It is hard to make sense of many grants the U.S. gives to nations from whom it is simultaneously borrowing. The federal government’s profligate spending through grant programs is starting to get some notice—for example, on Fox News as well as The Foundry.
For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a grant to the United Nations Environmental Program so it may help implement “Russia’s National Plan of Action for Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment from Anthropogenic Pollution.” With yet another grant, EPA is helping Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) police carbon trading markets which, apparently, has not been going so well.
In January, European carbon trading “ground to a halt” after the computer-based theft of more than $70 million in allowances. Carbon trading is ostensibly designed to save humanity from catastrophic global warming. In truth, it is a way to impose a tax on energy without admitting it. Under the scheme, those who emit carbon dioxide (CO2) have to buy allowances (permits) to do so from others. Government issues the permits and therefore controls the supply. The fewer it issues or the more it eventually withdraws from the “market,” they more they cost. The more the permits cost, the less people can afford to emit CO2.
CO2 is the byproduct of producing energy from fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas. These energy sources are among the most affordable and reliable and therefore heavily used. Trading—really, taxing—CO2 increases the price of these energy sources. Energy, which physicists define as “the capacity to do work,” is at the root of the economy. It powers machines used to gather food, fiber, and minerals and to convert these natural resources to usable goods. It fuels the Internet, over which orders for goods are placed, and the trains, planes, ships, and trucks that ferry them to end users. When you increase the amount of work you do—when you are more productive—you foster economic growth that creates jobs and prosperity. Doing this requires energy. When we tax energy, we make it more expensive to do anything productive and stifle economic growth. Euphemistically, the greens call this “sustainable development.” The reality is that “sustainable development” is code for less: less energy, less productivity, less economic growth, and fewer jobs.
This economic reality has blocked the left from legislatively imposing a carbon-trading regime here in the United States, even though its advocates were in a majority that controlled both houses of Congress with a sympathetic President. The President said he would make it so expensive for people to build new coal-fired power plants that it would bankrupt them. Heritage analysis found one carbon-trading legislative proposal would, for some years, lead to job losses exceeding 2.5 million. This kind of brutal economic impact forced the left to switch to plan B. The Administration is now attempting to limit CO2 through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation under the Clean Air Act.
In its regulatory ramblings, EPA has hinted that it may have the ability to simply conjure up such a carbon-trading scheme here in the United States. And EPA may not be just rattling its carbon-trading saber at the American economy. According to a database of grants distributed by the agency, in October of last year EPA awarded a grant to Interpol. While modest, some $150,000, it is not the amount of the grant that is interesting but one of its curious purposes. EPA reports:
The major work to be accomplished will be the development of a program website, support of a climate change project which will ensure that markets operate properly, and that fraud is detected promptly with regard to carbon trading…
We are giving money to Interpol to police carbon trading? Do the embarrassments of the European scheme need to be cleaned up to pave the way? Are we so flush with cash that this makes any sense? Make no mistake, EPA is ever so serious about imposing its worldview upon the nation—and it is not despite the economic consequences, but because these costs are integral to its mantra of sustainable development. Perhaps we should rename this bureaucracy the Employment Prevention Agency.