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On January 18th, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is scheduled to consider a report containing staff recommendations in response to a petition by a coalition of environmental organizations seeking to reduce CO2 and methane levels in Texas below 1990 levels. Whatever these extreme environmental groups may call their plan, it should not go unnoticed that these provisions are identical to the so-called U.N. Global Warming Treaty, known more commonly as the Kyoto Protocol.
This is a treaty which the US Senate unanimously rejected and which even Japan has now rejected the treaty.
The misguided concept of global warming - and Kyoto - is that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, principally CO2, are causing temperatures to rise unnaturally. To stop rising temperatures, the argument goes, you must stop people from producing CO2 from all sources: cars, trucks, power plants, and manufacturing - energy which powers our daily activities and our economy.
Implementation of this treaty would wreck havoc on the U.S. economy, and have no environmental benefits. Economic forecasters have estimated that Kyoto could cost the US economy nearly $400 billion per year. This translates into a tax of almost $35 billion on Texas alone, based on Texas' contribution to national Gross Domestic Product. Implementation would export hundreds of thousands of jobs, destroy industries, and greatly increase the price of gasoline, electricity, housing, food - everything. Its economic costs are so great, in fact, that no major industrialized nation has implemented it, or plans to do so.
Why is that, if cutting CO2 emissions is so vital to staving off worldwide ecological catastrophe? And why are other countries and organizations with international ties so eager to implement the treaty in the US and in Texas? Why are environmental organizations pushing the treaty when the treaty would result in moving industry from the US to developing countries, which have fewer environmental safeguards than the US? These are questions that should be posed to Public Citizen's Texas office, Clean Water Action, Lone Star Sierra Club, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition and Texas Campaign for the Environment who filed the petition to impose what would amount to an energy tax on Texas consumers by asking the TNRCC to impose the provisions of the treaty on Texans.
No concrete evidence exists that can be proved by modern science or any empirical evidence that climate is changing unnaturally. In fact, recent reports have revealed that scientists have found that temperatures on the Antarctic continent have fallen steadily for more than two decades. Moreover, there has been no statistically meaningful long-term change in statewide summer or winter temperatures in Texas during the last 100 years.
Even if there were a causal link between CO2 and higher temperatures, humans are responsible for only a miniscule amount of the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere each year. In fact, human activity accounts for less than 3 percent of CO2 emissions. Most carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere is created naturally, by things such as human, animal, and plant respiration, the ocean and other forces we have yet to understand.
The extreme environmental groups that have petitioned for the treaty implementation are selling a half-baked theory that a reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions in Texas will make a marked difference. This is ridiculous. If Texas contributes 1/7th of the U.S. manmade CO2 - as the petitioners claim - this is less than 1/10th of 1% of the global total manmade CO2 emissions. This percentage of is already decreasing as Texas emissions decrease and developing nations with no restrictions increase their emissions. To impose a $35 billion tax on Texas consumers to address 1/10th of 1% of total manmade CO2 emissions would be sheer folly.
But worse than the extreme environmentalists' policy proposal is the disingenuous manner in which they present their argument. For example, the petitioners state "the United States is required to reduce emissions of carbon by 7 percent below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012." This implies the United States must comply with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, when the Senate rejected the provisions of the treaty unanimously.
Economic strength and prosperity go hand in hand with reliable and affordable energy.
It is not only inappropriate for a state agency to impose Kyoto-style mandates, it is scientifically indefensible, and a threat to America's economic and national security.
Peggy Venable is Director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, a grassroots organization that fights for more freedom and less government.
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