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.
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.
Not only are labor union leaders revolting against President Barack Obama over his ill-conceived healthcare law, they’re also pushing back over environmental regulations against coal plants.
In a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Raymond Ventrone, business manager of Boilermakers Local 154, slammed the Environmental Protection Agency’s “anti-coal agenda and noted that the new regulations are hurting the workers that he represents.
“Just three years ago, hundreds of construction workers and boilermakers from Local 154 installed state-of-the-art pollution control equipment on a 1,700 megawatt coal-fired power plant,” wrote Ventrone, who represents 2,000 workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. “More than $500 million was invested in this plant, proving that coal and clean air were not mutually exclusive.”
“Now, those breakthrough technological upgrades — approved by the Environmental Protection Agency only three years ago — have been deemed insufficient by the very same agency by virtue of new regulations created without a vote in Congress or input from the public,” he explained, adding that the anti-coal regulations have forced two Western Pennsylvania coal plants out of business.
Ventrone sees the anti-coal regulations as an attack on his members way of life, noting that they’ve been maligned as they earn an honest living. He also pointed out that environmental gains have been made even as coal usage increased substantially.
Back in June, President Barack Obama laid out a series of anti-consumer executive actions he was taking in an effort to combat climate change. The message appealed to his radical environmental base, but it fell flat with most Americans.
Like most organizations across the ideological spectrum, President Obama’s grassroots group, Organizing for Action (OFA), was hoping to use the August recess to push activists to get involved on a number issues, including promoting ObamaCare and the White House’s climate change agenda.
There’s only one problem — no one is showing up. That’s right, Organizing for Action has hosted a couple of events this month to push President Obama’s agenda only to find little or no attendance at all. Here’s the story via the NRCC:
We already knew that Organizing for Action, President Obama’s former campaign arm, was going to ignore jobs and the economy during the group’s “Action August.” We were’t surprised that this announcement came just days after the President’s “pivot” back to the economy.
But we are a little surprised that, apparently, even liberals aren’t showing up to push the President’s unpopular big government agenda (okay, we aren’t surprised.) OFA earlier this month kicked off their Action August with an event in Virginia touting ObamaCare – only one attendee showed up. [On Tuesday], OFA organized an event in Washington, DC promoting Obama’s climate change agenda, and NO ONE showed up to that one.
Well, this is one of the strangest claims that we’ve seen in a while. A group of far-Left House Democrats are pushing a resolution that says that women are disproportionately affected by global warming to the point where they could be pushed into a “transactional sex” (or prostitution). That’s not a joke — they’re apparently serious:
Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival.
The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.
“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.
Climate change could also add “workload and stresses” on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.
Last week, President Barack Obama met separately with House and Senate Republicans where he was asked about the future of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was stalled early last year despite a State Department report showing that it posed no substantial environmental threat. President Obama was ambiguous about the pipeline, which would create thousands of new jobs, both direct and indirect.