Some nations, and states such as California, have decided that they can make the world greener by regulating greenhouse gases implicated in global warming. One greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, has been singled out as a target “air pollutant” for government emission controls.
Carbon dioxide accounts for only about 7% of global greenhouse gases, and it is a principal and natural metabolite (by product) of half of every living thing on earth. You exhale it with every breath. Plants turn carbon dioxide into the life-sustaining oxygen that we inhale from their process of photosynthesis.
The United Kingdom (U.K.) adopted the European Union’s carbon dioxide emissions regulations and carbon trading system in alignment with the Kyoto Protocol after 2005. Accordingly, U.K. climate regulations put a price on carbon dioxide emissions, and heavily subsidize renewable energies such as wind, biomass and solar power. U.K. electric power producers pay for the emission controls and alternative energies, and pass the new costs on to energy consumers.
In July 2010, the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change reported the cost increases that power consumers will incur under the new greenhouse gas regulations. Such climate control regulations will raise gas prices in 2020 by 18%. The climate controls will raise electricity prices by 33% over the next 10 years. Worse, non-domestic consumers of U.K. energy will see 24% rises in gas prices and 43% rises in electricity prices.
This U.K. experience with costly climate regulations should be a stark warning to recession-bound U.S. and state government attempts to quiet eco-lobbyists with new climate regulations. Moreover, no global, national or state government can truthfully assert any meaningful control of global climates from new carbon dioxide regulations.
California voters could vote to rein in the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32) by voting for a ballot initiative that will appear on this year’s statewide election ballot November 2nd. The initiative, Prop. 23, would suspend the implementation of A.B. 32. until the state’s unemployment rate is reduced to below 5.5%.
Climate science remains unsettled. The unpredictable interactions and ultimate atmospheric fates of clouds and aerosols stand in the way of reliable global warming cause-and-effect findings. Truth is, unless and until a cost/benefit analysis can be agreed upon, and world oil prices stay above $80 per barrel, no pragmatic nation (or state) will self-inflict the higher energy prices that necessarily attach to climate regulations — especially during economic recession. Climate control costs are known. The benefits are unknown.
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