What If the Zealots Are Wrong?

Jim Blasingame

So, what if they're wrong?
The climate change zealots, that is, who are pushing laws that would tax, regulate and/or commoditize carbon dioxide. These folks want to control carbon emissions of American power producers, businesses and, ultimately, consumers.
They're not wrong about climate change. Since Genesis Chapter 1, Earth's climate has been changing. Ten thousand years ago
Kentucky was buried under 5,000 feet of ice. And they're probably not wrong about whether humans are contributing to the changes.
But what if they're wrong about how much of an impact imposing an accelerated carbon clampdown on the
U.S. economy would have on global climate change? What if we take U.S. carbon emissions back to the proposed pre-1990 levels, when the U.S. economy was half of current GDP, and then discover that, since China and India didn't cut their emissions, we still have "climate change"?
But there is one thing that is knowable right now: The proposed laws and regulations will diminish
U.S. global competitiveness, especially against China and India.
At one-fifth of U.S. GDP,
China's growing economy is becoming a giant. But with the same level of carbon emissions as the U.S., it's already a polluting behemoth.  And while U.S. businesses have, mostly unheralded, decreased energy consumption per dollar of GDP, China's carbon footprint is growing per unit. So when the U.S. production units that will be lost by unilateral regulating and taxing of carbon emissions are replaced with units from China, global carbon emissions could actually increase.
Carbon restrictions punish the marketplace - especially small businesses - and simultaneously put government in charge of regulating carbon. And remember, this is the same government that was supposed to regulate Bernie Maddoff, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. What's wrong with this picture?
Absolutely, let's diminish the negative impact humans have on the environment. But Americans aren't the only humans with a carbon footprint. Let's solve this problem with market solutions that create, not by government fiat that destroys.
Here's the good news: The United States could dominate the global economy by merely unleashing its entrepreneurial and scientific minds to create alternative energy sources and related applications to export and license around the world. But the unleashing must be done by promoting innovation, not punishing consumption.
Write this on a rock... Regulating carbon will destroy the American economy but may not help the planet.

Jim Blasingame is creator and host of the Small Business Advocate Show.
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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