Sunday, January 20, 2008

Less Than Clever

This piece is interesting in so many ways.

First, there is a certain amount of joy in pointing out the hypocrisy of Chancellor that forbids political advocacy except when its advocacy that he agrees with.

Second, the policy positions that he is advocating are fighting against each other in so many ways as to be confused.
Place a tax on each ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) embodied in fossil fuels. Set the tax high enough to initially stabilize nationwide emissions, and then have the tax rise over time, generating steady cuts in pollution. Use tax revenue to (1) compensate lower income Americans for higher energy prices, and (2) to assist impacted workers, especially in coal mining.
Why do they think redistributing taxes to the poor will offset higher energy prices? Higher energy prices would potentially make everything more expensive. It is the height of ignorance to think that you can accurately predict what effect such taxes would have on the economy as a whole. And why is "fighting global warming" more important than raising the poor out of poverty?
To the extent that coal use is unavoidable, only allow coal plants that capture and permanently sequester their emissions in geologic formations.
Do they understand the impact that such a policy would have? What ecological impact will pumping CO2 into oceans have - will we be over "fighting global warming" in 50 years and blathering about "fighting ocean carbonation" instead?
By 2030, require by law that all new buildings in the US be "carbon neutral" (no net emissions of global warming pollution from fossil fuel combustion).
Will such measures include second and third level effects? Or will be simply moving CO2 creation outside the home or outside the borders like the UK has done?

It also looks like this group knows the most efficient replacement for gasoline as well:
Set the emerging biofuels sector on a sustainable basis through: (1) A Low Carbon Fuel Standard that sets a goal for reducing carbon intensity in the total light and heavy duty vehicles fuels mix by10 percent by 2020, and (2) Mount a major effort to research, develop, demonstrate and deploy sustainable biofuels feedstocks and technologies.
I'm impressed that they know that this is the best option available - they should be in the energy business instead of the business of other people's energy. Will they be subsidizing ethanol to counteract the poorer gas mileage? Will all of those tax dollars from taxing pollution go far enough? Do you think that they have accounted for all of the impacts of switching to biofuels?

Something tells me no.
Prevent CO2 emissions and remove atmospheric CO2 through forest conservation, management and restoration. Include forests in cap & auction system, allowing the trade of forest emissions reductions that are real, additional, verifiable, and permanent.
Focusing on biofuels destroys forests, just not forests at home. Would they be so infatuated with biofuels is they destroyed forests? What is more important - biofuels or forests?

As is typical, political advocate go for the quick, pleasantly sounding answers as opposed to really thinking about the ramifications of their preferred policies - why am I not surprised?

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