Last year, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, an independent research group, reissued a petition signed by 31,000 scientists asserting that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane were actually beneficial to the environment. The petition was created in 1998 by the late physicist, Frederick Seitz, in response to the Kyoto Protocol a year earlier. It urged the
If the scientists can’t agree, where does this leave the rest of us? At the mercy of grandstanding politicians, it seems. Writing in London’s Daily Telegraph, Christopher Booker recently observed how clueless most politicians really are when Japan’s prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, had to be corrected for announcing at the G8 Summit that the CO2 cut to which all the Summit leaders had pledged would be measured from “1990 levels.” Aides later amended his slip to “present-day levels.” Never mind. Booker calls this “gesture politics”-an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honoring. He argues that when it comes to global warming, politicians will say anything because they know there is no way it will happen anyway. “Leaders of the world’s eight richest countries, as well as having no idea how they could achieve such an absurdly ambitious target, may inflict immeasurable damage on their economies just by trying to do so,” he comments.
This is where carbon cap and trade comes into play. While the Lieberman-Warner bill failed to get to a vote, our science correspondent Ron Bailey examines, beginning on page 27, the far-reaching effects that any such rationing effort will have on consumers and business.With