Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Great Carbon Caper

Question: Why will Goldman Sachs get richer when you exhale?

Answer: Because they own ten percent of the Energy Exchange that will trade carbon credits. (True - they do.)

Well, they aren’t going to issue carbon credits on your breath....yet. Just on your car, your household electricity, the furnace that keeps you warm in the winter, the air conditioner that cools you in the summer, the trucks that take your food to market, the airplane you take on vacation, the cement and shingles in your house, the asphalt on your streets, the dishes you eat from, the nylon clothing you wear, the radio station you listen to, the TV station you watch, the refrigeration that keeps your food fresh, the supermarket you shop at, etc. etc. etc. In other words, just about everything will generate CO2 either when it is made or when it is consumed. CO2 credits, either right off the bat or eventually, will be involved, and these credits will trade on the Energy Exchange. You can thank Messrs. Waxman and Markey for all that. They wrote the Cap & Trade bill that just passed the House last week.

Here’s how you, the public, benefit. Global warming will go down 0.6 degrees C. by 2050. If it works.

I can hardly wait.

A lot of our political representatives, being politicians, think that the laws of physics were passed by the Bush administration. They determine the existence of climate change by headcount, not by working the math. So, here is a little exposure to the people who CAN do the math, provided recently by Kim Strassel in the Wall Street Journal (excerpted):

Climate Change

The number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.

Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.

If you haven't heard of this politician, it's because he's a member of the Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its own country's carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming.

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country's new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country's weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. -- 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak "frankly" of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history." Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the "new religion." A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton's Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists' open letter.)

The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

The entire case for global warming was based on a computer model of the world climate that had several assumptions about the history of temperature in the last few centuries, know as the “hockey stick” curve. Those assumptions have been heavily debunked. There is no hockey stick curve. CO2 does not correlate to global warming. For most of the history of this planet, there was a lot more CO2 than there is today, and the temperatures were roughly the same as they are now.

Our coal reserves were put down 300 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period, when swamps filled with vegetation, the water level rose to keep up with the filling process, and thick mats of vegetation were layered and finally compressed by overburden to make coal. Coal is the CO2 taken out of the atmosphere by the carboniferous process. Because of this process, the end of the Carbiniferous period was the ONLY time in the last 600 million years that CO2 was as low as it is today (roughly 400 parts per million, or ppm). Typically CO2 was ten times that, at 4000 ppm. Cap & Trade is concerned about a rise to over 450 ppm.

With the CO2 at elevated levels, the Earth’s climate was not that much different. We are in a relatively cold part of the global cycle right now. Historic temperatures were as much as ten degrees C higher. Today’s climate is much like it was at the end of the Carboniferous.

The chart at the beginnig of this article was produced by a computer model, GEOCARB III, by Dr. R.A. Berner and his team. The model takes into account the rate of volcanic activity, the release of CO2 from the weathering of exposed rock (the biggest source), which in turn depends on temperature, the slight acidification of rain due to CO2, the effect of vegetation which covers the rock, absorption of CO2 into the oceans (the biggest sink for CO2), the temperature and calcium levels in the oceans, and the area of land and geologic uplift. In short words, there is no direct relation between CO2 level and global warming. The biggest factors in global warming are due to the shape of the land masses, as they move around by continental drift. When the land masses extend in a more or less continuous link from pole to pole, glaciers form. When they drift toward the equator, the world warms up.

My concern is the economic harm that will be done by a system of CO2 vouchers handed out as political favors to the select few, the creation of a new and uncontrolled currency, the CO2 credits, and the total hypocrisy of the whole charade touted as an environmental measure. My concern is that Cap & Trade gives an already too powerful central government yet another political weapon to beat up opponents, and an unlimited new tax platform with dire consequences.

It is not an environmental measure. It is the single largest piece of pseudo-science charlatanry ever perpetrated on the American taxpayer.

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