STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Senate Global Warming Bill on Track
By Staff News & Analysis - April 12, 2010

Six months after introducing a sweeping climate change bill that flopped in the Senate, Democrat John Kerry (left) is preparing to offer a compromise measure that seeks to reel in reluctant senators. Kerry, collaborating with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, might introduce a new bill promoting clean energy early next week, just days before the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, environmental sources said. … "Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman will unveil their proposal later this month," Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith said, adding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was "committed to making this Congress the one that finally passes comprehensive energy and climate legislation." – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: An American global warming bill is more important than ever.

Free-Market Analysis: But why? With even a broad panorama of mainstream media reporting on the lack of evidence that a bill to reduce greenhouse gases will make any difference, and with the scandal about fraudulent evidence still fresh in the air, why are Kerry et al. seeking to push through fairly stiff cuts in greenhouse gases? It seems odd to us. Here's some more from the article excerpted above:

Aides to Kerry, Graham and Lieberman toiled over legislative details of their climate bill during a two-week recess that ends on Monday. Its centerpiece will be a 2020 deadline for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels. Oil and coal, cheap and dirty energy sources, gradually would be replaced with more expensive, but cleaner alternative fuels. The 17 percent lines up with the House of Representatives' target and commitments made by Obama in global talks.

In a move to lure more votes, the compromise Senate bill is expected to have new incentives for domestic oil and natural gas production and expanding nuclear power. Electric utilities would be the first sector to have pollution controls imposed — starting in 2012 — through a "cap and trade" system to bring down carbon emissions with required permits that would be traded in a regulated market. Factories would join the pollution-reduction system in 2016, industry and environmental sources have been told.

A third sector, transportation, would see a tax levied on refined oil products, a Senate source told Reuters last week, with the expectation it would be passed on to consumers when they buy gasoline and other fuel products.

We can see from this analysis that nothing really has changed. The phrase "greenhouse gases" is still used, even though this is a euphemism for carbon dioxide emissions, which make up a tiny portion of the larger haze in the upper atmosphere that supposedly traps heat and causes the globe therefore to become hotter. The article also informs us that "cap and trade" would become a reality in 2012 and that larger American factories (the ones that are left) would be subject to cap and trade in 2016.

What is the point of moving ahead with such a flawed concept? In the past (in the 20th century especially) whenever the power elite was faced with opposition to a dominant social theme, it found a way to circumvent the opposition and move ahead. This is business as usual for the elite, therefore. If there is opposition, the elite playbook calls for a stubborn forward movement to achieve the appropriate goal.

But the 21st century is not the 20th. The Internet has changed the playing field. No longer is the elite faced with crises to overcome. It is faced instead with a process of education, and this is a dilemma it does not seem able to internalize. The health care bill passed by the Obama administration is not simply going to go into effect as it would have in the 20th century. The Internet and groups organized around the Internet will keep fighting it. And the fight will be all the more energetic for the passage of the bill.

The same thing goes for global warming. If somehow a greenhouse gases bill is passed in the House and Senate and passed into law, the struggle against such flawed legislation would continue. It will not fade as it might have in the 20th century when there was no mass means of communication to bring people together in a common cause or organized them effectively.

The elite is using a 20th century playbook in the 21st century. From the attempts at 'Net censorship in the UK, to the divisive argument over 'Net neutrality in the US, we see the power elite as struggling desperately, an ineffectively, to control this new media. They don't have a handle on it. We doubt they will find one in the near future. (The only methodology really left to them is the initiation of additional wars, but that is an article for another day.)

The Internet never sleeps. The actions it initiates are evolutionary. It is like trying to catch quicksilver. The Republicans may believe they have a handle on the Tea Party movement today – but not tomorrow. Kerry et al. can introduce a global warming (cap-and-trade) bill, but even it were to pass, the opposition would be intense. And unlike in the 20th century, given the problems that America (and Europe) faces, the opposition is not about to be rolled back.

After Thoughts

The Internet is a conversation and conversations evolve. The more that the blunt weapon of legislation is used to drive through unpopular legislation, the more the opposition will grow. It is a kind of self-defeating enterprise but the elite pursues it because it apparently knows nothing else.

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