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States and utilities unite to rob energy consumers

By Alan Caruba
web posted October 13, 2008

Energy consumers in ten northeastern States are going to see their bills rise and probably not even know why. They will assume that it is tied to the cost of oil, natural gas, or coal, but it does so only obliquely.

If you believe that the use of these energy sources are producing huge amounts of carbon dioxide (C02) and other greenhouse gases that will doom the Earth, than surely the purchase of—and I kid you not—"pollution credits" to somehow curb global warming is worth the expense.

Even if you don't believe it, you are going to be socked with that expense if you live in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Six of these States participated recently in an auction of "carbon credits", sometimes called "pollution credits."

The auction raised nearly $40 million "that will be spent by Northeast States on renewable and energy efficient technologies." In other words, you are about to pay for wind and solar energy, the two most inefficient and impractical ways to generate minuscule amounts of electricity. The utilities that were literally required by the States to spend this money will recoup it by raising the costs of your heating and lighting bill.

If this sounds a lot like the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle that forced banks and lenders to make bad loans, welcome to the wonderful world of government mandates.

These States belong to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that involves more than two hundred "fossil fuel" power plants. It requires the owners of these plants to pay for the carbon dioxide they emit into the air. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that those useless, meaningless costs will be passed along to energy consumers in those ten States.

A similar coalition can be found among seven Western States and four Canadian provinces.

It is a hidden "global warming" tax. It is totally without scientific merit or justification.

Carbon dioxide is the second most essential gas, after oxygen, for the maintenance of all life on Earth. Without it, no vegetation of any description grows. Not a blade of grass, not a field of corn or wheat, not a giant redwood tree. Take away vegetation and you have nothing for herbivores of every description to eat. Take away the herbivores and the carnivores have nothing to eat.

Requiring power plants to pay for emitting CO2 ignores the fact that every human and mammal on Earth exhales CO2 right after inhaling oxygen. In theory, we are all "guilty" of emitting greenhouse gases and should be taxed as well. The forced purchase of "carbon credits" is that tax.

Who favors it? The spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists—a misnomer if ever there was one—called the first auction "historic." No doubt there have been many historic rip-offs that preceded this one, but Lance Pierce, the UCS program director was thrilled that "carbon markets have arrived in the United States." Perhaps he doesn't live in one of the States where consumers are being ripped off?

Pierce went on to babble about "cleaner energy" meaning, of course, solar or wind generated electricity, but he failed to mention the federal and state subsidies, i.e., taxpayers' money, used to keep these inefficient and unreliable energy producers going. In short, they are another consumer rip-off flying under the public's radar.

The usual environmental groups were ecstatic. Dale Bryk of the National Resources Defense Council called the auction "highly cost-effective" but did not identify for whom. Perhaps he had in mind World Energy, an operator of online green exchanges? Selling "carbon credits" is a way to manufacture value out of thin air or should I say thin CO2?

The fact is that carbon dioxide constitutes about 0.038% of the Earth's atmosphere. There is no evidence that it precedes or initiates "global warming" and plenty of evidence that it tends to increase only several hundred years after it occurs.

Finally, we get to the fact that there is no global warming. Nada, zip, nunca, niete! None! The Earth has been in a cooling cycle now for a decade. The Sun has meteorologists scared to death because there are no sunspots, magnetic storms, occurring and this is a well known indicator of, at the least, a little ice age, and, at the worse, a really big one.

If that news wasn't enough to make you angry over this fraudulent scheme to wrest money from energy users, it is supported by the Governors of the States involved and by both the candidates running for President. It's called "cap-and-trade" and when you hear a politician mention it, reach for your wallet because it is about to get lighter.

The rip-off doesn't end there, however. In September, Business Week revealed that "more than 750 utilities across the country now offer customers the chance to pay a premium on their electricity bills to generate ‘green power.' But it turns out that, in many cases, most of the money goes for marketing costs, and little can be traced to the generation of additional renewable energy."

Normally, people who engage in such fraud are caught, tried, and sent to jail. Instead, with these Green schemes, they hope to get elected to office or dupe consumers into paying more to allegedly reducing greenhouse gases while increasing their profits. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. He blogs daily at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. © Alan Caruba, October 2008

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