Perhaps annoyed, but undeterred by the constant snickering over his naivety on foreign policy, Senator Barack Obama hastened to add energy policy to the list of subject areas on which he comes off as a sputtering buffoon, as Steve Holland reports for Reuters:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday blamed America’s energy problems on timid Washington politicians and said if elected he would pursue bold proposals to fight global warming.
Obama, in excerpts from a speech he was to deliver in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, later in the day, said he would lead an effort to impose Kyoto-style caps on carbon emissions and prompt U.S. automakers to build cars that use less oil if elected in November 2008.
Read the whole story at the link above. Now, Obama doesn’t specify what magic wand he will use to “prompt” more fuel-efficient vehicles, but he gives a clue by criticizing those who “did not lead when they ‘had the chance to stand up and require automakers to raise their fuel standards’ . . . ” It’s a good thing he did well in Law School, because he’d flunk math and economics.
If you increase fuel efficiency in autos, you CUT the fuel cost of driving each mile. That doesn’t encourage LESS oil usage, it does quite the opposite.
What of “Kyoto-style caps,” then? How could they be achieved, and at what effect on the economy? David Freddoso ran the numbers last year for AFF’s Brainwash:
What exactly would it mean to meet the Kyoto targets? Let’s look at the numbers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States generated 5,802 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 in 2003. Naturally, this number has grown over the years as our economy has expanded. In 1990 we emitted just 4,969 MMT of carbon dioxide. If we had ratified the Kyoto treaty, we would have committed to cut emissions to levels 7% below that 1990 level — or to about 4,620 MMT.
Can we cut emissions by that much? Sure we can. I’m looking at the Energy Information Administration’s table of all 50 states’ levels of carbon dioxide emissions. If we shut down all industry and electric generation in the 14 “Blue” States (the ones that went for John Kerry in 2004) east of the Mississippi River, then seize all automobiles, airplanes, and private land there, we would slightly overshoot the Kyoto goals.
Read the rest at the link above. Freddoso also notes that if we outlawed the use of ALL gasoline immediately, we would still fall 40 tons short of our Kyoto goal. Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, noted yesterday in the Washington Post:
We have to rediscover the middle ground, where we can have a sensible conversation. We shouldn’t ignore climate change or the policies that could attack it. But we should be honest about the shortcomings and costs of those policies, as well as the benefits.
Environmental groups say that the only way to deal with the effects of global warming is to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions — a project that will cost the world trillions (the Kyoto Protocol alone would cost $180 billion annually). The research I’ve done over the last decade, beginning with my first book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” has convinced me that this approach is unsound; it means spending an awful lot to achieve very little. Instead, we should be thinking creatively and pragmatically about how we could combat the much larger challenges facing our planet.
The rest is at the preceding link. Naturally, the Kyoto-style approach has become like a religion to the environmental activists, so you won’t hear any Democrats daring to stray far from that line. Interesting that Obama’s “audacity of hope” and “bold” plans amount to nothing more than a refit of every socialist nostrum proposed by liberal Democrats and their interest groups over the last several decades.
Same old, same old.