Global warming bill on political tipping point

A global-warming tipping point is approaching, but not the one alarmists predicted of an irreversible, overheated climate.

Instead, it’s a political tipping point that can determine whether the economy will be handed over to Draconian, top-down government control on the pretense of curbing global warming, or whether the free market will be left to function relatively unfettered.

The latest, and perhaps last, congressional version of global-warming legislation has been introduced by Sens. John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman. Previous versions couldn’t get enough traction to overcome myriad objections on the left and right. This one, too, mercifully, may be doomed.

One analysis says the Kerry-Lieberman bill would preempt state-based carbon reduction programs such as California’s horrendous Assembly Bill 32, whose adverse economic effects voters are likely to put on hold, anyway, in a November ballot measure. The bill also may pre-empt the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation of greenhouse gas emissions as dangerous pollutants, a power grab by unaccountable bureaucracies to administratively micromanage nearly the entire national economy.

The defection of the bill’s sole Republican backer, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, greatly diminished hopes of the necessary bipartisan support. To win industry support, the authors weakened enthusiasm among environmentalists by going through “all manner of contortions to please major polluting industries, larding their bill with numerous incentives for old, dirty energy sources,” as one environmentalist-friendly publication phrased it.

The bill “manages to have something to harm everyone except big-business special interests,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Director of Energy Policy Myron Ebell.

“Environmentalists know it will have no discernible impact on the climate, but it will reward favored companies with massive windfall profits.”

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill probably will further aggravate environmentalists already angered by provisions to encourage offshore oil drilling.

If momentum tips the right way, the next tipping point will be whether to proceed with or oppose administrative efforts to achieve governmental control in Washington and the nation’s statehouses.