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Friday, May 23, 2008

Enviro-Mental News

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San Francisco, always at the cutting edge of putting bad policies into law has become the first municipality in the nation to punish businesses by making them... a tax on carbon, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, the tax is expected neither to generate a windfall of cash for local government nor induce much change in polluting industries. Power plants, refineries and other big smokestack polluters would be hit the hardest, whereas most of the 2,500 newly regulated businesses would pay less than $1 a year, according to published reports. All businesses currently regulated for emitting smog-forming pollutants – everything from bakeries to print shops – will be affected, according to the Mercury News.

But it is the first attempt at a global warming regulation that economists say would be more efficient (and possibly more effective) than a cap-and-trade system of regulating carbon emissions. Cap-and-trade regulations on power plants and factories have, over time, been effective in reducing pollution that causes acid rain and smog, but carbon emissions result from many more sources.

The basic idea of a carbon tax is to assess the true cost of pollution up front. As is, carbon dioxide is spewed into the atmosphere at no charge, but the resulting changes to the climate are expected to have profound economic costs, ranging from increased rates of tropical disease to the need for fortifying coastal zones from sea-level rise.

Of course the problem with the above information is that carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant and if it is now policy to start taxing emitters of carbon dioxide, one can only wonder how long it will be before the government begins to tax us for breathing. As a matter of fact the average person exhales about 1kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per day which means the government stands to make a pretty penny off your very existence. It probably isn't too early to start to practice holding your breath.


President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus, has already made an enemy of the environmental movement awhile ago by stating in a newspaper interview that...
Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment.

Now he has gone and made matters worse by writing a book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, obviously in the same evil vein. In it he says,

"The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy, and prosperity at the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism."

Don't expect Klaus to be one of those foreign leaders who gets quoted a lot in Time or Newsweek.


Renowned physicist, author and non-kook has written an essay for the New York Review of Books in which he says,

Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.

Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the be-lief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.

Of course Dyson isn't Al Gore, but maybe we should listen to him. You know, maybe just a little?

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