Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2009 / 18 Sivan 5769

Plan to Combat Global Warming? Pie in the Sky

By Jonah Goldberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Whenever you hear a politician start a sentence with, "If we can put a man on the moon … ," grab your wallet.


For years, Democrats, enthralled by the cargo cult of the Kennedy presidency, have used the moon landing as proof that no big government ambition is beyond our reach.


The latest example of anthropogenic-lunar empowerment is global warming. Al Gore and Barack Obama routinely cite the Apollo program as proof that we can make good on the president's messianic campaign pledge to stem the rising ocean tides and hasten the healing of the planet.


The problem with the "if we can put a man on the moon, we can certainly spend trillions on this or that" formulation is that it sees political and scientific accomplishments as interchangeable. The moon landing was a daunting but nonetheless discrete challenge. Throw in enough brainiacs and blank checks — and heroes willing to risk their lives — and it was almost foreordained that someone would make that small step for man and that giant leap for mankind.


But politicians see things through a political lens — every great accomplishment looks like a political accomplishment. Kennedy cultists seem to think that JFK's pledge succeeded in part because he was eloquent and inspiring and popular. No doubt all that helped. But if Kennedy had promised that by the end of the decade America would have a fully functioning perpetual motion machine, his grand challenge would be remembered as a joke.


Recall that Kennedy's successor, with far more political capital than Kennedy had, promised to defeat poverty. Historian Steven Hayward notes that in 1966, Lyndon Johnson's commander in the War on Poverty, Sargent Shriver, told Congress that the White House believed poverty in America would be eliminated within 10 years. "Why," Hayward wryly asks, "should social science be more difficult than rocket science?"


I don't know that one is more difficult than the other, but I do know that they are not interchangeable. Physics is good at figuring out how to split atoms. Sociology, not so much.


Obama seems to be on both sides of the lesson. The president says he wants to invest massively in scientific research, eventually spending 3 percent of gross domestic product on scientific R&D, with a big chunk devoted to energy research. Who knows? That might work.


But at the same time, the Democrats are pushing their cap-and-trade scheme — the Waxman-Markey climate bill — through Congress, and it surely won't work.


The Apollo engineers' motto was "Waste anything but time." Waxman-Markey seems to do that one better, promising to waste everything, including time. It's a legislative blunderbuss that fails any remotely honest cost-benefit analysis, as Jim Manzi painstakingly demonstrates in the current issue of National Review. Under the bill, the government would sell or give away waivers — call them ration cards — for carbon emissions, worth tens of billions of dollars. The system is destined to become politicized. Waivers will be granted to favored industries and donors in states with political clout.


If everything worked exactly according to plan, it would cost the economy trillions of dollars over the coming decades. Meanwhile, climatologist Chip Knappenberger — administrator of the World Climate Report, an avowedly global-warming-skeptical blog — uses standard climate models to show that the payoff would be to reduce global temperatures by about 0.1 degree Celsius by 2100. Sponsors of the legislation haven't offered a competing analysis.


"The costs would be more than 10 times the benefits," writes Manzi, "even under extremely unrealistic assumptions of low costs and high benefits." All the while, China, India and other countries are simply scoffing at the suggestion they curtail their carbon emissions.


Now, I am more skeptical about the threat of global warming than Manzi is, never mind the Al Gore chorus. But let us assume the chorus is right and it is the moral equivalent of a war for our very survival as a civilization. The question remains: Why? Why this approach? Why see global warming as an excuse to expand government regulation and taxation rather than invest in problem-solving?


The U.S. government could spend trillions on research into scrubbing carbon from the air, bioengineering organisms to eat greenhouse gases or crafting substances to reflect more heat back into space. We could establish prizes for development of long-life batteries or clean coal technologies. And if any of these investments paid off, decades from now the benefits would still dwarf Waxman-Markey at a fraction of the cost. It hardly takes a rocket scientist to see that.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles