Only promise of new regs is higher costs for consumers

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: July 24, 2013
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BELIEVERS in man-made global warming like to tout models predicting future temperatures based on atmospheric carbon levels. For more than a decade, actual recorded temperatures haven't tracked with these projections. But the Obama administration isn't letting scientific data get in the way of trying to remake society based on its near-religious belief in man's ability to control the weather.

When microwave regulations were issued in May, the administration adjusted government calculation of the “social costs of carbon.” The new rules, which may soon apply to numerous products, assume $36 in “social benefits” is generated for every metric ton of carbon removed from the atmosphere. That increases the financial “benefits” of carbon regulation by about 50 percent, masking the true, negative economic impact.

Howard Shelanski, administrator for the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, recently explained to a U.S. House subcommittee how “social costs of carbon” estimates are developed. His explanation provided little reason for trust.

Shelanski said estimates must account for “changes in net agricultural productivity and human health, property damage from increased flood risk, energy system costs, and the value of ecosystem services lost because of climate change.” In other words, regulators must estimate the cost of highly speculative events that may never occur, or might occur regardless of atmospheric carbon levels. The anticipated “costs” of those theoretical future events are then counted as current “savings” created by carbon regulations.

The estimates are based on three “integrated climate change assessment models” that “combine climate processes, economic growth and interactions between the climate and the global economy into a single modeling framework,” Shelanski said.

This comes from the same federal government that finds efficient mail delivery a continual challenge. And from the same Obama administration that predicted its budget-busting “stimulus” plan would keep unemployment from going higher than 8 percent and would lower that rate to around 5 percent by 2013. Instead, unemployment reached 10.1 percent and the current national unemployment rate is about 50 percent higher than Obama officials predicted.

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