OUR VIEW: Even more defections from global warming

February 19, 2010
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Considering how rapidly momentum escalated in the global warming movement, it’s fascinating to watch it lose speed, if not reverse direction.

After a series of revelations calling into question the science behind the theory of catastrophic man-made warming, the movement’s political and economic strategies seem to be unraveling as well.

ConocoPhillips, one of the nation’s largest refineries, has announced that it won’t renew membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, formed to seek federal reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and investment in lower-emitting technologies.

Along with similar decisions by oil company BP America and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar, the defections are “the first recognition by the many major corporations pushing energy-rationing legislation that cap-and-trade legislation is dead in Congress, and the scientific case for global warming alarmism is collapsing rapidly,” wrote Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Critics argue — and we tend to believe — that cap-and-trade schemes — where carbon-dioxide emissions are limited, and companies can buy “credits” to pollute more – ultimately will eliminate many existing, productive jobs but create few lasting, so-called “green jobs.” Rather than pursue the climate partnership, ConocoPhillips has decided to focus on developing natural gas, a lower-emission fuel, to reduce emissions and create jobs.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s state government pulled out of the Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade market, and Utah legislators reportedly are considering doing the same, “potentially weakening the fledgling regional carbon market,” the Dow Jones Newswires reported. Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last week signed an executive order rescinding the state’s participation in the market, slated to begin Jan. 1, 2012, citing economic concerns and the program’s costs. The WCI would create the most comprehensive cap-trade programs anywhere, eventually regulating 90 percent of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Dow Jones Newswires also reported the “outlook for other states joining the market is uncertain.” Oregon, Washington, Montana and New Mexico have joined, but it’s significant that they haven’t adopted cap-and-trade legislation required for participation.

In Colorado, former senator Wayne Allard recently warned in a Denver Post opinion piece that cap-and-trade will sharply increase energy costs for consumers and result in the loss of jobs.

In California, regulators continue drafting cap-and-trade rules to be completed by year end. But there are increasing concerns about the rules’ costs, particularly considering unemployment and the recession, giving rise to opposing voices.

Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Chico, is pushing an initiative to halt California’s cap-and-trade program until unemployment in the state drops below 5.5 percent. It is 12.4 percent now. Unemployment was last as low as 5.5 percent in April 2007.

The bottom line is that those who would curb greenhouse gas emissions to remake the economy, ostensibly to ward off warmer temperatures that haven’t occurred for more than a decade, have a theoretical argument based on speculative computer models and questionable scientific assumptions.

But the real-life costs of curbing greenhouse gases are much easier to imagine, particularly in a recession when joblessness is high.

ConocoPhillips, Arizona and the others are making prudent decisions. — From The Orange County Register, a Freedom Communications newspaper

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