The Corner

CAFE and Climate Change: Nada

I tried to make the point earlier today that the idea that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade plan can be justified by avoided harms from global warming is comically irrational from the point of view of a typical U.S. citizen.

Similarly, the White House has trumpeted the fact that the proposed changes to the CAFE mileage standards will result in “a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions.” 900 million is a big number in daily life, but it turns out, not so big when it comes to the emissions of the United States.

Keith Hennessey points to Department of Transportation analysis that projects (using the same climate model as I referenced in my Waxman-Markey post) that the impact of moving to these new mileage regulations should be that in the year 2100 temperatures should be 0.007C less than they otherwise would be, and sea levels should be 0.06 centimeters less than they otherwise would be. In other words, these standards will have no conceivably appreciable effect on global-warming impacts.

I would like to say that advocates of these various restrictions on the use of imperfect sources of energy that have the small advantage of actually exiting now need to stop lazily waving to “climate change” and telling scary stories as a justification, and start engaging on the actual numbers, but this almost certainly is not true. They have the votes to do these things, for now, and the Right is politcially discredited, for now.

(h/t to Debby for the link)

Jim Manzi is CEO of Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), an applied artificial intelligence software company.


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