For now, I think the fever is banking, and global warming hysteria is abating. This is not to say, of course, that the scientific debate over global warming is settled. To the contrary: With skeptics finally having a voice in the argument, it will grow even more intense. But that is healthy. The formerly stacked deck, to mix my metaphors, has been somewhat shuffled, and that will lead, I think, to more reliable data and analyses.
With the prior assertions of the IPCC and others somewhat discredited, the PANIC MONGERING that almost convinced us to dismantle our economies and hand our freedoms to an unelected bureaucracy/scientocracy, lost much of its power. And this shift is beginning to show in the emergence of more reasonable public policies.
Cases in point: France has declined to enact a long-planned carbon tax. From a Wall Street Journal editorial:
Only two days after a crushing defeat in regional elections, France’s center-right government regained common sense and scrapped its carbon tax plans. Burdening already overtaxed households and businesses with yet another levy in the midst of an economic crisis is one reason why the ruling UMP lost all but three of 26 regions to the Socialists and Greens. “We have to amplify measures that help reinforce the competitiveness of our economy,” Prime Minister François Fillon told parliament Tuesday, as if he had alighted upon some previously hidden truth. Paris now insists on a European Union-wide tax to reduce CO2 emission because a unilateral move would “widen our gap in competitiveness with our neighbor Germany.” Luckily, there is little appetite in the rest of the EU for this sort of economic masochism.
And in the sinking ship California, the failed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger–who helped flood the poop deck with his ridiculous “green agenda” in a state with a 13% unemployment rate–is even backing a bit off. From the story:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked the state’s top climate-change regulator to loosen proposed cap-and-trade rules to make it easier for companies to comply, in a sign the state is responding to pressures from business groups concerned about the cost of the program. In a letter dated Wednesday and distributed early Thursday, Schwarzenegger, a Republican, asked state Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols not to adopt a proposal by a panel of economists that would require companies to buy all the pollution allowances they would need to comply with state rules in an auction, but instead to consider giving away most pollution allowances for free in the early years of the program and auctioning only “a very small percentage of allowances.
I am hopeful that we can transition to a cleaner energy society. Doing that without destroying prosperity takes time. Perhaps now, saner views will prevail.
But don’t count on it: The hysterics will soon be back with new scientific studies predicting a climate Armageddon. President Obama, ideologically greedy for ever more Federal control, will soon renew the push for a destructive national cap and trade policy that could cause even more damage to our near terminal economy that increasingly looks like the last, ruinous stage of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. (Lest you doubt me, the CBO says that our debt load will soon be at 90% GDP.)
But at least the discrediting of the panic has given a pause that refreshes. But the breathing spell had better be put to good use preparing for the next onslaught, because it is definitely coming.