Climate change needs more science, less salesmanship

Bob Tippee

From the politics by which the US Senate passed comprehensive energy legislation this month, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) extracted the promise of a vote on a climate-change bill they sponsor.

At one point they proposed to make the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003, which they introduced last January, an amendment to the energy legislation.

The bill uses a cap-and-trade system to pursue Kyoto Treaty emission targets for greenhouse gases. Commercial, industrial, and electric-power emitters would fall subject to emissions allowances, which they could save, buy, or sell. Something called the Climate Change Credit Corp. would use funds from allowance sales to reduce costs to energy users, such as by providing rebates on purchases of efficient appliances.

Debate over the Lieberman and McCain bill would provide a welcome chance to separate salesmanship from science on this issue.

Industrial-strength salesmanship comes from Lieberman himself.

"By capping emissions and tapping market forces" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said in January, "this bill will heat up American innovation and cool down our changing climate."

Cute but untrue. By itself, the bill—even if it succeeded in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to target levels—could have no measurable effect on average global temperature. None.

What the bill would do is raise energy costs. At the request of senators, the Energy Information Administration estimated the effect, emphasizing uncertainty of the exercise.

According to EIA, the cost of Lieberman-McCain prescriptions through 2025 in 1996 dollars, based on the discounted value of lost disposable income, comes to $47/person/year.

That doesn't sound like much. But someone should ask how a majority of Americans would answer this question:

"Would you agree to send the government an annual check in the amount of $47 times the number of persons in your household to fund global warming remedies with no chance of influencing global average temperature unless matched by greenhouse-gas emitters around the world—which won't happen—and possibly not even then?"

The debate over global warming remedies needs less salesmanship and more perspective about the costs of presumptive remedies and what they reasonably might be expected to achieve.

NOTE: There will be no Editor's Perspective Aug. 29.

(Author's e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)

Related Articles

Senate passes Defense bill with BLM drilling permit program provision

12/15/2014 The US Senate approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill on Dec. 13 containing a provision extending and making permanent a drilling perm...

Mitigating methane

12/15/2014

Among greenhouse gases, methane should be particularly amenable to deliberate cuts in emissions.

Study: To cool climate, eat less less meat, milk

12/15/2014

Meeting stated goals for Earth's climate requires not only using pricey energy but also spurning animal protein.

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/15/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

A message from Oil & Gas Journal

12/15/2014

An important transition occurred during production of this issue of Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Small subset of wells accounts for most methane emissions, researchers say

12/09/2014 A small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for most methane emissions from US natural gas production, said a study from the University of ...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected