Is More Government the Answer to Global Warming?

John Stossel points out that central economic controls don’t work.

There are good reasons to begin with a presumption against government action. As coercive monopolies that spend other people’s money taken by force, governments are uniquely unqualified to solve problems. They are riddled by ignorance, perverse incentives, incompetence and self-serving. The synthetic-fuels program during the Carter years consumed billions of dollars and was finally disbanded as a failure. The push for ethanol today is more driven by special interests than good sense — it’s boosting food prices while producing a fuel of dubious environmental quality. …

[E]ven drastic plans to cut the use of carbon-based energy would make only a negligible difference. As John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal:

“Suppose you are very serious about making a dent in carbon emissions and could replace about 10 percent of the world’s energy sources with non-CO2-emitting nuclear power by 2020 — roughly equivalent to halving U.S. emissions. Based on IPCC-like projections, the required 1,000 new nuclear power plants would slow the warming by about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per century. It’s a dent.”

Bill Ritter wants to reduce Colorado’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. True, he also wants to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050, but there are four main problems with his “plan.” First, Ritter’s plan is fantasy. Neither he nor any of his advisers have the faintest idea of how that goal might be achieved. Second, if Ritter’s plan results in merely pushing people out of Colorado to avoid the high taxes and expenses, Ritter won’t have accomplished much by way of “solving” global warming. Third, Colorado contains a tiny fraction of the world’s population. Fourth, even if Ritter could seriously reduce emissions through political controls, the benefits would be miniscule, while the costs would be astronomical.

One thought on “Is More Government the Answer to Global Warming?

  1. Monica

    Furthermore, even though nuclear power is safe and non-CO2 emitting, environmentalists don’t view it as a solution because they claim it’s not safe. Here’s a great source of energy right in front of us, yet Gore poo poos its worth. He says it’s not clean or safe. That tells you what this is all really about.

    I’d like to see more nuclear power for a variety of reasons. First, it’s safe. France supplies 70% of their power by nuclear, and their population density is far higher than ours is, so I think it’s a great option that enviros have killed here in the US. Second, it’s very clean (the waste disposal issues aside, which I actually don’t think are that big a deal) compared to coal, oil, etc. Third, even if 1000 new nuke plants were built in the US, that’s an average of only 20 more per state. That’s really not that many.

    However, I don’t think central controls are necessary to have a largely nuclear powered country. For that, we simply need less government interference. If you take away government interference, the ethanol industry will collapse immediately.

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