Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Environmentalists Envision Bitter and Costly Medicine

In a Washington Post piece titled Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats that liberal paper warned the Democrat Presidential candidates that they might be going too far in their promises to reduce Greenhouse gases:

The strong medicine Edwards and his fellow candidates are selling -- an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gases from 1990s levels by 2050 -- tracks with a plan espoused by scientists. But it is a plan that will require a wholesale transformation of the nation's economy and society...

According to energy expert Tracy Terry's analysis of a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, under the scenario of an 80 percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels, by 2015 Americans could be paying 30 percent more for natural gas in their homes and even more for electricity. At the same time, the cost of coal could quadruple and crude oil prices could rise by an additional $24 a barrel.

The Washington Post acknowledges that the cost to Democrats (are you reading this, Mark Udall?) could be very high.

Democrats' boldness, however, could carry a political price. The eventual GOP presidential nominee is almost certain to attack Democrats over the huge costs associated with limiting emissions. "They will come at this hard," said John Podesta, who heads the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and sees an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases as necessary.

While the Post doesn't mention it, there have been moves in the past from the environmentalists to claim that beef production contributes to global warming. Anyone who has chased a cow on horseback can testify to the amount of methane it produces. An 80% reduction in methane would likely translate to a 90% reduction in beef production. A family that is used to eating beef three times a week will come to see it as an unaffordable luxury that graces a table three times a year, at best.

The Post did not overstate the situation when it observed that the environmentalists were going to try to transform the economy and society. Will anyone like that society? Where will the pleasures be?

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