Inconvenient Truths

This week we’ve examined how the EPA is punishing Texas and the refining and petro-chemical industries there for implementing methods to reduce emissions.  We have also examined how the ban on incandescent light bulbs will result in the release of mercury to waste water streams, ground water, and soil, how wind farms kill birds and bats by the thousands, and how solar energy farms threaten Arizona’s limited water supply.  For 80 days, we have demonstrated how the environmentally conscious federal government is ignoring, if not exacerbating, the environmental damage of the Gulf oil crisis.

A pattern is emerging.

When ideologues are confronted with inconvenient truths that interfere with their agenda, the agenda is more important than the truth.  Ideology wins.

 

What is that agenda?  It has several facets, among them the annihilation of the domestic oil and gas industries, the destruction of the domestic petro-chemical industry, the imposition of government subsidized renewable energy forms such as solar, wind, and agricultural ethanol, the transfer of environmental regulatory control from the states to the federal government, and climate change legislation that encourages all of these goals.

Climate change legislation has been through several iterations on Capitol Hill.  Cap and Trade – carbon emitting industries suffer the imposition of carbon emission limits, but if they exceed those limits they can purchase credits from industries that emit below their own limit.  Greatly over-simplifying, cap and trade imposes a penalty on heavy carbon emitters, thus creating an economic bias in favor of such technologies as solar, wind and nuclear power generation and against coal plants and transportation fuels refined from fossil fuels. 

Cap and Trade legislation passed the House.  “Climategate,” a scandal surrounding Anthropogenic Global Warming and the science that supported it, essentially defused concerns about industrial carbon emissions causing global warming for all but the most diehard believers, and the Senate version of that legislation is on life support and in critical condition.

But it isn’t dead.

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) are still promoting a variation of the Senate Cap and Trade legislation in the form of energy and climate legislation that imposes carbon limits on several sectors of the economy.  As even that legislation is losing favor, they have indicated a willingness to cut it back further, imposing carbon emissions only on the electric generating sector.

Broader greenhouse gas limits have been removed from the debate…

…Sort of.

Henry Waxman (D-CA), a member of the House of Representatives, author of their Cap and Trade bill, and side-kick of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has committed to keeping the broader debate alive, and can do so in joint committee hearings because his bill, containing those broader provisions, was passed.

It would be open in conference to consider because our bill has it,” Waxman told The Hill Wednesday.

 

Remember the heath care debate?  If the Senate passes climate change legislation differing from the House version, it goes to a joint committee to work through the differences.

Also from The Hill,

Limiting emissions from power plants, factories, refineries and other sectors is a top priority for environmentalists and many liberal Democrats — including Pelosi. But emissions caps face resistance among many Republicans and some centrist Democrats, which means that advocates will have a difficult time corralling 60 Senate votes.

“I would hope we can put a price on carbon,” Waxman said, arguing it would give the private sector the “right market signal” to develop low-emissions technologies. “I would hope they would have it in the Senate bill, and I would encourage them to adopt it, either there or in conference,” Waxman said.

 

What are the projected economic impacts of this legislation?  From the San Francisco Examiner, a California conservative crying in the wilderness,

Obama’s Cap-and-Tax economic suicide plan will destroy more than half a million jobs in just its first few years. By 2050, it will have killed 5.1 million jobs.

This is on top of already double-digit unemployment, the biggest tax hike in U.S. history (through ObamaCare), economy-killing government takeovers of everything from health care to Wall Street, the Bush tax cuts being allowed to expire and Obama’s relentless war on American energy supplies.

Ideologies such as are expressed by Waxman are the motivation for ignoring the small inconveniences of further wrecking the economy, finding mercury in landfills and water, mutilated wildlife, and a dehydrated Arizona.  They are the motivation for ignoring the damage being done on the Gulf Coast by the greedy, carbon belching oil industry.  These are small prices to pay for the achievement of the greater agenda.

“But we’ll elect a new crop of legislators in November,” you say, and all indications are that the power of Capitol Hill will transfer to a much more conservative, pro-business group as a result of the November elections.

But they won’t take office until January.  For the last two months of 2010 we will have a liberal, “lame duck” Congress filled with legislators who have nothing left to lose, no constituents to answer to, and a big axe to grind with the electorate.  They will pass as much of their liberal policy agenda as they can, and Captain Kickass will sign it, for it will be too cold to play golf.

These are the issues we must confront in the months ahead, for (again) when ideologues are confronted with inconvenient truths that interfere with their agenda, the agenda is more important than the truth.

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