Oregon HB 4036, designed to eliminate coal-generated electricity in the state, has cleared the House and is now in committee in the Senate. A concurrent bill, called the Healthy Climate Act (HCA), is still languishing in the House. The HCA is modeled after a California law designed to reduce carbon emissions from the industrial, power generation, and transportation sectors. The baseline figure of merit is the greenhouse emission levels of 1990. Reduction goals are a 20% cut by 2025, 45% by 2035, and 75% reduction by 2050.
A perusal of the HCA summary shows that it’s a monetary transfer vehicle, plain and simple. The motivating basis for the bill is that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is an established fact. It’s not. AGW acolytes like to use scary graphs like this:
so they can claim that human activity is Bad For Gaia and human activity should be curtailed, or for the zealots, eliminated. The geological record tells a different story:
I haven’t done the analysis, but a glance doesn’t appear to show a high correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global surface temperature. In the Jurassic period, for instance, CO2 was rising even as temperature was falling.
Then there’s the fact that CO2 and methane, the twin terrors of the AGW crowd, are trace gases. Very trace. The current atmospheric CO2 concentration is 400 ppm. It was 350 ppm in the Green’s 1990 reference year. That’s a nearly 13% increase in a quarter century. That does sound bad. In actuality, it means CO2 went from 0.035% of the atmosphere to 0.04%. Methane makes up a whopping 0.00018% of the air. The AGW argument is that CO2 and methane trap long wave solar radiation in the atmosphere. Those must be really powerful gases if four one-hundreths of one percent of the atmosphere can significantly affect global temperature in such small concentrations.
Besides increasing costs and lowering living standards for a problem that may well not exist, or at the least not be nearly as bad as the Prophets of Gaia claim, the HCA has the same problem all Green legislation, and nearly all Progressive initiatives have: there are no performance metrics. I have not seen a single piece of AGW-motivated legislation that has any way to tell if the initiative is achieving it’s goals. At the very least, any government act that deprives people of freedoms or resources in real, measurable amounts, should have real, measurable ways of verifying performance.
The reality is that any plan that claims to address a problem without first establishing verifiable and reproducible connections between cause-and-effect, and then develops a methodology for altering cause to modify effect in an objectively measurable way isn’t a plan at all. It’s an assumption. And when government engages in that kind of chicanery, it’s theft.
The local NBA Portland Trialblazers are setting the basketball world on its ear. After losing 4/5ths of their starting line-up in the off-season, they weren’t expected to break 0.500 on the season, much less contend for the playoffs. They are now doing both. The first game after the All-Star break was against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Both teams were healthy and rested, and the game was seen as a good opportunity to see how well Portland was developing. Golden State was, and still is, the best team in the NBA, having lost four games all season.
Portland 137 Golden State 105
Portland’s for-some-reason-not-an-All-Star Damian Lillard dropped 51. This is a team Blazer Nation has watched grow before our very eyes. Portland will face Golden State in Oakland twice more this year, and I’m sure the Warriors will be looking for a measure of revenge, but for one night, we saw the team we’ve been waiting for.