Thursday, July 02, 2009

Battle over Emission Trading Schemes on the wane

"... there is undercurrent of opposition to ETS swelling beneath the surface fuelled in part by not just skeptical political types, but some highly credentialed Scientifics’ that collectively, are driving an elegant collapse of consensus ..."

Here is something that MSM in not likely to report any time soon, least not in Australia. The call for a global climate change deal in on the wane and it may explain why our own Minister for economic destruction, Penny Wong and perhaps too, Obama are keen to ram through legislation. Last week’s U.S. House of representatives vote to cut Carbon Emissions was hardly an empathetic win for the Obama administration. Let us be perfectly clear a vote, of 219-212 for ‘cap and trade’ or more accurately ‘cap and tax’ reveals just how divided the U.S. legislature remains, what is more, the Democratic crafted bill owes its victory to eight (8) Republican votes. As Senator Fifield said recently, “It’s extremely unlikely that the bill will pass the US Senate in its current form. So we still don’t know what the United States ultimate position will be. There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge there.”

Tom Switzer makes a good case for the change in political climate to which we refer in an aptly titled piece, “Greenhouse gas battle is slowly losing steam

When Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama were elected to power, Australia and the United States were expected to implement overdue and concrete measures to slash the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

But a curious thing is happening on the road to the UN post‐Kyoto global conference later this year: the legislation to implement an emissions trading scheme (ETS) – the chosen policy that would change the way we use energy – is likely to collapse in both Canberra and Washington.

And the reason for the opposition among politicians and commentators is the same in both Australia and the US: that any serious action to reduce each nation’s carbon footprint would be futile without the support of the developing, big polluting nations, most notably China and India, at the Copenhagen conference.

It was not Adelaide University’s Ian Plimer, but Harvard University’s Martin Feldstein who argued in the Washington Post this month that we “should wait until there is a global agreement on CO2 that includes China and India before [we] commit... to costly reductions.

It was not Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb, but leading Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner who argued in the Wall Street Journal we “cannot reduce the growth of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere without the developing nations cutting their emissions as well.

And it was not National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce, but Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who warned in last week’s GOP radio and Internet address that, under an ETS, “our farmers and livestock producers would see their costs skyrocket and our coal miners would be looking for new work.
Public opinion in the US is also shifting dramatically: according to Gallup, 41 per cent of Americans think climate change is exaggerated (the highest percentage in more than a decade of polling) and among eight environmental concerns, climate change ranked last. Amid the financial crisis, protecting jobs now takes priority over combating global warming.

Just a week later Kimberley Strassel, writing in The Wall Street Journal noted that while the Democratic elites in Washington (and their Labor counterparts in Canberra) continue preaching to the already converted throng of alarmists, there is undercurrent of opposition to ETS swelling beneath the surface fuelled in part by not just skeptical political types, but some highly credentialed Scientifics’ that collectively, are driving an elegant collapse of consensus.

“It turns out Al Gore and the United Nations (with an assist from the media), did a little too vociferous a job smearing anyone who disagreed with them as “deniers.” The backlash has brought the scientific debate roaring back to life in Australia, Europe, Japan and even, if less reported, the U.S.

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country’s new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country’s weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

The collapse of the “consensus” [over the idea that climate change was primarily man-made] has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth’s temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.”
It remains to be seen how many politicians in the U.S. and Canberra are willing to exercise good judgment and sheer courage to stand up against the lefts unremitting drive to worship climate change.

Further reading:

Chinese Official unhappy with US climate bill

Wong’s Silent Treatment Clouds Emissions Credibility

Evidence for a solar signature in 20th-century temperature

The Wong-Fielding Meeting on Global Warming

Ask a politician, WHY do need to tax or trade carbon and what will they say? Armed with the best experts they can find, they still can ‘t name any evidence. Read how: they rephrased questions; lectured for a full 30 minutes on an irrelevant matter; interrupted continually; and hear the tactics used to avoid a direct answer… “It’s as if they had never before encountered real live competent skeptics or their arguments.”

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