21 April 2009

The Original Sin of Respiration

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prompted by a Supreme Court ruling on the Clean Air Act, has begun the process of regulating the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, including methane (link here and here). Both of these gasses are produced by animals – all of them. Supposedly, this action by the EPA will push Congress into creating legislation to curb or cap emissions of greenhouse gasses. One way or another, it appears that the Global Warming / Climate Change (GW/CC) crowd is going to have its way on this matter.

The intended consequences, however, seem to be quite clear. If the release of gasses like carbon dioxide is to be controlled and reduced, there will be a resulting rise in the price of energy – and everything that the resulting energy produces. That rise in price may come in the form of emissions control equipment (carbon-capture devices, perhaps) and/or punitive taxation for the emissions. I say punitive because no entity, to my knowledge, produces carbon dioxide as its main purpose. Other goods and services are produced; carbon dioxide is a by-product. Industries which produce the gasses as a by-product of their real business will be punished for it, . Punishing industry for various by-products is nothing new. But in my mind, there is something different about this latest push. It is a push to impede and eventually remove (with hopes of replacing) the lifeblood of our economy: safe, reliable, and relatively cheap energy.

A more cynical person might take the whole a drastic, but logical, step further. It might seem obvious that we, as human beings, cannot get around the cycle of photosynthesis and respiration, the cycle which takes oxygen, changes it into carbon dioxide, and then back to oxygen. The cycle involves all living things. Therefore, just through our breathing, each animal on the earth is a polluter. It is, from a GW/CC point of view, the “original sin” of man (and animal) to breathe and thus “dump” carbon dioxide into the earth’s fragile atmosphere. Cap and trade, curbing emissions until it hurts (and then some, and then some more) may then be seen as repentance and remuneration for the harm of the GW/CC original sin of breathing.

That might be taking it all a bit too far, but it might be best to not underestimate the argumentative lengths to which GW/CC true believers will go.

One look at living and travel habits of those who most vocally espouse the GW/CC dogma belies the seriousness and suggests other motives. From holding climate conferences in Bali to Mr. Gore’s world travels to proposed caps on the “carbon emissions” of us all, those who advocate GW/CC dogma do not, and I believe have no intention to, live by the words they preach. They are the gods among men, the ones who will judge the living and breathing. And they are the ones who will benefit from the policies – be those policies from the EPA or Congress – which will tax all of us down the economic ladder and create yet another deep and enormous footprint of the state on each of our private lives.

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