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A note to Lindsey Graham


October 13, 2009

Dear Senator Graham,

As an active blogger for my own site (, for the Denver Post, FreedomWorks, and the National Taxpayers Union, and as a contributing columnist for Human Events magazine, I spend a lot of time studying the intersection of politics and economics.  Within that realm, there are few current topics as important as “cap and trade” – and few pieces of legislation with as much destructive potential.

It was with great disappointment that I read your op-ed co-authored with Senator Kerry. Your implication that the Boxer-Kerry bill may be worth supporting with the addition of incentives for nuclear power production is akin to cheering the addition of lobster to the last meal of a man about to be put to death by lethal injection.  There is simply no way to improve the necessary ultimate outcome of the bill, namely to impose the biggest tax increase in our nation’s history, to savage our nation’s manufacturing sector, and to raise the cost of essentially everything.  And all in a quixotic quest to prevent the “warming” of a planet that is cooling, and under the incorrect assumption that humans have a substantial impact on the Earth’s climate.

Perhaps in your desire for “bipartisanship” (which you may have noticed – in part because you are, sadly, such a prime example) you ignore the data and common sense in order to “get something done.”  But in case you are actually open to thinking about facts, please allow me to offer you a few:

  • The planet hasn’t warmed since 1998.  Even the alarmist BBC acknowledges “And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.”  Of course, that’s because the CO2 hypothesis is wrong, with data showing conclusively that CO2 changes follow, and don’t precede, temperature changes.
  • 95% of the “greenhouse effect” of certain atmospheric gases is caused by water vapor, which is 99.999% naturally occurring.  Carbon Dioxide, which represents less than 0.04% of the atmosphere accounts for less than 4% of the greenhouse effect.  Furthermore, only about 3% of all CO2 is man-made. In fact, combining all greenhouse gases, humans are only responsible for less than half of one percent of the entire greenhouse gas effect! 
  • Because human activity has so little impact on climate, cap-and-trade will have no impact on climate (but massive negative economic impact.)  Even supporters of Waxman-Markey acknowledge that the most it could accomplish would be to lower temperatures by a small fraction of one degree over the course of a century, less than the random variation within any one year.
  • It was just reported that “A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009.”  Furthermore, the extent and age of Arctic ice (much less important than Antarctic because there’s much less of it) has made a huge recovery from its 2007 lows.
  • Finally, the behavior of alarmist “scientists” should greatly concern you.  Leaders of the alarmist movement, such as NASA’s James Hansen (who predicted an ice age in the 1970s), routinely refuse to share data or calculation methods – a behavior distinctly contrary to the norms of scientific research.  Even more “alarming” is the recent finding that a leading alarmist scientist, Keith Briffa, appears to have cherry-picked a very small number of trees (using tree ring data to estimate historical temperatures) with which to create a “hockey-stick” climate chart. After years of refusing to make his data available to others, and years during which one study after another re-used his data to show an apparent large increase in temperatures in the late 20th century, we find that not only did Briffa base his chart on as few as 5 trees, but he excluded a much larger sample of data collected by his co-author, data which eliminates the “hockey stick” when included.  (Do a Google search for “Briffa” and “Yamal”.)  As a Canadian professor of environmental economics said, “Whatever is going on here, it is not science.”

With all this in mind, Senator Graham, I strongly urge you to reconsider your support for any bill that includes “cap and trade”.  The plan is simply the first giant step toward government regulation of anything that requires energy to produce or to transport, which is to say every physical product made or sold in America.  It is antithetical to everything which Republicans are supposed to stand for, particularly given that it will have zero impact on climate. 

If you want to support nuclear power – a goal which I strongly agree with – do it on its own, not as part of an unmitigatable disaster like Boxer-Kerry which will damage the country, assault employment, and harm our standard of living, all while giving aid and comfort to the enemy, both in terms of domestic and international politics and economics.

As it stands, your behavior represents exactly what has so turned off Republican voters in the last two election cycles.  Democrat-like behavior is not just bad for the nation; it’s also a political loser.  I believe that if you support the Boxer-Kerry bill, regardless of whether they add lobster to the economy’s final meal, you will encourage a primary challenge to yourself in your next election…and you will encourage me to support that challenger.

Most sincerely,

Ross G Kaminsky
Boulder, Colorado