I strongly and enthusiastically support Michael Williams for U.S. Senate. Michael is running to fill the soon to be vacated seat held by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who plans to run for Texas Governor in 2010. Below is a five - part series that Michael recently posted on his blog. To learn more about Michael's campaign please go to http://www.williamsfortexas.com/
Part 1 - Cap and Trade Blog Series
by Michael Williams
June 22, 2009
Democrats in Congress, joined with the Obama administration, are proceeding along parallel tracks to impose CO2 regulations so sweeping as to become the most expensive and expansive environmental reach of government into the lives of American families, businesses and consumers in history.
In May, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill that is designed to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming. The full House could complete action on the bill within the next two weeks.
This week, Texas and other states will submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its preliminary “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to public heath and contribute to climate change.
The prospect for cap and trade is less certain in the Senate and the EPA, while poised to finalize its landmark finding, has not done so, yet. If enough Americans band together, we can still protect the American economy, jobs, and incomes from undue and unnecessary CO2 regulations.
Part 2 - The Endangerment Finding
by Michael Williams
June 23, 2009
Earlier today, Texas submitted comments to EPA’s April 17th “endangerment finding” that six greenhouse gases, including C02, cause or contribute to global warming. EPA’s finding was the first official action taken by the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide and could lead to regulations for almost anything that emits carbon dioxide – power plants, refineries, cars, hospitals, schools, restaurants, churches and farms.
In November 2008 we submitted comments to the EPA concerning the economic impact of having EPA bureaucrats micromanage the economy in the name of combating global warming. (I will discuss this in a later post but needless to say, there is significant evidence from people and entities of diverse political persuasions demonstrating the negative impact on GDP, jobs and income of federal GHG regulations.)
The decision to regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases was supposedly supported by “compelling scientific evidence.” EPA administrator Lisa Jackson referred to the “very large and comprehensive base of scientific information that has developed over the years through a global consensus process involving numerous scientists from many countries and representing many disciplines." One problem:
There is no such consensus.
* The assumptions about impact of increased greenhouse gas concentrations on future climate are based on computer models. These models are important research tools. But they cannot and should not be used to predict future climate.
* In an “Open Letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations” (December 13, 2007) 100 prominent scientists noted, “ In stark contrasts to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is “settled,” significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.”
* In a 255-page 2009 U.S. Senate Minority Report, more than 700 international scientists, including some current and former UN IPCC scientists who have now rejected the UN IPCC, expressed their skepticism of man-made global warming. Note 700dissenting scientists is more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the much ballyhooed and often referred to UN report.
* In the Global Warming Petition Project over 31,000 American scientists (9,000 with PhDs,) stated “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
* According to many scientists, and a large body of research, such things as the thawing of ice caps, sea-level and global temperature changes, are better explained by the sun’s influence.
Part 3 - "Cap and Trade" 101
by Michael Williams
June 24, 2009
Recently, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee began debating the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill. The tentacles of the massive 900+ page legislation will reach into every aspect of American life and significantly impact our national economic and energy security.
But according to a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, only 24% of Americans correctly identified that cap and trade has something to do with the environment. A slightly higher number (29%) believed the proposal has something to do with regulating Wall Street while 17% thought the term applied to health care reform. A plurality (30%) had no idea.
So what is cap and trade?
The goal of this legislation is to reduce U.S. CO2 and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050. The U.S. emits about 7 billion metric tons of CO2 annually, which includes the carbon dioxide we emit every time we breathe. If CO2 is reduced 83% by 2050, proponents claim it would reduce the earth’s temperature by 0.07 degrees Celsius by 2050.
The federal government will set a limit on the amount of CO2 and GHG that each large-scale emitter, e.g. power plants, refineries, industrial facilities can emit. The firm would be required to get an “emissions permit” for every ton of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere. These permits set an enforceable limit, or cap, on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that the company is allowed to emit. Over time, the limits get stricter, allowing less and less emissions, until the ultimate reduction goal is reached.
Some companies will be unable to meet their emissions limits. They would be allowed to purchase allowances from other companies that have more permits than they need to account for the amount they emit. The cost of these credits would be determined by the marketplace
In its budget, the Obama administration said it expects a cap and trade system would raise about $646 billion in the eight years to fiscal year 2019. However, a top White House economic adviser has estimated the revenue to be closer to $1.3 trillion to $1.9 trillion between 2012 and 2019.
The administration has talked about using the “revenue” for any number of purposes: investing in clean energy technologies; helping some large emitters make the transition; pay for health care reform and paying for the Making Work Pay tax credit.
In short, cap and trade is in upwards of $1.9 trillion put into the hands of government to reduce CO2 emissions; but it won’t accomplish even that. Not with China and India continuing to build more coal-fired power plants. It will raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500, and destroy 1-3 million jobs per year, over the next 15 years.
Part 4 - All cap and trade programs are not created equal.
by Michael Williams
June 25, 2009
Proponents of Waxman-Markey argue that the CO2 cap and trade bill is similar to the cap and trade program enacted by the Clean Air Act of 1990 (CAA), which reduced the sulfur emissions that cause acid rain.
The sulfur dioxide program initially targeted only 110 coal-fired power plants. It was eventually expanded to 445 power plants. CO2 and GHG are emitted from power plants. They are also released from refineries, industrial plants, planes, trains, automobiles, ships, home furnaces, fertilizer production, farm animals, and millions of other sources, including humans. Most mosquito and insect traps emit CO2.
Waxman-Markey proposes a comprehensive, economy-wide emission regulatory scheme where millions of different and individual sources of emissions come under its purview. That is a far cry from 445 power plants and is another dangerous power grab by the federal government.
Also, many low-cost sulfur dioxide control options existed when the CAA took effect. This is not the case with carbon dioxide control technologies. There are few, if any, control technologies that are commercially available at commercially competitive prices. For instance, in 1990, power generators could reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by using “low-sulfur coal”. There is no “low-carbon dioxide coal” and clean coal with carbon capture and storage, while promising, has yet to be proven.
Energy conservation and efficiency, wind, solar, biomass and other alternative energy technologies will assume an ever-greater portion of our national electricity portfolio. But in the near future, affordable baseload power will be provided by natural gas, clean coal, nuclear, and where available, hydro because those sources are not dependent on weather conditions to generate power.
Wind, solar and other clean, renewable energy sources simply cannot meet our nation’s energy needs today. But we can get there in time. We cannot get there, however, if we continue putting additional financial strains on those who have the technology and the capital to develop these clean technologies.
Part 5 - Getting more expensive to put lipstick on a pig
by Michael Williams
June 26, 2009
NOTE: The U.S. House passed the cap and trade legislation on Friday. It now goes to the U.S. Senate where it is expected to have a difficult road.
Warren Buffett, when talking about the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, says simply, “It’s a tax”.
Entities as varied as the National Black Chamber of Commerce, The Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation agree cap and trade will reduce national GDP, eliminate jobs and lighten family wallets.
And Texas Comptroller Susan Combs estimates the typical Texas family (3.4 members) could expect to spend up to an additional $1,136 on medicine, food, clothes and other household goods and services over the next year if cap and trade passes. The price of everything from cell phones, diapers, aspirin and lipstick will rise because of increased production costs. As a regressive tax, this will disproportionately affect single moms, the poor and minorities.
As the second most populous state in the union and because of our high energy-intensity, as the energy capital of the country, the comptroller also concludes, “ the current plan to implement mandatory emissions caps will weigh far more on Texas than other regions of the country”.
Take for instance agriculture. Texas is the number three agricultural exporting state in the nation providing jobs to $1.7 million. In 2007 cash receipts from the Texas agriculture industry totaled $19.9 billion creating an impact of $100 billion for the state’s economy.
As proposed, cap and trade could impact more than 3,800 Texas farms, 28,000 beef cattle operations, and 640 dairies. For Texas cotton gins alone, the estimated cost of permitting is pegged at more than $8.5 million for 248 relatively small facilities. CO2 regulations will also increase outlays for all Texas farms, producers and processors for things like equipment installations, irrigation, fertilizer and electricity. The regulations will also have a negative impact on the rural communities in which many of these businesses operate.