Friday, July 23, 2010


Okay, the original title is slightly more specific: Senate Halts Effort to Cap CO2 Emissions - WSJ

Senate Democratic leaders Thursday shelved their effort to cap greenhouse-gas emissions [...] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that neither he nor the White House had managed to line up 60 senators to support even a limited proposal seeking to cap carbon-dioxide emissions [...] Senate Republicans closed ranks in opposition to even limited use of such mechanisms as the clock ticks down to the November elections.

If a bill is so odious that all Republicans and even many Democrats are (or feel they must pretend to be) against it, you would think that The Wall Street Journal might consider it all right to spare us their "fair and balanced" pandering to the dark side just this once. But no--in fact, the article has more "fairness" and "balance" in it than actual content:

Advocates of the cap-and-trade approach say that making it more expensive to burn coal or oil would encourage investments in new technology that reduces greenhouse-gas emissions

In other words, malinvestment. So how about mentioning that government "encouragement" of investment into inefficient projects has always resulted in ... well, an inefficient economy?

Some also argue putting a price on carbon can help reduce reliance on foreign oil.

Oh, don't get me started!

Advocates of capping emissions say that unless the U.S. puts a price on carbon, it will lose out to China in the race to develop the energy technologies--and jobs--of the 21st century.

What will be the energy technologies of the 21st century, and why exactly those? Will they be better or worse than the 20th century ones, and in what ways? What will cause people to adopt better/worse technologies? Why do we need to commit economic suicide to develop them if the Chinese can get them while they continue to progress? And why would it be a bad thing if the Chinese developed them for us?

Utilities now will be forced to make long-term decisions without knowing how carbon dioxide will be treated, said Mike Morris, chief executive of American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio.

This is like saying that Paris is "now" the capital of France. We (all of us!) have been forced to make long-term decisions without knowing how CO2 will be "treated" ever since they came up with the idea of "treating" it somehow.

Uncertainty over the future price of carbon and what sorts of technology the EPA will require already is having a "chilling effect" on investment in the steel industry, said Thomas Gibson, a former EPA official

This is one of the nice things about principles: the same thing I said about utilities, can also be said about the steel industry.

But other business could be chilled if Washington abandons entirely the idea of raising the price of consuming fossil fuels. Companies trying to develop and sell solar and wind energy technology, energy-conservation systems or electric vehicles have hoped that caps on greenhouse gas emissions would jump-start demand.

If somebody proposed to ban the Sun, would the WSJ be writing in all seriousness about what a chilling effect it had on the candlemakers and other assorted wannabes that had hoped the ban "would jump-start demand" ? And note that they are not quoting this from anyone, this is the author's own remark.

Mr. Reid's decision to pull cap-and-trade from the energy bill could reverberate on Wall Street, where banks and brokerage firms had been anticipating climate legislation that would lead to widespread trading of carbon "credits."

They now get to anticipate a healthy economy instead. I can't speak for the banks and brokerage firms, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't consider that a bad trade at all!