Cap-and-Trade and Religion: a Summary


The House of Representatives passed  a cap-and-trade bill on 6/26/09.

It flew largely under the radar because a former great, handsome black boy singer who had almost succeeded into turning himself into a white woman died. We are a frivolous nation, except the liberals who go through life being “appalled.”

Everybody who is not confused about cap-and-trade must be confused about life in general. Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand what’s going on; it means that you are intelligent and you have a life.

The bill is over a thousand pages.

How many Representatives have read it, do you think? (Go ahead, name a number in your head.)

Here is a summary of what I understand. I have more questions than answers.

Every company in all polluting industries – that’s probably all industries – will be assigned a quantity of pollution it will be allowed, or a quota. Those companies that don’t use their quota can sell it. They can sell to others their right to pollute.

Who is going to decide who gets what quota?

Is it going to create yet another federal bureaucracy? If the answer is “yes,” is it going a new bureaucracy forever.

Is it going to increase federal spending, the federal deficit, the national debt?

Note: The national debt is the total amount the Federal Government and only it, have borrowed from individuals – you and me – but also from various government, including the Chinese government, and also from foreign individuals. We pay interest on the national debt every day through our taxes. It’s tempting for the federal government to print money to pay off some of the debt. When a government does this, it creates inflation. It means we all become poorer, including the poorest among us.

Will the attribution of pollution quotas make the federal government even bigger in relation to states and local government? I ask because that’s contrary to our constitution. Read it, if you have not, or if you last did in high-school. Again, against that background, you will be astonished by what’s going on.

Will the attribution of pollution quotas and buying and selling them create more opportunities for corruption among public officials? What do you think?

The intent of the bill is to lower the amount of carbon dioxide released in the air. There are two main sources: coal burning and petroleum products. The first are used mostly in manufacturing and in power generation. Petroleum products release carbon dioxide mostly (not entirely) when used in automobiles.

The intent of the bill is to force producers and transporters to adopt technologies that lessen their emission of carbon dioxides. This costs money except if you move your polluting production to other countries, as happens every time you tighten emission standards.

Is the Democratic administration promoting the export of American jobs, of manufacturing jobs, specifically. What did candidate Obama promise in this respect, only a year ago?

Everyone in America consumes merchandise and services that occasion the release of carbon dioxide.. There is no exception. Hence, whatever the cost will be of reducing their release will constitute a tax on everybody. You will all have to pay. It will be a regressive tax, as are most consumption taxes. The tax will take a larger percentage of the poor’s livelihood than of the rich, unlike the federal income tax, for example.

No heartless, selfish Republican would dare impose such a regressive tax.

The President wants to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released mostly, he tells, us to stop or to slow down global warming. Hydrocarbons that produce carbon dioxide are only one category of polluters that contribute to global warming. That’s according to those who think there is global warming (more on this below). Water vapors are another contributor. If you boil enough water to make noodles, you contribute to global warming. Yes, I know, that would be negligible but think large-scale boiling.

Some scientists with good credentials have also named cattle burps and farts. I am not making this up. I don’t have the imagination for anything so delicious.

The President also mentioned a desire to wean the country from foreign oil, specifically. Thomas Friedman, a responsible liberal journalist at the New York Times, had a persuasive article on this recently. (about 5/26/09). I could be persuaded that it’s a bad idea to obtain much energy at all from bad neighborhoods abroad. We are supporting tin-pot dictator Chavez of Venezuela, the Islamo-fascist dictatorship in Iran, and almost certainly, some of the terrorism directed against us, by using foreign oil.

The US has large reserves of domestic coal. The first obvious solution is to substitute coal for oil whenever possible (that’s often, at the cost of some re-tooling).

The second obvious solution is to multiply our domestic production of nuclear energy by ten. Why are the objections to this idea not even discussed? What are we afraid of? Are we more stupid than the Japanese or the French? How many Japanese or French people have died from the production and use of nuclear energy in all its forms, directly and indirectly, in the past thirty years? This is worth looking into because hatred of the nuclear energy industry runs so deep that you can be sure it’s been watched closely.

Look it up; you will be astounded.

The President argues that moving toward clean energy, that is non-coal, non-petroleum, will create many new jobs. It might be true. It’s an attractive idea. That’s also irrelevant. The only thing we care about is net job creation. That means jobs created by the new policy minus jobs destroyed by the same policy. Right now, there is no reason in the world to believe that any form of cap-and-trade will lead to positive net job creation. President Obama is just making it up because he wants to believe it.

Another country preceded us in that path, Spain. Why not mention it? Why not ask the Spaniards? Why not commission a study of Spanish job creation owed to new energy industries? The most expensive study would be one hundred million times cheaper than what the President wants to undertake without study.

This was a real question, real questions? Why doesn’t President Obama want to convince the citizenry through rational arguments backed by facts? What’s there to lose?

President Obama is really doing all this, in large part in an attempt to combat global warming. Energy independence has little to do with it. Note that importing more petroleum products is one way to reduce carbon emissions domestically. If Pres. Bush had proposed something like that, the parano wing of the Democratic party would have said he was in bed with the Saudi King. (Again!)

If there were no global warming, his grand project to saddle us with economic burdens for generations to come might just look criminal. I am not referring to his intent. I am pretty sure he believes in it. His heart is pure. I am talking about the likely results of his plans. If there were no global warming, what the President is trying to do would still not qualify as Murder One but as manslaughter, mass manslaughter to be exact. I am not suggesting a conspiracy, just the usual awful natural consequences of very bad ideas.

Here is what I believe right now about global warming:

There is no long-term trend of rising global temperatures resulting from human activities and that will cause a lot of damage soon.

I am not affirming that the whole idea of global warming is a hoax. It’s not a hoax. It’s part fraud and part religion. Or, am I saying the same thing? Isn’t it the case that fraud often accompanies the launching of new religions?

What fraud? It’s easy to find on the Internet the fraudulent history of the so-called, “hockey stick” diagram of dramatically rising temperature. Look it up. Summary: Temperatures were as high, in fact, in 900 as they were in 1900. The fake diagram put out to dramatize the idea of recent, man-made global warming simply forget to show the 900 temperatures.

Why do proponents of the idea that there is human-caused global warming with terrible consequences have to lie? If you have a valid cause, you don’t lie; you shout out the truth.

Here is another fraud, perpetrated by Al Gore, the guy who lives in a huge mansion and who could not even win his own state when he ran for President:

Al Gore’s phony pictures show polar bears drowning because of warming polar water. It makes little kids cry, as it should if it were true. Some polar bears may be drowning off ice floes, for whatever reason, including possibly, a temporary warming of the polar area. Yet, there are more polar bears today than have ever been counted. If know this is hard to believe because lies often repeated sound like the truth. Don’t take my word for it; look up the data provided by organizations devoted to the protection of polar bears.

Speaking of Al Gore, do you know who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize? Again, it’s easy to find the Nobel Committees website. Look it up; you will be surprised.

How about the religious aspect of global warming belief? I believe it’s the most important by far.

Secular humanists like me have made Christianity spiritually irrelevant. Many can’t live with the results of their actions. They are yearning for something greater than themselves. What better cause than the defense of Mother Nature, who was in fact savagely assaulted until about fifty years ago?

Militant environmentalism has all the trappings of a Christian heresy, up to and including the persecution of dissenters and an Apocalypse scenario. Pres. Obama wants to be the Second Coming of the Messiah.

If you are an independent-minded person, if you wish to make up your mind for yourself on this important topic, there are three levels of information-seeking I can think of for you. One is an anecdote; the second is a couple of books to read; the third is studiously following a somewhat technical blog by a climate scientist.

Here is the anecdote that will keep you awake at night if you believe man-made, destructive global warming is real and unprecedented in its magnitude.

We know what the Scandinavian settlers in Greenland ate. We know because we have their middens, their garbage piles. They ate pork and beef in large quantities. Pigs will eat anything, it’s true. Cattle require grass or hay. Hay is simply dried grass. For at least two hundred years, between about 1100 and about 1300, the Norse settlers of Greenland were able to grow enough grass to feed cows and eat them.

You could not do this now in Greenland because it’s too cold.

Unavoidable conclusion: Centuries before the Industrial Revolution, long before there was any conceivable human release of green house gases, Greenland was warmer than it is now. This fact alone is not incompatible with the idea that recent human industrial activity and automobiles are responsible for a new and different kind of temperature rise. I realize this.

Or is it? What do you think? Why are militant environmentalists not talking at all about this? What are they hiding? Are they just shy?

Religion dislikes contradiction even on small matters.

Note: The information about the Norse middens comes from Jared Diamond. He is a serious intellectual but also an environmental activist who does not seem to like his own findings.

Second the book, or books: Read Bjorn Lomborg. He is an environmental activist but also a statistician by trade. Many of the actions of his fellow environmentalists appall him because they are based on false information. Courageously, he tries to set them straight periodically. Read The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool it.

Third, if you are up to it, you can follow this blog .It’s by a critic who meticulously examines and reports on the very same measurements that global warming activists use to alarm you through an uncritical press. Anthony Watts, the blogger, is a former television meteorologist who brags tiresomely about his own green home. His blog was voted the best science blog by several hundreds of thousands websurfers last year (not a systematic election but most of us couldn’t get that number of votes for anything we do, anyway, anyhow).Watts is not fun but I always manage to understand what he claims, without any training in climate science. He keeps me updated. Give it a short, uncommitted try.

Why would the President push this new religion and impose its results on us though legislation such as cap-and-trade?

The reason is often the same as with many other government expansions. First, again, I don’t think is a cynical conspirator. He believes in what he is saying, or in most of it. He is trying to do what’s right. He thinks he knows what’s right for you even if it hurts you. Probably, he underestimates optimistically the amount of hurt he will inflict.

Certainly, he underestimates the effects any slowdown in American production will have on Third World babies. (President Obama’s half-brother really lives in a small hut in Kenya. News is he is writing a book, not the President, his little brother.)

Second, the struggle against imagined global warming is the new form of the same collectivist dream that has plagued humanity from its beginning. At its core is the belief that something has to be more important than the individual. Religion used to be it. Then, it was socialism in all its forms, including the particularly brutal form called communism.

Make no mistake, the importance that American political philosophy and the mainstream thought in other western nations give to the individual is not the rule historically. It’s a rare historical exception. It has not been established for long and then, only in small parts of the world. It’s fragile.

Incidentally, have you heard of the powerful environmental movement blossoming right now in Muslim countries? OK, there isn’t any. I am just messing with your mind! In Muslim countries, most people hold on to their old religious beliefs. There is no need there for a replacement collectivist solution.

Now that all forms of socialism have been discredited everywhere except among small numbers in semi-literate countries, a replacement solution is emerging: Save the Planet. President Obama is not the Devil; he is trying to be its current High Priest, if can’t make Messiah.

Rational people everywhere must resist this new and ruinous obscurantism. They shouldn’t do this by listening to people like me but by informing themselves of the facts. I proposed above three pragmatic ways to do this above. If you find some falsehoods, draw your own conclusions about the probable magnitude of this religious fraud. Why would you lie, or ignore contradictory information (same thing) if yours were the right story?

Again, I am not proposing ordinary people should make up their own mind on an array of complex scientific findings. Instead, you can just figure out whether partisans of global warming are lying to you or otherwise misrepresenting facts. Then, ask yourselves why. This is an exercise in basic rationalism. You would do it if you were buying a bicycle.

Rational people include religious believers, of course. Most Christian currents and all of Islam enjoin the faithful to use actively the reasoning power that God gave them, by the way.

I hope the Senate will destroy or eviscerate the House Bill. I am not sure it will.

In case you are wondering: I am in favor of conservation of resources. I think this society wastes too much. This is the conservative position. My wife and I raised two children without a clothes dryer. We have not owned one for thirty years. I wonder how many Greens can say the same, even in sunny California. I am going to start asking. It will be fun.

Soon on this blog: “No Blood for Oil!”

About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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5 Responses to Cap-and-Trade and Religion: a Summary

  1. John says:

    Polar bear facts (because you always taught me to track them down):
    Polar bear population 1950s: 5000-10000(est.)
    Polar bear population 2000s: 20000-25000(est.)
    Not insignificant numbers.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Isn’t it amazing what happens when you look up facts?

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        John: I hope you are directing your friends to my blog, your enemies too. It will make some of them cry; I mean the enemies.

  2. RJ Matthews says:

    We must vote the bums out of office in 2010. That is now our only hope to save our once great nation!

  3. Pingback: Cap-and-Trade and Religion: A Summary « Notes On Liberty

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