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Skewed road map to Kyoto

According to the appended article, the attorneys general (AGs) for Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine are attempting to circumvent the US Congress.   They are suing the US federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to force it to impose restrictions and regulations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions according to the Kyoto accord.

CO2 is a fundamental necessity for all life on Earth. Life as we know it cannot exist without it, and throughout the existence of Earth life benefited greatly when CO2 levels in the atmosphere were high.

Many scientific studies show that high levels of atmospheric CO2 followed, and did not cause periods of global warming, while there are strong indications that long-term climate changes are related to the variability of solar radiation received by Earth (the Sun is a variable star).

Yet, the climate alarmists advocating the Kyoto accord labour under the false belief that CO2 emissions should be controlled to prevent or influence long-term climate changes. It's hard to understand what it is that bothers them. What would be wrong with having a longer growing season and warmer weather? Whenever we had those in the past, such as during the medieval- and Roman warm periods (during both of which the climate throughout the world was considerably warmer than it is now), civilizations thrived and made major cultural and technological advances.

Moreover, just during the mid-'70s the climate alarmists warned of the impending doom of civilization due to an imminent new ice age.

The US, with a 95:0 vote in the Senate, correctly decided that it would do no good to pretend that controlling CO2 emissions would be either successful or effective in controlling global temperature trends.

Duane Parde, writing for the Washington Times, asks why the AGs of three states wish to circumvent the will of the elected representatives for the people of the US so as to ram the Kyoto accord down the throats of people who already rejected it.

The forwarded article provides only a partial answer to that question. The conclusion by Duane Parde, that "too few Americans would support the measure" if it were promoted through Congress, needs to be augmented.

The reason why the Kyoto accord is being implemented -- in the face of the evidence that it is an enormously expensive, useless and futile effort -- is nothing more than that the climate alarmists cannot let go of their ideology, and that the accord will provide vast opportunities for taxing the people.

The reason for pushing the accord through the courts into existence where the people rejected it is that it can easily be done through the courts for as long as the real political power rests not with elected representatives but with the bureaucracy and especially with the judiciary, the most influential and controlling sector of the bureaucracy.

The carbon tax is just that, a tax. Government, that is, the bureaucracy, stands to gain the most from carbon taxes placed on energy.

Including all costs for the mining, refining and distribution of fuel and putting it into the fuel tanks of our vehicles, and excluding all taxes, the cost of motor vehicle fuel in the period from 1995 to 2000 was no more than about US$0.20 to US$0.35 per litre anywhere in the world, depending on country, time and the government's fiddling with the market forces. While fundamental gasoline prices in Canada and the US doubled in the year 2000, the basic prices in Germany and France, countries that have no domestic oil production and rely entirely on imports, saw no increases in the basic prices at all. The rest of the price we pay is comprised of taxes. Similarly, the majority of the price we pay for energy in any other form is comprised of taxes. When fuel and energy prices double, the governments' energy revenues double — without any government having to lift a finger to raise its revenues by vast amounts.

That appears to be the incentive for the bureaucracy to impose on people what people don't wish for: Higher energy prices on account of higher taxes that ostensibly are intended to save the globe but only fuel the uncontrolled growth of an apparently uncontrollable bureaucracy.

Walter Schneider

Cc: AFREA Board of Directors
      REAs in District #7
      Bruderheim REA

______________
References:

  1. Is global warming a hoax?
    If greenhouse gases are bad, how come they increase agricultural productivity?
    http://fathersforlife.org/REA/warming9.htm

  2. Deregulation in Alberta
    http://fathersforlife.org/REA/deregulation.htm

  3. Last year [2001] Ottawa raked in over $4.8 billion in gas and excise tax revenues but only returned a paltry 2.4% or $113 million in the form of transfers for provincial roadway development [of which about 99 percent was spent east of Ontario]. And even if all infrastructure funding mechanisms are added in, Ottawa is still returning less than 20% of its tax take from motorists at the pumps.

    Source: 4th Annual Gas Tax Honesty Day
    Canadian Taxpayer Federation
    (about 600kB)

    The vast majority of federal gasoline tax revenues are not channeled back into road and highway improvements. Of the $4.8 billion collected in federal gasoline taxes last year (2001), Ottawa returned a paltry 2.4% or $113 million back in provincial transfers for road and highway development, of which 99 percent was spent east of Ontario.

    ....As a 1996 Statistics Canada study shows, gas prices, adjusted for inflation, actually fell by 26 percent between 1957 and 1995. Meanwhile, gas taxes rose 86 percent in the same period.
    Gasoline tax hikes have met little public opposition because they are hidden - out of sight, out of mind.
    Posting the full charge of gas taxes next to the retail pump price would reveal governments' true take at the pumps.[*]

    Source: Filling the Infrastructure Gap:
    Prepared for the 4th Annual Gas Tax Honesty Day
    May 16, 2002
    Canadian Taxpayer Federation
    http://www.taxpayer.com/studies/federal/GasTaxReport2002.pdf
    (about 1MB)

    [* That would of course be true to the same extent for showing all taxes (and not just the GST) on our utility bills and on the bills for any other form of energy.  However, that is not our practice; and that is the reason why those invisible taxes are called "hidden taxes".—WHS]

  4. Oil Prices and Taxes in the Year 2000 
    An IEA Statistical Fact Sheet
    International Energy Agency
    http://data.iea.org/ieastore/assets/products/eptnotes/feature/2Q2000.pdf

  5. The ICC [US Interstate Commerce Commission] illustrates what might be called the natural history of government intervention. A real or fancied evil leads to demands to do something about it. A political coalition forms consisting of sincere, high-minded reformers and equally sincere interested parties. The incompatible objectives of the members of the coalition (e.g.: Low prices to consumers and high prices to producers) are glossed over by fine rhetoric about "the public interest," "fair competition," and the like. The coalition succeeds in getting Congress (or the state legislature) to pass a law.  The preamble to the law pays lip service to the rhetoric and the body of the law grants power to government to "do something." The high-minded reformers experience a glow of triumph and turn their attention to new causes. The interested parties go to work to make sure that the power is used for their benefit. They generally succeed. Success breeds its problems, which are met by broadening the scope of intervention. Bureaucracy takes its toll so that even the initial special interests no longer benefit.  In the end the effects are precisely the opposite of the objectives of the reformers and generally do not even achieve the objectives of the special interests. Yet the activity is so firmly established and so many vested interests are connected with it that repeal of the initial legislation is nearly inconceivable. Instead, new government legislation is called for to cope with the problems by the earlier legislation and a new cycle begins.

    — Milton and Rose Friedman, "Free to Choose", p. 191 (Avon Books, 1980, ISBN: 0-380-52548-8)

Forwarded Article:

Washington Times

2003 06 19

http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20030619-082740-7016r.htm

Skewed road map to Kyoto

By Duane Parde

New England has a proud reputation of being the birthplace of American democracy. One would not expect to find state officials imposing their far-reaching changes on the entire nation by doing an end-run around Congress and the legislative process. Yet the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine are attempting to do just that.

Earlier this month, they filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to try to force the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. The AGs believe carbon dioxide contributes to global warming. But they are not petitioning their U.S. senators and congressmen to enact new regulations. Instead, they are taking the audacious step of bypassing our elected representatives and trying to force changes on the EPA directly, by suing it.

Why not go through Congress? Because too few Americans would support the measure. The claim that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming is highly controversial, and is by no means agreed upon in the scientific community. Plenty of evidence suggests global temperature changes during the last century have stemmed from natural causes, not man-made ones. The U.S. government, even after spending $45 billion in global warming research over the last decade, still concedes the science is inconclusive.

The AGs would be using weak science as a basis to impose extraordinary burdens on American society. Their aim is to produce defacto compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. But the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates compliance would raise electricity costs by 86 percent, gasoline by 66 cents a gallon, and fuel oil by 76 percent. The ripple effects on the rest of the economy would be enormous. And the poor and elderly would suffer most. [1]

Such sacrifices would hardly make a difference in any case. Climatologists predict implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would offset global warming by an unnoticeable .07 degree Celsius. And China, India and other developing countries would not be required to make any sacrifices at all, negating any action taken by developed countries. That was one reason the U.S. Senate in 1997 voted 95-0 to reject the treaty.

Given the questionable merits of trying to control global warming through carbon dioxide regulation, it is easy to see why the AGs and the interest groups that support them are in such a minority.

The ability of a special interest group to impose its agenda on the entire nation goes against everything democracy stands for. The Founding Fathers set up a system of separation of powers to preserve liberties and protect the citizenry from the will of the few. The Constitution directs the legislative branch to enact laws, the executive branch to carry them out, and the judicial branch to interpret the laws and ensure their constitutionality. It is something everyone learns in junior high school, but all too often, it is a lesson ignored.

Regulation through litigation -- where unelected officials write the laws -- is sadly becoming a more frequent occurrence, with frightening implications for the health of American democracy. Anytime the federal government wants to apply its coercive powers on the people, elected representatives must approve. The citizens of Arizona, Iowa or Kentucky should not be subject to the will of a handful of people in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. Yet that is what this lawsuit tries to achieve.

The EPA is not authorized to regulate carbon dioxide in any case. As these AGs would have it, every time we exhale we are polluting the environment. The Clean Air Act does not list carbon dioxide as one of the six criteria pollutants to be monitored for air quality. Regulating it would open the door to regulating water vapor and oxygen as well, which are the two largest greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

As stated in a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court case, "It is axiomatic that an administrative agency's power to promulgate legislative regulations is limited to the authority delegated by Congress." (Bowen vs. Georgetown University Hospital, 488 U.S. 204, 208 [1988]). And the regulations the AGs have in mind would result in extraordinary government control over the economy by imposing strict controls on all fossil-fuel-burning industrial facilities, automobile manufacturers, and other entities. A weighty matter like this should be decided by Congress.

The Founding Fathers carefully arranged it so national policy is made by elected representatives that each state sends to the nation's capital. The AGs, meanwhile, are supposed to focus on what happens in their state capitals. This latest move is a setback for democracy and the Constitution.

Duane Parde is executive director at the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation's largest bipartisan membership organization of state legislators.

Washington Times


Note by F4L:

If you have concerns about these and other issues related to the condition of seniors, visit, contact and perhaps even join:

SUN Seniors United Now

The up- and coming, rapidly-growing advocacy organization for seniors (55 years and over) in Alberta

There are in the order of about half a million or more people of age 55 and over in Alberta. If all of them were to join SUN, they would become the most powerful advocacy organization in Alberta; and seniors would no longer be robbed of their comforts and otherwise ignored.
   At the price of one package of cigarettes seniors will be able to gain a voice that will be heard by a government that otherwise can and will take from seniors what they worked for all their life to enjoy in their old age.

If you are concerned about how seniors are affected by the planned, systematic destruction of our families and society, a search at google.com (for elderly OR seniors OR grandparent OR grandfather OR grandmother site:http://fathersforlife.org) will provide you with the links to about 80 web pages at Fathers for Life that will be of interest to you.

__________________
Posted 2003 06 23
Updates:
2004 06 24 (added entry for SUN — Seniors United Now)