Cap and Trade by Stealth: U.S. States Partner With Foreign Governments

By Alex Newman   The New American

While Americans were battling cap-and-trade legislation at the national and international levels, global-warming alarmists were quietly building regional systems between state and local governments, private industry, and even foreign governments that basically achieve the same effect — higher energy prices for consumers and more money for governments.

The first and most prominent of these U.S. cap-and-trade systems is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It was created not by the people through their legislatures, but by a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” between state governors.

Consisting so far of 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — the scheme is described on the RGGI website as “the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Its board of directors consists primarily of each participating state’s top environmental bureaucrats.

The “Initiative” works by having each state cap its carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level, then auctioning off emissions permits to the highest bidder. Eventually, the CO2 limits will be reduced, causing increased energy prices as companies pass along the added costs to consumers. By 2018, the RGGI plans to reduce energy-sector emissions by 10 percent.

Thus far, the scheme has netted close to a billion dollars by selling “carbon credits” to utility companies and other firms in participating states, earning about $50 million through an auction held on December 1. The first auction was actually held in 2008, and there have been nine since then. Spoils from the emissions permits are then handed out by state governments to companies, environmental groups, and others.

Incredibly, the RGGI has managed to avoid public scrutiny of its operations by incorporating as a non-profit organization and leaving enforcement and regulation to the individual states. The corporation claims it does not have to respond to public requests for information since, technically, it is not actually a government entity.

But the corruption is already coming out in the open. “New Hampshire conservationists had high hopes for how $18 million in funding generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might advance energy efficiency projects,” wrote columnist Fergus Cullen in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year. “Unfortunately, cronyism and corporate welfare hallmark too many grants awarded by the Public Utilities Commission so far.”

Cullen’s piece details, among other things, the outrageous handouts to “environmental” front groups and big businesses that helped push the scheme through. For example, an activist group in New Hampshire called “Clean Air Cool Planet” was incorporated by out-of-state bigwigs to promote global-warming alarmism — including Al Gore’s discredited “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth.

“Having helped create this pot of money, Clean Air was one of the first in line with its hand out so it can do more alarmist advocacy, paid for with public resources awarded by friends,” Cullen explains. The group has already received almost half of a million dollars. Another example cited by the columnist: “Yogurt on a mission” producer Stonyfield Farm, with $300 million in yearly sales, received nearly $150,000 to upgrade its air-conditioning system.

Money was basically shoveled out, “creating opportunities for the well-connected and the in-the-know” while “millions of dollars have gone out the window, wasted like heat leaking out of an uncaulked pane,” Cullen concludes.

But RGGI boss Jonathan Schrage — who after intense public pressure recently disclosed his salary of almost $170,000 per year — thinks the scheme is great. “I look forward to building RGGI Inc. into a dependable administrative ally of each state’s RGGI program,” Schrag said in a press release when he was appointed executive director. “The states have done tremendous work to develop the first CO2 cap-and-trade system in the U.S.”

Not everyone thinks so, though. And in an e-mail to supporters, the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise warned of even bigger problems to come. “RGGI is the prototype for more regional cap & tax entities,” wrote the organization’s executive vice president Ron Arnold. “Soon RGGI will expand to every state and stick you with astronomical energy prices.”

Arnold blamed the “corruptocrats in Washington” for the “gigantic waste of tax dollars,” adding that the “crooks behind RGGI must be exposed” and held accountable. He also said that, despite RGGI claims that it is “making a significant impact to combat the threat of global warming,” the data proves otherwise.

“The only impact RGGI has made so far is they have raised energy prices and created a slush fund for each member state,” Arnold explained. And according to his letter, “the fact that global warming isn’t even real” won’t prevent the “climate change scam” from spreading to other states. And he’s right — it’s already happening.

An even bigger and more ambitious effort that includes Canadian provinces — and even Mexican states — as “observers” is set to go into effect in 2012. Known as the Western Climate Initiative, the scheme is described on its official website as “a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.”

Among the participating “jurisdictions”: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and four Canadian provinces. So-called observers, “jurisdictions” that are likely to join soon, include six Mexican states, an additional six U.S. states, and another three Canadian provinces. The Western Climate Initiative, like the RGGI, was also created by an agreement between state governors — not legislatures.

A similar scheme for the American Midwest, under the banner of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, is also set to enter into force in 2012. The agreement encompasses Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — for now. Three other U.S. states and one additional Canadian province are listed on the scheme’s website as “observers.”

One unifying factor between all the regional partnerships is the emphasis on promoting expansion and eventual federal — and even international — involvement. And in Cancun at the global warming summit, state and local-government leaders made it clear that they would continue marching forward with the anti-carbon dioxide schemes at the global level — no matter what the outcome of United Nations climate talks currently underway in Cancun.

“We are proving that while a global agreement is important, we do not need to wait for it to start building the path to a new low carbon future,” explained Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the co-chair of the States & Regions Alliance, during a summit at the COP16. “As our national counterparts meet here in Cancun to continue the negotiations, states and regions are continuing to show the leadership necessary to make practical headway on climate action.”

And this is all part of the broader global plan. The so-called “States and Regions Alliance” represented by Premier Charest — some 60 state and regional governments accounting for about 15 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product — is part of a shadowy but powerful international non-profit known as “The Climate Group.”

The organization works with the United Nations Development Program, the World Economic Forum, the Administrative Center for China’s Agenda 21, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other high-profile institutions, agencies and governments to advance the global climate agenda. And it promotes the implementation of global-warming schemes through “sub-national” levels of government — among other things.

“States, regions and cities are where the rubber hits the road in terms of practical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote States and Regions Alliance co-chair and Quebec Premier Charest, along with his fellow co-chair, South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

“The UN Development Program estimates that 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to keep climate change below 2C will need to be delivered at state, regional and city levels,” the co-chairs noted in their joint column for The Australian entitled ‘Think globally, act locally? States already are.’ “This is because regional governments often control regulation for many of the key areas for addressing climate change, such as power generation, the built environment, waste management, transport and land use planning.”

CEO of The Climate Group Steve Howard offered a similar analysis. “A clean industrial revolution is not only possible, but it is well underway in the world’s leading states, cities and regions,” he told COP16 attendees at the “Climate Leaders Summit” in Cancun Wednesday. “The subnational governments in our Alliance are not waiting for a global agreement but are forging agreements of their own to lead a growing global market for low-carbon goods and services already estimated at $4.7 trillion.”

Despite the U.S. Senate’s rejection of cap-and-trade legislation, the carbon-tax agenda is still being implemented in America and around the world. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama administration is moving forward on regulating emissions of carbon dioxide at the federal level. And through alliances and agreements between states and even foreign governments — unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution — those same forces are building a powerful and expensive carbon regime that could eventually encompass every state in the Union, and beyond.

For original text http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/5466-cap-and-trade-by-stealth-us-states-partner-with-foreign-governments

Progress Exposed on Facebook

From a Facebook Post: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-UN-Agenda-21-Stop-ICLEI/284021125057

“To be clear, you will not find the words UN Agenda 21, ICLEI or any other similar term, anywhere in this dispute, but that is exactly what this case and this ruling are about. 100%.

However, the obscure headline: “Federal judge: Washington must restrict greenhouse gas emissions from state’s 5 oil refineries” gives enough information to show the links to UN Agenda 21, “greenhouse gas emissions” and “oil refinery”. I’ve gone round and round with our local property rights activists, who can’t seem to accept that the game here is rigged from the jump with the provisions of the Growth Management Act, or more commonly known as the GMA here in WA. Well, here’s your proof and it doesn’t get any clearer than this. If you still can’t see it…. Quote from the article: “The court affirmed that Washington has the authority and the obligation to address impacts from climate change pollution,” she said. “Our state can no longer afford to have our regulators sit on their hands and wait for the federal government to deal with the issue. It is time for our state regulators to follow the law and implement long-overdue measures to protect our climate.” Does it need to be spelled out more clearly than that? The federal judge ruled on the applicability of Washington’s Growth Management Act, entirely Agenda 21 derived and driven I might add, on businesses in Washington State. This is also why the Agenda 21 derived GMA must be attacked head on and it must be repealed. Or, at the very least, the more ridiculous and overarching elements need to be removed from it. The opponents of American business and American sovereignty, Sierra Club, EarthJustice, WEC, et al, know that by insisting on these CO2 controls and forcing it through the courts, that they will knee-cap these businesses into submission with the ridiculous idea that CO2 is causing harm to the environment, making them less efficient and less productive. Agenda 21 is about controlling CARBON. Life is CARBON. Therefore Agenda 21 is about controlling LIFE. CO2 is NOT harmful or a pollutant!!! “He who controls carbon, controls life.” ~ Unknown”

 

“SEATTLE — Washington must restrict greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s five oil refineries and possibly other industries under a federal judge’s ruling Friday.

The Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council and their lawyers at Earthjustice sued the state Ecology Department and two regional clean air agencies in March to force them to do a better job curbing emissions from the refineries. The groups estimate the refineries are responsible for up to 8 percent of all greenhouse gases released in Washington.

Under the state’s own environmental rules, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman noted, regulators are supposed to require “reasonably available control technology” by industrial emitters of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. State regulators never actually enforced that, even though the rules were first approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1995.

Instead, state regulators require refineries only to comply with reductions of certain other air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide.

Earthjustice attorney Janette Brimmer called the ruling a big deal for the state.

“The court affirmed that Washington has the authority and the obligation to address impacts from climate change pollution,” she said. “Our state can no longer afford to have our regulators sit on their hands and wait for the federal government to deal with the issue. It is time for our state regulators to follow the law and implement long-overdue measures to protect our climate.”

Though the environmental groups sued over the emissions from Washington’s five refineries, the language of the judge’s ruling — that state regulators must require reasonably available control emission-control technology from emitters of greenhouse gases — would seem to apply to other industries as well.

“The court affirmed that Washington has the authority and the obligation to address impacts from climate change pollution,” she said. “Our state can no longer afford to have our regulators sit on their hands and wait for the federal government to deal with the issue. It is time for our state regulators to follow the law and implement long-overdue measures to protect our climate.”

The other major emitters of greenhouse gases in the state include the TransAlta Corp. coal-fired power plant in Centralia, which is already getting new pollution controls before it is shut down in 2025, and cement kilns. It’s not clear whether any “reasonably available technology” exists that would cut greenhouse gas emissions from cement kilns, Brimmer said.

What is clear is that oil refineries can reduce their emissions, primarily by making their processes more efficient and thus burning less fuel during refining, she said.

Seth Preston, a spokesman for the state Ecology Department, said Friday that officials had just received the ruling and were reviewing it.

“To be able to talk about far-reaching implications, we’re not there yet,” he said.

The refineries are BP PLC’s Cherry Point near Blaine, ConocoPhillips’ in Ferndale, Shell Oil Co.’s in Anacortes, Tesoro Corp.’s in Anacortes and U.S. Oil’s in Tacoma. A spokesman for the Western State Petroleum Association, which represents the refineries and intervened in the case, said its lawyers were reviewing the decision and did not have any immediate comment.

Pechman said she would determine later how quickly the state must apply greenhouse gas emission standards to the refineries. The environmentalists argued that the state could begin enforcing the rule within 90 days, but the agencies suggested they would need three years.”

HERE

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