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Category — Left Civil War

Green Fussing: What Do Left Environmentalists Really Want? (except to cap capitalism with cap-and-trade)

Ultra-clarifying moments of truth are sometimes possible when environmental groups and their so-called allies end up in “family” squabbles, disagreeing over implementation of their ill-conceived schemes. The disarray, aptly described in prior posts at MasterResource by economist Robert Murphy and others as a civil war on the Left,” has become commonplace with respect to cap-and-trade proposals. And this is part of what Ken Green calls the death spiral of climate alarmism.

Just maybe the Coercion Crowd should throw up their hands and just say: give peace a chance!

Gaming the Carbon Market – Say It Isn’t So!

Yet another example of this discord, reported in a recent issue of E&E News PM, Climate: Enviro group outlines 10 schemes for gaming carbon markets — 05/18/2010 — www.eenews.net (access with free trial subscr.) involves Friends of the Earth (FOE), which recently released a strongly worded critique of the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill. In its guide, FOE inconveniently details how “carbon offsets are especially prone to corruption and fraud” and directly questions whether carbon markets are an appropriate mechanism to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The guide derisively attacks cap-and-trade schemes detailing the ten ways carbon markets can be scammed “at the expense of both our economy and our climate.” The scams enumerated carry such unflattering headings as, “Ponzi carbon,” “Carbon bribery,” and “Sell fake carbon offset credits,” among other derogatory descriptions. Ouch! [Read more →]

June 9, 2010   6 Comments

‘Cap-and-Divide: More Civil War on the Left’ (Classic MasterResource re-post)

[Editor note: This post from economist Robert Murphy originally appeared on 2-10-10. It is reprinted given the growing opposition to pricing carbon within the Democratic Party.]

George Carlin once asked, “Is it really possible to have a civil war?” Readers of Joe Romm’s pronouncements on greenhouse gas legislation would answer in the negative. Romm has always been a caustic critic of the “anti-science disinformers” who do not toe the line on the alleged scientific consensus, but lately he has turned his fire on former allies who dare to question the legislative developments in Washington.

An illustration of this internal squabbling is Romm’s recent post on the “cap and dividend” proposal put forth by Senators Cantwell and Collins. Here’s Romm’s take (emphasis added):

Climate politics can be very strange indeed. Because cap-and-trade bills like Waxman-Markey are seen as having no chance of passing the Senate, some enviros appear to be shifting their support to bills that are politically even less attractive and environmentally even less adequate.

The latest misguided missile is the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act put forward by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) — full text and info here. Supporters call it “Cap-and-Dividend,” but right now I think the best term for it is, “Cap-and-Divide,” since it has no chance whatsoever of becoming law but is serving to undercut the tripartisan effort by Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman to develop a bill that might get 60 votes…. [Read more →]

May 21, 2010   No Comments

“Cap-and-Divide”: More Civil War on the Left Over Capping Carbon

George Carlin once asked, “Is it really possible to have a civil war?” Readers of Joe Romm’s pronouncements on greenhouse gas legislation would answer in the negative. Romm has always been a caustic critic of the “anti-science disinformers” who do not toe the line on the alleged scientific consensus, but lately he has turned his fire on former allies who dare to question the legislative developments in Washington.

An illustration of this internal squabbling is Romm’s recent post on the “cap and dividend” proposal put forth by Senators Cantwell and Collins. Here’s Romm’s take (emphasis added):

Climate politics can be very strange indeed.  Because cap-and-trade bills like Waxman-Markey are seen as having no chance of passing the Senate, some enviros appear to be shifting their support to bills that are politically even less attractive and environmentally even less adequate.

The latest misguided missile is the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act put forward by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) — full text and info hereSupporters call it “Cap-and-Dividend,” but right now I think the best term for it is, “Cap-and-Divide,” since it has no chance whatsoever of becoming law but is serving to undercut the tripartisan effort by Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman to develop a bill that might get 60 votes….

Cap-and-Divide…doesn’t even pass the environmental viability test, as the first-rate researchers at World Resources Institute have shown…. And while W-M is far from perfect environmentally, as I’ve said many times,  it would enable a global deal.  W-M’s biggest problem is that it can’t get 60 votes in the Senate or even close.   But “cap-and-divide” is certainly less politically viable than Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer. [Read more →]

February 10, 2010   1 Comment

The Left Can Also Disown Cap-and-Trade (change a few words from Bob Herbert’s rejection of government health care and there you have it!)

Posts at MasterResource have highlighted the Left’s growing Civil War on climate policy. James Hansen, in particular, has called for the rejection of (Enronesque) cap-and-trade, as well as for the failure of the Copenhagen approach to climate policy.

More recently, the Hard Left (Bill McKibben, John Passacantando, etc.) has heated-up over Joseph Romm’s dismissal of cap-and-dividend as “cap-and-divide.” Here’s the comment of longtime Greenpeace head Passacantando on Romm’s post:

Joe, as a longtime reader of your blog I find your hostility towards an innovative approach perplexing …. I don’t think a legislative alternative to what appears to be a dead approach … is in any way divisive. Cap and dividend (the CLEAR Act) is a smart policy alternative, a real Plan B, filling in the current vacuum.

Romm would have none of it (remember, he works for the ObamaTank, a.k.a Center for American Progress).

I don’t find the approach “innovative” except in a sense they have found a way of siphoning off support from an effort that might actually lead to a bill that might preserve a global deal. Cap and Divide is a political dead end which is also environmentally inadequate. What more can one say? In that regard, it is much “worse” than Waxman-Markey, which, after all, passed the House. The only reason you and [Bill] McKibben [and James Hansen?] don’t know Cap-and-Divide is a political dead end is because it never even had enough political support to have been alive in the first place….

Obviously we need something other than W-M. But cap and divide ain’t it. The main thing that its ardent supporters in the environmental movement are doing is shrinking the political space available for an actual climate bill that Graham, Lieberman, Kerry and the White House are trying to put together.

The growing Civil War on the Left–with Romm to the Right Left–is a sight to behold for many longtime participants in the great climate debate.

Now to Bob Herbert at the New York Times. [Read more →]

February 3, 2010   6 Comments

‘The People vs. Cap-and-Tax’: James Hansen and the Left’s Civil War on Climate Policy

“Washington appears intent on choosing a [cap-and-trade] path defined by corporate greed. Unless the public gets engaged, the present Administration may jam down the public’s throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all.”

“Cap-and-trade’s complexity provides a breeding ground for special interests…. [T]ry reading the Waxman-Markey 2,000-page bill to figure out who would get the money! Why do those special interests deserve it anyhow?”

- James Hansen, “The People vs. Cap-and-Tax,” paper delivered to the Chairperson of the Carbon Trading Summit, New York City, January 12, 2010.

James Hansen is losing patience. He is upset at the Obama Administration and its advisors, such as John Holdren (read his futile letters). Hansen is mad at the New York Times; after all, he got suckered by their editors and by Paul Krugman regarding his pre-Copenhagen opinion-page editorial.

All this and more is in Dr. Hansen’s latest 3,600-word attack–reproduced in its entirety below–on the political establishment in what is a widening civil war on the Left regarding climate policy.

Temperature trends, climategate, and Copenhagen are major problems for climate alarmism/neo-Malthusianism in theory and practice. But add to this ‘perfect storm’ the problem of Enronesque climate policy. What is the party in power to do?

Some Hard Questions for Dr. Hansen

It is fair to ask some hard questions to the father of climate alarmism in the United States. Hansen said years ago that we had to quickly and fundamentally reverse the world’s energy mix to avoid his modeled doom. That is not going to happen. Is it time for him, both as a scientist and a layperson, to rethink the whole issue and reverse course? If climate stabilization is indeed a futile crusade, James Hansen should be part of the solution rather than continue to be part of the problem.

Here are some questions I have for Dr. Hansen that could help him get on track. I invite readers to add questions in the comments to this post.

  1. Climate science and the empirical record of temperature and climate change are more unsettled than ever. You once even admitted that “The prospects for having a modest climate change impact instead of a disastrous one are quite good, I think.” Will you show humility by constructing a non-alarmist scenario within the error bars of ‘settled’ and ‘unsettled’ science as an alternative scenario?
  2. In your very public criticisms of cap-and-trade, you do not bring up Enron. Yet Enron is the father company of the U.S.-side push of cap-and-trade, and Enron-ex Jim Rogers brought the Ken Lay political model of climate alarmism/cap-and-trade to the electricity sector.
  3. You speak below of “a clean energy future.”Why not talk about Enron’s quest to become the world’s leading renewable company and the fact that Enron’s very first crime involved its wind subsidiary? (Hint: government-dependent energy investments, not only cap-and-trade, enable the “corporate greed” you lament.
  4. You forthrightly state that “fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy.” Will you explore what is really the more important fact: that fossil energies used to firm up intermittent energies such as wind and solar create inefficiencies and incremental emissions compared to a grid without intermittent resources? (Hint: wind and solar are not major CO2 mitgators.)
  5. You were very articulate on the David Letterman Show. Why not debate an intellectual opponent? Or why not recommend that a Richard Lindzen spend a few minutes with Letterman to explain why we are not doomed? After all, as you once said: “Climate is complex. People have different opinions about the extent to which humans are causing climate change.”
  6. You have powerfully spoken against the political waste of the climate-policy debate. Can you weigh the fact of “government failure” against “market failure” in your analysis of what the government can really be expected to do to address the alleged problem?
  7. Is it time for you to shift from a mitigation to a adaptation strategy for dealing with future climate change, as Robert Murphy has argued? Your ten-years-or-else alarm of 2006 (“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions”) is rapidly running its course.

Hansen’s post is reproduced in its entirety below because of its importance. [Read more →]

January 17, 2010   7 Comments

James Hansen on Cap-and-Trade & Copenhagen

“The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – ‘goals’ for emission reductions, ‘offsets’ that render even iron-clad goals almost meaningless, an ineffectual ‘cap-and-trade’ mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics-as-usual.”

- James Hansen, “Never-Give-Up Fighting Spirit,” November 30, 2009

There is a civil war on the Left against cap-and-trade as the centerpiece of a U.S. climate bill. Among the leading critics is NASA scientist and Al Gore mentor James Hansen, who reiterated his opposition in Sunday’s The Observer with Copenhagen’s climate summit in mind:

“Cap and trade with offsets … is astoundingly ineffective. Global emissions rose rapidly in response to Kyoto, as expected, because fossil fuels remained the cheapest energy.

Cap and trade is an inefficient compromise, paying off numerous special interests. It must be replaced with an honest approach, raising the price of carbon emissions and leaving the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground.”

Hansen also stated earlier this month:

“Cap-and-trade is a hidden regressive tax, benefiting the select few who have managed to get themselves written into the 2000-page bill…. Think revolving door between the government and Wall Street.  Think revolving door between Congress and lobbyists.”

Hansen’s earlier criticisms of HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (Waxman-Markey climate bill), apply to the current Senate companion, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 (Kerry-Boxer climate bill).

Hansen’s bottom line on Waxman-Markey was as follows:

“The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”

-James Hansen, “Strategies to Address Global Warming,” July 13, 2009.

During debate on the original version of HR 2454, Hansen complained:

“Governments are retreating to feckless ‘cap-and-trade,’ a minor tweak to business-as-usual….

“Why is this cap-and-trade temple of doom worshipped?  The 648-page cap-and-trade monstrosity that is being foisted on the U.S. Congress provides the answer.  Not a single Congressperson has read it.  They don’t need to – they just need to add more paragraphs to support their own special interests.  By the way, the Congress people do not write most of those paragraphs—they are ‘suggested’ by people in alligator shoes.”

And Hansen spanked harder on the final version: [Read more →]

November 30, 2009   13 Comments