Monday, November 2, 2009

The Heritage Foundation

By Derek Scissors

Many global environmental debates are chiefly about China. In the past, it has been acid rain made in the PRC but falling elsewhere. Eventually, the conversation will shift to water shortages and diversion that have already displaced millions and may eventually threaten conflict with some of China's neighbors. As the international community lurches toward the Copenhagen climate change conference, the main topic is carbon emissions and climate change. Again, the debate will center on the PRC.

The size of the country means conflicting processes exist simultaneously. Critics of Chinese ecologic and economic practice can point to ongoing devastation at the same time defenders point to important remedial programs. China and climate change is a topic broad and substantial enough for several books, but there are vital statistics that must be included in any conversation. These point to the PRC as by far the most powerful force, now and for the indefinite future, driving carbon emissions. The reason is coal.

Global Warming on the Hill

Halloween has come and gone, but Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has a ghoulish surprise in store for her fellow Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Press reports suggest Boxer, who chairs the committee charged with overseeing the cap-and-trade legislation, may break long-standing precedent and proceed to a markup without the participation of at least two of the committee’s Republican Senators. The Republicans are boycotting the markup because there has been no thorough analysis of the legislation. Understanding the consequences of cap-and-trade legislation are important, especially considering the staggering economic consequences estimated by The Heritage Foundation. Opposition to the energy tax proposed by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Boxer is broad-based. Late last week, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) confirmed his opposition, saying, “I haven't been able to sell that argument to my farmers, and I don't think they're going to buy it from anybody else.” It is shaping up to be a long, cold winter for proponents of cap-and-trade legislation.

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