Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Marcus Theatres Provides Metaphor for Cap and Trade Legislation

Last year, Marcus Theatres proposed a new, larger multiplex (with an Ultrascreen) to replace Eastgate Cinema. It would be in the same vicinity, just a bit farther east along the Highway 151 corridor.

The City of Madison felt that the development would not be in keeping with their policy goals of reducing emissions, since it would not be on a bus line, nor would it be pedestrian-friendly, requiring patrons and employees alike to drive there by car. Marcus must create a pedestrian-friendly development around their new cinema, with affordable housing options, if they want Madison to approve their plans.

The supporters of the project pointed out that most people drive to Eastgate by car already, and if the city makes it too difficult or expensive, Marcus will simpy build a few more miles east, in Sun Prairie. That will result in just as many car trips, but most of them will be a few miles longer (since Madison will still provide the majority of the cinema's patrons). How will that reduce emissions? It will, in fact, increase emissions.

That is exactly what cap and trade legislation will do. I am not a global warming denier. Neither can I deny the economic impact of cap and trade legislation. It will result in major increases in manufacturing costs (especially in Wisconsin, where most of our electricity is generated with coal). The result of that will be to move most manufacturing overseas to places with lax environmental standards, as well as lower labor costs, like China and India.

That will result in a lot more container ships making the trip across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Container ships burn barely-refined fuel and spew great volumes of filthy smoke. China is burning exponentially more coal every year.

I have heard the argument that we have to take the lead and set an example for the developing world. I don't buy it. China has not emulated our example of the last four decades and created anything like the EPA, or OSHA. They are motivated more by short-term economic development concerns. They will laugh at our cap-and-trade legislation. Then they will build more factories and power plants and mine more coal in the cheapest, fastest way possible (interrupted only by the occasional fatal mine collapse).

The only thing that will stop the flow of jobs and container ships is if the growing pirate problem makes it less cost-effective to manufacture all of our consumer goods in China. Say, maybe the Pastafarians have the right idea about pirates and global warming.


Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

You are correct in your assessment. But I believe C&T is not about (alleged) AGW. This is another step in a concerted effort to force a new paradigm on the American people. We could not be moved from our cars by mass transit or high gasoline prices, so it will be forced on us.

Theory: The Left in this country (and particularly the Environmental Left) de facto worships the Earth (Gaia-worship) and consequently sees anything that "defiles" the god as being worthy of destruction. "Natural" creatures take precedence over "unnatural" humans. Except them.

Crazy? Maybe. But it's the only theory that fits the observation. And unlike the (alleged) AGW believers, I'm open to evidence to the contrary.

Ordinary Jill said...

You're wrong about Gaia worship. The Gaia theory holds that the Earth is a living organism that can heal itself. Therefore, adherents feel free to damage delicate environments by holding Rainbow Gatherings in fragile desert ecosystems and continue to drive filthy diesel-burning VW microbuses. It is a totally different set of lefties than those that are concerned about global warming.

Environmental activists truly are concerned about reaching a "tipping point" from which we can never recover. I think they really believe that C&T legislation will reduce global emissions and increase the likelihood of a world-wide treaty.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

I stand corrected....at least partly.