Some Cool Ideas to Combat Hot Air

By Benita M. Dodd

BenitaDodd2013The National Center for Policy Analysis has just reissued a “cool” 2009 paper in which Iain Murray and H. Sterling Burnett outlined 10 policies to reduce carbon emissions.

I have an issue with the first sentence of their paper:

“Global warming is a reality. But whether it is a serious problem — and whether emis­sions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from human fossil fuel use are the principal cause — are uncertain. The current debate over the U.S. response to climate change centers on greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies, which are likely to impose substantially higher costs to society than global warming might.”

My issue is that I don’t believe that opening sentence goes far enough. I would have written, “Global warming is a reality. But so is global cooling. That’s why activists have renamed it ‘climate change.’

In fact, the latest news is that there hasn’t been any global warming in 16 years. (Watch this funny and disturbing video of activists in denial!)

That said, the paper has some really great ideas. It’s a 17-page paper, but the summary of the proposals highlights some of the approaches the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has championed.

No. 1: Eliminate All Subsidies for Fuel Use. Subsidies for energy research and development, as well as the production, transportation, mar­keting and consumption of energy, encourage greater energy use and raise emissions levels.

No. 2: Reduce Regulatory Barriers to New Nuclear Power Plants. Regulatory delays add substantially to the cost of nuclear power, which is the only proven technology that can provide enough reliable emissions-free energy to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

No. 3: Reduce Wildfires through Alternative Forest Management Institutions. Local and private forest management would reduce over­crowding and disease in poorly managed national forests, increasing the ability of the trees to absorb carbon and reducing wildfires, which release huge amounts of CO2.

No. 4: Liberalize Approval of Biotechnology. Through biotechnol­ogy we are developing faster growing varieties of trees that can absorb and store large amounts of CO2 as well as drought-resistant crops that can thrive despite climate change.

No. 5: Repeal the National Flood Insurance Pro­gram. Subsidized flood insurance is responsible for much of the development in coastal areas and in flood plains. Eliminating this subsidy would make us less vulnerable to higher sea levels and increased rainfall.

No. 6: Increase Use of Toll Roads with Conges­tion Pricing. Toll lanes with rates that vary according to time of day can reduce traffic delays that increase energy use and emissions.

No. 7: Remove Older Cars from the Road. Sub­sidizing the replacement of older vehicles with newer ones would increase fuel efficiency and reduce emis­sions.

No. 8: Reform Air Traffic Control Systems. Al­lowing pilots to fly more direct routes and avoid lengthy holding patterns and runway delays would save fuel and reduce aircraft emissions.

No. 9: Remove Regulatory Barriers to Innovation. Environmental regulations often increase the costs of replacing older, dirtier facilities with newer, cleaner ones.

No. 10: Encourage Breakthroughs in New Tech­nology. An “X” prize-type competition would encour­age the development of new transportation and electric power technologies that reduce CO2 emissions while meeting future energy demands.

Among the policies the Foundation has actively supported are nuclear energy; reduced regulatory barriers; congestion pricing and toll roads; private and local management of forests.

But what I admire about these proposals is that they encourage the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Americans. They are common sense. They don’t rely on government to provide the solution.

And, oh, yes. No. 7. I especially like No. 7. It’s about time for a new car for me.


Read the proposals at


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