Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As I have stated in other post on this blog, my faith in the science of global warming has been shaken by the exposed fraud of climategate, glaciergate revelations of IPCC scientist unable to do simple subtraction and division, and the emergence of responsible dissenting voices. Nevertheless, I am not sure. I am still waiting for the scientific community to purge crooks and incompetents and convince me the science is real.

Assuming however that the science is valid, what to we do about it? The most promising approach to combat global warming would be straight forward revenue-neutral carbon tax. There is no appetite for that. There is a proposal that would be almost as good.

Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington has offered a cap and dividend bill. This except from an article appearing in The Economist, explains how it would work.

Under her bill, the government would impose a ceiling on carbon emissions each year. Producers and importers of fossil fuels will have to buy permits. The permits would be auctioned, raising vast sums of money. Most of that money would be divided evenly among all Americans. The bill would raise energy prices, of course, and therefore the price of everything that requires energy to make or distribute. But a family of four would receive perhaps $1000 a year, which would more than make up for it, reckons Ms Cantwell. Cap-and-dividend would set a price on carbon, thus giving Americans a powerful incentive to burn less dirty fuel. It would also raise the rewards for investing in clean energy. And it would leave all but the richest 20% of Americans—who use the most energy—materially better off, she says.

Ms. Cantwell's 40 page legislation is a lot simpler than the Waxman-Markey 1,440-page bill. There is no buying off the opposition, no special consideration for big campaign contributors, no special deals for friends, no micromanagement of the economy, no army of regulators and bureaucrats, no new work for lobbyist and lawyers, no massive expansion of the Federal Government, no picking of winners and losers, no new revenues for the government. It could actually reduce greenhouse emission. That is why I don't expect it to see the light of day.

If I can be reconvinced that global warming is a reality, this is a solution I could get behind.

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  1. Rod:

    Has this scandal actually changed your opinion on the subject? To be blunt, it always seemed to me that there was a high level of intellectual snobbery on the subject, though not from you:)
    I have spoken with some die hard supporters of the movement who were crushed to find out scientists were deceiving them. Your report is good, but just curious how it all has effected your thinking.

  2. JL, The climategate and glaciergate scandals are probably what pushed me below the midpoint on my acceptance of global warming theory. I am still not a hard-line global warming skeptic. If I were to place myself on a scale of from “0”, meaning it is all nonsense and a left wing conspiracy, to “100”, meaning, I am as sure of global warming as I am sure that the earth is round, I would be at about 49%. Those scandals pushed me below the 50% mark. I have posted often on the topic. See my tags on “global warming”, “climate change”, and “carbon tax” to see my thoughts on the issue. One of my earliest post in which I explained why I believe in global warming is here: This was published in April 2008. On my above scale, I would say that at one time I was in the 90% range. Actually, on such a complicated highly scientific issue, I don’t see how any layman can be dogmatic either way. We just can’t know what is the truth.