Written by Marian Tupy, a policy analyst, Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
According to Sir David Attenborough, the famous British broadcaster and naturalist, “humans are threatening their own existence and that of other species by using up the world’s resources.” In a recent interview, Attenborough said that “the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.”
We are a plague on the Earth,” he continued. “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now… We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there.
In 2006, Sir David Attenborough was voted Britain’s greatest living icon. Popularity, however, is no substitute for wisdom. As I have explained in a previous blog post, “[The] rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today. And then it will fall… the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all.”
I was puzzled by the recent news that PresBO has decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and several days later, my confusion remains despite reading a number of articles addressing this surprising move. It occurs to me that it is just indicative of the current administration’s leadership strategy, which is frankly equal parts reactionary and political, but always misguided.
So here are my thoughts on this current attempt to ease the high prices Americans are facing at the gas pump…
First, this move is too little too late. The fact is oil prices were at their peak around April of 2011 and have been steadily declining over the last few months so that prices were already easing slightly. So why release this oil now? Particularly when we are in the beginning days of hurricane season, and we realize how beneficial it is to have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), for example, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, when supply was majorly disrupted. So, instead of maintaining the SPR until a real crisis occurs, the President has opted to release 30 million barrels of the Reserve for seeming little more that earning political brownie points with the American people.
I am generally against most all government activities in the marketplace, especially those that involve social micromanagement; however, there is one idea that started on the left and has been making its way through the libertarian sphere that has some good potential. I am talking about a revenue neutral carbon tax, one which reduces or completely replaces other taxes such as payroll, income, capital gains/dividends, etc.
Recently, a court ruling invalidated the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s route through Nebraska, putting off the decision on the continuation of the project, which might not happen until the midterm elections.
Before the court ruling, Obama was expected to decide whether the project should be carried out by spring. The pipeline project has been delayed for the five years President Obama spent in office.
Recent reports show that the State Department deemed the project safe, considering that the pipeline set to transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta through United States heartland to Gulf Coast refineries, wouldn’t have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Phil Kerpen, from American Commitment, reminded us during a conference organized by the Franklin Center the past weekend that President Obama has continually warned the public that he will veto the pipeline if he considers the project harmful to our climate.
According to Kerpen, President Obama’s willingness to work around Congress has translated into a gap increase between what the President wants and what Americans want. The President’s tendency to drag the decision regarding the construction of the pipeline could be linked to the wrath of environmentalists and coalitions willing to invest heavily against the project and anybody who supports it. The decision might be put off still for some time, precisely because we are in the middle of an election year, putting President Obama in a delicate position whether he chooses to approve the project or not.
“What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.” — Thomas Sowell
— Conservatives urge Boehner forego “theater” on debt ceiling: Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Raul Labrador (R-ID), two of the most conservative members of the House, are urging Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) avoid political theater and pass a clean debt ceiling rather than delay the inevitable. “Our constituents are fed up with the political theater. If we’re not going to fight for something specific, we might as well let the Democrats own it,” said Labrador. Amash was more resigned to the ends of a showdown, saying, “It’s going to end up being clean anyway.”
— Oh, Chris Matthews, you are such a pitiful person: The MSNBC host says that complaining about President Obama’s use of executive power and lawlessness is “second-term birtherism.” Make fun of birthers all you want, we don’t mind. But the constitutional limits on the executive and separation of powers is not something that should be so easily tossed aside. No word on whether Matthews still gets a thrill up his leg when he hears Obama speak.
In a report released on Friday, the State Department determined that the northern part of the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on the environment. The finding was expected and not at all dissimilar from previous draft and final environmental reports.
The media can’t help but ignore the findings of the report. There is bipartisan support for Keystone XL in Congress and polling shows the public backs its construction. President Barack Obama, however, is ambivalent to the pipeline, which may be a generous way to describe some of his public statements about it.
President Obama has slammed Republicans for their support of Keystone XL and downplayed the number of jobs it would create. Perhaps the most important angle he’s discussed is the pipeline’s impact on climate change.
“[A]llowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” President Obama said in June 2013 in a speech at Georgetown University. “The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.”
Hey, guys, let’s overlook the in the 20th Century 94 million deaths for which communist regimes in the 20th were responsible. Let’s ignore, for a moment, that individual liberties are nonexistent or severely limited in communist countries. Why should we gloss over these truths? Because Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, says that communism is the way to go to fight global warming:
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model.
China may be the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and struggling with major pollution problems of their own, but the country is “doing it right” when it comes to fighting global warming says Figueres.
“They actually want to breathe air that they don’t have to look at,” she said. “They’re not doing this because they want to save the planet. They’re doing it because it’s in their national interest.”
Figueres added that the deep partisan divide in the U.S. Congress is “very detrimental” to passing any sort of legislation to fight global warming. The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, can push key policies and reforms all on its own. The country’s national legislature largely enforces the decisions made by the party’s Central Committee and other executive offices.
Just when you think that radical environmentalists could sink no lower, they released a video featuring depressed Santa Claus who warns children that he may have to “cancel Christmas” because the ice on the North Pole is melting.
“Regrettably, I bring bad tidings. For some time now, melting ice of the North Pole has made our operations and our day-to-day life intolerable and impossible, and there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas,” says Santa Claus in the Greenpeace-produced video, which was released at the end of November.
The fearmongering video is yet another example of the tactics to which radical environmentalists resort when they want to distraction from, you know, the actual facts. In his 2007 Nobel lecture, Al Gore cited U.S. Navy researchers who said that the Arctic ice cap would be would be gone “in as little as seven years.” He repeated that warning urgently, “Seven years from now.”
As is the case with most regulations designed to deal with climate change, President Barack Obama’s new anti-coal regulations won’t do much to curb emissions, according to an analysis released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA report, Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources, notes that the regulatory agency “anticipates that the proposed EGU New Source GHG Standards will result in negligible CO2 emission changes, energy impacts, quantified benefits, costs, and economic impacts by 2022.”
“Accordingly, the EPA also does not anticipate this rule will have any impacts on the price of electricity, employment or labor markets, or the US economy,” the agency claimed in the analysis.
The new regulations only apply to new natural and coal plants, though President Obama has also pushed regulations on existing coal plants through executive and regulatory fiat. Those regulations are expected to increase energy prices and hurt workers at coal-fired plants, which led Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other members of Congress from states where coal plays a role in their economies to say that the White House has “declared war on coal.”
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to release another report on climate change this fall. But we already have an idea of what they’re expected to say:
An unreleased draft of the U.N.’s next major climate report reportedly states that scientists are more certain than ever that man’s actions are warming the planet — even as the report struggles to explain a slow-down in warming that climate skeptics have seized upon.
Global surface temperatures rose rapidly during the 70s, but have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office. Climate skeptics have spent months debating the weather pattern, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped.
A draft of the upcoming AR5 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is set for final release in Oct. 2014 and used by governments around the world, offers a variety of explanations for the mystery, Reuters reported, from ocean storage of heat to volcanoes.
The Economist notes that there is some doubt among members of the panel that greenhouse-gas emissions are as big of a problem than they’ve claimed in the past. The magazine points out that this is a huge deal given that the IPCC has been used by many countries, including the United States, to determine climate change policies.