"Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, ... we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge" (http://tinyurl.com/6rt5s9).
With that, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain threw his support -- again -- to a complex government program to reduce carbon emissions. He claims he can do this, without causing economic hardship, by using the power of the free market.
As The Wall Street Journal commented, "His plan is 'market based' insofar as it requires an expensive, invasive government bureaucracy to interfere with the market".
McCain's cap-and-trade system would have a bureaucracy set a limit for CO2 emissions and auction tradable permits to carbon-emitting companies. McCain says the revenue would be "put to good use." Specifically, "We will add to current federal efforts to develop promising technologies. ... We will also establish clear standards in government-funded research, to make sure that funding is effective and focused on the right goals."
We've heard that before. You'd think McCain would have learned that government isn't cut out for this sort of thing.
For all his lip service to markets, there is no getting around the fact that McCain will use force -- that's what government is -- to accomplish his goals. There are only two ways to do things: voluntary or forced. The market is voluntary. No one is ever forced to buy or sell anything.
How much will McCain's plan reduce global temperatures?
He doesn't say -- probably because even the most radical climate-change policies promise no more than a negligible reduction.
As Fred S. Singer, president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, told the Heartland Institute in 2007, "All these schemes are quite ineffective in reducing the global growth of atmospheric CO2 -- never mind in having any effect on climate. The schemes do have one thing in common: They will damage the U.S. economy and hurt the pocketbooks of every consumer..."
In other words, economic growth will be stifled -- for what?
Roy W. Spencer, a research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and author of "
Spencer is one of many scientists who doubt the "consensus" that CO2 will cause a global warming "crisis." But politicians still want to act.McCain's hero is Teddy Roosevelt, a hectoring, activist president. To justify government interference in our lives, it helps to have a crisis. In Islamic extremism, McCain has his foreign affairs crisis. In global warming, he has his domestic crisis.