November 18, 2010
If you needed any more evidence that the entire theory of manmade global warming was a scheme to redistribute wealth, you got it November 18, 2010, when a leading member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told a German news outlet,
"[W]e redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."For the record, Ottmar Edenhofer was co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group III, and was a lead author of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report released in 2007 which controversially concluded,
"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."As such, this man is a huge player in advancing this theory, and he has now made it quite clear — as folks on the realist side of this debate have been saying for years — that this is actually an international economic scheme designed to redistribute wealth.
Carbon Taxes Will Go Directly to the World Bank, Not to Developing Countries to Lower Carbon Emissions or Alleviate PovertyDominique Strauss-Kahn (head of the IMF) and George Soros (billionaire money-lender) call for a giant international slush fund to bankroll the infrastructure needed to implement global carbon taxes, which they need in order to tax all humans, countries and industries for emitting carbon dioxide, the very gas we exhale. The creation of revenue streams to bankroll the structure of global governance that will oversee the implementation of a “green world order” will again be up for discussion at a series of new Copenhagen process negotiations set to take place in April, May and June... Leaked policy documents reveal that the United Nations plans to create a “green world order” by 2012 which will be enforced by a structure of global governance and funded by a gargantuan $45 trillion transfer of wealth from richer countries, as the globalists’ insidious plan to centralize power and crush sovereignty while devastating the economy is exposed once again. [Paul Joseph Watson, IMF Head Calls For Huge Global Warming Slush Fund, Prison Planet.com, March 8, 2010]
As was uncovered during the Copenhagen summit, the program of “global redistribution of wealth” and transaction taxes largely centers around looting the wealth of the middle classes in richer countries and then using that money to bankroll the establishment of world government. As the leaked “Danish text” revealed, the money generated from consumption taxes will go directly to the World Bank, not to developing countries to lower carbon emissions or alleviate poverty. Under the terms of this proposal, poorer countries will not simply be handed the money pillaged from richer nations; instead, they will be forced to accept “green loans” in the name of combating climate change, a policy that would land the already financially devastated third world with even more debt, payable to globalist institutions such as the IMF. Even if you accept that global institutions, which have proven to be completely corrupt time and time again, should be empowered to steal from the rich and give to the poor, these proposals don’t even do that. This is all about bankrolling the expansion of world government and creating a giant slush fund that will be used to coerce smaller countries into allowing themselves to be ruled and regulated by a global bureaucracy funded by increasingly destitute taxpayers in the West. [Paul Joseph Watson, Globalists Plan to Dismantle Middle Class With UN Tax, Infowars.com, September 19, 2010]
"If we don't start taking actions from the bottom up, we may end up baked by the sun before the U.N. conference takes real action."
December 5, 2010
More than 6,000 environmental officials from throughout the world started a new round of U.N. talks last week in Cancun, hoping to reduce global warming. But they are likely to fail because the world has become a less eco-friendly place in recent months.
Although 2010 will be one of the hottest years in recorded history, and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to reach record highs, there are several reasons why the United States, China and other big world polluters are even less likely to sign a binding deal in Cancun than at last year's failed meeting in Copenhagen.
First, no matter what the Obama administration signs in Cancun, the new U.S. Congress that was elected in the Nov. 2 elections will be considerably less prone to act on climate change than the outgoing one.
There will be 11 new senators and 36 House members — many of them ultra-conservative Republicans — in the new Congress who don't believe that global warming is caused by man, according to the center-left Center for American Progress. Overall, 162 of the 289 Republicans in the 112th Congress will be "deniers," it says.
"The new Congress will certainly have more climate-skeptics than the previous Congress," Andrew Light, the center's director of international climate policy, told me. "Currently, the Republican leadership is debating the extent to which they will use various committees in the House of Representatives as a forum to put climate science on trial."Indeed, the leading candidates to chair the Republican-controlled House Science and Technology Committee are Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas, who has expressed doubts about man-made global warming, and Dana Rohrabacher of California, who was quoted by Politico.com as saying that he wants to use the House panel as a bully pulpit to fight ideas such as man-made global warming, which he described as "a total fraud."
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, in turn, could be chaired by John Simkus of Illinois, who said at a congressional hearing last year that the Bible teaches that climate change won't destroy the planet, according to Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
Second, China, which recently surpassed the United States as the world's biggest source of greenhouse gases, has become a bigger player in world politics, and is more assertive in its refusal to sign binding agreements that would allow international monitoring of each country's gas emissions. The Chinese feel that would set a precedent for international scrutiny in other areas, including human rights.
Third, European countries, much like the United States, are anxious that their economic recovery is taking longer than previously thought, are less enthusiastic about adopting environmental measures that could further slow economic growth.
Kaweh Zahedi, the United Nations Environmental Program climate change coordinator, told me that while there are virtually no expectations for a mega-agreement in Cancun, "we still expect to come out of Cancun with some concrete decisions," such as promoting green technologies and setting up a Green Fund to help poor countries deal with global warming.
But even in the unlikely event that the Cancun meeting produced a mandatory agreement along the lines proposed last year in Copenhagen, "it would fall short" of what is needed to keep global warming from rising above 2 degrees centigrade in coming decades, he said.
My opinion: The new political realities in the United States and China will make it difficult to reach an enforceable world deal in Cancun, or at next year's U.N. conference in South Africa, or even at the 2012 meeting in Brazil. That's because if governments sign a piece of paper ordering mandatory cuts on greenhouse gas emissions, it will not be ratified by the U.S. Congress, or enforced by the Chinese government, at least over the next two or three years.
I used to think that individual eco-friendly actions such as driving a fuel-efficient car or asking your cashier at the supermarket to use fewer plastic bags were quixotic gestures, and that global warming could only be solved via an international agreement.
But with the world getting warmer every day and little likelihood that governments will reach a deal anytime soon, I'm beginning to change my mind. If we don't start taking actions from the bottom up, we may end up baked by the sun before the U.N. conference takes real action.
If the GOP wins control of the House, Obama plans to enforce carbon emissions reductions using the EPA and the 50 states
The Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2010
If the GOP wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration’s environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change.
The GOP’s fire will be concentrated especially on the administration’s efforts to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming.
The attack, according to senior Republicans, will seek to portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy with needless government regulations.
In addition, GOP leaders say, they will focus on what they see as distortions of scientific evidence regarding climate change and on Obama administration efforts to achieve by executive rule-making what it failed to win from Congress.
Even if Republicans should win majorities in both the House and Senate, they would face difficulties putting their views into legislative form, since Senate Democrats could use the threat of filibuster to block bills just as the GOP did on climate and other issues during the past year.
Also, Obama could use his veto power.
But the GOP’s plans for wide-ranging and sustained investigations by congressional committees could put the EPA and administration environmental policymakers on the defensive and create political pressures that could cause Obama to pull back on environmental issues as the 2012 presidential election draws closer.
In comments last week, White House officials said they are considering hiring more lawyers to the Office of Legal Counsel to gird for the possible battles ahead. Yet even with the White House running interference for the EPA and other agencies, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson conceded that a Republican anti-regulatory campaign could end up effectively hamstringing her agency’s work.
The new rules EPA has issued over the last year on vehicle emissions and those expected soon for industry, Jackson said, “would be endangered by many, if not all, of the efforts we’ve seen to take away the agency’s greenhouse gas authority.”Over the last two years, the Obama administration and the EPA have stepped up pressure on industry, utilities and states to curtail pollution. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling opened the door for the EPA to use its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in new rules for vehicle emissions and, starting early next year, regulations for emissions from utilities.
In contrast to the previous administration, the Obama White House has also embraced the broad consensus within the scientific community that human activity, mainly through the emitting of carbon dioxide, has led to global warming.
All that will be up for scrutiny in the event of a Republican takeover of the House, which political analysts are predicting. The Republican Party has hammered at the administration’s environmental agenda during the campaign. And rejecting the work of climate scientists has become increasingly common among conservatives.
Several key Republican Congressmen — most notably Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who could take over the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — have said they plan to investigate climate scientists they contend manipulated data to prove the case that human activity is contributing to global warming.
Using control of congressional committees — and their investigative powers — to attack the opposition is not a new idea. After Democrats gained control of Congress in 2006, they held critical hearings on everything from an energy task force run by Vice President Dick Cheney to the Bush administration’s support of abstinence-only sex education.
Similarly, during the Clinton administration, when Republicans took over they appointed independent counsels to investigate various aspects of the administration, leading to the Whitewater probe and the impeachment proceedings, among others.
In a recent op-ed article, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, declared that the GOP is preparing to “declare war on the regulatory state.”
A steady flow of letters, subpoenas and congressional hearings would prove “incredibly disruptive” to an agency’s ability to work and promulgate rules, said Kate Gordon, of the energy policy project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research and advocacy group in Washington.
Congressional inquiries also offer a platform for energizing the GOP’s conservative base in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
The investigations are expected to target questions about EPA’s preparedness for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Already, House Republicans have written letters to the Interior Department questioning the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling that the administration invoked after the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil.
But the primary focus will be on the EPA’s determination last year that carbon dioxide and other emissions endanger public welfare by contributing to climate change. Armed with this finding, the EPA has moved to reduce greenhouse gases by mandating emissions reductions in vehicles and will soon move to regulate stationary sources like power plants and factories.
House Republicans like Issa and James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming have criticized the EPA for basing its endangerment finding on what they consider flawed research. Republicans assert that the science on climate change is not yet “settled,” despite the vast global scientific consensus about its human causes.
Specifically, Issa has said he wants to investigate the “Climategate” scandal that broke late last year, when hackers illegally obtained and released thousands of emails of climate scientists working with a leading British laboratory.
Climate skeptics, among them House Republicans like Issa, contend that the sniping and harshness in some emails prove that climate scientists suppressed dissenting studies and that science showing the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is biased and tainted.
Several independent panels abroad and in the U.S. that reviewed the emails cleared the scientists of wrongdoing and found their research to be reliable. The EPA has also said that “nothing in the emails undermines the science upon which” the endangerment findings are based.
Like officials within the administration, scientists around the country who expect to be investigated by Issa and others are getting legal advice on how to best protect themselves. Among them is Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University and one of the researchers who developed the “hockey stick” graph that shows a recent spike in global temperatures.
Issa named Mann in a letter to the EPA as a scientist whose work was not “unbiased, accurate or reliable.”
“I don’t think we can cower under the politically motivated attacks by the forces of anti-science, which includes prominent politicians who are in the pay of the fossil fuel industry,” Mann said in a telephone interview about his approach to possible congressional investigations.
“One prepares for this by doing one’s best to get the truth out because we have nothing to hide as climate scientists: We can stand proudly on our research,” he said.
September 29, 2010
In a newly released interview, President Obama told Rolling Stone magazine that he wants to make energy and climate "one of my top priorities next year," but that "we may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive legislation."
Approached with resolve and creativity, this chunk approach has the potential to produce near and mid-term gains equal to or even surpassing those achieved by comprehensive climate legislation.
Indeed, as World Resources Institute noted in a recent study, a combination of EPA regulation and state action can reduce emissions somewhere between 6 and 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, depending on how ambitious these actions are.
Of course, that's entirely inadequate when it comes to averting climate catastrophe — we need to reduce pollution 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels just to have an even chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change ...
January 29, 2010
Globalists intent on ushering in a zero-growth post-industrial society are bypassing the federal government’s stuttering efforts to implement the cap and trade scam and going directly to the states in an effort to impose their control freak tax on the very life-giving gas that we all exhale — carbon dioxide.
Even as the foundation of the argument that human emissions of CO2 cause global warming crumbles and collapses amidst scandal after scandal, energy companies and state authorities are still pushing ahead with sinister plans to mandate that individuals and businesses get government allowances and permits to emit carbon dioxide.
KLBJ radio reports that Austin Energy, which powers the city, presented to the Austin City Council “Austin Energy’s Carbon Reduction Plan,” which goes even further than the federal cap and trade bill in calling for CO2 emissions to be reduced by 20% by 2025.
The fact that energy companies are behind this again disproves the flawed notion that oil and electricity companies oppose the global warming movement, when in fact they are its major adherents. The climate change scam is a goldmine for them because effectively licensing CO2 emissions only drives up utility prices — the costs are passed on to the consumer and their profits soar.
Austin Energy head Roger Duncan told the Austin City Council that the program would cost around $2.6 billion, but since the cost of such initiatives is routinely underestimated, expect a final figure that is significantly higher. He admitted that the plan would cause energy prices to rise.
This will of course result in much higher energy bills for the general public because they will be forced to buy permits from the government to emit the 'deadly' yet life-giving gas, carbon dioxide.
The program will also include a Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance, which will empower environmental goons to perform energy audits on every house over ten years old when it is put up for sale. The new enforcement would also require “an energy audit/rating for all non-industrial commercial buildings with 5,000 square feet or more and multifamily properties with five or more units, aged 10 years or older.”
A similar system was introduced in 2007 in the UK amidst widespread derision and loathing. Known as Home Information Packs, shortly after they were introduced the British property market crashed as sellers refused to pay the fee, which was mandatory for all home sales. The system has since become notorious as nothing more than an odious new tax ...
November 23, 2010
Follow up on: Unaccountable Global 'Climate-Change Body' Taking Shape (February 13, 2010)
"The superstructure for the international green movement is now visibly rising on the global landscape like the Tower of Babel of old as puppet political figures, pandering to the Kabbalist-driven whims of their demonically possessed masters, defiantly create a global regulatory system with which they will attempt to finalize their ages-old plan to micromanage the earth and dominate all of mankind on it" [see April 4, 2010, 1st meeting update].A few years back there was a long running anti-drug campaign addressed to parents of teens asking something along the lines of 'parents, do you know where your kids are tonight?' Presumably designed to motivate parents to take greater interest in the lives of their children so as to steer them clear of falling into the trap of drug use.
Which brings up the subject of a question that needs to be asked here to all the people of the various cities of the various nations of the world: People...do you know where your mayors are tonight?
Did you know that they just signed up to submit you and your city to a "global climate monitoring and verification mechanism" that calls for establishing "climate action plans," entailing the creation of "local laws and initiatives" which will be used to in essence 'de-carbonize' your existence; and, even worse, that they agreed to be held accountable to these plans by a mysterious entity going by the name of the "Carbon Cities Climate Registry"...with the 'reporting center' located at a place cleverly acronym-ed "carbonn"?
As noted in the article, this is only a prelude to next week's (beginning November 29, 2010) "United Nations Framework Convention For Climate Change" (UNFCCC). This conference will pick up where Copenhagen 'left off' one year ago with another "global binding treaty" for governments of nations on the table. The convention's name is accurate. The "framework" for a global dictatorship is exactly what is materializing before our eyes.
As it stands, mayors from around the globe will now 'officially' manage the cities of the world according to the dictates of an unaccountable global body. As it stands now, the cities of the various nations of the world have just been 'officially' fitted into that framework, the superstructure of a new Tower of Babel.
A communitarian global management system, forced upon the planet by the great green lie. It is here. It signals the nearness [Daniel 8:23] of the coming again of another 'Nimrod' to rule over this new 'Babel' [Genesis 10:8,10]. This new Nimrod will be the false Jewish messiah, aka the 'Antichrist.' Reigning over the earth from the capital city Jerusalem, they will call his kingdom 'Zion,' meaning 'city of god,' but the Word of God says that it "spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt" [Revelation 11:8]. For the record, that signifies perversion and corruption, respectively.
The tower rising today has a corrupt and perverse foundation. It cannot stand. After these things have run their course, it will be 'razed.' Only at the return of the true Saviour of Israel and the world — the real 'Christ' — the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, will the true 'Zion,' the very city of God, be 'raised.' He Himself is the foundation. He will come. It is written. "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Isaiah 28:16).
True member of the body of Christ — His bride, as He promised (John 14:3), He will first come for you before this all comes down. Ready at any moment?
See: Copenhagen 'Chaos' By Design (December 21, 2009)
It is important to mention that a very wide group of cities have expressed their interest to sign the Pact of Mexico City however they have not been included in this list since they have not sent yet their respective document.
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. La Falda, Argentina
3. Requinoa, Argentina
4. Rosario, Argentina
5. Santa Fe, Argentina
6. Brussels, Belgium
7. Belmopan, Belize
8. La Paz, Bolivia
9. San Carlos de Santa Cruz, Bolivia
10. Santísima Trinidad, Bolivia
11. Belo Horizonte, Brazil
12. Curitiba, Brazil
13. Diadema, Brazil
14. Manaus, Brazil
15. Porto Alegre, Brazil
16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
17. Sao Paulo, Brazil
18. Association of Forestry Municipalities of Cameroon, Cameroon
19. Delta-Vancouver, Canada
20. Vancouver, Canada
21. Coltauco, Chile
22. El Bosque, Chile
23. Graneros, Chile
24. Lautaro, Chile
25. Quilpué, Chile
26. Santiago, Chile
27. Santiago (Metropolitan Area), Chile
28. Bogota DC, Colombia
29. Gigante-Huila, Colombia
30. Montería, Colombia
31. San Jose, Costa Rica
32. Koprivnica, Croatia
33. Cuenca, Ecuador
34. Pichincha, Ecuador
35. Quito, Ecuador
36. Santa Ana, El Salvador
37. Brest, France
38. Bordeaux, France
39. Ile de France Regional Council, France
40. Communauté d’Aglomeration de la Plaine Commune, France
41. Dunkerque, France
42. Grenoble, France
43. Lyon, France
44. Mellac, France
45. Nantes, France
46. Orleans, France
47. Paris, France
48. Guatemala, Guatemala
49. Jakarta, Indonesia
50. Jerusalem, Israel
51. Kyoto, Japan
52. Nagoya, Japan
53. Mandera, Kenya
54. Benslimane, Morocco
55. Casablanca, Morocco
56. Essaouira, Morocco
57. Kenitra, Morocco
58. Khouribga, Morocco
59. Meknes, Morocco
60. Ouarzazate, Morocco
61. Rabat, Morocco
62. Settat, Morocco
63. Temara, Morocco
64. Acatzingo, Mexico
65. Acotepec, Mexico
66. Aguascalientes, Mexico
67. Amixtlan, Mexico
68. Ayotlán, Mexico
69. Camerino Z. Mendoza, Mexico
70. Mexico City, Mexico
71. Cancun, Mexico
72. Chalma, Mexico
73. Chahuites, Mexico
74. Chihuahua, Mexico
75. Cintalapa de Figueroa, Mexico
76. Coyoacán, Mexico
77. Cuatro Cienagas, Mexico
78. Chiconamel, Mexico
79. Chetumal, Mexico
80. Hidalgo, Mexico
81. Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico
82. Lerdo, Mexico
83. Luvianos, Mexico
84. Paso del Macho, Mexico
85. Santiago Apostol, Mexico
86. San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
87. San Juan Lachao, Mexico
88. San Juan Guichicovi, Mexico
89. San Martin Hidalgo, Mexico
90. Santa Catarina Sachatao-Ixtlan, Mexico
91. Santa Lucia del Camino, Mexico
92. Santiago Papasquiaro, Mexico
93. Sierra Mojada, Mexico
94. Tecalitlan, Mexico
95. Tepetlaoxtoc, Mexico
96. Tlacatepec de Benito Juarez, Mexico
97. Totolapa, Mexico
98. Villa de Zaachila, Mexico
99. Yurécuaro, Mexico
100. Zimapan, Mexico
101. Zacatecas, Mexico
102. Wellington, New Zeland
103. Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Nigeria
104. Chaclacayo, Peru
105. Chancay, Peru
106. Comas, Peru
107. Lima, Peru
108. Santa Rosa, Peru
109. Trujillo, Peru
110. Albay, Philippines
111. Ligao City, Philippines
112. Lisbon, Portugal
113. Comerio, Puerto Rico
114. Pitesti, Romany
115. Dakar, Senegal
116. Nioro du Rip, Senegal
117. Saint Louis, Senegal
118. Cape Town, South Africa
119. Cape Winelands, South Africa
120. Dr JS Moroko Local Municipality, South Africa
121. Johannesburg, South Africa
122. Matlosana, South Africa
123. Gwangju, South Korea
124. Jeju, South Korea
125. Suncheon, South Korea
126. Yeonsu-Gu, South Korea
127. Barcelona, Spain
128. Barcelona & Mataro’s Province, Spain
129. Karlstad, Sweden
130. Malmö, Sweden
131. Taipei City
132. Istanbul, Turkey
133. Entebbe, Uganda
134. Montevideo, Uruguay
135. San Carlos, Uruguay
136. Burnsville, MN, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz & US Conference of Mayors, USA
137. Des Moines, USA
138. Los Angeles, USA
139. North Little Rock, USA
November 6, 2010
Mayors from the C40 group of cities vowed in Hong Kong to launch a number of initiatives to curb carbon emissions. Toronto’s outgoing mayor David Miller stressed the need to make buildings more energy efficient and increase the use of electric vehicles in urban areas. Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang reminded delegates that cities consumed over two-thirds of the world's energy and emitted more than 70 per cent of total carbon dioxides.
"Each of our cities share common goals -- to reduce our carbon footprint, to make our environment more liveable and to join hands to combat global warming and climate change," Tsang said.He went on to warn that climate change has posed an unprecedented challenge and that there was clear consensus that action is urgently required.
“Cities need to unlock the full potential of low carbon technologies,” he added.Of course, Hong Kong has been suffering from with worsening air pollution, with downtown areas of the city often shrouded in smog.
Outgoing Toronto Mayor David Miller will today hand over the chairmanship of the C40 group to New York’s Michael Bloomberg. The New York mayor told the conference that his city was focusing on several green strategies, such as planting more trees and reducing building pollution.
In his last address as chairman, Toronto’s mayor said we all needed a variety of policies, programmes and projects with, and between, cities to succeed.
"The C40 has provided its network with an exceptional opportunity to share and learn on how to successfully remove greenhouse gas emissions," he added.The C40 group was set up in 2005 to play a leading role in tackling climate change.
November 24, 2010
Mayors and local leaders from around the world concluded a trio of meetings Nov. 21 with a pledge to work to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Global Cities Covenant on Climate laid out 10 actions cities can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a warming climate, including a commitment to develop ways for cities to access international funding for local actions.
The voluntary agreement, known as the Mexico City Pact, also highlighted the important role in addressing climate change played by the world's cities, which accounted for more than 70 percent of the Earth's greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, according to the International Energy Agency.
Cities that signed onto the agreement agreed to report any actions they take in a new carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR). The registry will be operated by the Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting--hence the use of “carbonn” in the name. The registry was launched the same day the pact was signed, during the first World Mayors Summit on Climate, hosted by Mexico City.
The Mexico City Pact also envisioned the establishment of a Global Cities Covenant on Climate Secretariat that would be encourage more cities to join the agreement and would follow up on actions laid out in the pact.
The one-day summit was sponsored by Mexico City, the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
The meeting also marked the final day of a pair of related meetings of mayors and local leaders. The Third Congress of United Cities and Local Governments and the Local and Regional Leaders World Summit both concluded six-day meetings in Mexico City with the Nov. 21 signing of the pact at the World Mayors Summit.
The trio of meetings attracted some 3,000 city officials from 114 countries.Importance of International Funding
Earlier in the week, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard discussed the importance of an international fund to help cities fight global warming.
“Today, almost all global credits are for nations, not cities,” Ebrard said Nov. 17. “For that reason, cities have great difficulty in accessing resources from the international communities. So this is a very interesting, new initiative that is also being adopted in this meeting.”
The objective is to promote investments in city climate change programs as quickly as possible, rather than waiting for an international accord that appears to be foundering, Ebrard told Radio Formula, a local radio station, Nov. 18.
“We can change energy, reduce auto emissions, and take other steps in our cities … and not wait for an international pact that we see is not coming and is being delayed,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard said the financing architecture used today is too slow and that the new fund for cities would speed up the allocation of resources to municipalities, where greenhouse gas emissions are highest and climate change is affecting more people. He did not specify how it would do so.Pact to Be Presented in Cancun
The Mexico City Pact will be presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 16th Conference of the Parties, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 29-Dec. 10.
“The voice of cities must be heard at the climate summit,” Ebrard said.
UCLG president and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë said at a Nov. 18 press conference that cities will pressure leaders in Cancun “to do what they have not done, what they haven’t been able to do.”
November 21, 2010
Mayors from around the world signed a voluntary pact Sunday in Mexico City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a meeting meant as a precursor to UN-sponsored climate talks in Cancun opening next week.
The gathering in one of the world's most polluted cities assembled thousands of local and regional leaders to discuss a wide range of economic and social issues, including climate change.
Participants from some 135 cities and urban areas -- including Buenos Aires, Bogota, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Vancouver -- signed the pact which states their intention to adopt a slate of measures to stem climate change.
Each city "will have to register its climate data (commitments as well as performance) in the city climate record" during the next eight months, said Gabriel Sanchez, president of Think Foundation, a Mexican non-profit.
Residents will be able to track their cities' performance online, officials said.
The pact will be presented at UN talks in the Mexican resort of Cancun from November 29 to December 10.
That's when top climate scientists from around the world hope to break the deadlock on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and channeling aid to poor, vulnerable countries after the widely regarded failure of the last climate summit, in Copenhagen.
Sunday's signing came a day after the close of the third conference of the United Cities and Local Governments, attended by mayors, legislators and officials from more than 1,000 cities and towns in 114 countries.
Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said his counterparts should seize the opportunity ahead of Cancun to highlight their key roles in the fight to put the brakes on climate change.
"We have to tell the international community that it's in the cities that the battle to slow global warming will be won," Ebrard said in the lead-up to the meeting.And he has brought the battle to his doorstep; the leftist Ebrard pledged last week that Mexico City, with its teeming population of more than 20 million, would reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by around 14 percent.
The mayors emphasized the vital role that cities, where more than half the world's population now live, can play in the fight against climate change.
Urban areas consume up to 80 percent of global energy production and emit 60 percent of greenhouse gases, according to Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The pact sent a "clear signal" to countries that will sit at the negotiating table in Cancun that it is possible to reach agreement, Figueres said.
Meanwhile, a new study released on Sunday found that fossil-fuel gases edged back less than hoped in 2009, as falls in advanced economies were largely outweighed by rises in China and India.
Annual global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of oil, gas and coal were 30.8 billion tonnes, a retreat of only 1.3 percent in 2009 compared with 2008, a record year, they said in a letter to the journal Nature Geoscience. The decrease was less than half what had been expected, because emerging giant economies were unaffected by the downturn that hit many large industrialized nations. In addition, they burned more coal, the biggest source of fossil-fuel carbon, while their economies struggled with a higher "carbon intensity," a measure of fuel-efficiency.
Emissions of fossil-fuel gases in 2009 fell by 11.8 percent in Japan, by 6.9 percent in the United States, by 8.6 percent in Britain, by 7.0 percent in Germany and by 8.4 percent in Russia, the paper said. In contrast, they rose by eight percent in China, the world's number one emitter of fossil-fuel CO2, which accounts for a whopping 24 percent of the total.
Click for Map of Mayors Who Signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2008
Press Releases for the U.S. Conference of Mayors (No Press Release for Mexico City Pact is Listed)
November 8, 2010
City mayors from all over the world will be attending the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City later this month to pledge their commitment to combating global warming.
The centerpiece of the one-day summit will be the signing of "The Mexico City Pact" -- formally known as the Global Cities Covenant on Climate -- which will recognize the strategic importance cities need to play in reducing carbon emissions.
Convened by the World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC), ICLEI -- Local Governments for Sustainability and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) the summit will take place eight days before the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico.
Anke Stoffregen, ICLEI communications manager told CNN:
"The summit is very much about the mayors taking the leadership role and pulling their strength together to show that they are willing to make commitments and that they are able to deliver actions as well."
A crucial ingredient of the pact is the launch the "carbon Cities Climate Registry" which commits mayors and local governments to regular and transparent reporting of CO2 emissions.
Over half of the world's population now live in cities. According to the International Energy Agency cities accounted for two thirds of the world's primary energy demand in 2006 contributing around 70 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Stoffregen says city leaders already understand the need to act. What this summit is trying to do is speed up the process of global coordination on climate change and press national governments to act faster.
"With more and more people living in urban areas it becomes more important that we realize that we have to provide for a more varied lifestyle," Stoffregen said.
"People who live in cities have an enormous power to demand of their local governments an improvement in their climate policy."
October 21, 2010
Scientists should do the research to help mayors prepare for a warming world, say Cynthia Rosenzweig, William Solecki, Stephen A. Hammer and Shagun Mehrotra.
For years, the focus on the world's response to climate change has been on nation states, which have been mostly unsuccessful in brokering comprehensive agreements or taking action. Cities, by contrast, are preparing risk assessments, setting greenhouse-gas emission reduction targets, and pledging to act ...
The World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC) was founded by Kyoto’s mayor in December 2005, following the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The WMCCC and its chair Marcelo Ebrard, mayor of Mexico City, will host the World Mayors’ Summit there the week before the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in Cancun, Mexico, this November.
Mayors will be invited to sign the Mexico City Pact, which seeks to strengthen cities’ commitment to mitigation measures,monitoring and adaptation (see ‘Urban action’). The summit also gives city leaders the opportunity to demand a seat at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, helping them to get funding to implement their policies. There are currently more than 50 members (mayors and former mayors) of the WMCCC ...
November 13, 2010
Rahm Emanuel officially announced Saturday what everyone has known since he quit his job as White House chief of staff, hugged President Barack Obama and returned to Chicago: He's running for mayor.
To the surprise of no one, Emanuel, who has long talked about his desire to be mayor, told a packed auditorium at a school on Chicago's North Side that he is a candidate to succeed retiring Mayor Richard Daley.
The election is Feb. 22.
Emanuel represented the city's North Side in Congress before he went to the White House.
He has been actively campaigning in the city since his return about two months ago. He also has been courting donors who can add to the $1.2 million left from his congressional campaign fund.
Emanuel is one of about a half dozen candidates who have either formally announced or are about to.
State Sen. James Meeks and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis have similar events scheduled Sunday, and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun is expected to announce in the next week or so. Former city schools President Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle have already declared they're running.
But Emanuel has emerged as the front-runner, in part because of his money and national profile and because other high-profile candidates, such as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, have dropped out.
Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who assisted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the 1991 Iraq war and whose father was in Irgun, is a strong supporter of AIPAC; he personally introduced fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama to the organization's directors during the 2008 presidential campaign. "Rahm is the Democrats' Newt Gingrich," says Bruce Reed, who served with Emanuel in the Clinton White House. "He understands how much ideas matter, he always knows his message, he takes no prisoners, and he only plays to win." Friends and enemies agree that the key to Emanuel's success is his legendary intensity... the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the President's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you." - Obama Picks Israeli Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, HAARETZ, November 6, 2008
November 16, 2010
This page, featuring Public Officials (both present and former), is one of five compiling expressions of support for putting a price on carbon by notable individuals and organizations. Use Navigation Bar at top of page to access other pages.
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu
In an interview published in the New York Times in February 2009, Secretary Chu said “that while President Obama and Congressional Democratic leaders had endorsed a so-called cap-and-trade system to control global warming pollutants, there were alternatives that could emerge, including a tax on carbon emissions or a modified version of cap-and-trade.” (Big Science Seen as Global Warming Cure)
Senator Dodd anchored his presidential candidacy to a Corporate Carbon Tax. As he explained in the CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate: “Until you deal with the issue of price, until you impose a corporate carbon tax, we will never get away from fossil fuels. It’s the only way this can be achieved. You have to advocate that if you’re serious about global warming.” (Transcript in the New York Times, July 24, 2007.)
Here’s more from Senator Dodd’s presidential campaign Web site (no longer active):
- Enact a Corporate Carbon Tax. A Corporate Carbon Tax will discourage big corporate polluters and stimulate innovation. The revenues of a corporate carbon tax—estimated at over $50 billion annually—will be placed into a Corporate Carbon Tax Trust Fund (CCTTF) to fund:
- Fast tracked research, development and deployment of renewable technologies such as wind, solar, as well as ethanol and other biofuels;
- Efforts to expedite the process for bringing energy efficient technologies to market.
U.S. House of Representatives
Representative Bob Inglis, elected in Nov. 2008 to a sixth term serving South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, published an op-ed article in The New York Times in late December, calling on Congress to enact a revenue-neutral U.S. carbon tax. Excerpts from An Emissions Plan Conservatives Could Warm To, co-authored with economist Arthur Laffer, follow (emphases added:
Conservatives don’t support tax increases that are veiled as “cap and trade” schemes for pollution permits. But offer us a tax swap, and we could become the new administration’s best allies on climate change.
A climate-change bill withered in Congress this summer because families don’t need an enormous, and hidden, tax increase. If the bill’s authors had instead proposed a simple carbon tax coupled with an equal, offsetting reduction in income taxes or payroll taxes, a dynamic new energy security policy could have taken root.
As long as national security risks aren’t factored into the cost of gasoline and as long as carbon dioxide can be emitted without penalty, oil will continue to have an advantage over emerging fuels in the marketplace, and we’ll continue our ruinous addiction to it. We need to impose a tax on the thing we want less of (carbon dioxide) and reduce taxes on the things we want more of (income and jobs). A carbon tax would attach the national security and environmental costs to carbon-based fuels like oil, causing the market to recognize the price of these negative externalities.
Conservatives do not have to agree that humans are causing climate change to recognize a sensible energy solution. All we need to assume is that burning less fossil fuels would be a good thing. Based on the current scientific consensus and the potential environmental benefits, it’s prudent to do what we can to reduce global carbon emissions. When you add the national security concerns, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels becomes a no-brainer.
It is essential … that any taxes on carbon emissions be accompanied by equal, pro-growth tax cuts. A carbon tax that isn’t accompanied by a reduction in other taxes is a nonstarter. Fiscal conservatives would gladly trade a carbon tax for a reduction in payroll or income taxes, but we can’t go along with an overall tax increase.
The good news is that both Democrats and Republicans could support a carbon tax offset by a payroll or income tax cut.
Two carbon tax bills were introduced in Ways & Means (the U.S. House committee that originates tax legislation) that embody much of what Rep. Inglis advocated in his Dec. 2008 op-ed: Stark-McDermott, filed in April 2007, and Larson, filed in August. Click here for details.
Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) and Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash)
Congressmen Stark and McDermott are the lead sponsors of the “Save Our Climate Act,” which would impose a $10 per ton (of carbon) charge on coal, petroleum and natural gas when the fuel is either extracted or imported. The charge would increase by $10 every year until U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have dropped 80% from 1990 levels. Introducing the bill, Congressman Stark eloquently stated:
“The question is not if human activity is responsible for global climate change, but how the United States will respond,” said Stark. “Predictable, transparent and universal, a carbon tax is a simple solution to a difficult problem. It would drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by providing an economic disincentive for the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and an incentive for the development and use of cleaner alternative energies. The Save Our Climate Act would establish the United States as a global leader in environmental protection and encourage other nations – most of whom have already acknowledged the climate change threat – to take similar action to reduce emissions. I strongly encourage Congress to pass a carbon tax.”
Rep. John B. Larson, a 5th-term Democratic representative from Hartford, introduced his American Energy Security Trust Fund Act in August. His bill would tax emissions of carbon dioxide at $15/ton starting in 2008, with the level increasing by 10% annually along with an additional inflation-offsetting adjustment. Since a molecule of CO2 weighs 44/12 times as much as a carbon atom, the initial tax level in the Larson bill equates to $55 per ton of carbon. Click here for CTC’s commentary on the Larson bill, and click here to read the bill itself (pdf).
Congressman John Dingell (D-MI)
Since late June 2007, Washington was buzzing with word that powerful U.S. Rep. John Dingell, chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and dean of the Congress (he was first elected in 1954) would introduce a carbon tax bill. However, after floating a hybrid carbon tax bill in the fall that featured a national carbon fee, supplemental increases in taxes on gasoline and aviation fuel, and a reduction in the mortgage interest deduction for super-large houses, Rep. Dingell announced in April that he was taking it “off the table.” In a prepared statement, the Michigan lawmaker strongly reiterated that “economists and other experts continue to inform us that a carbon tax is the most effective and efficient way at getting at the problem of global warming.” Dingell also noted that his on-line poll query, “Do you approve of the idea of a carbon tax?,” earned a “Yes” from 61% of the 2,900 respondents.
Dingell’s bill would have called for a phased-in carbon tax reaching $100/ton (of carbon) in 2012, along with an additional 50 cent a gallon levy on gasoline, diesel fuel and aviation (jet) fuel, also phased in over five years. This “hybrid” bill would target both climate damage (via the carbon tax) and U.S. oil dependence (through the additional tax on major petroleum products). Click here for our assessment.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
With his rousing speech in Seattle in November 2007, which he recapitulated a month later at the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in Bali, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vaulted to the head of the class of public officials supporting carbon taxes. As we noted on our blog, the mayor’s speech put Bloomberg alongside former Vice-President Al Gore as the nation’s leading advocate of a carbon tax to cap and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels. Bloomberg could not have been more forceful on the need to price carbon emissions, the superiority of carbon taxes over cap-and-trade schemes, and the need for political leadership at this crucial time.
Bloomberg renewed his call for a U.S. carbon tax in November 2010. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, the NYC Mayor said the U.S. needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil if “you want to stop sending your money to…terrorists.” The answer: “We need a carbon tax.” As reported by the Journal:
Bloomberg criticized the now-moribund Democratic proposal to develop a nationwide “cap and trade” system for limiting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by requiring companies to buy tradeable permits for the right to emit greenhouse gases under a steadily declining economy wide cap. “Cap and trade is filled with so many special interests,” he said.
Former Public Officials
The individual who has done the most to raise the world’s consciousness on climate change is also an outspoken advocate for taxing carbon emissions. In a July 19, 2006 speech at Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, AR headquarters, Gore said, “We should sharply reduce payroll taxes and make it all up in CO2 taxes so the low- and middle-income people don’t bear the cost burden of this big transition in energy sources.” Gore spoke in the same vein two months later at NYU Law School:
For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes — including those for social security and unemployment compensation — and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes — principally on CO2. The overall level of taxation would remain exactly the same. It would be, in other words, a revenue neutral tax swap. But, instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees, it would discourage business from producing more pollution.
In his remarks to Congress in March, 2007, Gore said “I fully understand that this [taxing the carbon content of fuels] is considered politically impossible, but part of our challenge is to expand the limits of what is possible.” Reported by Greenwire. Gore’s 10 legislative recommendations, reported by Gristmill, are here.
In an interview in the Sept/Oct issue of 02138 magazine, Gore reiterated, “I’m convinced that we should eliminate the payroll tax and replace it dollar for dollar with a CO2 tax.” Gore has also publicly praised Sen. Chris Dodd’s advocacy of a corporate carbon tax.
Gore voiced this theme in an historical context in a March, 2008 talk at Autodesk: “Here’s the solution. We need a CO2 tax, revenue-neutral, to replace taxation on employment, which was invented by Bismarck — and some things have changed since the 19th Century.” (This is at around the 13:30-minute mark of his talk).
Gore added a bit of poetry to this idea in his address, A Generational Challenge to Repower America, on July 17 at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., telling Americans, “We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.”
Robert Shapiro, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs
Mr. Shapiro, Commerce Undersecretary in the Clinton Administration, authored the American Consumer Institute’s superb Feb. 2007 report, Addressing the Risks of Climate Change: The Environmental Effectiveness and Economic Efficiency of Emissions Caps and Tradable Permits, Compared to Carbon Taxes. From the Executive Summary:
Carbon taxes would be a better response to the risks of global warming than emissions caps and tradable permits (commonly referred to as cap-and-trade)… [Carbon taxes] are much less vulnerable to evasion and market manipulation, providing a more stable and transparent system for consumers and industry alike. [Carbon taxes] do not create the price volatility and administrative problems associated with cap and trade.
Click here for full report.
In a June 2008 follow-on study, Addressing Climate Change Without Impairing the U.S. Economy: The Economics and Environmental Science of Combining a Carbon-Based Tax and Tax Relief, Shapiro calls for a federal carbon tax starting at $14 per metric ton of CO2 in 2010 and rising steadily to $50 in 2030 (equivalent to $82 with inflation). Shapiro concludes that the
nearly revenue-neutral carbon tax would reduce CO2 emissions by 30% below non-taxed levels while shaving only eight-tenths of one percent off future (2030) GDP. The report was published by the U.S. Climate Task Force, a project of Shapiro’s Sonecon economic advisory company.
Volcker is revered in the business and financial community for shepherding the U.S. economy out of the “stagflation” of the 1970s into the long-term boom of the 1980s and beyond, as chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Carter and Reagan (1979-87). Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, earlier this year, he stated: “[The argument that taxes on oil or carbon emissions would ruin an economy is] fundamentally false. First of all, I don’t think [such a step] is going to have that much of an impact on the economy overall. Second of all, if you don’t do it, you can be sure that the economy will go down the drain in the next 30 years,” Volcker said. Referring to the new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Volcker added:
What may happen to the dollar, and what may happen to growth in China or whatever pale into insignificance compared with the question of what happens to this planet over the next 30 or 40 years if no action is taken… The scientists seem pretty well agreed that [global warming] is still potentially manageable if we act decisively, beginning now into the next decade or so, by taking measures that are technically and economically feasible.
(All quotes attributed to Mr. Volcker, above, are from an article published in the International Herald Tribune on Feb. 6, 2007, US: Economist Paul Volcker Says Steps to Curb Global Warming Would Not Devastate an Economy.)
George P. Schultz, former Secretary of State
Mr. Schultz, U.S. Secretary of Labor under Pres. Nixon (1969-70), Treasury Secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford (1972-74), and Secretary of State under Pres. Reagan (1982-89), is considered a consummate member of the Washington establishment. Following is an excerpt from his op-ed, How to Gain a Climate Consensus, in the Washington Post, Sept. 5, 2007:
The use of economic incentives (caps and trading rights, and carbon taxes) is essential to avoid disastrously high costs of control. The cap-and-trade system has been highly successful in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by electricity utilities in the United States. That system relies on a scientifically valid and accepted emission-measurement system used by a clearly identified and homogeneous set of utilities. Fortunately, such a careful system of measurement exists for a viable greenhouse gas regimen. The product of collaboration between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, these standards for accounting and reporting greenhouse gases should be duly understood and adopted. Even with clear units of account, however, large problems arise as the coverage and heterogeneity of the system grow. And for trading across borders, the system needs to be accepted among the trading partners. Scams are easy to imagine. No nation should be allowed to trade without a verifiable, transparent system of measuring and monitoring of reductions, and holding emitters accountable. In many respects, a straight-out carbon tax is simpler and likelier to produce the desired result. If the tax were offset by cuts elsewhere to make it revenue-neutral, acceptability would be enhanced.
Gregory Mankiw, former Chair, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
Click here for links to the many pro-carbon tax articles and blog posts by President George W. Bush’s chief economic adviser, 2003-2005.
Lawrence Lindsey, former Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President on Economic Policy under President George W. Bush
Recommending permanent tax cuts, Mr. Lindsey also recommends a “greenhouse emissions tax” as the source of funding. “Longer term, however, spending cuts or a new source of revenue would be needed. Given the agenda of the incoming administration, the best source of such funds would be a greenhouse emissions tax.” (From Lawrence Lindsey Joins the Schumpeter Club, Capital Commerce, in U.S. News & World Report, December 30, 2008.)
William Ruckelhaus, former Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
According to Grist Magazine, Ruckelhaus favors a carbon tax over cap-and-trade, since a carbon tax like cap-and-trade would rely upon market forces to determine where reductions should occur, but government administration would be much simpler. “It has the desired effect … It moves consumption toward less carbon-intensive activities. It does everything a cap-and-trade system does, but it’s about ten times simpler. And about one-tenth as popular, which is why we don’t have it.” (Obama’s Preferred Bill: EPA’s first administrator is bullish on Obama, but not cap-and-trade, Grist, December 29, 2008.)
Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
From Mr. Bradley’s op-ed, We Can Get Out of These Ruts, in the April 1, 2007 Washington Post: “We also need to change our tax system to reduce our oil dependence. In general, we ought to reduce taxes on things we need, such as wages, and raise taxes on whatever is dangerous to us, such as pollution and resource depletion. We could implement a $1 per gallon gasoline tax; or an equivalent carbon tax … After a few years of adjustment in the case of a gasoline or carbon tax, cars would be more fuel-efficient, so consumers would pay what they used to pay for the same amount of driving, and the broad middle class would continue to pay lower employment taxes. The result would be increasing demand for goods and services; shrinking dependency payments such as unemployment compensation and welfare; lowered social costs, such as crime and avoidable illness; and a more equitable tax system that encourages rising employment.”