After the selection of a largely centrist economic team, liberals have been asking when President-elect Obama would give them a seat at the table. Well, now we know, and Americans should strap themselves in. Mr. Obama is stocking his energy shop with the greenest of greens who want to move fast on a very aggressive climate agenda. Here come the carbon busters.
Regarding Obama’s supposed Energy Secretary, The Journal says:
Mr. Chu’s special passion is climate change, and he favors putting a price on greenhouse emissions. The federal energy portfolio, though, is dominated by nuclear issues such as waste disposal and maintaining the U.S. weapons stockpile, with a side of basic research. On the latter, Mr. Chu co-chaired a blue-ribbon panel last year that called for doubling energy research spending.
Congress will see that and raise. But we trust Mr. Chu already knows that the Bush Administration has devoted some $43.3 billion to climate-specific science and R&D since 2001, including the annual $650 million budget of the Berkeley Lab, which is funded through the Energy Department. We trust, too, that an expert of his sophistication understands not only the promise of clean tech but its real practical limits.
And then there is Carol Browner, the Al Gore protégé, who ran the EPA during Der Schlick Meister’s Administration who will act as Obama’s Energy Czar. The Journal:
During her EPA salad days, she put out air-pollution standards that even the agency itself said would have no measurable impact on public health, purely as antibusiness punishment. She forced GE to dredge the Hudson River of PCBs that posed no threat to the public. Ms. Browner also rewrote a law called New Source Review so that power plants, refineries and other industries were always breaking the particulate emissions rules.
But her most pernicious inspiration was the idea that the EPA could by itself classify carbon as a “dangerous pollutant” under current clean-air laws and thus impose new taxes and restrictions on all types of energy. Under Ms. Browner’s orders, EPA general counsel Jonathan Cannon prepared a 1998 memorandum concluding that “CO2 emissions are within the scope of the EPA’s authority to regulate,” even though Congress specifically declined to include carbon when it last amended the Clean Air Act in 1990. Now a law professor, Mr. Cannon serves on the Obama transition team.
The Obama Administration is “sitting on some authority,” Ms. Browner warned at the Center for American Progress recently. She says the White House is prepared to use that power “in the event that perhaps there can’t be some sort of agreement reached with Congress on how to move legislation.” In other words, Ms. Browner will use the threat of brute regulatory force as a political bludgeon if Capitol Hill declines to inflict some carbon tax on voters in the midst of a recession.
Not only will this incur colossal economic costs, but it bypasses normal democratic debate. In that sense it’s suggestive of the radicalism of Mr. Obama’s climate agenda. When Mr. Obama said during the campaign that he favored “nothing less than the complete transformation of our economy” in the name of global warming, we figured he couldn’t mean something so utopian. Maybe he does.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Global governance? Leaked Obama administration memo seeks ‘to produce a global regime to combat climate change’
- Steven Chu video: ‘We don’t understand the downward trend that occurred in 1900 or in 1940. We don’t fully understand the plateau that’s happened in the last decade.’
- President Obama, please follow India’s suit: Pull the US out of the IPCC to keep your pledge to ‘restore scientific integrity to government decision making’
- Obama must call out the UN IPCC to keep his inaugural pledge to ‘restore science to its rightful place’
- WSJ on Climategate: “Bloggers peer review a scientific ‘consensus.’”