Day two of Sutherland's "Earth" week, and our spotlights on the speakers they've brought in. (Yesterday's guests here, and read the institute's own descriptions here). Unable to attend myself, I've spoken with several there yesterday, and confirmed, indeed, that an argument was made that C02 in high concentrations was a good thing we should all be happy for. No amount of head shaking or eyebrow raising does John Christy's looney-ness justice. But moving on.
Today we have Frank Conte of Beacon Hill Institute, and John Charles Jr, CEO of Cascade Policy Institute.
Frank Conte, Beacon Hill Institute
Not much bad to say about Frank himself. He's the director of communications, and the frequency with which he's sent out BHI releases, I assume he's doing a bang-up job. The institute itself, however, leaves much to be desired when it comes to their climate change claims (when they even admit it's happening). The latest “The Economic Analysis of the Western Climate Initiative’s Regional Cap-and-Trade Program,” (forwarded to me by Sutherland as well) is basically an extension of the Western Business Roundtable's industry PR campaign labeled as "study," aimed at undermining the Western Climate Initiative, and falsifying information about cap-and-trade. Their claim, in short: WCI's cap-and-trade initiative will destroy our economy. Two problems I found in the "study." One: they are studying South Carolina and New York to predict what will happen in the Rocky Mountain region. Odd. And Two: They aren't talking about cap-and-trade at all, but an outright state energy tax... which, um, isn't what WCI's cap-and-trade program is recommending. They of course hide this little nugget carefully in the appendix of the publication:
For the 100% permit auction assumption, we modeled the price increases an increase to the state fuel tax, in the case of households and the transportation sector, or a state fee, in the cases of the commercial and industrial sectors. We chose state fees and taxes because they best mirror how the cap-and-trade system that would (1) drive up electricity and fuel prices and (2) provide a stream of revenue to the participating states. For the 25% permit auction assumption we modeled the 25% of the price increase as a tax and 75% of the increase as an increase in the price index for the applicable sector.So, cap-and-trade is bad for western states, and we can prove it, using models not at all similar to cap-and-trade, and a hypothetical from two states not even near the western region. TaDa! Proof. Or something.
John Charles, Jr, CEO Cascade Policy Institute
My first experience with Cascade Policy Institute came from my penchant for CATO Institute (who help fund the institute) daily podcasts. Cascade was referenced a lot, usually in topics relating to free markets and unfettered deregulation (something even CATO has backed off on since the financial market collapse). Pretty standrad stuff. The words "liberty" and "non-Partisan" are used often in their releases, and they would really like to see a market based solution to just about everything (from Health Care to addressing Climate Change). To their credit, they don't (a new phrase I've coined) "pull a Christy" and tell us warming a good thing. They also think it might not really be happening. Their webpage reads like a greatest hits of every free market screed you've ever heard. School vouchers are the shiz-nit. Cap-and-Trade causes cancer. Etc. They would have us believe the same markets that brought us "too big to fail" and "I'm sorry, we don't cover that procedure" would be the best solution to something as serious as climate change.
Sutherland made it easy for me this year. I'm expected more from them, to be honest. Where's the edge? Where's the originality? A weatherman, a guy who thinks C02 is the new Coke (okay, that's pretty original), another rep from another think tank using Republican Playground Math to prop up "policy," and another libertarian love-fest, telling us all problems would go away if that pesky federal government would just let states pollute as necessary? That's the best you can throw at us Dirty F#@king Hippies? C'mon!
Undeterred, I still have tomorrow's "documentary" filmmaker to digest. Stay tuned.