The bill

This video, seen at the Heritage Foundation, is innocent enough. Heritage writes:

Now, if only she can convince President Obama to stop proposing even more new taxes, like today’s Soda Tax, yesterday’s Estate Tax hike proposal or the grandaddy of them all, the Global Warming Tax.

What Whoopi doesn't realize, and which Heritage probably hasn't gotten around to writing about, is that the soda tax, estate tax and climate change legislation isn't going to be nearly enough to pay for all the things that "need to get done." The WSJ reports on climate change legislation that will affect nearly every aspect of people's lives.

WASHINGTON -- House Democratic leaders said Tuesday evening they had reached agreement within their caucus on climate-change legislation that sets easier targets for emissions reductions and renewable-energy requirements than originally proposed.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) has been negotiating with a group of Southern and Midwestern Democrats on his committee who have withheld support for his bill because they feared it would hurt the economies in their states.

Mr. Waxman's bill calls for capping emissions of greenhouse gases, and requiring companies to hold permits in order to emit such gases. But the original version of the proposal was silent on the degree to which companies would have to pay for those permits, versus being given them free. Utilities dependent on coal and other carbon-intensive industries such as steel plants or oil refineries have been lobbying Congress to give them the permits for free, at least initially. ...

Republicans and other interest groups were already turning up the heat on Democrats and the Obama administration ahead of Tuesday's deal. Earlier in the day, Republicans pounced on a White House document that says regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act "is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities."

The potential impacts are worrying even some White House staffers who are having second thoughts about how far to take regulations on 'greenhouse gasses', possibly on political grounds. The Associated Press reports that the White House has released a memo casting doubt on how affordable such regulation would be.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Environmental Protection Agency proposal that could lead to regulating the gases blamed for global warming will prove costly for factories, small businesses and other institutions, according to a White House document. ... The document, labeled "Deliberative-Attorney Client Privilege," says that if the EPA proceeds with the regulation of heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, factories, small businesses and institutions would be subject to costly regulation.

"Making the decision to regulate carbon dioxide ... is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities," the document says.

Under GWB the EPA ruled that carbon dioxide was not a pollutant, but ever since the Obama administration decided to name it a noxious gas, the gap between what that finding implies and what is politically possible has widened. An AP article on April 30, 2009 argued that the CO2 situation was so serious that the world needed drastic measures to prevent a climate catastrophe. It posited the existence of a cliff of doom which mankind was rapidly approaching.

The studies found there's a limit to how much man-made carbon dioxide can be added to the air before warming exceeds an increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit - the level that many governments have set as a goal. World average temperatures going higher than that may be dangerous, some scientists say.

To keep under that danger level, the world has to spew less than 1.1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide in the first half of the 21st century, according to studies published in today's edition of the journal Nature.

In the first nine years of the century, the world has already emitted one-third of that amount and is on pace to hit that trillion ton limit in just 20 years, said climate researcher Malte Meinshausen of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and lead author of one of the studies.

A little arithmetic shows that to keep under the supposed CO2 limit the emissions have to be nearly halved from 4.07407E+13 tons per annum to the desired 2.2E+13. "Free permits" aren't going to hack it. If the Potsdam Institute is to be believed, the economic downturn isn't doing nearly enough to save the planet; a bigger recession, not recovery would logically be desirable. Even that may not be enough. Human existence itself may be the problem. In 2001 the IPCC, the United Nations Environmental Program sponsored committee, concluded that we may need to engage in "large-scale manipulations of terrestrial ecosystems" and changes to land use to save the earth.

Large-scale manipulations of terrestrial ecosystems have been proposed as a means of slowing the increase of atmospheric CO2 during the 21st century in support of the aims of the Kyoto Protocol (Tans and Wallace, 1999; IPCC, 2000a). Based on current understanding of land use in the carbon cycle, the impacts of future land use on terrestrial biosphere-atmosphere exchanges have the potential to modify atmospheric CO2 concentrations on this time-scale. Direct effects of land-use changes are thought to represent about 10 to 30% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions (Table 3.1), so there is scope for either intended or unintended changes in land use to reduce or increase total anthropogenic emissions. But the possibilities for enhancing natural sinks have to be placed in perspective: a rough upper bound for the reduction in CO2 concentration that could be achieved by enhancing terrestrial carbon uptake through land-use change over the coming century is 40 to 70 ppm (Section 3.2.2.2), to be considered against a two to four times larger potential for increasing CO2 concentraion by deforestation, and a >400 ppm range among the SRES scenarios (Figure 3.12).

If you believe the "science" behind the claims, then any program remotely adequate for dealing with the problems described will require the putting the world on a war footing that would make life under Stalin's Russia pale by comparison. Logic dictates that Whoopi needs more, not fewer tax items on her bill. And it's not enough that she "give back"; for this to work she shouldn't do well at all. The American dream is really the Green nightmare, the nightmare from which taxes grow.

Update: Oprah to Planet Earth: drop dead. You'll have to pry her private jet from her cold, dead hands.


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