Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Taxing the Weather

By Alan Caruba

Taxes imposed in the name of global warming are completely bogus. There is no global warming if, by that term, you mean a sudden, dramatic increase in the Earth’s average temperature. The Earth has been cooling for a decade, not warming.

It is incumbent on all of us to email, fax, call, and write our Congress critters and tell them they must vote against any legislation regarding “greenhouse gas emissions” or “global warming.” Tell them that a vote for such legislation will be your vote for whoever runs against them in the next elections.

The Obama administration and Congress are hell bent to cram a “cap and trade” emissions reduction bill down our throats.

In essence it is a hidden tax on the use of all energy by utilities that provide the electricity we use and the energy used by industry to manufacture anything and everything. The rationale is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted by the burning of coal, oil or natural gas, thus contributing to global warming.

The known science regarding CO2 amply demonstrates it plays no role in climate change except to react to it. It does not drive climate change, but shows up hundreds of years after any warming. CO2 is routinely absorbed and released by the Earth’s oceans and always has been. It constitutes barely 0.038% of the atmosphere.

Would you accept a tax on sunshine? Rain? Snow? A carbon tax is the equivalent of taxing the weather. It taxes the natural emissions that occur whenever energy is used.

Will the government tax you for the approximately two pounds of CO2 that you and every other human exhale every day? There are already proposals to tax farm animals for their “emissions”!

So-called “carbon taxes” are being contemplated by states and the federal government to suck billions of dollars out of the economy allegedly for so-called “green jobs” or for “redistribution” to social programs that will make everyone more and more dependent on government.

Some businesses will grow wealthy “trading” the carbon credits. Most certainly, Al Gore has. Wall Street is drooling over the prospect of buying and selling of carbon credits the same way they loved the “bundled” and “securitized” mortgage loans that are now called “toxic assets.”

Major U.S. corporations such as General Electric support it because vast sums will be diverted to wind and solar power companies and guess who is a major manufacturer of wind turbines?

Utilities will conjure up trading schemes for the carbon credits and grow wealthy while consumers pay for the totally needless increased cost of electricity. Some are already required to purchase carbon credits, wasting consumer dollars on worthless paper instead of investing it in new plants or upgrading their portion of the grid.

There is no basis in fact for cap-and-trade or any other legislation or regulation based on global warming. The result of such legislation will be to drive manufacturing from America to nations that do not senselessly penalize companies. Those jobs, already cratering thanks to the financial crisis, will disappear entirely.

If all this sounds fanciful, consider the Obama administration’s attack on the use of coal by utilities based on the “emissions” lies. Coal currently provides just over 50% of all the electricity produced in the U.S. Coal is available in the U.S. in enormous quantities. It is cheap and plentiful. There’s enough coal in the U.S. to provide electricity through the next century and beyond.

Who hates coal? Every major environmental organization in America. They hate all forms of energy other than wind and solar, the two least predictable, efficient, and practical means of producing electricity. Without government subsidies, it would not even be providing the grand total of 1% of all the electricity being used in America.

Carbon credits are snake oil. They have no real value. They will absorb and waste billions of dollars that would otherwise be applied to business expansion and an increase in the plants needed to generate the nation’s growing need for more electricity.

Is it a deliberate attack on America? Yes.


libertyforusa said...

I have come to the conclusion that the global engineering of tyranny is underway, that cap and trade is just part of a massive transfer of both funds and sovereignty.

I think we have a narcissistic leader without the thought that he can't succeed at doing this!

Alan Caruba said...

Public outrage, like a hibernating bear, is going to awaken soon enough.

The Wall Street Journal too Obama to the woodshed earlier this week for his economic "solutions."

Give it time.

Rich Kozlovich said...

From our point of view this is a display of greed, irrationality and incompetence. In reality this is a brilliant opportunity to do what the "progressives" have wanted to do since the turn of the last century....and that is to create a "Progressive world government".

At the end of WWI Wilson did his best to get the U.S. to sign on to the League of Nations. Wilson was a Progressive, which was America’s answer to European socialism and world government was their goal, but the U.S. Constitution was an impediment. Wilson, who swore to defend the Constitution, felt that the Constitution was preventing human progress and both Roosevelts felt exactly the same way and did everything they could to deminish the Constitution's role in American life.

European style of socialism didn't translate well into American culture because it is atheistic. In America Progressivism was bound together by what is called the Social Gospel. The theme was the socialism was the practical expression of Christian teachings.

The socialists hated that, because the real socialists really are atheists and in the late 40's through the 50's psychology became the binding force and they kicked religion out of the movement, or at least to the curb.

The Social Gospel is still there, but they have sold out any integrity they had left in order to hang around and pick up scraps from the table.

In short, they now claimed that anyone who disagreed with them was a psychotic fascist, (when Goldwater ran for President over a thousand psychiatrists or psychologists, who never met him, claimed that he was too crazy to be President) in spite of the fact that fascism is a leftist philosophy, but the goal is the same…world government.

The goal of the left is now and has always been to overturn the protections of the Constitution by binding the country with foreign treaties that turn sovereign power to the League of Nations and now the United Nations. That is the real goal, turning all power and authority to the most corrupt organization that has ever existed. There is a good reason why Jacque Chirac stated that the Kyoto Accords is the beginning of global governance. Because it is true!

Geoff A said...

Years back, I read that it requires more energy to manufacture a solar panel than will be derived from that panel across its working life. (And, unless it has been built entirely by windmill power,--including the winning of raw materials--much CO2 release). Any information as to whether this remains a valid observation?
I also understand such a panel has a life expectancy of 25 years. What happens as its life ticks away? An abrupt demise at age 25, or a protracted diminishing of energy return?
Geoff Alder

Alan Caruba said...

I have no data regarding the manufacture and life expectancy of solar panels, but I have little doubt they represent a significant amount of power and resources to manufacture.

They have relatively little value to homeowners who are likely to outlive their use and, given their initial costs, unlikely to recoup their investment.

Rich Kozlovich said...


Here are a couple of sites you may find interesting.

Guy said...

I have a quite a bit of experience with solar panels. As is the case with most alternative energy sources, they have several limitations. First of all, they are quite expensive and hard to come by at the moment. Of course, this could change as production increases. Secondly, we use AC (alternating current) power in this country. Solar panels generate DC (direct current) power. To use the power they generate for typical home applications requires an inverter to convert the DC power to AC power, preferably a grid-tie inverter. Although these inverters are relatively expensive at the moment, they could also become cheaper as production increases. The promising thing about grid-tie inverters is that when your solar panels are producing more power than you are using, the power is fed back into the grid, and your electric meter spins backwards. This is also true for wind turbines connected to a grid-tie inverter. However, thirdly, and most importantly, most Americans use way more power than either source can usually produce in a day, unless you have a HUGE solar array, or several turbines, so at the moment, the best you can typically hope for is a REDUCTION in your electric bill. While every little bit helps, and millions of people using a system like this could really take a lot of load off our electrical grid, it isn't very cost effective at todays prices. You could expect to spend maybe ten to twenty thousand dollars for a good system, and if you were lucky, it might pay for itself in fifteen to twenty years. As far as lifetimes are concerned, it's my opinion that turbines, with the moving parts involved, will have a shorter lifetime, and require more maintenance. Exactly how long would depend on the design and the manufacturer. Solar panels are pretty much maintenance free, and are typically warranted to provide a specific percentage of their rated power through 20-25 years. Nobody really knows how long they will really last beyond that, but many that are in service on satellites have been working well beyond their rated design life.

That being said, both technologies DO have thier applications. You may have seen both in service along the highways on our automated weather observation stations (AWOS). When power is needed in a remote location, and it would cost a fortune to run a utility line to the site, solar or wind is a good solution. Personally, when I built a barn that was over a quarter of a mile from the nearest power, I used two solar panels and a cheap inverter to power lighting, tools, security, and a small microwave oven to warm up my lunches.

So, to summarize, we will probably never be able to depend on either wind or solar as a primary source of energy. However, as technologies improve, and prices come down, I can envision a day when we can offset a lot of our power needs with these technologies, but we will always need a stable, reliable grid since it's dark half of the day, and the wind is only useful when it's blowing. The Greenies would have us believe that some day, we will just shut down our power plants and rely on these technologies, but I can't see that happening in my lifetime, if ever. But, if the day ever comes that I can buy a system in the $500-$1000 range that will knock $2000/year off my electric bill, I'm all for it ....

Kendra said...

I hope you still see this - from a news article today regarding the spending bill:

"By a 52-42 vote Thursday, Democrats cleared the way for the Obama administration to reverse a rule issued late in the Bush administration that says greenhouse gases may not be restricted in an effort to protect polar bears from global warming."

Somewhere I have seen claimed that 10 of 11 bands (or whatever a group is called) are thriving and that previous endangerment had been due to hunting.

Do you have a good source of info for the actual status of polar bears?

Alan Caruba said...

I've learned more about solar panels from you than I have reading about them for the last five years. Thanks!

Alan Caruba said...

Yes, Kendra, the polar bears are just fine. They like "endangered species" are just an excuse Greens use to make sure that Americans cannot have access to any form of energy anywhere in the nation, i.e., oil, natural gas, and coal.

Guy said...

Glad to be of service Alan. Being in the power protection business as I am, I have been giving careful consideration to expanding into this technology as it becomes cost effective. I'm pretty well versed in the electrical side of things, and have most of the tools and materials I would need on hand already. I can set up a system for myself pretty easily from surplus materials I have at my disposal, but at the moment, if I had to go out on the open market and buy everything new, it just costs way too much to produce a system that the average person could afford. The supply of solar cells is very short, and they are very expensive right now, but rest assured I'll be keeping a close eye on that situation.

Here's a novel idea ... if Obama wanted to really stimulate the economy, how about slipping some funding MY way, and letting a small business like mine work to develop this concept? Imagine how many jobs that ACTUALLY SUPPORT THEMSELVES might be created ... No, instead he wants to create more government jobs, each of which require at least five hard-working tax payers to fund....

With the current state of affairs in the US today, electrical self-sufficiency is becoming very attractive. From a strictly economic standpoint, if they start heaping the carbon taxes on us, it would be really nice if we could side-step them by producing our own power. From a survival standpoint, it only takes one nuclear blast in the wrong place to ruin your day, and anyone who's depending on the grid in the days following such an event will be wishing they had an alternative.

Anyway, that's my two-cents worth on the subject. I find it an interesting one in light of everything that we're faced with today ....

Rich Kozlovich said...


Here are a couple of articles that you may wish to peruse regarding the so-called "endangerment" of polar bears.

The second one was written by Alan some time back.

Alan Caruba said...

Here's an article to read about the polar bears. I know the author so you can trust the facts he cites.