Photo Credit: Reuters As President Obama last month launched a sweeping new national program to combat “climate change,” including tens of billions of dollars in likely new subsidies for solar and wind power and bio-energy, a separate, groundbreaking study by the National Research Council has warned that those kinds of subsidies are virtually useless at quelling greenhouse gases.
The study, which looks at the subsidies and other incentives embedded in U.S. federal tax law after the past several years of climate change initiatives, concludes that they have done little or nothing so far to cut U.S. contributions to global carbon emissions, and are unlikely to do much more before 2035, the project’s research horizon.
The two-year, $2 million probe was the first of its kind undertaken to examine the relationship between U.S. tax provisions, a key tool of U.S. climate change policy, and the actual reduction of greenhouse gases.
The pioneering nature of the study itself speaks volumes about the murkiness of official knowledge concerning how well government can tweak the global thermostat by trying to radically reorient energy production and consumption in the U.S. economy.
It was carried out by a 12-member National Academy of Sciences panel of economists, energy experts, environmentalists, tax specialists and climate scientists backed by consultants wielding powerful computerized economic models and a sizeable handful of National Academy of Sciences staff.
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