Transcript: 'Cap and Trade or Loot and Pollute' rant, 10 June 2008

Jimmy Carter and even Richard Nixon saw the energy crisis coming, but Ronald Reagan reversed their policies. Brack Obama and John McCain have different ideas for cap ant trade to limit the amount of carbon dioxide that can be produced. Thom thinks there should also be tariffs so that corporations don't simply export the pollution to partners in China.

Thom Hartmann's 'Cap and Trade or Loot and Pollute' rant, 10 June 2008

You know, it's amazing, this is not something new. I mean, this is not a brand new problem. This is a problem that we've known about for a long time. And once again, we can track this back to Ronald Reagan. I mean, Ronald Reagan, the Calvin Coolidge, well worse than that, the Herbert Hoover of this generation, that is just, Jimmy Carter saw this coming. Frankly, Richard Nixon saw this coming and tried to do something about it. Richard Nixon was the guy who, actually, maybe it was during Carter administration, but Nixon had originally proposed as part of, I guess that this was the remnant, the windfall profits tax. It was the profit; profit singular... Here's Jimmy Carter talking about this...

"The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them...

What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important. Point one: I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never.


And we were actually on track to do that. And right now, had Carter's policies stayed in place, we would not be using more foreign oil than we were 1977, which was a relatively small amount. And it's not because we'd be pumping more oil domestically but because he was encouraging conservation and solar power and there were tax credits for solar, he put solar panels on the White House, he lowered speed limits around the country. Just a whole straightforward, this was not rocket science. This didn't require the Manhattan project. It was easy stuff to figure out and Carter put it into place and it worked.

And then Reagan comes into office as a result of the the early days, the Iran Contra thing, the 'you know, we'll sell you weapons if you'll keep those hostages until until election'. The Iranians did; they released the hostages the moment that Reagan was being sworn into office. And as a result of that those last six weeks with the hostages being held, Jimmy Carter was very, a relatively popular president, actually, at the time. I know that the Republicans have tried to reinvent history. But those of you old enough to remember, remember that. That in fact Reagan was, you know, 8, 10 points down in the polls just a few months out because everybody considered him a right wing crackpot which it turns out he was.

But as the hostages dragged on and on and on, Carter's ratings went down and down and down, Reagan comes in and takes down the solar panels off the roof of the White House, turns the thermostat back up in the White House, turns back on the fireplace in the summer and turns on the air conditioning, the whole thing, you know, right down the board. And Jimmy Carter in fact, actually, he went on to say, about the solar:

"Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000."

By the year 2000. Regular listeners to the program have heard this clip before. I just, I think it's so important that we remember that loot and pollute, what, you know, the Bush policy of loot and pollute as opposed to cap and trade or doing anything about carbon and carbon destroying our atmosphere, that this is not new; this is the Reagan policy. And the McCain policy to a large extent, their cap and trade, the big, here's the difference.

Cap and trade is where you say, "OK, we're going to allow only a certain level of pollution and beyond", or carbon dioxide emissions in this case, which is a pollutant, "We're going to allow only a certain amount of that, beyond that, you can't do it, okay, and we're going to issue, and there will be huge penalties and fines. We're going to issue permits for this". Now what the Europeans did is they gave away or very cheaply sold the permits.

What Barack Obama, the difference between Obama's plan and McCain's plan with regard to cap and trade is that Obama is saying a 100% of these permits need to be auctioned off right from the get go. So right from day one companies that are producers of carbon, companies that are heavy polluters, and I know you're gonna hear a lot of squealing from the fossil fuel industry and companies associated with them and people associated with them and think tanks funded by them et cetera, right from day one, carbon producing industries are going to have to start making changes. And what's that going to do? It's gonna drive innovation. It's gonna drive the American spirit. I mean, we can take on challenges in this country.

We can take on the challenge of climate change. We can do that all around the world. And, but I strongly believe that we have to number one, tie it to a tariff of some sort so that we say if your company, say you've got a company that's making something that has a lot of carbon in it, or that you use a lot of carbon in the production, so they say, "okay, that part of the product, we're going to just start making that in China". China's not participating in cap and trade, so they they end up not having to pay for it. So what we need to do is have tariffs that say the equivalent of the carbon content from something imported, we're gonna charge a tax on that. Without a tariff, then you're gonna see what happened in Europe and that is that a lot of companies are simply going to go offshore for their polluting partner industries. So we need to fine tune this, but nonetheless the 100% auction that Obama's proposing is a great start. And we've got to start if we want to hand this planet off to our children in a reasonable fashion at all.

Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.

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