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The Californication of the economy

By Alan Caruba
web posted November 27, 2006

The midterm elections were held on November 7th and by November 10th the Associated Press reported that California Senator Barbara Boxer was promising "major policy shifts on global warming, air quality and toxic-waste cleanup as she prepares to lead the U.S. Senate's environmental committee."

Barbara Boxer"Time is running out," said Sen. Boxer about global warming "and we need to move forward on this," during a conference call with reporters. Noticeably missing from her Chicken Little pronouncement was any scientific evidence that (1) there actually is a global warming threat and (2) why any of the draconian proposals to deal with it would have the slightest effect.

"Boxer said she intends to introduce legislation to curb greenhouse gases, strengthen environmental laws regarding public health and hold oversight hearings on federal plans to clean up Superfund hazardous waste sites across the country."

I call this the "Californication" of the economy because Sen. Boxer would model federal legislation on a new California law that imposed the first statewide limit on greenhouse gases, seeking to cut that State's emissions by 25 percent in an effort to return them to 1990 levels by 2020.

The National Center for Public Policy Research recently noted that, "Despite ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union is on track to miss its Kyoto emissions reduction target of 8 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the CO2 emissions for the l5 original member nations of the EU increased an average of 9 per cent between 2000 and 2004." Industrialized societies that require economic growth should never place a meaningless obstacle like "greenhouse gas emissions" in the way, but that's exactly what the United Nations Kyoto Protocol does.

The primary greenhouse gas that impacts the Earth's climate is nothing more ominous than water vapor. The other greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2). Every living creature on the planet breathes in oxygen and exhales CO2. At the same time, every form of vegetation absorbs CO2 and gives off oxygen. This symbiosis accounts for life on this planet and has worked well for millions of years.

Imposing an entirely bogus scheme in which some companies can pay hard cash for greenhouse gas "credits" that would allow them to continue to emit the designated gases has already been tried and the result, as in the case of Europe, is that no reductions have occurred or ever will.

Neither California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, nor Sen. Boxer appears to be aware that nations such as India and China are not participating in this nonsense, nor other developing nations, many of whom are still in need of energy sources that will enable their economies to grow.

Energy efficiency is a worthy goal, but it is something the marketplace should determine, not the government. There is a growing "cleantech" industry and, for example, truck fleet operators are saving millions of dollars by installing systems that allow drivers to plug into electrical outlets, rather than running truck engines, for auxiliary power at night or during rests. As the cost of oil edges up worldwide, you can be sure that all kinds of industries will seek ways to be more energy efficient. They will not need government mandates to make it happen.

Politicians, now calling themselves "progressives" instead of socialists, see global warming as a big club to wield against corporations.

In early November, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) wrote a joint letter to Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex W. Tillerson demanding that Exxon Mobil cease funding two dozen organizations and individuals they call a "small cadre of global climate change skeptics."

To put it another way, they want to silence any dissent about "global warming" despite the fact that there is ample scientific evidence that dramatic climate changes are not occurring. Meanwhile Exxon Mobil has announced it will contribute a million Euros to a European research project devoted to carbon capture and storage.

The Earth, of course, has been warming since the last Ice Age about 11,500 years ago, but despite the bogus "computer models" on which the "global warming" hoax is based, there is no evidence that anything other than perfectly natural climate cycles are occurring.

When oil prices spiked after the temporary impact Hurricane Katrina had on oil from the Gulf of Mexico, two Democrat Senators, Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) were calling for a "windfall profits tax" that would have imposed an excise tax when the price of a barrel is more than $40.00. What better way to deprive oil companies of the profits they need to explore for and extract much-needed new sources of oil or to build new refineries? These enterprises cost billions, but some legislators would rather that money go into government coffers.

The new Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, has announced that Democrats intend to move toward greater energy independence "by rolling back the multibillion dollar subsidies for Big Oil." This is utter nonsense. The government provides a plethora of subsidies for every kind of industry in the nation. How much energy independence does Rep. Pelosi, another Californian, think the U.S. will achieve if Congress attacks energy companies?

Political guru, Charles Cook, interviewed in Business Week magazine's November 20th issue was asked which industries should be worried by a Congress where the Democrat Party is the majority. He named pharmaceutical companies, managed-care companies, and oil companies.

A cadre of "progressive" members of Congress will now attempt to destroy the nation's latest spate of economic growth and prosperity. They will do so in the name of "global warming" and a working class they say is suffering under the heel of evil capitalists.
America.

Karl Marx is dead, but Marxism marches on despite its unbroken record of failure. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", has been published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, 2006


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