Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Green jobs created by global warming initiatives 2

406 Dirksen
Tue, 25 Sep 2007 18:00:00 GMT

Panel 1
  • Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • Congressman Richard K. Armey PhD, Chairman, FreedomWorks
  • Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance
  • Dr. Wayne Winegarden, Partner, Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics
  • Carol L. Berrigan, Director, Industry Infrastructure, Nuclear Energy Institute
  • Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures
Panel 2
  • Daniel Kammen, Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr. Kenneth Green, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • David Blittersdorf, Founder, NRG Systems, Inc.
  • Mark Culpepper, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, SunEdison
  • Donald Gilligan, President, National Association of Energy Service Companies
Submitted Testimony
  • Paul Renfrow, Vice President, OGE Energy Corp.
  • Dorothy Rothrock, V.P. Government Relations, California Manufacturers & Technology Association

2:22 PM Armey Environmental regulations would probably create shift from the private sector where freedom reigns to the public sector where command and control reigns. Whatever we do with concerns for the environment relates to energy, electricity, fossil fuel energy. These are among the highest linkage factors in the economy. There will be reduced output and reduced job opportunities. I found myself going back to Armey’s Axiom Number One: the free market is rational, the government is dumb. The market has a history that leads people to best utilize and effectively conserves resources. Government policy generally leads you in exactly the opposite direction. Look at how dramatically obscene agriculture policy is.

2:28 PM Boxer One of my most famous constituents is here. Dick talked about the private sector and capitalism, a perfect introduction to Vinod Khosla. Tell us what you think we should be doing with global warming.

Khosla I come before you not to make an environmental case but an economic one. I believe climate change legislation is good for our economy and our national security. I believe in free markets in a level playing field. We need to start mitigating our risks. We spend over $300 billion on oil imports. Should we spend more money lining the pockets of Hugo Chavez and those who fund terrorism? The uncertainty around climate change legislation is hurting the US economy. Delayed investment, job creation reduce our competitiveness. Solar CIP creates 20 times as many jobs as a coal-fired plant.

2:35 PM Ringo I’d like to suggest seven investment priorities. 1) Clean R&D, such as power storage. Solar PV were invented in the US but commercialized and built abroad. 2) Early commercialization of new technologies. 3) Congress needs to provide market certainty to renewable energy producers. 4) Incentives for clean energy components. 5) Green building retrofitting. 6) Carbon-cap policy must level the playing field to apply to importers. 7) Education and training initiatives. From Iraq to New Orleans, the tragic consequences of our excessive dependence on fossil fuels is driven home every day.

2:41 Winegarden I examined the impact of cap-and-trade on the US economy. Cap-and-trade legislation creates a few green jobs but destroys more jobs. Fossil fuels currently account for 86% of our energy consumption. In the short term, limiting greenhouse emissions only by limiting energy supplies. Energy supply shocks caused a 2% reduction in the US economy. Regardless of one’s position on the climate change consensus, cap-and-trade is an inferior price instrument. Price volatility decreases economic efficiency. Failure to achieve universality greatly reduces its environmental impact but the economic impact will remain the same. Dow Chemical and the aluminum industry have been moving industry out of countries with higher energy costs. The costs of reducing carbon emissions are by no means trivial. Cap-and-trade is wrong. However, if appropriately constructed, a policy with a carbon tax and a reduction in marginal income tax rates would be good.

2:46 Berrigan Any credible program to reduce greenhouse gases must include nuclear energy.

2:52 Sanders My impression is that you’re creating many small-business capitalists by allowing people to sell solar power back into the grid.

Gabriel Thousands of new jobs are being created in East Germany by companies including American companies creating solar wafers. You have the right to put the energy you produce back into the German grid. You get money for your energy production.

Sanders How many homes have this arrangement?

Gabriel Some hundred thousand. It’s a growing number. Some use geothermal, some use photovoltaic, some use wind.

2:58 Inhofe Dick, Dingell has proposed a gas tax. I’m not in favor of it. I think it’s a more honest way of doing it, not a cap-and-trade system.

Armey The early research in economic externalities was really part of the government’s failure to establish the proprietorship of the environment. I like about the Dingell proposal is that it sets a price. Cape Wind is clearly a governmental NIMBY problem. Same with nuclear. It is because of government regulation we’ve never developed the low-sulfur coal, in fact putting them into parks. The market encourages the genius of the private sector. The problem with cap and trade is where do you make the initial allocation? I say give them to Medicare. Let Medicare peddle them to the private sector. My guess is politicians will decide who are our best friends, for a politically defined redistribution of the wealth.

Inhofe Isn’t a carbon tax more honest than cap and trade?

Winegarden Absolutely. Taxes are a negative incentive. They need to be balanced out by a positive incentive by cutting marginal tax rates.


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  1. Ron Kling Wed, 26 Sep 2007 01:36:38 GMT

    When talking about global warming, there are a few questions that must be dealt with.

    First, is climate warming? The answer, though not definitive yet, is probably yes. We can readily see some evidence of that happening.

    The Earth is a dynamic system, which means it is constantly in flux. Average temperatures are continually moving up or down. Equilibrium would mean that the system was dead. In spite of what Al Gore says, there never has been a time of equilibrium in the system, and that’s a good thing.

    Second, if temps are going up, what is the cause? Is it Man’s contribution of greenhouse gases? Conventional wisdom (as portrayed in most of the media, anyway) says ‘yes’. But the truth is that that is a hypothesis, not even a full-fledged theory yet, and certainly not an established scientific fact. Let me explain:

    Obviously we can’t put the Earth into a laboratory and experiment on it. Experiments must be done on climate models. Scientists formulate a hypothesis, plug their assumptions into the model, and then see if the model can predict reality.

    Even the best climate models don’t predict reality very well. Thirty-five years ago NASA’s James Hansen was designing climate models that showed an ice age was imminent; today he designs models that show the climate is heating up. But the track record of the models is just as dismal. Heck, the Old Farmer’s Almanac does a better job of predicting weather patterns and climate trends.

    So what’s going on? Some say that the “reality of global warming” is even worse than predicted. Could that be?

    That’s one explanation offered by the manmade global warming enthusiasts, but a simpler, scientific, and less hysterical explanation is simply that one or more of the assumptions programmed into the models are incorrect. That just means the hypothesis is flawed. It does not prove or disprove the scientists opinions, or establish cause and effect. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes.

    So how do we get from a flawed hypothesis to a sound scientific theory? The short answer is: we don’t. The hysteria is due to politics and propaganda.

    How do we get from politics and propaganda to an established scientific fact? Again, we don’t, obviously. What we get is more politics and perhaps public policy.

    Why? In two words: money and power.

    More taxes. Higher prices on energy (and everything that uses energy to make or transport). Control of energy sources. Sales of books, ‘carbon offsets’, and myriad ‘green’ merchandise.

    Does it bother the True Believer that Al Gore has 200 million dollars in the bank from selling carbon offsets, which do nothing to actually help the environment? That his prediction of a 10-foot rise in sea level is echoed by not one scientist anywhere? No, of course not. Some people want to be scared. Impending catastophe is supremely sexy.

    Does it bother the True Believer to learn that many of the scientists involved in the IPCC project sued to have their names removed from the report?

    Does it bother the True Believer that the grandfather of global warming politics is a man named Maurice Strong, a big UN muckety-muck who happens to be a eugenicist and de-populationist? No, of course not. Those same people craving catastrophe probably don’t understand the implications of those words.

    But politics and global evil aside, should we be concerned about climate change? The answer to that is an unqualified ‘maybe’. So wouldn’t it be nice to just let the scientists work without all the propaganda and hysteria?

    Despite the claims of ‘consensus’, the science is very, very far from being settled. Do you realize there are still scientists studying gravity? And you thought that had been ‘settled’ long ago, didn’t you?

    Bottom line: Don’t let anybody take your money or freedom based on a hypothesis. Real science is not done by a show of hands. Recognize the doomsayers, propagandists, and slanted journalists (and bloggers) for who they are and get on with life.

    And think carefully about the people who tell you “the science is settled and it’s time for action”.

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