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Global Warming rhetoric meets reality

Corzine First Step “Modest” – allows for INCREASE in CO2 Emissions
[Update: 7/20/08 – “In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.”
Al Gore
DEP has finally laid the global warming cards on the table and – to mix a metaphor – it ain’t a pretty picture.

Last week, we criticized the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for missing the first key deadline of the highly touted “Global Warming Response Act” (GWRA). That law mandated a 20% reduction in emissions by the year 2020, and a dramatic 80% reduction by 2050. The law required DEP to submit a plan to the Legislature with detailed recommendations about how those lofty emission reduction goals were to be achieved (see: NEW JERSEY MISSES FIRST GLOBAL WARMING TARGET — Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan Due This Week Delayed Until Fall or Later
In light of this criticism, we would be remiss if we failed to note DEP’s first actual accomplishment. DEP took its first proposed regulatory step – officially published in Monday’s NJ Register. The proposal would establish a pollution trading program under the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” (RGGI). RGGI is one small part of the program to meet the GWRA goals. We previously critiqued the RGGI program as a sham and subsidy for major polluters (see:
Lame global warming bill goes to Governor
And we can now understand why DEP is reluctant to release a comprehensive emissions reduction plan required by law – a plan with numbers and schedules and specific enforceable regulatory requirements to achieve the numerical goals.
But you don’t have to take our word for it on the RGGI program – here’s the key RGGI fact that DEP won’t tell you in any press release – it is buried in the Orwellian fine print of the rule proposal.
Despite what you’ve been led to believe about steep emissions REDUCTIONS, the RGGI pollutant trading program allows for an INCREASE in current emissions. Here’s that Orwellian contradiction documented in DEP’s own words – words which also document the fact that economic impacts trumped science and the legal mandate to reduce emissions. According to DEP:
“The initial regional cap is 188 million short tons of CO2 per year, which is approximately four percent above annual average regional emissions during the period 2000 through 2004 for electric generating units that will be subject to the program.
This phased approach,…. is intended to provide market signals and regulatory certainty so that electricity generators begin planning for, and investing in, lower-carbon alternatives throughout the region, but without creating dramatic wholesale electricity price impacts and attendant retail electricity rate impacts.” (see page 4:
We must note that what DEP seeks to avoid and describes as “creating dramatic wholesale electricity price impacts and attendant retail electricity rate impacts” were estimated at about a 1% increase in current electric rates – $5.96 PER YEAR, or 50 CENTS per MONTH for a typical NJ household! (see economic analysis on page 72 of DEP proposal).
If a 50 CENT PER MONTH rate increase is the economic pain threshold – and it still allows for INCREASING emissions – how are we ever going to get DEEP REDUCTIONS which will cost REAL MONEY?
We felt it important to address this fundamental issue immediately. We will provide readers with a detailed analysis of the entire DEP RGGI proposal – but only after we digest all the loopholes, exemptions, offsets, and polluter subsidies in the proposal.
The rule is open for public comment for 60 days – until September 5, 2008.
See page 1 of the above link to the DEP proposal for information on how to submit your comments.
In the meantime, for the wonks out there, here is a critique of emissions trading:
EPA EXPERTS CAST DOUBTS ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS TRADING — Verification and Enforcement Challenges May Cripple Global Warming Strategy
And here is NJ’s bad experience with market based emissions trading OMET :
NEW JERSEY REJECTS EPA PLAN FOR TRADING POLLUTION CREDITS — Rebuked EPA Weighs Enforcement Against Companies Using Credits

More to follow.

  1. dionc9
  2. peeltheonion
    July 9th, 2008 at 19:18 | #2

    Patrick Moore one of the founding members of Greenpeace some years ago came to the conclusion that he had been wrong, and that the best, cheapest, and most environmentally friendly source of energy, both for baseload electrical production and for use in integrated industrial complexes is nuclear power. Within the last few days the head of the Russian nuclear energy utility Rozatom announced in guest editorials in leading European newspapers that Russia saw sales of small to midsize reactors to developing countries, particularly in Africa, as the best solution for developing their electrical grid with emphasis on water desalinization and many other applications, with the fueling handled under their control and with overview by the I.A.E.A.

  3. blarneyboy
    July 9th, 2008 at 21:56 | #3

    Bill Wolfe is fighting the good fight as we ALL want clean air, pristine water and bluebirds chirping in the backyard.
    India and Red China want none of it. They aim to pollute the air and waters forever, and blame the West for the whole problem. they’ll continue to burn increasing ammounts of carbon in the most inefficient ways available to turn a quick yuan or rupee for the cause.
    They’ll send their pollution to the rest of the world on air and water currents or just in their filthy product infiltrated with mercury, lead and dead rats. The corporations of America have led the way in investing in these filthy countries. Their CEO’s deserve prison sentences.

  4. dionc9
  5. ferdek
    July 10th, 2008 at 14:46 | #5

    Wake up Bill: The BPU and DEP are controlled by the utilities and the oil companies and corporate polluters. As long as they are in charge there will be little real reform. It simply costs too much in terms of future output. What’s true of NJ is true across the country: big businesses and big utilities set the energy/global warming agenda. So let’s be realistic until there is a massive shift in the economic-political power base nothing much will change. The emerging countries have a right to some better future through increased industrial production just as we did for the last 150 years. They will not be denied by the imperialist powers who already have their share of world output and want to keep it! Global Imperialists rule the planet so let’s salute the flag and shut up before they cancel Xmas!

  6. Cruzer69
    July 10th, 2008 at 18:21 | #6

    It’s true the Earth’s temperature is rising.
    It’s also true that human arrogance thinks we have anything to do with it.
    It has done this before, nearly 500 years ago when there was little human activity to blame.
    Solar output is correlated directly with the rise in Earth’s temperature and coincidentally Neptune, where there is no Human presence.
    See for example:

  7. Cruzer69
    July 10th, 2008 at 18:34 | #7

    Here’s another interesting fact regarding Global Warming and the last few months:

  8. unprovincial
    July 10th, 2008 at 20:14 | #8

    Cruzer69: The mass majority of the worlds climate scientists have agreed that global warming is man-made. They have nobel prize winners among them. They knew to account for solar activity, etc. They are scientists and know how to think like one. The earth has been warming FASTER in the last 30 yrs than ever before, as documented by the geologic record recorded in the ice caps. The core samples show periods of warming, carbon content of the atmosphere, etc. It’s the rate of the warming that is significant.

  9. greenspace
    July 11th, 2008 at 07:46 | #9

    The problem is, there are no easy answers here. NJ politicians have a habit of passing laws and setting goals with politically expedient objectives that are not technologically or economically attainable.
    What’s your solution, Bill? How much will it cost? Who’s goint to pay for it? (we know That answer, US).

  1. October 9th, 2009 at 18:29 | #1
  2. November 13th, 2009 at 14:05 | #2
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