Cap-and-Trade: One Way to Skin the Cat

The lame duck Congressional session is fast upon us, and with it an assemblage of chastened liberal Democrats who are ready to throw some cheap parting shots at the American people.  Among these snipes could possibly be an attempt to pass an energy bill containing some variation of a carbon cap-and-trade scheme.  If that doesn’t occur, the President says that he is ready to employ alternative methods to further his radical green agenda.

Cap-and-trade works like this: The Feds will examine every industry sector in America and determine how much carbon dioxide (CO2) individual businesses and companies are allowed to emit annually—that’s the cap.  If an entity surpasses its defined cap, then it must purchase expensive carbon credits on a government-approved exchange.  If that same establishment were to see its carbon emissions remain below the cap, it would gain credits, which could be saved or sold like a commodity on the exchange. 

Concurring green interests perceive cap-and-trade differently.  Environmentalists envision it as a progressive engineering tool that will coerce both industry and individuals to emit less CO2.  Wind and solar companies see it as an instrument to manipulate the market, which they hope will force their companies to grow.  Socialists regard it as a way to redistribute wealth by offshoring America’s manufacturing sector to the Third World.  The elite identify cap-and-trade as a means to acquire control of the population (because if they can govern the amount of energy the people use, they can better control those people).

Cap-and-trade was passed in Nancy Pelosi’s chamber in 2009, but an outcry from patriots across this great land prevented Harry Reid’s Senate from passing similar legislation—and for good reason.

As I originally exposed in my book Climategate, the House version of the bill includes an “Energy Refund Program” allowing a family of four earning up to $55,000 to receive a monthly bribe to offset the increased cost of energy caused by cap-and-trade.  Section 2201 of the legislation describes “monthly installments via direct deposit into the eligible household’s designated bank account.”

The House version also demands an 80-percent reduction of CO2 emissions by the year 2050—an inconceivable notion.  Census figures project that by 2050 there will be 100 million more people in the U.S.  Such a carbon reduction would demand an end to the coal industry (coal provides electricity for half the homes in America) and would shutter most of the country’s manufacturing sector.  To compensate for the massive wave of expected job losses, the bill allows for three years of unemployment benefits to be received at 70 percent of former wages. 

The proposed law also mandates a new “green” federal building code to supersede all local and state regulations.

In an attempt to appear more moderate, this summer the Senate cobbled together a bill that is mute on both cap-and-trade and CO2 reductions but does contain a bevy of new mandates, many involving electric cars (no surprise, particularly since Uncle Sam still holds a 61 percent stake in GM, home to Chevy’s planned electro-mobile, the Volt).  The package also calls for $25 million worth of electric cars for the federal fleet, and contains an astounding provision for 400,000 more such vehicles to be virtually given away at low cost—or perhaps no cost—to people living in “selected communities diverse in population” and “demographics.”

Additionally, any new construction—or the remodel of an existing building or home—must include the installation of expensive hookups for charging one or more electric vehicles—whether or not the property owner ever intend to own one.

The scary thing is, even if Congress is unable to send a draconian lame duck energy bill to the President for signature, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is likely to begin implementing elements of carbon regulation, cap-and-trade, and green building mandates.  As Obama stated in his post-election press conference,  “The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction.”  He even took it a step further, proclaiming, “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.  It was a means, not an end.  And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

“Other means to address this problem” might involve crushing regulations advanced by the Department of Energy, or stealthy Executive Orders—or both.

We may have been successful in firing Congressional liberals, but there remains a committed ideologue in the White House who has two more years to unleash his radical schemes.  We’ve got to keep an eye open to make sure the cat keeps its skin.


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