7.10.2009

Conservatives say the damndest things: Heritage vs. EPA

After the stunning success of my first weekly post series, "Tuesday Guilty Pleasure," I've decided to start a new one: "Conservatives say the damndest things." This may not be quite weekly like TGP, but I'll do my best to put one of these up every Friday. And for the conservatives in the crowd (if there are any), I'm working on doing the same thing with liberals. We say some crazy stuff as well. 
The inaugural post in this series hearkens back to a controversial post I wrote a couple weeks ago about the Waxman-Markley cap and trade bill. I got this gem of an e-mail from the Heritage Foundation and though I should share it with you. 
Inhofe produced an EPA chart generated last year during the Senate’s debate of the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade legislation. The chart showed that the carbon reductions under that bill would not materially effect global carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. Inhofe then asked Jackson if she agreed with the chart’s conclusions. Jackson replied: “I believe that essential parts of the chart are that the U.S. action alone will not impact CO2 levels.”
[...]
For example, a recent study of cap and trade by MIT concluded: “The different U.S. policies have relatively small effects on the CO2 concentration if other regions do not follow the U.S. lead. … The Developed Only scenario cuts only about 0.5 °C of the warming from the reference, again illustrating the importance of developing country participation.”

Well duh! First, let's go ahead and throw it out there that part of the reason the bill is so weak is that it would have had absolutely no chance to pass the House if it actually had any teeth because the Republicans and Democrats with no backbone would have never voted for it. God forbid we sacrifice a little bit to, you know, save the world. 
But why are they acting like this is such a big "Got ya!" moment against the EPA. Of course this legislation isn't going to mean much if other countries don't follow along. Despite what many may think, there are other people on this Earth and they're polluting too. At the G8 summit this week, world leaders are working to curb worldwide emissions of CO2, even agreeing today to not let the world temperature go more than two degrees Celsius higher and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. 
Of course, China and India are not going to sign on too quickly. But do you really think they would consider it if the U.S. wasn't working to cut back their emissions? If nothing else, this is a symbolic gesture to show that we're taking this seriously. 
The e-mail goes on to say: 
So if other countries will not sacrifice their own economic growth to meet carbon cutting goals, then what is the economic hit Americans are taking? The left is touting a recent Congressional Budget Office study which they say shows Waxman-Markey would only cost Americans $175 a year. However, the left is seriously misrepresenting what the CBO study is. Footnote three on page four of the CBO study explicitly admits: “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap."
First, it's nice to see that Heritage is finally listening to the Congressional Budget Office about how much this is really going to cost. But this logic just baffles me. "But -- but China isn't doing it so why should we?? It's so not fair!" What are we, bratty five-year-old kids? Grow up. Yes, this is going to cost us a little bit. We've established that. But I'm willing to pay a little price if it means there's some slim chance that we can reduce our effect on climate change. 

1 comment:

Salvation Holdout said...

The Heritage foundation is pretty funny, and you hit the main point. We're the world's biggest consumer, its biggest polluter, and not doing anything will lead to certain failure. Doing something really can get other countries to sign on board, because this is truly a global issue.

This reminds me of the guy who lives in Mike's house who worked for the Heritage foundation. He gave me a good laugh when he said he works on "labor issues".