30 October 2009

Kill Cap and Trade

Save the planet? Kill cap-and-trade
Examiner Editorial October 30, 2009

If members of Congress need yet another reason to kill the Waxman-Markey bill, the Obama administration's economy-suffocating, job-destroying energy program, Princeton University's Tim Searchinger and his colleagues have a humdinger: Carbon reduction laws encourage widespread deforestation as trees and other vegetation are harvested to produce energy from biomass to replace oil and gas. The problem is that in long run, this process actually increases greenhouse gas emissions, which cap-and-trade is meant to reduce, according to Searchinger.

The Princeton researcher's paper, published Oct. 23 in Science, points out that almost all prior global warming studies failed to take into account the carbon emissions that result from converting cropland and forests to energy production. This accounting error treats all bio-energy as carbon-neutral, the authors say, despite the fact that burning wood and clearing land actually releases quite a large quantity of carbon into the atmosphere.

"By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years," the Princeton authors say. "Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%." Neither the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nor existing European cap-and-trade programs have taken into account widespread deforestation as farmers worldwide respond to the new economic incentives, Searchinger added.

1 comment:

jp said...

article at:

JP Kaneshida

The whole idea of cap and trade is a dumb and moreover indirect way of tackling environmentalism. Futures speculating is fun for sports betting where – save for degenerates – quality of life or critical things like the environment aren’t on the line, but it’s a weird and indirect way of dealing with problems. Imagine monetizing something like speed limits into futures – absurd, right?

The answer is to deal with driving and speeding directly – pay to register and drive, pay for your license, pay to pollute (smog check), pay for your insurance, pay for your citations… etc. Direct seems to work. If you’re a business that pollutes, why should it be any different? I’ll tell ya why – with cap and trade/carbon credits, HUGE pools of money will be gambled that some think will dwarf the energy futures market. And therein lies the rub of this model – it’s gambling. By creating a futures market out of pollution, the game makers have created a casino, and everyone knows that casinos make their billions off of the fish.

And the ones who will reap from Uncle Scam and Wall Street’s newest casino are, once again, huge institutional pools of money. Matt Taibbi knows who they are, and guess what? They have an enormous edge.

Yeah, Yeah. Big surprise, I know.