Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pay at the Pump or Pay at the Dealer

We’ve said it before, “We do not need the government mandating fuel economy standards.” In a free market system, the public votes with their dollars. When gasoline prices go up, the public demands vehicles with better mileage. But by requiring certain efficiencies by specified dates, technology is pushed to the limit and prices reflect the accelerated R & D. The results may not be any better than the washing machine debacle resulting from government regulations for higher efficiency. The result is a washing machine that costs twice as much but works half as well—according to Consumer Reports.

Yet, Washington forges ahead with plans for increased MPG regulation—what is called CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) Standards. (See previous postings on CAFÉ Standards.)

Here Forbes Auto offers insight on what the consumer cost will be for these more strict standards. You’ll either pay at the pump or pay at the dealership. Why not at least give consumers a choice? Isn’t this the land of the free—as in free choice?

Better Fuel Economy Could Be Costly for Car Buyers
The government has yet to require higher fuel efficiency from the auto industry, but some manufacturers are already bracing for much stricter standards. Chrysler Group even went so far as to scrap plans for a new luxury vehicle that had been in the works.

Industry insiders insist consumers should be bracing too—for significantly higher prices and far fewer choices.

In July the Senate passed a bill that would increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all passenger cars and trucks by about 40 percent. That would require automakers to raise the average gas mileage of their vehicles to 35 mpg by 2020. A proposal in the House would hold manufacturers to those standards as early as 2018.

The legislature is far from putting such changes into law. But observers say stricter standards—in some form—appear to be inevitable.

And buyers, beware. The impact on consumers is likely to be more than just the ability to get farther on a gallon of gas.

Consumers will end up paying for the more expensive technology that makes achieving the standards possible, said David Alexander, principal analyst for automotive systems at ABI Research in New York.

Dave Elshoff, a senior manager at Chrysler, said some cars could end up costing as much as 50 percent more. "Bringing our most fuel-efficient vehicle into the standards being proposed would add $5,000 to $7,000 to its price. And this is a $14,000 car," Elshoff said. "Consumers are gonna think twice about buying cars that expensive, which will hurt us."

Choice is also going to dwindle, both Alexander and Elshoff predicted.

Just the threat of stricter standards is already having an impact on production—at least for Chrysler.

The company is the first to order a change in its production schedule because of the possibility that stricter standards are on the way. It recently scrapped plans to build the Imperial, a large, luxury sedan that had been introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2006 Detroit auto show.

Elshoff gave two reasons for the decision: "One, volatile gas prices consistently well above $3 a gallon. Two, pending legislation in Washington."

Given those issues, Imperial's size made its demise inevitable, he said. "Any way you look at it, the concept car was based on our largest sedan. It was considerably big. Chrysler felt that there was no justifiable business case for a car like that with those two issues looming."

Ford spokesman Mike Moran said he thinks that car buyers are already making smarter, more informed decisions and are more willing to consider smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Addressing this issue is kind of like a three-legged stool. It's the vehicles, the fuels and the consumers. With the consumers it's more about what they are looking for or willing to purchase," Moran said.

His company's statistics show a shift in consumer spending toward more fuel-efficient vehicles. "There's been movement from the SUV area to crossover vehicles," he said.

Traditional SUVs employ truck architecture, while so-called crossovers employ car architecture. The crossovers can be more fuel efficient, in cases where they are lighter than the truck-like SUVs. "Consumers are making better choices [with regard to fuel economy]," Moran said. "I think we've seen a shift ever since [Hurricane] Katrina and with gas prices spiking."

Crossovers on the Upswing
Ford's statistics show that crossover vehicles have been the fastest growing category in the U.S. Industry-wide sales are up 18 percent in the first half of 2007. Annual sales have grown from about 500,000 in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2006. This year, sales will reach about 2.8 million and may go past the 3 million mark in 2008, the company said. At the same time, traditional SUV sales have been declining. Ford said that industry-wide sales of traditional SUVs likely will fall below 2 million units for 2007. The last time sales were that low was in 1995.

George Pipas, Ford's U.S. sales analysis manager, attributed this shift in consumer spending to various factors. It's part demographics and lifestyle needs, and part fuel prices, he said. Pipas said that baby boomers, who popularized SUVs in the '90s, are becoming empty-nesters. The utility of crossovers is what they prefer now, he said.

"This trend started long before Congress started to talk about new regulations, and even before gas prices began to increase," Pipas said. "I think higher gas prices encouraged people to think about what they really need a particular type of vehicle for, and in doing so probably accelerated a trend that was already underway."

"One thing that's possible for the future, which they've already done in Europe, is to switch from, say, a V6 gasoline engine to a four-cylinder with a turbocharger," Mike Omotoso, a senior manager at the market research firm J.D. Power and Associates says. "So you have better fuel economy but you still have the power with the turbo."

E85: Loophole or Credit System?
American manufacturers and the government have been touting E85, a fuel that is 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, as a way to decrease dependence on fossil fuels and, specifically, foreign oil. Ethanol is made from organic material like corn or sugar cane.

Omotoso said some manufacturers are using E85 as a loophole to CAFE standards. "Manufacturers get extra credit for flex-fuel vehicles—ones that run on 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline," he said. "There's a formula where they average out the gasoline and ethanol fuel economy, so the CAFE miles-per-gallon number is actually higher than the real number. That helps offset the gas-guzzling SUV figures. Even though they make a large number of trucks, they have the flex-fuel vehicles to offset those numbers." This is how certain manufacturers get around having to pay penalties for not meeting current CAFE standards, Omotoso said.

Max Gates, regulatory affairs communications manager at Chrysler Group, said that manufacturers do accrue special credit toward CAFE standards through certain calculations of fuel consumption by flex-fuel vehicles. He argued that it's not a loophole but a credit system. "The government does a lot of incentives. A lot of times they just give cash to people, like they give to farmers to grow corn, which is made into ethanol," Gates said. "We don't get cash for building flexible-fuel vehicles. The incentive for us is a capped system of getting some credits under the CAFE rules. And frankly, we think that cap might be a little low. So we couldn't build a million flex-fuel vehicles."

Gates pointed to the fuel industry dragging its heels as one issue that is keeping E85 and flex-fuel vehicles from truly helping offset oil consumption. "There are 170,000 retail outlets for fuel in this country, and there are about 1,000 that dispense ethanol," he said. "Because the fuel is not available in this country, it isn't running on E85 anywhere near as much as it should be."

by Heather Ignall

You might also be interested in:

The Greenest Mean Machine of the Road: Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Lexus Answers the Hybrid Question: RX 400h

Audi Produces a New Small Luxury

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Ethanol Scam

Following a speaking engagement in Denver, an audience member forwarded this article on to us. Not only does the piece align with much of what we post here on the CARE Blog, it also introduced us to a new source—one you might be interested in: To the Point.

Additionally, in this posting Dr. Jack Wheeler offers a nice concise summary of the current ethanol situation, some stock advice, and a new word! Read on. We think you’ll want to pass this one on to all your friends. Of course, we believe that about everything we post—otherwise we not bother to share it with you. We liked it. We hope you do too!

A Roman Holiday for Ethanol
The Germans have a word for it: schadenfreude (shay-din-froy-deh). It means someone being happy over someone else being unhappy. The only English equivalent is the term "Roman holiday," referring to the happy excitement Romans got over gladiators' suffering in the Colosseum.

It says a lot about us that we don't even have a word for this terrible and all too-common emotion. Yet all of us have probably experienced it at one time or another, and right now it's hard to resist it regarding folks who are biting the financial dust with ethanol.

Ethanol has always been a ludicrous rip-off. Ethanol combustion is carcinogenic (cancer-producing). It releases known carcinogens into the atmosphere: acetaldehyde, and peroxy-acetyl-nitrate/nitrite/nitrile, three powerful eye and lung irritants.

The argument that ethanol reduces tailpipe emissions is a fraud. With a modern car engine's oxygen sensors and computer-controlled fuel injection, there's no difference in CO (carbon monoxide) coming out your tailpipe with regular gas or ethanol.

Ethanol has only 2/3 the energy of regular gas, so you get 1/3 less energy per gallon, which means it adds 33% to the gas-per-mile cost of driving. But there's also the cost of ethanol transport, which is by truckload or railroad, much higher than by oil pipeline (which ethanol can't use because it can't handle any water contamination like oil can).

But corn farmers and Big Ag outfits like Archer-Daniels Midland wanted to scam taxpayers, so they forced ethanol mandates on us all so the gas in our car has to contain the stuff, and scammed us out of tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies because ethanol can't be produced for a profit without them.

It sure is wonderful to see anyone who benefited from this scam now losing their shirt.

As this recent story, Ethanol Boom Is Running Out of Gas, in the Wall Street Journal details, the glut of ethanol plants has caused a collapse of ethanol prices while the price of the corn from which it is made is rising. Thus many ethanol companies are now "under deathwatch."

So of course, the corn farmer lobby and ethanol producers are screaming for more subsidies from Congress.

They won't get them because a Nobel Prize winner has just pounded in the final nail in ethanol's coffin.

No - not the phony you just thought of, a real Nobel Laureate. Paul Crutzen of Holland is one of the world's premier atmospheric chemists who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995. He is currently a research professor in the Department of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Max Planck Institute in Mainz, Germany.

The most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in his field is the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics. Crutzen and his colleagues have just published in it a bombshell that blows up the enviros' case for ethanol, entitled N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels.

The study focused on N2O or nitrous oxide (the dentists' "laughing gas") as a proxy for overall greenhouse gas emissions as it is 300 times more insulating than carbon dioxide.

The study's summary states:
When the extra N2O emission from biofuel production is calculated in "CO2-equivalent" global warming terms, and compared with the quasi-cooling effect of "saving" emissions of fossil fuel derived CO2, the outcome is that the production of commonly used biofuels, such as bioethanol from corn, can contribute as much or more to global warming by N2O emissions than cooling by fossil fuel savings.

How much more? Corn-based ethanol produced in the US has 50% more of a global warming effect than conventional gasoline.

This is stone-hard real science research by world class scientists. Watch the fireworks when Sen. Jim Inhofe unloads the science that ethanol increases global warming on the floor of the Senate, and puts it up on his blog that gets 100,000 hits a day. Watch how many doors to Senators' offices in the Russell, Hart, and Dirksen Buildings will be closed to ethanol lobbyists.

Goodnight, ethanol subsidies. Time to short ADM stock. Time for a Roman holiday with the corn lobby. Yes, sometimes schadenfreude is hard to resist.

Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Renewable Fuels Will Increase Prices to Consumers

Doesn’t the idea of renewable fuels sound great? After all, we all want to release our dependence on oil controlled by governments who are unfriendly to the civilized world. Growing it sounds like such a good idea. However before we totally buy into the renewable fuel plan, all sides need to be considered. Yes, environmental impact is important—who doesn’t want clean air and water? But cost needs to be a factor as well.

The House and Senate (at the time of this writing) have still not gotten together in committee to discuss a merging of the two different bills each passed earlier this year. So it is not too late for consumers/voters to express opinions

This posting comes to us from the Institute for Energy Research where Robert Bradley (one of our Energy Counsel Members) is President. Due to editing for brevity, please visit the Institute for Energy Research for the complete article.

In an attempt to alleviate concerns regarding energy independence, climate change, and high gasoline prices, Congress is expected to consider legislation this fall that would mandate the use of renewable fuels in the transportation and electric generating sectors. The Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent and statistical agency in the U.S. Department of Energy, released a study in September, requested by Senator Inhofe, that analyzes both a renewable fuels standard (RFS) in the transportation sector and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in the electric generating sector. According to the EIA, these mandates would raise energy prices and reduce American economic output by $296 billion over two decades.

The mandates would establish a market for renewable energy credits. Companies would be required to hold credits in proportion to the amount of electricity they sell or the amount of motor transportation fuels they sell, by either producing the required level of renewable fuel or purchasing credits from other companies that generate a larger than required share. (See CARE’s September Newsletter for additional insight on the credits.)

According to the EIA, “achieving 25-percent penetration of renewable fuels in both electricity generation and motor transportation leads to higher energy prices as consumers substitute more expensive renewable fuels for less expensive fossil fuels.” Consumer energy prices rise steadily for the first 10 years of the projection, to 13 percent above expected prices. Higher delivered energy prices reduce real output for the economy, energy consumption, and, indirectly, real consumer spending for other goods and services due to lower purchasing power.

Gasoline and other petroleum products would cost more as oil refiners, blenders, and ethanol producers comply with the mandates, by producing almost 25 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, 31 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol, and importing 9 billion gallons of ethanol from foreign markets in 2030, 5 years after the mandates must be reached. Gasoline prices are forecast to have a 61 percent increase (in 2005 dollars).

“Higher prices contribute to a reduction in transportation demand for liquid motor fuels on an energy basis” the EIA said. According to the EIA, “increasing the use of renewable motor fuels leads to higher overall consumption of primary energy, in part because of the significant use of energy in the conversion of biomass to ethanol.” Total energy consumption is up almost 4 percent relative to the baseline in 2025, while biomass consumption is up 192 percent. As a result, the cost of biomass rises from about $30 a ton in 2005 to over $88 a ton in 2030. Approximately 9.2 bushels of the total U.S. corn production in 2025 is used to make ethanol. “As a result, less corn is available for food and feed,” according to the EIA. Corn prices increase to $6.50 per bushel in 2025, compared to an average of about $2.50 over the prior two decades before the ethanol mandates began with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.In the generation sector, electricity prices are 6 percent higher than the baseline in 2030. About 70 percent of all new generating capacity built over the next 2 decades is renewable. The mandates reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They are 14 percent lower than the baseline in 2030, but still remain higher than 2005 levels, by 14 percent.

The EIA cautions, “This analysis suggests that, to comply with mandates, it will be necessary for electricity and motor fuel producers to dramatically increase their use of technologies that play a relatively small role in today’s energy markets. …Big changes in the energy system, especially when implemented quickly, come with numerous uncertainties, the impacts of which may not be fully captured in this study. For example, compliance with the mandates would require successful development and rapid deployment of new technologies, such as biomass gasification power plants and cellulosic ethanol plants, that are not commercially available.” The EIA analysis evaluates the impact of the mandates through 2030, the current time horizon of projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook. The report can be found through the EIA .

IER Distinguished Fellow Mary Hutzler provided this summary

Monday, October 15, 2007

Should Al Gore Give Back His Awards?

On the heels of the news story about Olympic athlete Marion Jones having to give back her medals as the presence of steroids nullified her victories, Al Gore is in the news twice in 24 hours. On October 11, a High Court judge in London found nine inconsistencies in Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth. The inconvenient ruling means the award winning film may not be shown to school children unless it is accompanied by new guidance notes for teachers to balance the one-sided views. The Judge noted, the presence of “alarmism and exaggeration” and stated that it is an “apocalyptic vision.” Does this sound like a “documentary” to you? By definition, a documentary is “based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements” or “Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film” or “emphasizing or expressing things as perceived without distortion of personal feelings, insertion of fictional matter, or interpretation.” With these definitions and this new news in mind, does Al Gore deserve and Oscar for a “documentary?” The next day, October 12, Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Czech President Vaclav Klaus says he is surprised Gore would get a peace prize, noting "The relationship between his activities and world peace is unclear and indistinct." Both of these awards seem to be wrought on convenient lies and both should be returned. What do you think?

Read the London Times article here.

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Judgment
Al Gore’s award-winning climate change documentary was littered with nine inconvenient untruths, a judge ruled yesterday.

An Inconvenient Truth won plaudits from the environmental lobby and an Oscar from the film industry but was found wanting when it was scrutinized in the High Court in London.

Mr. Justice Burton identified nine significant errors within the former presidential candidate’s documentary as he assessed whether it should be shown to school children. He agreed that Mr. Gore’s film was “broadly accurate” in its presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change but said that some of the claims were wrong and had arisen in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration”.

In what is a rare judicial ruling on what children can see in the classroom, Mr. Justice Barton was at pains to point out that the “apocalyptic vision” presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change.

“It is plainly, as witnessed by the fact that it received an Oscar this year for best documentary film, a powerful, dramatically presented and highly professionally produced film,” he said in his ruling. “It is built around the charismatic presence of the ex-Vice-President, Al Gore, whose crusade it now is to persuade the world of the dangers of climate change caused by global warming.

“It is now common ground that it is not simply a science film – although it is clear that it is based substantially on scientific research and opinion – but that it is a political film.”

The analysis by the judge will have a bearing on whether the Government can continue with its plan to have the film shown in every secondary school. He agreed it could be shown but on the condition that it was accompanied by new guidance notes for teachers to balance Mr. Gore’s “one-sided” views.

The Government’s decision to show the film in secondary schools had come under attack from Stewart Dim-mock, a school governor in Kent and a member of political group the New Party, who accused the Government of brainwashing children.

The first mistake made by Mr. Gore, said Mr. Justice Burton in his written judgment, was in talking about the potential devastation wrought by a rise in sea levels caused by the melting of ice caps.

The claim that sea levels could rise by 20ft “in the near future” was dismissed as “distinctly alarmist.” Such a rise would take place “only after, and over, millennia”.
Mr. Justice Burton added: “The Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar as it suggests that sea level rises of seven metres might occur in the immediate future, is not in line with the scientific consensus.”

A claim that atolls in the Pacific had already been evacuated was supported by “no evidence,” while to suggest that two graphs showing carbon dioxide levels and temperatures over the last 650,000 years were an “exact fit” overstated the case.

Mr. Gore’s suggestion that the Gulf Stream, that warms up the Atlantic ocean, would shut down was contradicted by the International Panel on Climate Change’s assessment that it was “very unlikely” to happen.

The drying of Lake Chad, the loss of Mount Kilimanjaro’s snows and Hurricane Katrina were all blamed by Mr. Gore on climate change but the judge said the scientific community had been unable to find evidence to prove there was a direct link.

The drying of Lake Chad, the judge said, was “far more likely to result from other factors, such as population increase and overgrazing, and regional climate variability”. The melting of snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro was “mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.”

The judge also said there was no proof to support a claim that polar bears were drowning while searching for icy habitats melted by global warming. The only drowned polar bears the court was aware of were four that died following a storm.

Similarly, the judge took issue with the former Vice-President of the United States for attributing coral bleaching to climate change. Separating the direct impacts of climate change and other factors was difficult, the judgment concluded.

Despite finding nine significant errors the judge said many of the claims made by the film were fully backed up by the weight of science. He identified “four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC”.

In particular, he agreed with the main thrust of Mr. Gore’s arguments: “That climate change is mainly attributable to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (‘greenhouse gases’).”

The other three main points accepted by the judge were that global temperatures are rising and are likely to continue to rise, that climate change will cause serious damage if left unchecked, and that it is entirely possible for governments and individuals to reduce its impacts.
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Polar Bear Paradox

With the last posting on global warming ending with a note about public school teachers frightening little children with tales of cute polar bears dying because of global warming, it seemed appropriate to draw your attention to the plight of the global warming mascot. Not only are they supposedly dying from a loss of habitat, but as you’ll see, they are being killed by the native Inuit.

This piece, from the Business and Media Institute, addresses some of the media’s obsession with the polar bear. Be sure to click on the GMA link within the story. It is great fodder for discussion. What do you think?

Curbing Global Warming ... To Hunt Polar Bears
Now we must save the polar bear – so that we can kill it?

In the October 1 Time Magazine – an issue that is dedicated to “who owns the Arctic” – Managing Editor Richard Stengel compares two Arctic regions that have been affected by the warmer swing in temperatures in the northern regions of Norway and Canada.

Stengel reported on two different Arctic attitudes based on what two Time reporters are telling him. In Norway, the people are “delighted” because they are now able to harvest natural gas reserves. But people in Canada’s Nunavut territory are “not so sanguine.”

“In Resolute [in Nunavut territory], the native Inuit are not so sanguine about the benefits of balmy weather,” wrote Stengel. “One man invited [James] Graff [London-based senior editor of Time] to watch a videotape of his 16-year-old daughter killing her first polar bear, a rite of passage that is under threat as the melting ice reduces the bear population. For the Inuit, says Graff, ‘the idea that a warmer Arctic would be an easy place to live would occur only to someone from the South.’”

So, are we supposed to be saving the polar bear or hunting it?

Saving the lives of polar bears has been one of the focuses of global warming alarmism hysteria. On the September 18 “Good Morning America,” ABC’s global warming reporter Bill Blakemore stressed how important it was for the polar bear’s habitat that we curb greenhouse gas emissions.

If the polar bears are struggling because of global warming, they’re certainly not showing it according to at least one report. A study reported in the September 3 Telegraph (U.K.) showed the polar bears are thriving.

“There aren't just a few more bears,” said Mitch Taylor, a polar bear biologist who has spent 20 years studying the animals, to the Telegraph. “There are a hell of a lot more bears.”

Global Warming Hysteria

With mounting evidence against the assumed “climate change” position, you may have wondered, “Why do they cling so firmly to this belief?” When this piece by Walter E. Williams landing in CARE’s in box, it was like a giant ah-ha moment. In addition to great insight, this posting is laced with humor. We believe you will enjoy it. Read on!

Despite increasing evidence that man-made CO2 is not a significant greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change, politicians and others who wish to control our lives must maintain that it is.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Rep. John Dingell wants a 50-cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline. We've heard such calls before, but there's a new twist. Dingell also wants to eliminate the mortgage tax deduction on what he calls "McMansions," homes that are 3,000 square feet and larger. That's because larger homes use more energy.

One might wonder about Dingell's magnanimity in increasing taxes for only homes 3,000 feet or larger. The average U.S. home is around 2,300 square feet, compared with Europe's average of 1,000 square feet. So why doesn't Dingell call for disallowing mortgage deductions on houses more than 1,000 square feet? The reason is there would be too much political resistance, since more Americans own homes under 3,000 square feet than over 3,000. The full agenda is to start out with 3,000 square feet and later lower it in increments.

Our buying into global warming hysteria will allow politicians to do just about anything, upon which they can muster a majority vote, in the name of fighting climate change as a means to raise taxes.

In addition to excuses to raise taxes, congressmen are using climate change hysteria to funnel money into their districts. Rep. David L. Hobson, R-Ohio, secured $500,000 for a geothermal demonstration project. Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., got $500,000 for a fuel-cell project by Superprotonic, a Pasadena company started by Caltech scientists. Money for similar boondoggles is being called for by members of both parties.

There are many ways to reduce CO2 emissions, and being 71 years of age I know many of them. Al Gore might even consider me carbon neutral and possibly having carbon credits because my carbon offsets were made in advance. For example, for the first 15 years of my life, I didn't use energy-consuming refrigerators; we had an icebox. For two decades I listened to radio instead of watching television and walked or used public transportation to most places. And for more than half my life I didn't use energy-consuming things such as computers, clothes dryers, air conditioning and microwave ovens. Of course, my standard of living was much lower.

The bottom line is, serious efforts to reduce CO2 will lead to lower living standards through higher costs of living. And it will be all for naught because there is little or no relationship between man-made CO2 emissions and climate change.

There's an excellent booklet available from the National Center for Policy Analysis ( titled "A Global Warming Primer." Some of its highlights are:

"Over long periods of time, there is no close relationship between CO2 levels and temperature."

"Humans contribute approximately 3.4 percent of annual CO2 levels" compared to 96.6 percent by nature.

"There was an explosion of life forms 550 million years ago (Cambrian Period) when CO2 levels were 18 times higher than today. During the Jurassic Period, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, CO2 levels were as much as nine times higher than today."

What about public school teachers frightening little children with tales of cute polar bears dying because of global warming? The primer says, "Polar bear numbers increased dramatically from around 5,000 in 1950 to as many as 25,000 today, higher than any time in the 20th century." The primer gives detailed sources for all of its findings, and it supplies us with information we can use to stop politicians and their environmental extremists from doing a rope-a-dope on us.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics and serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well.