Environment

Policy decisions are increasingly based on the assumption that the earth’s atmosphere is warming, the warming will harm our species’ chances of survival, and man is the cause of this warming. Before supporting these policy decisions, please make sure that you are aware of the actual issues and whether or not the decisions are actually helping or harming our ability to survive.

Contents:

  1. Claims of Government and Mass Media
  2. Is the Earth actually warming?
  3. If the Earth is warming, is it dangerous?
  4. If the Earth is warming and it is dangerous, is it caused by man?
  5. How should we address what we do not clearly understand?
  6. Markets Can Figure This Out Most Efficiently
  7. Government Involvement Hurts the Chances of Solving the Problem
  8. Impact of Past and Legacy Government Policies
  9. Obama’s Plans for the Environment Are Harmful

Claims of Government and Mass Media

Below are 4 key direct and implied claims used by government and mass media to justify combating climate change and using policy to do it:

  1. The earth is warming
  2. The warming is dangerous
  3. The warming is mostly caused by man
  4. Policies directed at reducing man’s contribution to global warming are our best chance of success

The following information is intended to enable you to:

  1. Look at the rarely-communicated information about global warming
  2. Look at the sources and motives of the propagators of the man-made global warming message
  3. Look at the sensibility of past and current environmental policy solutions

Is the Earth Actually Warming?

Answer: Plenty of data says it is; plenty of data says it is not. As of now, we cannot be certain.

You have likely heard the arguments saying the Earth is warming through mainstream media and the government. Take a look at some of the opposing data yourself…

Information that Points to Global Cooling

NASA Says Climate Shifting to Cooler Temperatures – Newsmax (2008)

Arctic Buffers Sea Level Rise – BBC News (2005)

Arctic Ice Refuses to Melt As Ordered – The Register (2008)

Warming Freezes the Southern Ocean: Another Mann-Made Climate Change – Science and Public Policy Institute (2009)

The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat – NPR (2008)

Geological Evidence of Global Warming and Cooling – Are We Heading For Global Catastrophe? – Don J. Easterbrook

Forget Global Warming: Welcome to the New Ice Age – National Post (2008)

Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age – DailyTech (2008)

Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling – DailyTech (2008)

Information About Calculations and Climate Conclusions

Painting By Numbers: NASA’s peculiar thermometer – The Register (2008)

Greenhouse Warming: Fact, Hypothesis, or Myth – Douglas V. Hoyt (1997-2001)

The world has never seen such freezing heat – Telegraph (2008)

UK Paper Notes ‘Surreal Scientific Blunder’ in Global Temps Measurement; US Media Doesn’t Care – NewsBusters (2008)

Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered – American Physical Society (2007)  – http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

The Hockey Stick: A New Low In Climate Science – John Daly

Half humorously and half seriously, below is a revealing timeline of past global climate change headline warnings. It seems that climate alarmism may have a deep history.

The Schizophrenic’s Guide to “Global” Warming (1894-2008) – Intellectual Conservative (2008)

If the earth is warming, is it dangerous?

Answer: Plenty of reasoning says it is; there is also reasoning that says it is not. As of now, we cannot be certain.

You have likely heard the arguments saying it is through mainstream media and your government. Take a look at the opposing reasoning yourself…

Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide – Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (2007)

Is Global Warming Always Bad? – Cato Institute (2004)

The Department of Energy’s Report On the Impact of Kyoto: More Bad News For Americans – The Heritage Foundation (1998)

Global Warming Is Good For You – Guardian News (2002)

If the earth is warming and it is dangerous, is it caused by man?

Answer: There is data that says that it is, but no repeatable evidence. There is plenty of reason to believe it is not. As of now, we cannot be certain.

You have likely heard the arguments through mainstream media and the government that say global warming is caused by man. Take a look for yourself at the opposing data and reasoning that is not often broadly communicated…

The IPCC: A Key Influence of the Man Made Blame:

Data about global warming and its cause being manmade mostly funnels through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC directly influences the following communication channels and policy developers:

  1. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – organizes international/world initiatives for global climate change
  2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in charge of environmental regulation/policy in the U.S.
  3. An Inconvenient Truth and ex-Vice President Al Gore – together have had a strong influence on the policy decisions and communication around climate change

Take a close look at how the IPCC is structured and its inherent problems. Several relevant articles are accessible below, but it is also helpful to visit the IPCC website and dig deeply into its processes on your own.

Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered – American Physical Society (2007)

Karl Popper and the IPCC Climate Models – Douglas V. Hoyt (1997-2001)

Why the IPCC Should Be Disbanded – Science and Public Policy Institute (2007)

An Analysis of the Review of the IPCC – Science and Public Policy Institute (2007)

Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions? – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008)

The IPCC can’t count its “expert scientists”: – Author and reviewer numbers are wrong – John McClean (2009)

Take a look at 50 more articles discussing the credibility and integrity of the IPCC.

Investigating the IPCC’s principals and procedures there are many mentions of the involvement of “experts”. No definition or criteria of what the IPCC considers to be an “expert” can be found. Arbitrary Vote would be delighted to know what exactly an IPCC “expert” is and what qualifies these people to be “experts”.

Additionally, the IPCC claims to be an objective organization. How can objectivity be a charactaristic of an organization with so many political tentacles throughout the world? The IPCC’s personnel includes government members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Every country’s government has its own motivations, and several of the member countries are developing countries where it is likely that political positioning can be quite beneficial for continued development.

Additionally, scientists selected from countries all over the world add another level of self-promoting interest on top of the political self-interest of the country in which they reside. These characteristics, coupled with the lack of accountability and incentive inherent within government organizations, make the IPCC anything but an objective organization.

A report from the House of Lords includes scrutiny of IPCC processes and information. Below is the report and a couple of quotes:

The Economics of Climate Change – House of Lords (2005)

Overall, we are concerned that the IPCC process could be improved by rethinking the role that government-nominated representatives play in the procedures, and by ensuring that the appointment of authors is above reproach.

At the moment, it seems to us that the emissions scenarios are influenced by political considerations and, more broadly, that the economics input into the IPCC is in some danger of being sidelined. We call on the Government to make every effort to ensure that these risks are minimised.

Below is information around the dissent of IPCC scientists:

IPCC report criticized by one of its lead authors -The Heartland Institute (2001)

Chris Landsea Leaves IPCC – Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (2005)

Low compensation and high commitment levels raises important questions about the attraction and selection of qualified IPCC scientists. The following publications provide information around this topic.

Analysis of Global Change Assessments: Lessons Learned – Committee on Analysis of Global Change Assessments, National Research Council (2007)

Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions – Committee on Analysis of Global Change Assessments, National Research Council (2001)

The IPCC is an intergovernmental organization. The above information about the IPCC exposes the organization’s vulnerability to the inherent problems of government organizations. The fact that it is in essence a “super-government” organization makes the probability of realizing dysfunction and failure even higher.

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth:

Falsehoods In Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth – Wm. Robert Johnston (2006)

35 Inconvenient Truths: The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie – Science and Public Policy Institute (2007)

Al Gores’ An Inconvenient Truth: One-sided, Exaggerated, Misleading, Speculative, Wrong – Competitive Enterprise Institute (2006)

Gore Gored: A Science-based Response to Al Gore’s Global Warming Commentary – Sunday Telegraph (2006)

Al Gore and Venus Envy – Fox News (2009)

The following video disputes Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and perpetuated communications around global warming:

an inconvenient truth…or convenient fiction? – Pacific Research Institute (2007)

The Stern Review Refuted? (in other spots):

A report called “Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change” is one of the most popular works on the economic effects of global warming. The report was written for the British Government in 2006. Below are important critiques of the report:

Britain’s Stern Review on Global Warming: It could be Environmentalism’s Swan Song – The Mises Institute (2006)

Climate Chaos? Don’t Believe It – Telegraph (2006)

Wrong Problem, Wrong Solution – Telegraph (2006)

There is Considerable Uncertainty in Climate Models:

Climate models are a core technical tool that climate scientists use to track greenhouse gases effect on the current climate and to predict its effect on the earth’s climate in the future. The articles and reports below examine the validity of climate models.

– An American Physical Society report called “Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered” focuses on the problems with the calculation central to climate models. There was much controversy around this report, which is also worth reading about in the following article: American physicists warned not to debate global warming – The Register (2008)

– Are Carbon Emissions the Cause of Global Warming – The Mises Institute (2007)

– Karl Popper and the IPCC Climate Models – Douglas V. Hoyt (1997-2001)

– Economic and Climate Models – The Mises Institute (2008)

– Below is a quote from Can We Trust Climate Models? – Stats (2008)

Climate models are nowhere close to being able to fully simulate the physical processes of climate, according to David Stainforth, a climate modeler at the University of Exeter in England who is an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. As a result, he says, “there’s no compulsion to hold that the projections of even the best models can provide useful probabilities for the future of the real world.”

There is wide dispute among the most extreme climate model predictions, and additional dispute about the impact a given climate model scenario would have on earth.  There are also many unknown variables (new technologies, natural disasters, economic disasters, unexpected natural climate changes, etc) that we cannot predict and are likely to unfold within the predictions’ time frame.

A noteworthy thought on climate model prediction:

Our models for predicting weather often fail within a 24-hour prediction timeframe and become increasingly less accurate beyond about a week’s time. Is it likely that predicting the earth’s climate (being much more complex and with a wider range of variables than the weather) decades into the future will be more accurate?

Other Possible Causes of Warming:

There are a variety of natural reasons the Earth warms and cool. It is certainly scientifically sound to thoroughly explore other possibilities. The below articles reveal many natural possibilities for global climate changes.

Greenhouse Warming? What Greenhouse Warming – Science and Public Policy Institute (2007)

Causes of Global Warming of About .5 C, 1880-1997 – Douglas V. Hoyt (1997-2001)

Is There a Basis for Global Warming Alarm? – The Independent Institute (2005)

Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus – CATO Institute (1992)

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate – The Heartland Institute (2008)

The Saturated Greenhouse Effect – The Friends of Science Society (2008)

Global Warming Natural, Says Expert – Zenit (2007)

Geological Evidence of Global Warming and Cooling – Are We Heading For Global Catastrophe? – Don J. Easterbrook

Other Planets Besides Earth Are Warming

There are differing views as to why Mars has warmed as much as the Earth in the same time period. Competing explanations are:

  1. The differing orbit wobble of Mars compared to Earth (only effects Mars)
  2. Dust clouds trapping heat on the surface of Mars (only effects Mars)
  3. An increase in solar irradiance (effects both Mars and Earth)

Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says – National Geographic (2007)

Mars Warming Due to Dust Storms, Study Finds – National Geographic (2007)

Climate Change Hits Mars – Times Online (2007)

Additionally, Pluto, Jupiter, and Neptune’s moon are warming:

Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2002)

New Storm on Jupiter Hints at Climate Change – Space.com (2006)

MIT researcher finds evidence of global warming on Neptune’s largest moon – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998)

Sun Blamed For Warming of Earth and Other Worlds – Live Science (2007)

Breaking: Warming On Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune’s Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say – Canada Free Press (2007)

The point is not to necessarily say that the warming of these planets/moons is definitely linked to the same cause of warming on Earth, but to show that planets can have a variety of natural reasons for warming – including reasons that we may not yet be aware of. Earth is not exempt from this fact.

Scientists Refuting Man Made Global Warming and Surrounding Issues:

31,000 scientists have signed a petition against the claim that global warming is man made. The petition was signed by 9,021 American PhD’s and 22,051 additional American scientists. The petition is through the OISM Petition Project

James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic – U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (2009)

Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions? – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2008)

Consensus? What Consensus? Among Climate Scientists, The Debate Is Not Over – Science and Public Policy Institute (2007)

Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus – CATO Institute (1992)

The Dangers of Disputing Warming Orthodoxy – The Mises Institute (2009)

Global warming deniers’ numbers increasing faster than global temperature – OC Register (2008)

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

A Few Relevant Books:

Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media

Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor

The Dangers of Disputing Warming Orthodoxy – The Mises Institute (2009)

Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed

A Few Relevant Groups and Blogs:

International Climate Science Coalition

Climate Science

World Climate Report

Master Resource: A Free Market Energy Blog

Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Junk Science

Friends of Science

Science and Public Policy Institute

GlobalWarming.org

How should we address what we do not clearly understand?

There is wide dispute among the most extreme climate model predictions, and additional dispute about the impact a given climate scenario would have on earth.  There are also many unknown variables (new technologies, natural disasters, economic disasters, unexpected natural climate changes, etc) that we cannot predict and are likely to unfold within the predictions’ time frame.

Given these points, the above information, and surely more that you can find on your own, it is obvious that there is a ton of uncertainty around the issues of climate change. Regardless of this uncertainty, U.S. and world governments broadly communicate that there is consensus among scientists that global warming is a definite problem that is certainly man made.

Important questions to ask are:

  1. If we assume global warming is man made, does that eliminate the possibility of natural forces causing additional warming sooner, or potential dangerous cooling instead of warming in the near future?
  2. If warming is largely caused by natural forces and our reduced emissions efforts are futile, where do we stand in addressing the actual problem?

In both of these scenarios, we are set back in combating the problem because we have committed ourselves to a one-track approach.

By assuming the cause of possible global warming is man made, we are:

  1. Neglecting research around and innovation toward the possibility that there is a completely different cause
  2. Neglecting research around and innovation toward the possibility that there is an additional cause
  3. Hurting our ability to combat whatever might be the actual problem

Markets Can Figure This Out Most Efficiently

Capitalism and free markets open the doors toward efficiently recognizing and solving potential climate problems. Allowing business to function freely will optimize the response to the infinite and ever-changing variables associated with climate change and the potential solutions to address it.

  1. Businesses create the technologies that can help to discover and analyze climate problems more accurately.
  2. Businesses create the technologies that are the solutions to the discovered problems.
  3. It is in businesses’ best interest to be more energy efficient for:
    • -Running general operations (e.g. electricity, car/truck fuel use, less expensive shipping costs, etc)
    • -Industrial production (e.g. optimizing the output of resources, recycling of resources, etc)
    • -Driving sales as consumers save money through energy efficiency (e.g. gas mileage efficiency, products that reduce electric bills, products that reduce heating bills, etc)

Since a strong return on investment argument can be made for energy efficiency within a given business, they are likely to adopt the energy efficient solution. This gives entrepreneurs great incentive to create solutions that will save the business money, while making themselves money and solving the pollution problem. It is in businesses’ own best interests to create and build markets around energy efficiency.

Throughout history, we have made our greatest advances in the human standard of living during times of most unfettered capitalism. Though no one can predict exactly how the story would play out with energy and climate-related topics, capitalism will be the best chance at staving off any potential threat to that standard of living (whether natural or man made), and more importantly, any potential threat to survival.

Here are a few ideas about the possibilities related to climate change that could emerge under less-restricted capitalism:

  1. The largest emissions are reported to come from the power generation sector, which is largely government-run or subsidized with government contingencies. A free market system for power generation would enable the most efficient power generation businesses to emerge.
  2. Government-chosen and subsidized energy industries (drawing economic resources to a finite number of energy options) would not exist, enabling economic resources to be optimally allocated to allow for the development of endless options of energy solutions and the best solutions to emerge.
  3. The tax dollars taken from businesses and individuals that would have gone into the government’s environmental initiatives could now be voluntarily available for environmental charities and non-profits, which would simultaneously improve businesses’ public relations and individuals’ feelings of contribution to a cause they care about – while effectively improving the chances of reaching the related environmental goals.
  4. Environmentalist groups would not be stopped from making their case and having impact, however, incentives would be much more aligned for environmentalists and businesses. The best environmentalist groups would be the ones that provided the most reliable and accurate information and helped drive the most effective solution discoveries. Aligning the incentives would build trust between the two camps that would enable cooperation and progress toward their respective goals.
  5. Private property rights on land, air, and water (rivers, lakes, coasts, etc), rather than government ownership, would enable more efficient enforcement of pollution control between parties through a legal system.
  6. There would likely be a market for insurance businesses to get more heavily involved in understanding and combating potential climate change to reduce the risk of natural disasters, plagues, etc resulting from warming so that their businesses could be more profitable.
  7. Agricultural business would likely have incentive to get more heavily involved in understanding and combating potential climate change for similar reasons described for insurance businesses above.
  8. Insurance consumers (businesses and individuals) would have incentive to keep a “check” on insurance businesses by fueling the investigation of opposing scientific views to arrive closest to the truth. Individuals and businesses could then voluntarily decide to drop their high-premium insurer for cheaper insurance (a market that would naturally emerge) or no insurance at all.
  9. Direct, negative financial consequences (for environmentalist groups, climate scientists, environmental industry businesses, etc.) inherent in capitalism for the failure to create or discover the best solution or provide the best analysis would instill the accountability and incentive that is required to efficiently solve the toughest problems.

Below are a few resources and organizations that present facts and theory that support the potential of the ideas and concepts above – and surely many more not mentioned:

Property and Environment Research Center

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment

Institute for Energy Research

Master Resource: A Free Market Energy Blog

The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Toward an Austrian Theory of Environmental Economics – The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (2004)

Environmentalism and Economic Freedom: The Case for Private Property Rights – The Mises Institute (1998)

Environmentalism Refuted – The Mises Institute (2001)

Law, Property Right, and Air Pollution –  The Mises Institute (2002)

Hot Air – The Mises Institute (1998)

Property Rights Solutions for the Global Commons: Bottom-up or Top-down? – Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum (1999)

Toward a Calculational Theory and Policy of Intergenerational Sustainability -The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (2006)

Index of Leading Environmental Indicators – Pacific Research Institute

Natural Sciences and the Environment – The Mises Institute

Government Involvement Hurts the Chances of Solving the Problem

Even if we confirm that man is causing the problem, government approaches very likely lessen our chances of solving it.

  1. Government jobs are created that must be supported, which results in self-justification for funding
    • Data can get portrayed in warped ways to justify a job position’s existence
    • No correction mechanism to ensure truthful/accurate information
  2. Lobbyists and special interests influence politicians through tactics that don’t have anything to do with the core problem. For example, the government becomes a middleman between environmentalist organizations and businesses. In order to make a policy decision, the middleman requires more persuasion (through money, political advantage, persistence, etc) from one side or the other usually distant from direct regard to the consequences of the decision. This results in poor, non-objective solutions.
  3. Scientists directly influenced or employed by government are not accountable – whether they have best intentions or not, they can still be incorrect in their analysis and solutions, and there is no efficient correction mechanism for their failures
  4. Government organizational structures are inherently flawed
  5. A government promotes fear about the consequences of climate change and self-justifies its role by promising protection of the population.
  6. Government’s assumption of one cause to climate change and enforced policy around that cause means that there will be a slow and inefficient adjustment of policy and industry to combat the actual problem if the assumption is incorrect or if unknown variables change the problem in the future.
  7. The economy is impacted negatively because:
    • Policy’s do not take into consideration all known and unknown economic variables
    • Tax dollars are devoted to less productive activities than they otherwise would have been had they been allowed to flow freely through the economy
    • Higher costs for regulated industries translate into higher prices for their produced goods, which hurts the U.S. economy while increasing the likelihood for impacted industries to be internationally less competitive or for these companies to shift strategies abroad
    • When businesses are hit with environmental policies that require them to reorganize operations, change strategies, or cut back productivity, they become vulnerable to significant losses and bankruptcy.
    • Policies cannot adjust quickly to correct for failure

The following report analyzes the many problems associated with government involvement in climate change:

Technocracy, Democracy, and U.S. Climate Politics: The Need for Demarcation – Science, Technology, and Human Values (2005)

Also see more about the inherent problems of government that display its inability to effectively solve problems within Arbitrary Vote.

Impact of Past and Legacy Government Polices

Below are a few examples recent and past government programs aimed at improving the environment. There are certainly more. Arbitrary Vote invites you to submit other government environmental program examples, even if you think they were successful.

Ethanol is a Government Failure

A great example of the problems unforeseen by governments in choosing a technology as a correct market to fulfill an environmental goal is the case of government-mandated ethanol. The many problems realized by this mandate include:

  1. Making food more expensive
  2. Doing little to decrease oil imports or improve the environment
  3. Causing harm to the environment
  4. Causing damage to engines
  5. Vehicles run on Ethanol get less gas mileage
  6. Largest ethanol producer filed for bankruptcy in 2008

The Ethanol Mandate Should Not Be Expanded – The Heritage Foundation (2007)

In Gas Powered World, Ethanol Stirs Complaints – The New York Times (2008)

Siphoning Off Corn to Fuel Our Cars – The Washington Post (2008)

Dash for green fuel pushes up price of meat in US – Times Online (2007)

Mechanics see ethanol damaging small engines – MSNBC (2008)

Corn boom could expand ‘dead zone’ in Gulf – MSNBC (2008)

Report: VeraSun to File for Bankruptcy Protection – Fox News (2008)

Thoughts on $40 a Barrel Oil – FREE (2008)

The Environmental Costs of Ethanol – National Center for Policy Analysis (2007)

Above are several of the reasons why ethanol as a widely used fuel did not emerge naturally as a free market in the first place. What happened as a result of this government failure is that a ton of unwarranted investment took place in developing the production technology, new gas station equipment, etc. The over-committed dollars and resources were put to poor use and it takes a long time to make the correction back to optimal use because policy change and resource reallocation are not fast-moving processes. This is a very inefficient economic correction compared to corrections within a free market.

Synfuels was a Government Failure

Another failed attempt to achieve energy independence through government-chosen fuel technologies was the creation of the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation. Not only did it fail to achieve its goals, but billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars were lost.

Remember the Synthetic Fuels Corporation? – The Heritage Foundation (2004)

Bad surge. – National Review (2005)

EPA Global Warming Regulation/Clean Air Acts

Below are a few highlights of the problems of EPA regulations around global warming and clean air:

  1. Does little to improve the environment
  2. Extremely costly
  3. Causes job losses
  4. Causes industry to move abroad

The True Costs of EPA Global Warming Regulation – The Heritage Foundation (2008)

EPA-Mandated CO2 Reductions Will Lower U.S. Industries’ Return on Equity – The Heritage Foundation (2008)

Stop The EPA – The Heritage Foundation

Hot Air – The Mises Institute (1998)

The Obama Energy Agenda: Less Supply, More Regulations, and Higher Prices for American Consumers – Institute for Energy Research (2008)

International: Kyoto Protocol

The largest global initiative to reduce greenhouse emissions in the name of climate change is the Kyoto protocol. The articles below describe the utter failure of the program since its inception along with information as to why it would not have worked in the first place.

Scientists say Kyoto protocol is ‘outdated’ failure – The Independent (2007)

Kyoto’s failures haunt new U.N. talks – Los Angeles Times (2007)

Economic impact of Kyoto Protocol draws scrutiny as cost projections rise – Plastics Engineering (2005)

The Scientific Case against the Global Climate Treaty – The Science & Environmental Policy Project (1999)

Flatulence Must Be Stopped!

Methane is more potent per unit than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. It’s actually over 20 times more potent. Check out the impact of flatulence on global warming.

  1. With the high level of agriculture in Australia, cows are responsible for 14% of greenhouse gases; in New Zealand cows are responsible for 50% of emissions. So significant that they are thinking of taxing flatulence, and transferring kangaroo bacteria to cattle to quell the emissions.
  2. The cattle count of the world was about 1.4 billion as of 2002 with an annual growth rate of .4%
  3. Now I imagine that cow flatulence releases more gas than humans, but there are nearly 5 times as many humans in the world.
  4. Look at the rate of human population growth, and thus cattle growth – as in line with the global warming hockey stick

What types of policies should we create to combat the serious problem of human greenhouse gas emissions?

Although this is presented in a lighthearted fashion, is this actually a problem?

Aside from human and animal released methane, the potential rapid release of methane into the environment through sub-polar permafrost and huge methane hydrate deposits under the sea could take place despite the cause of warming temperatures.

It seems that the methane problem is put on the back-burner by the propaganda machines that push for industrial policy to combat global warming. Given that scientists do believe methane could be a significant contributor and danger, is this too unpopular or unattractive of a subject to use in striving for the ends desired by these activists and policy-makers?

Obama’s Plans for the Environment Are Harmful

The Obama Administration (and many past administrations) preach good intentions for the environment and U.S. economy. However, their policies instead hamper the ability to clean up the environment and inflict damage upon the economy.

Two of the Obama Administration’s key goals with regard to energy and the environment are to:

  1. Reduce greenhouse emissions and improve energy efficiency – to save the planet from global warming destruction while moving toward energy independence
  2. Achieve energy independence – to reduce gas and energy prices, and ensure the supply of energy in the U.S.

These goals are conveniently wrapped together in a bow because their achievement is touted as a means to improving the U.S. economy. It is believed that the economy will improve through:

  1. The building of energy industries (e.g. wind power, solar power, etc)
  2. The improvement of energy supply and prices
  3. The creation of jobs – “green jobs”

The Obama Energy Agenda: Less Supply, More Regulations, and Higher Prices for American Consumers – Institute for Energy Research (2008)

Obama’s Green Team – The American (2009)

Assumed man-made global warming is used as one of the most emotional motivators and scare tactics toward policy changes concerning the environment. That is why the majority of the information outlined within this page discusses the topic and why it is not a good idea to focus policy on the aim of averting it. There is no need to add to that reasoning here, so the focus will shift toward the other reasoning (which is nevertheless intertwined with global warming reasoning) driving environmental policy in the U.S. today.

Government-driven Energy Independence Fails

Policy toward energy independence is harmful to the economy and to achieving the desired results that energy independence is intended to produce. U.S. history backs up the sound economic principals that predict this government failure:

Energy Independence: The Ever-Receding Mirage – Reason Online (2004)

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence – CATO Institute (2008)

Remember the Synthetic Fuels Corporation? – The Heritage Foundation (2004)

Bad surge. – National Review (2005)

Failures of Ethanol

Energy prices rise and fall for the same economic reasons all prices rise and fall. If there is a market for cheaper and cleaner types of energy, entrepreneurs will seize the opportunity to create these products. The policy actions to date and planned only diminish the chances that the best solutions will emerge because they distort the allocation of resources toward the government’s predictions and desires for the market,  neglecting what the market actually needs.

The government has no idea if consumers are going to prefer ethanol, electric cars, wind energy, solar energy, all of the above or none of the above, nor will they know how long it will be preferred.  It is highly likely that something entirely new and better will emerge to accommodate constantly changing demands if the market is allowed to operate properly.

Seeing Red with “Green Jobs”

Below are highlights of the key problems with government creation of “green jobs” as outlined and expanded upon in Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction? An Assessment of the Literature – Institute for Energy Research (2009) with relation to studies that are influencing the Obama administration and planned policy.

  1. Mistaking a labor-intensive energy sector as the goal, rather than efficient energy provision.
  2. Counting job creation but ignoring job destruction.
  3. Double counting of jobs and overly simplistic treatment of the labor market.
  4. Ignoring the role of the private sector.
  5. How much government support of “green” markets is enough? Are the programs sustainable?
  6. Government picking of winners and losers, a classic example of unsound energy policy.
  7. Assuming that potential benefits from new technologies will only occur through government programs.

Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction? An Assessment of the Literature – Institute for Energy Research (2009)

Does ‘Depression Economics’ Change the Rules – The Mises Institute (2009)

The High Costs of ‘Green Recovery’ – Forbes (2008)

Impact of CO2 Restrictions on Employment and Income: Green Jobs or Gone Jobs (2008)

The actions to be taken through Obama’s plans and environmental staff are assuredly going to add to the cost of energy. Because energy is an inherent input to production, the cost of most goods and many services will most certainly rise as well. Obviously higher costs will add extra pain to an ailing economy. Additionally, true innovative energy and environmental progress will be slowed or stifled defeating the core purposes of the policies.