President Obama wants America to save the world from itself by capping carbon emissions and imposing “greener” demands on carmakers and utilities. As the richest country in the world—and the earth’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases—the U.S. must lead the way, supporters say.
But this green crusade has sparked a rising cry of outrage and opposition. Doubters warn of draconian measures that would slap a huge carbon tax on our own economy and hurt U.S. competitiveness. Furthermore, while Obama’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80% over the next 40 years is admirable, how are we going to wean ourselves off fossil fuels in just four decades?
China and India, meanwhile, balk at Obama’s big push and may simply keep growing and polluting, unrestrained by any restrictions. One looming dilemma: Is “climate change”—which activists had called “global warming” until that trend abated in recent years—a threat imminent enough to require drastic measures now, when the world’s still-ailing economies can least afford it?
Ronald Bailey is the award-winning science correspondent for
Reason magazine and Reason.com, where he writes a weekly
science and technology column.
Ralph Cavanagh joined the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1979. He has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford and UC Berkeley, and a Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School; he has also been a faculty member for the University of Idaho’s Public Utility Executives Course for more than a decade.
He received the Heinz Award for Public Policy, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Mary Kilmarx Award, Yale Law School’s Preiskel-Silverman Fellowship, Lifetime Achievement in Energy Efficiency Award from California’s Flex Your Power Campaign, Northwest Energy Coalition’s Headwaters Award, and Bonneville Power Administration’s Award for Exceptional Public Service.
Cavanagh is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.
Steven F. Hayward writes on a wide range of public policy issues. He is the coauthor of the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators; the producer and host of An Inconvenient Truth . . . or Convenient Fiction?, a rebuttal to Al Gore's documentary; and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill. Mr. Hayward is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. He contributes to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series.
Dennis Kneale joined CNBC in October 2007 as the networkâ€™s Media and Technology Editor for CNBC's Business Day programming.
Kneale joined CNBC from Forbes Magazine, where he served as Managing Editor overseeing such business stories as the Internet boom, bust and rebuild; corporate scandals and investor fallout; the backlash against the drug industry amid drug recalls and soaring costs; the rise of Google, the capitalist revolution that is igniting Chinaâ€™s economyâ€”and the travails of Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers and more. In 1998 Kneale joined Forbes to expand its coverage of technology, media and health.
Kneale also made dozens of television appearances including CNBC, Fox News Channel, other major broadcast networks and morning talk shows, including NBCâ€™s â€œTodayâ€ show and as a regular on â€œForbes on Foxâ€ on Saturday mornings. Kneale was also a frequent contributor to Forbes.com.
Prior to Forbes Magazine, Kneale spent 16 years at The Wall Street Journal where he was a senior editor, directing much of the coverage of new AIDS treatments, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He started at The Wall Street Journal in 1982 and covered advertising, technology and media & entertainment before becoming an editor in 1990.
Kneale began his career in journalism at the News/Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Kneale holds a degree in journalism from the University of Florida, where he was honored as a distinguished alumni and a member of the Hall of Fame of the student newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator.
Eric Roston is Senior Associate in the Nicholas Institute's Washington, DC, office. He joined Duke after a year-long tenure as Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future. There he completed his first book, a mainstream scientific narrative called The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat (July 2008, Walker & Co.,Bloomsbury USA). The book provides the dynamic scientific context often lacking in debates about energy, climate, industry and health. As a Washington correspondent for Time, he reported on the broadest range of subjects, specializing in energy and climate, but including the White House; Congress; the 2004 presidential campaign; enough Cabinet and regulatory agencies to fill several alphabets. He spent September 11 in southern Manhattan and the rest of the week writing about the losses sustained by bond-trader Cantor Fitzgerald. Before moving to Washington in the fall of 2002, he covered the dot-com bust and ensuing corporate scandals for the magazine's business section. Even in Washington, Roston spent a good deal of time as the business section's Washington correspondent, covering the market and industry regulatory agencies, and the Fed. Fluent in Russian, he holds an M.A. in Russian history, literature and linguistics, and a B.A. in European history, both from Columbia University
Fewer people would probably lead to fewer environmental problems however, there is no easy or realistic way to lower the human population... cOnservitude.com has a pretty interesting post on this subject;
I want to know, why is it so hard to put up clean energy power plant now? when it was in 100 more years ago, when people put up all the coat power plants, it didn't seem that anyone reluctant to do that, and didn't seem them anyone had problem with that. Why is it so hard to put up solar power plant now? I know about the cost factor. But WHY is it so hard?
This cap and trade idea is psycopathic and the people who cooked it up and promote it should be locked up in a facility where they can't be a danger to themselves or others.
Why don't we just set pollution limits on the big producers of pollution and enforce those limits? Too easy? No room for fraud? No incentive for poor countries to kill their own populations to get development dollars in the form of credits? No way to extort companies? No way to redistribute wealth?
What ever happened to the smart people in the world? We are living in the idiocracy.
The 800lb gorilla in the room is the global population increasing by 80 million humans per year. Any reductions in emissions per capita will be offset by more people. This was never even discussed apart from the observation that the disappearance of the US would not make a dent in global emissions in 20 years due to the forecast increases by China and India.
JUST FOR THE RECORD:
The Refrigerator example that was given was not a "Great American Success Story" - it was a "Great American Failure". All they did was require that America made refrigerators almost as well as the Japanese did at the time.