Created on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 20:00
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 20:00
By Chris Kirchen
Anyone interested in a fact-based analysis of the global warming issue would do well to start by reading Olin Potter's "In My View" published in the August 14, 2008, The Valley Reporter. There is so much political emotion invested in this issue, that it is good to read a dispassionate review of the science. For those who have a thirst for more, take a look at these two additional sources:
• The Skeptical Environmentalist
by Bjorn Lomborg. This book contains an exhaustive review of the data surrounding global warming and other earth resource issues.
• "The Great Global Warming Swindle." This is a TV show that was originally aired by the BBC in March 2007. It is the counterpoint to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth
. Watch both and make up your own mind. (Just search on Google for "The Great Global Warming Swindle" and you will find links to online videos of the show.) In considering the two shows, don't forget that Al Gore has an economic motivation for this point of view. Gore receives speaker's fees for his globe-trotting presentations and is a major stakeholder in businesses that generate income from the global warming issue. While his motivations seem altruistic, he has become a multi-millionaire promoting the global warming issue.
Trying to control global warming is like joisting with the sun, the real source of global temperature changes. I am not convinced that it is a worthwhile effort. However, I do favor reducing demand for petroleum products for economic and geo-political reasons. OPEC may control the supply of oil, but we can control the demand. Oil has many advantages that make it an ideal source of energy. It is efficient, effective, convenient and portable, all of which encourage its use.
The simplest way to reduce its demand is to make it more expensive by increasing the excise tax on petroleum products just like many European countries do. In short, we need to use excise taxes to change the supply/demand equation the way we do with tobacco and alcoholic beverage products. The extra tax revenues could then be used to reduce income or payroll deduction taxes, fund the looming Social Security and Medicare deficits, or reduce the overall federal deficit. And, the higher prices for petroleum products would create a real market-based economic incentive for corporations and entrepreneurs to develop our own supplies of energy in all forms.
Kirchen lives in Warren and Darien, CT