you would slash your carbon footprint 20% over the next ten years, and 80% over the next 40 years. It won’t be easy.
Think about the MASW slogan in Bob Quinn’s mid-year newsletter. “Make a difference. Create a truly just society.” Absolutely. These are lofty, inspirational goals. But they require a critical first step.
Think it through carefully. Don’t inadvertently make things worse. Remember the law of unintended consequences, the tyranny of good intentions, the danger of being well-intended but poorly informed.
The simple fact is, you cannot drive up energy costs and curtail energy use, without adversely impacting businesses, industries, jobs, families, opportunities, civil rights and ecological-social-economic justice.
In its essence, cap-and-trade is a huge and hugely regressive tax on energy use. In fact, the Waxman-Markey House climate bill and its Boxer-Kerry Senate counterpart represent the largest tax increase and wealth transfer in US history. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has aptly called cap-and-trade “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time.”
The impacts and implications of this legislation are profound. All Americans will feel intense pain, for little environmental gain, if these bills become law. The legislation will impose especially heavy burdens on Missouri, particularly its seniors, blue-collar workers and poor and minority families. It will ultimately transfer trillions of dollars from energy users to financial institutions and the government, and then to industries, companies, organizations and activities favored and chosen by the government.
Benefits of hydrocarbon fuels
Missouri relies on coal to generate an astounding 81% of its electricity. Natural gas generates 3% and 9% is from nuclear power. As a result, Missouri consumers and businesses pay an average of 7 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 14 cents per kWh in CA, NY and NJ, which get only 10-15% of their electricity from coal. That means Show Me State families can afford to heat and cool their homes – and schools and hospitals can operate under current budgets. It means factories can afford to make and sell products in direct competition with foreign companies – and employ workers who support their families.
Missouri’s reliable, affordable, mostly coal-based electricity creates hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs, which provide health insurance, rent and mortgage money, nutrition, clothing, college tuition and retirement benefits for countless families. Those companies and their employees also pay the taxes that support state and local governments, and government services of every description. They also make contributions to numerous churches, synagogues and charities.
Because of low-cost energy, Emerson Electric and Graybar, for example, can make and distribute electrical equipment. Sigma-Aldrich and Solutia make chemicals and chemical products for cars, hospitals and other industries. Furniture Brands, Kellwood, Leggett & Platt and Mallinckrodt can manufacture furniture, clothing, healthcare products and camping gear.
Anheuser-Busch, Earthgrains and Interstate Bakeries can make a host of familiar beverage and food products, which ironically contain and emit prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide. Ralston Purina makes pet foods, while Monsanto’s labs are able to churn out new generations of seeds for the farmers who supply brewers and bakers and pet food makers. Thousands of smaller Missouri companies provide countless additional goods, services and jobs.
And of course Peabody, Ameren and Kansas City Power & Light provide the fuels and energy that keeps the lights on, the machinery operating and the paychecks coming at all these other companies.
Hydrocarbon fuels keep people warm (and alive) on freezing nights, and comfortable during summer heat waves, like the 2003 scorcher that killed 15,000 elderly French citizens who didn’t have air-conditioning.
Due in large part to coal-based electricity, the state’s “cat” scans, x-rays, colonoscopies and other examinations detect cancer, heart disease and other health threats, saving many lives every year. Life-saving and enhancing surgeries are performed because doctors have lights, lasers, computers and sterile operating rooms. Premie wards and life-support systems carry people through critical illnesses.
Children and adults get vaccinations that are created in modern laboratories and kept viable because of dependable refrigeration. Millions avoid deadly intestinal bacteria, due to refrigerators and freezers that preserve food … and water that is sterilized and piped, thanks to carbon-based electricity. Homeless shelters and food kitchens can afford to stay open
Reliable, affordable energy also enables people to live and work in safer houses and buildings … receive and respond to timely evacuation warnings – and adapt, survive and even thrive in the face of storms and climate change, whether human or natural in origin. Expensive, undependable energy ensures hardship, injustice and death.
Impacts of cap-and-trade legislation
An April 2009 Lauer Johnson Research poll found 78% of respondents believe even a $600 per year increase in utility bills would be a “hardship.” Researchers say the actual impact would be much higher.
Cap-tax-and-trade would add – not just $600 a year – $1,500 to $3,000 to the average family’s annual energy bill. The legislation would raise energy costs by $350 billion to $400 billion a year, according to studies by the National Economic Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Congressional Budget Office, Heritage Center for Data Analysis and other experts.
Pending global warming bills would also cost a million jobs per year, raise electricity rates 90% and gasoline prices 60% after adjusting for inflation, these experts say.
Farmers, factories, businesses, hospitals and schools would be hit with extra energy costs ten, twenty or a hundred times this per-family amount – to power machinery, fertilize fields, operate tractors and trucks; heat and air condition barns, offices and stores; pay for lighting and refrigeration; transport raw materials and finished products; and support all the other operations that require affordable, reliable energy.
Businesses will have little choice but to pass those costs on to consumers. That means the average family will have to pay a cumulative additional $4,000 or more every year in higher heating, cooling, cooking, transportation, food, clothing, school, medical and other expenses.
Families will have to pay these skyrocketing energy, food and commodity prices by trimming or slashing their vacation, college, retirement, medical, food, clothing, sports, and home and car repair budgets.
Schools would have to find millions more for buses, heating and lighting. That means higher taxes … or reduced music, sports and special education programs.
Hospitals would have to charge more for diagnostics, treatments, surgeries and rehabilitation. Churches and charities would see contributions plummet, just as more jobless families seek food and shelter.
In 2007, 1.7 million tractor-trailer drivers logged 145 billion vehicle miles and spent $34,560 on 28.5 billion gallons of fuel – to transport food and consumer goods of every description … and earn an average of $43,545 in net revenue. The skyrocketing fuel taxes contemplated by the House and Senate climate bills would wipe out a hefty portion of that net income.
Americans currently spend $1.2 trillion annually on gasoline and motor oil. For many, gasoline is a mandatory expense, a prerequisite for working and paying the bills.
Overall, Waxman-Markey would impose a multi-year $2 trillion tax on gasoline and a $1.3 trillion tax on diesel fuel. For farmers and ranchers alone, that translates into $550 million in higher fuel costs in 2020 and $1.65 billion in 2050, says Senator “Kit” Bond (R-MO). The Florida Farm Bureau Federation puts the cost for farmers even higher: $5 billion annually by 2020 and $13 billion a year by 2050.
The average household spends 5% of its budget on fuel. But as Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., pastor of Hope Christian Church in Maryland, points out, families at the bottom of the economic scale spend up to half of their incomes on gasoline, heating and cooling.”
Poor families also have longer commutes to work. They will be especially hard hit by the $1-per-gallon gas tax increase that cap-and-trade will bring.
“Skyrocketing energy prices also lead to job losses, increased pressure on families and family budgets, and thus increased tension, depression, family violence, crime, drug use and suicide,” notes Congress of Racial Equality spokesman Niger Innis.
Minority-owned firms are disproportionately new and small – and all startup companies will face especially large obstacles. They typically have few employees and limited experience navigating the state and federal regulatory structure. Cap-and-trade would create a much more massive, intrusive, expensive regulatory system.
Members of Congress have said they don’t have the time or expertise to read, much less understand, the complex fourteen-hundred-page global warming bills. How then can a farmer, business or family be expected to read, comprehend and follow fourteen thousand pages of laws and regulations that are likely to be promulgated to implement cap-tax-and-trade?
Many communities depend on tourism as the mainstay of their economies. When I worked for the Wyoming State Planning Coordinator’s office, the mantra in some quarters was “replace mining, oil and other extractive industries with tourism. Tourism is eco-friendly and sustainable.” Maybe. Depending on how you define those terms.
However, tourism requires plentiful, affordable energy – for cars, trains, buses, boats, airplanes and hotels. And that requires taking resources out of the ground: extractive industries. It also requires a population that can afford to take vacations far from home. Prohibit drilling and mining, wipe out jobs, strangle family budgets, boost travel costs – and people have no choice but to stay home.
Moreover, some environmental groups are now targeting air travel and tourism, because airplanes and cars emit greenhouse gases. They don’t want people traveling – except, it seems, to climate change meetings in Montreal, Bali and Copenhagen. European activists especially don’t want people flying long distances to Africa, even when their tourist Euros would support destitute families that live on $5 a day.
Rising energy costs will further hurt towns like Lamar, in southwestern Missouri. When furniture maker O’Sullivan Industries closed its doors two years ago, 700 workers were suddenly unemployed. Last year, one in ten Lamar jobs disappeared. Barton County got just 22 jobs out of the stimulus program.
The Missouri food stamp program serves one million people – people like Lamar’s unemployed. Cap-and-trade will drive up energy costs and postpone the day when these proud workers have new jobs. In fact, it will mean thousands more Missourians will lose their jobs … thereby expanding welfare rolls and increasing the cost of government, while reducing state and federal tax revenues.
How will the state cope? How will you be able to help people, as your budget and resources contract?
MASW says state services are “chronically underfunded” – and “the problem is not enough revenue.” Can Missouri raise additional revenue by taxing, regulating and rationing energy – thereby driving up the cost of running factories, businesses, schools and hospitals … forcing companies to reduce pay and benefits or lay off workers … and thus increasing the number of people on welfare and unemployment?
Contrary to press reports, heat-related deaths are not due to global warming. They result from poor families being unable to afford air-conditioning. Cold-related deaths are much more common – and are also largely due to energy affordability, especially for those on low and fixed incomes.
For poor, minority and retired families that are already struggling to pay their energy bills, cap-and-trade rules, hydrocarbon restrictions and renewable energy mandates could prove ruinous, and even deadly.
In the United Kingdom, punitive climate taxes, the closure of coal-fired power plants, and forced reliance on wind power have sent energy prices soaring and put 5.5 million households in “fuel poverty.” The National Housing Federation reports that average annual energy bills have climbed from $1,620 in 2005 to a predicted $2,250 by the end of 2009. People have been “shocked” by the enormity of their heating bills, and anger is rising over “insidious stealth taxes” that are hammering households at a time of rising unemployment, falling incomes and economic uncertainty, says the Daily Mail.
In October 2009, Britain’s TaxPayers’ Alliance concluded that the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme cost British and European consumers over $100 billion between January 2005 and December 2008. Consumers suffered, while energy and financial companies made windfall profits, the TPA says
Worst of all, according to the National Housing Federation, 25,000 more people died last winter than during the summer. Most were elderly people, who had circulatory or respiratory problems, and couldn’t afford adequate heat during the cold 2007-2008 winter.
No wonder only 15% of Brits now worry about manmade catastrophic climate change, despite the UK government’s new $11-million ad campaign to alarm people about “awful heat waves” and “terrible floods” caused by a nightmarish black CO2 monster, created by parents who are “keeping houses warm, and driving cars” to take kids to school and soccer practice.
Wind and solar power as alternatives to fossil fuels
America’s oil and natural gas industries alone support more than 9 million American jobs and contribute well over $1 trillion to the economy, PricewaterhouseCoopers has calculated. Coal likewise generates vast job and economic benefits. Many of them would become endangered species under cap-and-trade. If recent European experience is any indication, most will not be replaced with so-called “green jobs.”
Spain, for example, spent $3.7 billion on wind energy during 2007, according to King Juan Carlos University economics professor Gabriel Calzada. The program created or saved 50,000 jobs. However, most of them were installing wind turbines, and each “green” job cost $74,000 in subsidies. Moreover, because the pricey “renewable” electricity forced companies to lay off workers to stay in business, the wind energy subsidies destroyed 2.2 regular jobs for each green job they created.
The global economic recession forced Spain to curtail the subsidies. Over 10,000 of the wind power jobs were terminated in 2008, and further subsidy reductions have put the remaining 40,000 green jobs at risk. Great Britain and Germany face similar problems with their “green” wind power industries.
Indeed, the very concept of “green” jobs raises interesting questions. The term is elastic and elusive. In many cases it merely redefines existing jobs – for PR reasons or because existing workers are doing something now deemed ecological – without expanding the overall employment base.
It frequently includes direct and indirect employment associated with retrofitting buildings, installing insulation, solar panels and wind turbines, constructing transmission lines from wind, solar or geothermal sites, producing biofuels on 40,000,000 of acres of farmland (an area almost the size of Missouri), or designing and manufacturing supplies for projects. In other reports, “green-collar jobs” include accountants, lawyers, salesmen, repairmen, truck drivers, landscapers, bureaucrats and lobbyists associated with these activities.
As Spain learned, wind and solar power is three to eight times the price of coal-generated electricity. Perhaps not surprisingly, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski’s plan to lure green energy companies with taxpayer subsidies resulted in a program that cost 40 times more than lawmakers were told, an investigation by The Oregonian recently found.
Moreover, wind and solar systems only work 35% of the time on average; 25% of the time in many locations; and 10% of the time on freezing Midwestern winter nights and sweltering Texas summer afternoons – compared to 95% for coal and nuclear power.
Wind and solar power and jobs require large taxpayer subsidies to make them “economical.” By contrast, oil, natural gas and coal actually generate revenue. America’s untapped hydrocarbon resources could reap literally trillions in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues for state and federal coffers – to help pay for countless military, social, health and environmental programs.
Whether wind and solar power are “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” is equally subject to definition and debate. Many people are aware that wind turbine blades kill numerous birds and bats every year. But from my perspective, the land and resource impacts of turbines are even more troubling.
A recent Wall Street Journal article by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says generating 20% of US electricity (or replacing 40% of coal-based electricity) with wind power would require 186,000 turbines and 19,000 new miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Translated into lands and resources, that means:
- 18,000,000 acres of farm, scenic and habitat land – half of Illinois, and
- 270,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earth minerals – the equivalent of 180,000,000 Toyota Priuses.
Because of intense environmental opposition to mining and drilling, it is unlikely that those raw materials will be found and extracted from deposits here in America. Instead, they will be mined, milled, smelted and fabricated into turbines, blades and towers in China, India and other foreign countries … under their pollution control rules and technologies. They would then be shipped to the USA … where a relatively few green collar workers will assemble and install the turbines, and build thousand-mile long transmission lines, to connect Midwestern and Great Plains wind farms to major urban centers.
In fact, that is already happening. Using $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funds, the US Renewable Energy Group is erecting 240 gargantuan 3-megaWatt wind turbines on a Washington, DC-sized area in West Texas. The project will create 2,800 temporary jobs. About 2,400 will be in China; only 400 will be American workers – mostly installers, supervisors, lawyers, accountants and regulators.
Their electricity will be expensive, intermittent and unreliable. Unless there are gas-fired backup generators, it will hardly be the kind of power that a furniture, medical device or pharmaceutical company, office, hospital or high-tech laboratory can rely on to maintain quality … especially if wind power is eventually going to replace the one-half of all US electricity that now is generated by coal.
It’s the same for solar. Generating substantial electricity with photovoltaic panels means blanketing hundreds or thousands of square miles with super-expensive solar arrays across Southwestern desert habitats. The visual, habitat and wildlife impacts are so extensive that Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has already introduced legislation that would ban the construction of large solar arrays in much of the Mojave Desert, even though it is one of America’s best areas for steady, high-intensity sunlight.
An even more exasperating aspect of this push for non-hydrocarbon energy is that – in spite of all the pain that cap-tax-and-trade will bring to families, farmers, truckers, businesses and communities – there would be no measurable gain for our environment or climate.
China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week and putting millions of new cars on its growing network of highways. India is close behind. Both are trying to reduce poverty, modernize their nations, improve human health, and ensure that every family, school and hospital has electricity. Neither will accept legally binding emission targets, though both will gradually reduce emissions. By 2020, China and India together will be emitting almostthree times as much carbon dioxide as the United States.
As a result, using climate alarmists’ own computer models, and assuming that carbon dioxide is the primary cause of global warming, climatologist “Chip” Knappenberger calculated: even an 83% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions would result in global temperatures rising just 0.1 degrees F less by 2050 than not cutting our CO2 emissions at all.
Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, we need more energy. We need and will have more wind and solar power, especially as the technologies improve. But for decades to come they will likely be additions and supplements to fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power – not alternatives.
The biggest threat to Africa?
As severe as the impacts from global warming policies are likely to be for American and European businesses and families, they are far worse for the poorest nations on our planet.
“Life in Africa is often nasty, impoverished and short,” says human rights activist and Congress of Racial Equality Uganda coordinator Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes.
“AIDS kills 2.2 million Africans every year, according to World Health Organization reports. Lung infections cause 1.4 million deaths, malaria 1 million more, intestinal diseases 700,000. Diseases that could be prevented with simple vaccines kill an additional 600,000 annually, while war, malnutrition and life in filthy slums send countless more parents and children to early graves. “And yet, day after day, Africans are told the biggest threat we face is – global warming,” she says.
“Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 28 million Ugandans together use in a year. And those anti-electricity policies are keeping us impoverished,” Kobusingye-Boynes points out. In fact, over 90% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 800 million people still do not have electricity, lights or refrigeration – or have electrical power only a few hours a week.
“Not having electricity means millions of Africans don’t have refrigerators to preserve food and medicine. Outside wealthy parts of our big cities, people don’t have lights, computers, modern hospitals and schools, air conditioning – or offices, factories and shops to make things and create good jobs.
“Not having electricity also means disease and death. It means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles and other diseases that we could prevent or treat if we had proper medical facilities.
“Telling Africans they can’t have electricity and economic development – except what can be produced with some wind turbines or little solar panels on huts – is immoral,” Kobusingye-Boynes declares. “It is a crime against humanity.” It perpetuates the disease and death that stalk African villages and families.
Energy, economic and health conditions in many areas of Asia and Latin America are only marginally better than in Africa. Using climate change fears to justify anti-development, anti-energy campaigns in these regions is equally immoral and unjust.
The Copenhagen treaty and transfers of wealth and power
The intense White House and congressional effort to enact global warming legislation is driven in part by an anti-hydrocarbon and revenue-raising agenda that ignores these stark realities. It is driven in equal part by the upcoming United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. As skepticism rises about alarmist global warming claims, and concern mounts about skyrocketing energy costs, climate activists are frantically trying to secure a new treaty to replace the failed Kyoto Protocol.
“Global warming is a more insidious and longer-term danger than Hitlerism,” a Scottish environmentalist asserted. “It could be far more deadly. Ultimately, it might extinguish humanity itself.”
We have “only 50 days to save the planet,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insists. Unless we make “very deep” cuts in CO2 emissions very soon, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajenda Pachauri has announced, “humanity may not survive.”
These almost ludicrous disaster claims are being used to justify demands that Congress act quickly in Washington, and the world take definitive action in Copenhagen. That literally trillions of dollars be spent battling global warming over the next 40 years. And that global activists and regulators be given significant control over the world’s energy and economic decisions.
This not monetary manna. This money will be taken by government edict from energy consumers, workers, businesses and families – and transferred to those who have the best lobbyists. It will be made unavailable for programs that would actually reduce real, immediate, life-or-death threats to human health and welfare. Control by bureaucrats and NGOs would affect families and businesses the world over, for as MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen has noted: “If you control carbon, you control life.”
The proposed Copenhagen Climate Treaty establishes a new UN-centered international organization that would have the ultimate authority to administer and enforce energy and climate change rules. The organization would be run by an executive committee, which “may include … relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.” Its purpose would be to “fundamentally” alter the “way society is structured,” and it would have the authority to fund its activities by collecting taxes, “including, but not limited to, a levy on aviation and maritime transport.”
Under the new climate treaty, the United States and other countries will be required to transfer $800 billion over five years, with additional funding requirements assessed on an as-needed basis, to help poor countries cope with the alleged impacts of global warming. According to a new European Commission report, poor nations will need $147 billion annually until 2020. Development groups have said they will need up to $400 billion per year, above and beyond existing foreign aid.
The European Union has proposed to contribute $22 billion (€15 billion) toward the EC’s lower annual figure. Pressure is building to persuade the United States to provide much of the remaining sum.
Meanwhile, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) envisions a new “boon” for New York. Financial experts, she says, have concluded that “carbon permits could quickly become the world’s largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020.” Senator Gillibrand wants to create a new “internationally integrated” carbon-emissions permit system and “carbon commodity derivatives market.” She intends to “help New York seize this opportunity,” based on “its superior and substantial financial talent and expertise.”
$800 billion to jump-start climate stabilization programs. A powerful new UN global warming prevention organization, with international taxation authority. $147 billion to $400 billion a year in additional aid for Third World countries. A new $3 trillion carbon derivatives market. That’s a lot of cash, even by Washington standards
All of this is being promoted in the midst of a global recession … hot on the heels of the United Nation’s “oil for food” program and imbroglios over actions by its Human Rights Commission … before the dust fully settles over Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and the scandalous mortgage derivatives market … and as science and falling global temperatures generate new doubts about global warming disaster claims.
I don’t know whether any of these proposals will be enacted or implemented. I’m not convinced that any particular estimate of job or monetary costs is on target. I do know humans can influence weather and climate at a local and perhaps even regional level, though I have seen no evidence that a 0.02% (200 ppm – 20 cents out of $1000) increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in planetary catastrophes remotely approaching clearly natural climate disasters like the Dust Bowl, Little Ice Age and Pleistocene Ice Ages.
I do know, however, that this transfer of money and power raises critical, difficult, complicated questions about jobs, stewardship, affordable energy, economic opportunity – and justice and human rights for the poorest and most powerless, who are simply trying to survive and improve their lot in life.
These issues are almost as complex as Earth’s climate and weather systems. We need to think them through – we need solid, replicable scientific evidence that we face an imminent manmade climate cataclysm – before we tax and ration energy use, and risk unleashing adverse unintended consequences that will send shockwaves through our society, economy, rights, freedoms and pursuit of happiness.
We need to ensure that we protect and manage our Earth and its resources as wise stewards. Do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. And meet the many growing needs of current and future generations, to improve, enrich and safeguard lives, in this nation and the world over.
In that way, we can truly make a difference … and create a truly just society. For affordable, reliable energy truly is the foundation of human rights and economic justice.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. Trained in geology, ecology and environmental law, he is an Eagle Scout, civil rights activist and conservationist, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.
http://www.AllPainNoGain.org Impacts of cap-and-trade legislation
http://www.CFACT.org Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow
http://www.ClimateDepot.com Presenting multiple viewpoints on climate change issues
http://www.CongressOfRacialEquality.org Congress of Racial Equality
http://www.CopenhagenConsensus.com Bjorn Lomborg: assessment of global health and economic priorities
http://www.CornwallAlliance.org/ Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
http://www.Eco-Imperialism.com Articles on energy, health and environmental issues
http://www.GlobalWarming.org Information on global warming science and economics
http://www.ScienceAndPublicPolicy.org Science-based policy on energy, climate and the environment
References and Further Reading
Books and Expert Studies
Michael Barkley, Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition: Jewish, Catholic and Protestant wisdom on the environment, Grand Rapids, MI: Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (2000).
Paul Driessen, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death, Bellevue, WA: Free Enterprise Press (2003-2004).
Fagan, Brian, The Little Ice Age: How climate made history 1300-1850, New York: Basic Books (2000).
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Nigel Lawson, An Appeal to Reason: A cool look at global warming, London: Overlook Duckworth, Peter Mayer Publishers (2007).
S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 years, New York: Roman & Littlefield Publishers (2007).
Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution and fraud – and those who are too fearful to do so (2008).
Roy W. Spencer, Climate Confusion: How global warming hysteria leads to bad science, pandering politicians and misguided policies that hurt the poor, New York: Encounter Books (2008).
Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, Raquel Merino Jara, et al., Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, March 2009.
William Beach, David Kreutzer, Karen Campbell and Ben Lieberman, “Son of Waxman-Markey: More politics makes for a more costly bill” (summarizing results of analysis of climate legislation approved by House Energy and Commerce Committee, prior to its narrow passage by the House of Representatives), 18 May 2009.
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, “CFACT comments on Environmental Protection Agency‘s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Regulating Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act: Docket ID EPA –HQ-OAR-2009-0171-001” (June 22, 2009). Available at www.CFACT.org
Joanne Nova, The Skeptic’s Handbook: Strategies and tools for cutting through the red herrings and avoiding the traps about global warming (2009). Available at http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming
Matt Apuzzo and Justin Juozapavicius, “Factory towns slow to see stimulus bump,” Associated Press and The Washington Times, November 2, 2009.
Paul Driessen, “The immorality of Waxman-Markey: Intense pain, no environmental gain,” Investor’s Business Daily, June 16, 2009.
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, “Cap and trade could be a boon to New York,” Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2009.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Senator Christopher S. Bond, “Democrats’ hidden gas tax: Extra $1 per gallon at the pump will mean all pain, no gain,” The Washington Times, October 21, 2009.
Knappenberger, Chip, “Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain),” MasterResource free market energy blog, http://masterresource.org/?p=2355.
Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes, “Africa’s real climate crisis: It’s not global warming. It’s a science, priorities, honesty and morality crisis,” townhall.com, July 29, 2009.
National Housing Federation, “Federation calls for energy market regulation, as quarter of population set to fall into fuel poverty,” 8 September 2008; David Derbyshire, “Millions face ‘stealth tax’ on heating bills to subsidise green energy,” Daily Mail, 12 February 2009.
Brendan O’Neill, “Panic, little ones, it’s the carbon monster,” The Australian, November 2, 2009.
UK Net Guide, “Millions making big sacrifices to pay utilities bills, new research confirms: Warnings of pensioners going hungry in order to heat their homes weren’t over-the-top, after all,” 20 March 2009.
Washington Times, “Green World Government: the U.N. uses environmentalism to seize control, October 27, 2009.