Swirling Greenhouse Civics Gases

Yikes! Sometimes there is a news piece that is so chock-full of weirdness that one wonders where to begin. The article starts by reporting on a regional agreement between states to limit “greenhouse gases.” Later in the article, the author reports some bizarre comments. You can read the entire article in the Red Star here – http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/171111.php

“The realities of the world are that leadership fills vacuums,” Pfister said. “Whenever you have an ongoing vacuum, as I think you do with the federal government, it will get filled. This is almost an inevitable result of the polarizing state of federal affairs. Even if we had a Democratic president, I don’t think the results would be much different.”

No,no,no! You would think that the head of the University of Arizona’s business school would know something about civics. The authority of the federal government is limited to certain activities by the United States Constitution. Everything else is reserved to “the States, or the people.” It is unconstitutional for the federal government to pass sweeping, nationwide, environmental laws. It is not a violation of the United States Constitution for the States to do so.


Paul Portney, dean of the UA’s Eller College of Management, said he thinks it’s great that the Western states are taking on this issue, but he added that it’s definitely inferior to the federal government approaching it comprehensively.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong! The states can act collectively, individually, or in this case, a little of both – that is, regionally. What is wrong with the states tailoring their regulations to their region? Why would a nationwide one-size-fits-all federal plan be better?


“It is important that trading be able to take place not just within California or among the other states Arizona just joined, but across the country if we are to meet a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions as inexpensively as possible,” said Portney, a former president of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Translation: We want the “…boot, crushing a human face forever,” to be worn by a federal agent, not some state policeman.

But any emissions-reductions program probably would cost consumers more in utility bills, Portney and Pfister said, although Pfister said he thought that bills will increase gradually, over 10 to 15 years.
“In total, it will probably be a substantial amount of money,” Pfister said. “I think it will be something that people will adjust to over time — not rate shock.”

It is comforting to know that when the screwing comes, at least it will be gentle.