Thursday, April 23, 2009

Myron in the House (again)

Like an invasive cancer, as soon as you feel temporarily free of him, Myron Ebell pops up with his disease-infested witless testimony to the US government in the form of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Day 2) 22 April 2009 hearings.

A broken link to his prepared statement on the CEI website was provided by shit Brit Iain Murray, so it was left to the Myron Ebell Climate to give enough of a damn to track down the proper webpage (listed above) to get his real testimony.

The PDF of his prepared statement is here, and the video of him giving it is buried in about a Gigabyte of failed statery in Panel 3:
Chairman Markey: [Myron Ebell] also chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition. We welcome you to a place that needs that. Dr Ebell, thank you for your leadership in that area.

Myron Ebell: Mister.

Chairman Markey: Whenever you're ready, please begin.

Myron Ebell: Thank you Chairman Markey for inviting me to testify here today. Before I begin, let me say I refer to several studies and articles in my very short testimony, and I'd like to ask that they be submitted for the record. [gestures with his stack of waste paper]
And then this oil and coal funded disinformation campaigner lectured the room about the evils of special interests and how models (ie quantitative predictions of the future) don't matter.
This morning, with the administration witnesses, we heard some astonishing claims and very matter-of-fact conversational answers that this Bill will create jobs, that it will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and that it will help the economy.

I believe Dr Chu and Administrator Jackson said that several times, and I think Secretary LaHood said it at least once.

I think that each one of these is wrong, and certainly each one of these claims is arguable.

I'm not much for modelling. I think it depends, as Dr Cohan said, it depends on what the assumptions are, and you can get almost any answer you want out of a climate model or an economic model.

I would rather look at historical experience. We have many of the policies in your draft Bill, Chairman Markey, been tried today, and have been tried for several years on the European Union, and in California.

California is falling off an economic cliff.

Now, it's not the only reason. They have run up the price of energy so that they have the highest gasoline taxes in the nation, they have a continuing shortage of refined gasoline, they have among the highest rates of electricity, comparable to yours in Massechusettes. But it is one of the reasons that their economy is falling off a cliff.

They used to have a very substantial energy-intensive manufacturing sector, producing many emissions. They still consume all those things, but they get them from out of state. Somebody still has to produce stuff. So I am very skeptical of these claims.

Now, the second panel from the US Climate Action Partnership -- and I have some very harsh things to say about the members of the Climate Action partnership. It seems to me that these are guys on the make. They want to get rich off the backs of American consumers. And they want you to enable them to do it. And I would urge you to take a step back from the astonishing statement in your executive summary which the committee put out on this Bill, that says that this Title III programme was designed to conform to the recommendations of the Climate Action Partnership.

And I would also ask to submit to the record -- and I'm sorry he's not here -- a letter from Chairman Waxman in 2004 to the Administrator of the EPA complaining about this very thing. It was revealed that an EPA rule had been written with the cooperation of outside businesses and their lobbyists from a well-known DC law firm. And I think that Chairman Waxman was exactly right then, and I'd hope that you would think this over again.

Now, Mr Rogers said that this will all work if we have a well-designed programme. I would like to ask you in your experience how many government programmes that have been enacted in your time in Congress have been well-designed. I would just like you to keep that in mind as you consider this enormous, huge hit on the American people and economy and how easy it will be to design it so that it is well-designed. I just can't see it.

Now Mr Barton asked -- and since he isn't here I'll ask his question -- If you favour 100% auctioning would you still vote for this Bill? I will still oppose this Bill, but I do favour 100% auctioning. I think that 100% auctioning of the rationing coupons removes a tremendous amount of the opportunity for gaming this system, con-games, and corruption. So I would encourage you all to vote for an amendment that would have 100% auctioning.

Thank you very much.
This had run pretty much consistent with his written testimony, which includes the usual the-alternative-to-our-bust-American-economic-model-is-Stalinism argument:
It takes the most important economic decisions out of the hands of private individuals acting in the market and puts them in the hands of government. The record of central planning in the twentieth century has not been judged a success, and most centrally-planned economies collapsed towards the end of the last century. Perhaps the advocates of cap-and-trade can find some glimmer of hope in the persistence of Cuba and North Korea, which are both models of economies that have commendably low, indeed negligible, greenhouse gas emissions.
He wrote this using his reading ability, provided to him as a child by a centrally-planned education system, drove to the House on a network of centrally-planned highways, using gasoline refined by a handful of centrally-planned oil corporations who have no concern for the public interest (and it shows), and looks forward to healthcare in his old age under the centrally-planned government run Medicare.

There is always central planning. The question is its level of transparency, legitimacy, and its ends.

Myron didn't have time to stick around for the hearings on the Secrecy in the Response to Bayer’s Fatal Chemical Plant Explosion where he'd be able to see just how much contempt his beloved corporate money-making interests generally have for human life -- when they can get away with it. And they do, because they pay the salaries of totally evil toads like Myron Ebell who's job it is to insert destructive lies into public debates without regard to the effects this will have on the survival of the human species.

It never was a joke. It's not a joke now. You are a worm-tongued killer.


I got the Q&A section of the hearing, where Myron is found out for his BS:
Mr Inslee: Where did all those jobs go that left California?

Ebell: Um, I think most of them went abroad, or to the heartland states that have lower energy prices, lower taxes, uh, less stringent regulatory atmosphere, and... you know, I remember when Dr Chrimsky from the University of Alabama Huntsville testified before this committee. He said, You know California used to have a vibrant auto industry. In 2008 more automobiles will be assembled in Alabama than any other state. They have workers that work, and lower energy...

Mr Inslee: Mr Ebell, look, this is the obvious, and we go round and round with these things. I really don't get something that's fundamental this way jobs leave certain... Sometimes it's just there are certain concerns that are addressed in certain areas that may not be in others, and not least is the cost of labour, fair wages, a living wage, safe working conditions, small things like that.

I'm sure this country could still be incredibly productive at incredibly low cost if we maintained something like slavery, or we just forgot about child labour, or safe working conditions, or minimum wage. There's all sorts of ways to reduce costs.

I would like to think that we have matured and developed as a country where sometimes we just do that which is fair and right, even though it may increase the cost.

I think there's a fundamental philosophical difference that's going on here. But let's just speak to the matter at hand.

Dr Kreutzer [The Heritage Foundation], you just don't seem to see the need to act on greenhouse emissions. Would that be a statement. I want to start off with that. I really want your honest answer because I thought we had debated that, we were past that. If that is your premise, then it goes to the very heart of maybe some of your opinions.

Do you believe we should be taking any action reducing greenhouse gass emissions?

Kreutzer: I can only talk about what you propose in this Bill and elsewhere.

Mr Inslee: No no, let's forget about this Bill. Should we be addressing it in any form or fashion?

Kreutzer: If it's free, yeah. Why not? But it's not free. That's the problem.

Mr. Inslee: So it's the approach you object to. But you believe that truly greenhouse gas emissions pose a problem.

Kreutzer: I don't think there's enough evidence to say there is a catastrphic problem... I would like to have an economy that's strong enough that when we have the climate variability we're going to have with or without climate action, that we have an economy that's strong enough to get through it, as we have done for the past couple hundred years. We're going to get stronger and stronger and able to handle a foot and a half of sea level rise.
Later in a rambling statement by Representative Upton:
Mr Ebell, your comments I think were right on line as we look at the costs associated and what has happened to businesses. But how do you counter that with Dr Keohane's?

Myron Ebell: Thank you representative Upton. I appreciate your leadership on this issue. We know it can't be that inexpensive. If it were that inexpensive, we wouldn't be having these rancorous debates. The fact is that energy prices have to go up significantly if emission cuts are going to be made. President Obama recognized this when he was running for president, he said: "The market plan of a cap-and-trade system electricity rates would necessarily sky-rocket."

Peter Orsac, now the head of OMB, then head of CBO, he testified here, said, this won't work unless prices go up.

In the European Union there has been tremendous consternation at the price of the rationins coupons because they yo-yo up and down. The people who are actual serious about making emissions cuts keep pointing out that the price has to stay up in order to force emissions down. When it keeps yo-yoing up and down, nobody has the incentive to reduce their emissions. They're going to hope that they're going to get some cheap rationing coupons if not this month, next month.

So I just think it is beyond believability that this is going to be inexpensive. It's going to be incredibly expensive.
Later, the doddery Texan, Mr Hall asked (after some rambling about how unfair it is for product consumers to assume the carbon liabilities embedded in the product's manufacturing processes):
What evidence does US Cap have that China and other developing nations will not take strategic advantage of what will be a weakened competitive position of the United States under Cap and Trade?

Myron Ebell: Representative Hall, I don't believe that they have any evidence, and I think they do plan to take competitive advantage, and they also want to be paid for their emissions reductions. And I think you can see how expensive it is to reduce emissions when everyone believes it will be cheaper to reduce emissions in developing countries than it will be in the United States. And yet they're talking in the European Union and in China and India about sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year to developing countries to reduce emissions. The idea that the EPA model is believable. No, it doesn't pass the laugh test.


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