Global Warming and the Law of Unintended Consequences

By February 5, 2007Global Warming

Here’s a link to an AP article by our friend Joe Hebert where he correctly notes that the debate on global warming is rightly heading in the direction of who’s gonna pay for this — with money and jobs. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman was quoted at the end of last week as saying:

“There is a concern within this administration, which I support, that the imposition of a carbon cap in this country would — may — lead to the transfer of jobs and industry abroad (to nations) that do not have such a carbon cap. You would then have the U.S. economy damaged, on the one hand, and the same emissions, potentially even worse emissions.”

Recall that almost none of the Kyoto signatories have hit their targets. (And recall that the signatories don’t include India and China.) Of course, America’s pal (non!) Jacques Chirac has piled on, calling for an international body to regulate all this stuff. That’s all fine and good, but France has a spotty record here as well, and they’re not hitting their targets either. Also, remember that France gets 80% of their power from nuclear energy. Will the enviros agree to that here? Don’t think so.

The Gray Lady had a weepy over-the-top editorial yesterday on this topic, reading more like a grade-school essay. How on earth do they assume we can turn on a dime to “cleaner sources of energy?” And, while we’re at it, which of those “cleaner sources” do they endorse?

These are all interesting theories but we have many millions of jobs riding on it. Wise man Bob Samuelson made some of these same points a little while ago in a particularly clear-headed column on the topic. Let’s hope these various social engineers don’t take action that will drive jobs away in droves to our competitors — competitors who are either missing their Kyoto targets or who never signed on to the accords in the first place.