David Harsanyi

This bill not only is loaded with obvious costs but also features underlying protectionist expenses that would benefit the usual industries (agriculture and steel) and, of course, unions. For example, the legislation would force nations "that have not taken action to limit emissions to pay a comparable amount" -- in other words, to pay for having the good sense not to engage in slow-motion economic suicide. (Hey, I thought we weren't supposed to impose our values on other nations.)

What do we expect from these countries and ourselves? The bill would mandate we reduce emissions by 83 percent by 2050. Roll up your sleeves, because we all will be doing organic farming. Or, as Pat Michaels of the Cato Institute points out, we "will allow the average American the carbon dioxide emissions of the average citizen back in 1867, a mere 39 years from today."

Though an energy breakthrough could make all this possible -- and that would be wonderful -- solar panels, carbon sequestration and the fertile imaginations of political opportunists who make demands before they have solutions will not.

And remember, these legislators were supposed to be the grown-ups.