For the last few days, I've been seeing some rumors about this situation in England where hackers broke into a climate change institute and found that scientists have been rigging the numbers. Well, it looks like the story is true: ["Hackers leak e-mails, stoke climate debate"].
Like a lot of things, this stuff has been on my mind. I think about energy and the conservation issue every time I get in the car and drive 63 miles one way to my job.
But, another reason that this has been on my mind is this video, by two EPA officials telling people that cap and trade won't work:
Their experiences come from working in California, which apparently has an extensive cap and trade program in existence. The rumor going around the United States is that these two officials were told to edit parts of the video, because the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats already have cap and trade legislation in place, whether it will work or not.
For years, I have suspected that cap and trade wouldn't work. It's the same reason that corporate welfare and subsidies don't work. It's one of the reasons Kyoto wouldn't work either.
Ideally, society needs to make the leap from point A to point S or T, and not B, technology-wise, and that just isn't happening and won't happen with massive amounts of investments from the taxpayers. We're simply, as a society, not going to go back to the dark ages where we read by oil lap, warm ourselves with woodstoves, and cook on the top of the stoves. Cutting our carbon footprints 80 percent over the next 40 years is simply impossible without a massive restructuring of the entire society that few people want to actually do and even fewer people want to pay for. And, unfortunately, a good bulk of the money the government does have is busy being spent blowing people up in foreign lands. That money, real money, should be put into making every house and business energy efficient and on a self-sustaining model instead of trying to get us to all go back to the dark ages.
I personally like the idea of a carbon fees for the same reasons I like tariffs. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I would advocate the replacement of income and sales taxes with carbon, tariff, and Wall Street transaction taxes, in order to place the burden of taxes and government on those things that harm and need more regulation [Author Roy Morrison from Warner has written extensively about these issues and his argument are compelling]. But I wonder if the rebate program will work. It will create an unneeded bureaucracy of more government employees acting like the IRS, keeping tabs on everyone and everything, along with people having to file for the rebates each month. If it is implemented wrongly, it could create a bigger depression than we are already in now. Folks have quickly forgotten that everything was going along OK until gas started edging up in 2007 which took tens of billions of dollars out of people's pocket when they needed it most. At the same time, the Fed raised interest rates, squeezing the debt economy and sending up ARMs and credit card rates higher, draining more money out of the retail economy [which is 70 percent of economic growth in the U.S.]. These two things sent more people into foreclosure and bankruptcy than anything else, and set us on the course we're on now. Most folks I know who were having problems were just fine until the gas prices went up.
The focus of energy conservation and climate change needs to have a slow approach, with more tax rebates and other targeted things, as well as subsidies for solar panels, windmills, etc., dealing with energy.
I have also been an advocate of building more desalination plants around the world to curb the effects of rising sea tides and bringing food production to different nations on a micro level, to cut down on transportation pollution. This needs to be done immediately. At the same time, the individual has to make those changes because it isn't going to be done by governments or business. Lots of us are already doing things without subsidies and handouts. It's all very interesting and complex and this just adds to the mix.