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Ben Lieberman

Ben Lieberman

Ben Lieberman, a specialist in energy and environmental issues, is a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation's Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. ALL POSTS

The threat of bad regulations doesn't make a bad treaty any better

Q: Do you think EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health will prod Congress to agree on its own method for limiting emissions? If not, what do you think would be the environmental and economic impact of the EPA regulations? Will this convince other countries that the U.S. is likely to make deep cuts in carbon in the near future?

It says a lot that the only global warming policy with legs right now is the one least subject to public accountability.

The Environmental Protection Agency's finding that greenhouse gasses endanger public health allows unelected bureaucrats to do what our elected officials have thus far declined to do - crack down on fossil fuel use in the name of addressing global warming.

This regulatory end run around cap-and-trade legislation, which is stalled in the Senate, is the only thing preventing President Obama from going to the Copenhagen climate conference completely empty-handed. Beyond encouraging treaty negotiations, the threat of EPA regulations is also being used as a stick to prod along domestic legislation.

Even EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has admitted that the Clean Air Act is not well set up to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, saying that legislation is the preferred route. A million or more small businesses, farms and property owners could eventually be hit with a costly, intrusive, and time-consuming regulatory burden, and for little benefit in terms of reduced emissions.

The threat of very bad regulations should not spur slightly less bad legislation or a treaty. Global warming policy that imposes costs well in excess of benefits should be rejected, no matter what form it takes.

The fact that EPA has relied heavily on the very same science implicated in Climategate -- leak of e-mails and other documents showing gross misconduct amongst many key global warming scientists -- is further reason why the regulatory process should not proceed.

By Ben Lieberman  |  December 9, 2009; 11:30 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: The EPA Strikes Back | Next: EPA regulation is doable, legislation is preferable


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Doing nothing does nothing. Adapt to man made climate change? How? Put my head in the sand? Ever stood in a forest on a warm summer day? It's cooler under that canopy. Now cut down those trees and put in an asphalt parking lot. Is the climate there changed? Now cut down millions of trees and put in hundreds of parking lots and strip malls with tar roofs, run asphalt roads all around, and you begin to realize "the climate is being changed by man." Machines take cool air and make it warm. Greenhouse gases are a fact too. Everything about fossil fuel use is dirty and destructive, and it should be banned altogether for the sake of our grandchildren. Don't be selfish. Don't be greedy. Give up those dirty toys and make war on the addiction. It is a much larger threat than terrorism. The war on drugs is a bad joke made to funnel more money to law enforcement corporations. Good people are stepping up, on their own to change things back in the right direction. Rich industries, and the governments they own block progress.

Posted by: halifar59 | December 14, 2009 8:04 AM
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The EPA is choosing the harder more complicated method that does not solve the problem.

New technology, jobs and money are not the solution; they continue the same employment lifestyle that pollutes our air, land, water and food leading to disease and death. It leads to corruption, bribery etc. like the Climate Change ideas in Copenhagen.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference process is

Reducing CO2 emissions cuts growth capacity of plants necessary for SURVIVAL.

Signing a BINDING AGREEMENT under United Nations takes away FREEDOM.

Promising poor nations money to sign a binding agreement is bribery to take their authority to govern their resources leading to conflicts and wars.

CAP and TRADE is a loophole for rich nations to avoid compliance and
it invites and creates bribery, corruption, bondage and servitude.

The employment lifestyle causes the world problems.
A garden paradise lifestyle would reverse and solve them easily, quickly, fairly and inexpensively. It is the only sustainable lifestyle that reverses and solves the pollution of our air, land, water and food, energy crisis, disease, war, immigration, reoccurring financial crises, and social problems including youth and elderly care.

The Employment Lifestyle Failed. The Garden Paradise Life Wins.
Let's Learn the Lesson Now.

Posted by: MarieDevine | December 13, 2009 9:21 PM
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This approach makes sense if it were only global warming that is a threat to human life. I believe and agree that global warming is a threat! That human activity contributes to global warming is a fact, but the level of contribution has not been determined; however anything that could reduce the human contribution, within reason, should be applied.

I believe that the pollution of the oceans and its effect on sea life and food for mankind might be an even greater threat to human life than global warming; so too is the pollution of the land and the air (which also contributes to global warming).

But beyond the environmental protection issue, I fear that Americans should be concerned, perhaps moreso, at the dismemberment of its Contitution especially as it relates to the duties of Congress and its relationship with the people of the U.S.

Posted by: CalP | December 13, 2009 1:38 PM
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Anthrop. Glob. Warming is just another mechanism to force the transfer of wealth from the West to the developing nations. This has been on the agenda of the UN for many years.

If you don't buy that, take a look at what the WTO has done to our economy. It was a good idea in concept, but because they couldn't make everyone be on a level playing field (compare Chinese work environments/rights to American for eg.) it created a lopsided benefit favoring developing nations and contributing to our current economic conditions (which will only get worse with a $1T+ USGov budgets). The world-wide carbon economy will not make sure everyone is on a level playing field.

When/If they pass Cap-and-Trade or the EPA does it's enforcement thing, more businesses are going to move to Asia where they can pollute all they want (ie. increase their profit margin) and more business/jobs will be lost here in the USA.

Be prepared for the recession and bad times to continue for a long time (READ: Unemployment) if major taxes are imposed on our carbon-based life-styles. 85% of our energy comes from Carbon. Anyone who believes that solar and wind are going to make up the difference are not dealing with reality (compare the efficiency of carbon combustion ~30% with Solar ~15% for example). THINK NUCLEAR. We might not be in this tight spot if we had been able to deploy nuclear plants 30 years ago...but were impeded by another religious movement to prevent it at that time.

We need to become more realistic and learn how to adapt to global climate change rather than wasting our time creating a religion around it.

We need to accept that the climate is continuously changing on our planet and figure out how to adapt, not to destroy ourselves and our way of life in the process.

If we don't adapt our civilization may very well come to an end.

Posted by: SomehwerOutWest | December 12, 2009 12:15 PM
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"that in my opinion clear them of charges of "gross misconduct"."

Oh well, as long as it passes the Dadmeister test of being a non-story, they I guess it's all right then.


Posted by: Ombudsman1 | December 12, 2009 6:46 AM
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Those who ignore Climategate do so only because they wish to preserve their liberal paradigm. This is junk science based more on the religious fervor of liberals and socialists who wish to impose unpopular policies in the guise of saving the planet. The climate alarmists make up or hide data. Don't believe the "Chicken Littles." Every day fewer people don't believe that there is a real problem. It is manufactured by people with hidden agendas--people full of hot air ironically.

Posted by: vanhook99 | December 11, 2009 9:22 PM
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Well there's a reason the public hasn't heard about and doesn't care about "climategate". They just don't buy it! One university being involved in some leaked emails a scandal doesn't make. Nor does it change the fact that our polar ice caps are melting right before our eyes. Shame on you Ben Lieberman for trying to disguise your politics of defeat as trustworthy.

Posted by: crzytwnman | December 9, 2009 4:05 PM
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The scientists involved in "Climategate" have posted explanations of the emails that in my opinion clear them of charges of "gross misconduct".

In this case justice has been stood on its head. People have been slandered and smeared with wild accusations based on very little and have not been accorded the right of defending themselves before being harshly judged.

Shame on all those who have jumped on "climategate".

Posted by: Dadmeister | December 9, 2009 3:25 PM
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