Feeling the heat of climate legislation
LINCOLN, Neb -- When it comes to global warming, Nebraska apparently will find itself either in the frying pan or the fire. The ecologists, biologists and professors on a panel on global warming on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln painted a ble...
LINCOLN, Neb -- When it comes to global warming, Nebraska apparently will find itself either in the frying pan or the fire.
The ecologists, biologists and professors on a panel on global warming on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln painted a bleak future for Nebraska based on predictions that global warming will continue for the next 50 years.
But the proposed remedies for global warming also pose threats to today's lifestyles.
One of the most drastic impacts in Nebraska of pending cap-and-trade legislation in Congress aimed at reducing carbon emissions would be on the cost of electricity.
Much of the electricity for Nebraska is supplied by coal-burning power plants. They are pure anathema to activists against global warming. Prominent advocate James Hansen once wrote that coal trains headed for power plants are "death trains no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species."
The Nebraska Public Power District says its rates would jump 15 percent to 27 percent by 2012. Some of those costs would be offset by rebates and credits for low-income households.
The legislation would have far-reaching impact on Nebraska farmers, boosting costs for fuel and fertilizer and offering a new source of income in the form of carbon offset.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack predicts that farm income would decline by only 1 percent between 2012 and 2018. After that, he says, income would rise and carbon offsets would produce billions in income. However, Sen. Mike Johanns, Vilsack's predecessor in that office, has scoffed at the estimate, contending the analysis was incomplete.
The future portrayed by the panel grows closer year by year. It won't be long before we find out just how theoretical the predictions are. Either way, it appears everyone will feel some heat.