The balance of the week should be filled with more grappling over the climate bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee (here’s the text of the latest version and Rep. Gene Green’s comments on it from another Chronicle blog, as well as something on the difficulty simply setting up the rules of the road for debate). And now we have the introduction of even greater fuel efficiency demands.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell had this to say about the bill:
“The Waxman-Markey bill would set many records: the biggest tax increase in history; the biggest government intervention in people’s lives since the Second World War; the biggest transfer of wealth from consumers to special interests in American history; and the biggest opportunity for corruption and manipulation by Wall Street traders ever created. It would cause consumer energy prices to go up relentlessly for decades, create some jobs while destroying millions of jobs, and produce perpetual economic stagnation. The Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill cannot be fixed. It must be defeated.”
CEI also has done its own “1984” video featuring Al Gore.
And the Heritage Foundation has its own study that puts the price tag per family through 2035 at $24,000 per family.
But the environmental community supporters of the bill aren’t standing pat, with the Environmental Defense Fund issuing installment No. 3 of their “Fact Check.” Here are some of the arguments made against the bill and EDF’s responses:
The Claim: The Waxman-Markey bill will give business incentives to close up shop and move to China. – Fred Upton (R-MI)
• Investing in the clean energy of the 21st century will create jobs here in America -especially manufacturing jobs at companies across the country that are poised to make the nuts and bolts of clean energy technologies. For instance, one wind turbine requires 250 tons of steel and more than 8,000 parts – all of which can best be built by skilled U.S. workers and assembled, run, and maintained here on U.S. soil. EDF has created a map detailing where a carbon cap will create jobs in 14 states – go to www.lesscarbonmorejobs.org.
• China is already doing a great deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. China has stricter fuel economy standards for automobiles, for example. China will not take other important steps, however, until the U.S. – historically the largest emitter and the world’s largest economy – moves first to cap its own emissions.
The Claim: We shut down our domestic nuclear industry. – Fred Upton (R-MI)
• No new nuclear power plants have been built in the U.S. for two decades. This is not because the U.S. has in any way forbidden the building of new plants. It’s because no utility has proposed one, because they have become so expensive, despite extensive federal subsidies. Nonetheless, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. electric utilities are planning to apply for licenses for 35 new nuclear power units.
The Claim: The Waxman-Markey bill will cost each American family $4,800 per year. – Ralph Hall (R-TX)
• According to a new EPA analysis of the Waxman-Markey climate bill (the American Clean Energy and Security Act), a well-designed cap on carbon pollution can be met for as little as $98 per household per year over the life of the program – or about a dime a day per person.
• In the early years the costs are even lower: Before 2012 it is zero – because the bill won’t have taken effect. By 2015, the costs “skyrocket” to 2 cents per person. Anyone who claims that now is the wrong time to cap carbon is engaging in scare tactics.
• EPA’s analysis sets the gold standard by using two of the most credible, transparent, and peer-reviewed economic models available. It’s not a crystal ball, but it shows clearly that household costs will be modest under a well-designed cap and trade bill.
The Claim: This bill will destroy 1.1 million jobs. – Ralph Hall (R-TX)
• The Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy has predicted that total manufacturing employment will be roughly the same in the year 2030 under a cap versus business as usual.
• Once again, EDF has created a map detailing where a carbon cap will create jobs in 14 states – go to www.lesscarbonmorejobs.org.
The Claim: This bill picks winners and losers. – Marsha Blackburn (R-TX)
• The whole point of the cap and trade approach is to let private markets pick winners and losers, getting the government out of the way. The private carbon market will reward companies that adopt the cheapest and most efficient technologies for reducing carbon. See: Cap and Trade 101 http://www.edf.org/documents/4348_CapAndTradeBasics.pdf.
The Claim: Carbon dioxide is not a deadly emittant (sic – there is no such word). – John Shimkus, (R-IL)
• Perhaps not in the sense of mustard gas. In sufficient concentrations in the atmosphere, however, it would prove disastrous for both human society and the natural world.
And finally, earlier this month the Yale360 web site hosted an online forum to debate the notion of a carbon tax vs. a cap-and-trade system. In some ways it was really just an academic exercise, since the only bill Congress and the administration are pushing is a cap-and-trade. But if the bill succumbs to significant head winds (which it may or may not, depending on whose e-mail is in your inbox at any moment) and it gets put off until next year, the arguments might be a bit more relevant. Regardless, it’s some good wonkish reading.