Thursday, November 30, 2006

The nexus of energy and climate policy

For further reading, I direct you to my colleague Paul Saunder's op-ed (with Vaughan Turekian) in today's Washington Times.

Mr. Bush is clearly not ignorant of the growing political importance of the climate issue — but just as clearly has his own views on how to address it. During his conciliatory post election press conference, Mr. Bush twice referred to energy policy, rather than climate, as an area in which he expected to work with congressional Democrats. Since then, other White House officials have repeated and expanded this theme while focusing predominantly on policies to reduce American dependence on imported oil through incentives to encourage the use of alternative fuels. Despite a sharp drop in prices after months of three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline, this issue still resonates with voters (in part because it is tied to U.S. engagement in the Middle East, including Iraq) — and the use of ethanol and other biofuels could reduce America's net greenhouse-gas emissions too.

Interestingly, a number of powerful Democrats may not object to Mr. Bush's approach. In key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, some will likely fear that the call for targets and timetables to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions could put excessive pressure on struggling U.S. automakers and the coal industry — and, in turn, on union members worried about their jobs.

In addition to the point made about union voters, biofuels will be popular among rural voters in potential swing-states as well. There will also be a great many campaigners for the top job in 2008. Said campaigners will no doubt vote along populist lines for this issue.
The President was correct in not supporting the Kyoto protocols.

There is absolutely no evidence that human activity has been the trigger or a significant (more than 5%) contributor to the secular warming of the planet.

Kyoto Protocols seemed like a cargo cult which attempts to appease some sort of Earth goddess and thus reduce the effects (mostly benign) of global warming.

There is too little space over here for me to supply my counter arguments to those of the chicken-little alarmists and assorted eco-Nazis here.

It is frustrating to see a great can-do country pursuing chimeras such bio-fuels, hybrids, and fuel-cells in a misguided attempt to appease an equally myth-informed, scientifically illiterate and gullible constituency.
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