Editorial: Congress Should Reject Carbon Caps
Today, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on controversial legislation, HR 2454, that would force carbon-emitting industries coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas to purchase carbon permits that would decrease in supply over the next decade. The bill aims to reduce industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.
The essential purpose of capping carbon emissions is to increase the prices of oil, gasoline, coal, and natural gas across the board, and thereby incentivize alternatives like solar, wind, and hybrid vehicles. It is believed that markets will not transition to these sources of energy unless they are less expensive than their carbon-emitting alternatives.
Simply put, this is an absurdity. While the American people cope with the impact of a brutal recession and soaring unemployment, not to mention inflation looming on the not-too-distant horizon, Congress in the Waxman-Markey bill proposes to make energy ever more expensive.
In short, the impact upon the American economy over time will be nothing short of devastating. Fortunately, the memories of $150 a barrel for oil last summer are still fresh in the minds of the American people. What they do not know, however, is that the Congressional Majority liked it that way. They did not want the oil bubble to pop. The politicians even attempted to use the escalating prices to justify subsidizing their “green” alternatives.
Unfortunately, all of the subsidies in the world will not make plug-in hybrids a more viable mode of transportation than gasoline-powered cars, or wind and solar more viable energy sources than coal or nuclear. The fact is, solar, wind, and hybrids will move to market if they are competitive functionally with the alternatives. Until then, it is something for companies to research and attempt to market, but not something for the government to mandate, “incentivize,” or subsidize.
The true price of this legislation will be lost jobs, inefficient transportation, drastic increases in the cost of doing business, and energy inflation. As ALG News noted yesterday, a Tax Foundation study reported that carbon caps would cost at least 965,000 jobs, cause a $37.8 billion decrease in household earnings, and a decrease of $136.8 billion in economic output.
What's worse is the science behind cap-and-trade is contrived and misleading. Its premise is based upon flawed computer models that predict climate change, and are not based on actual observable data that can be confirmed. And contrary to the salons in Washington, the debate is far from over.
According to the APS Physics study by Christopher Monckton, “Climate Sensitivity Revisited,” “[W]e must get the science right, or we shall get the policy wrong. If the concluding equation in this analysis … is correct, the [UN International Panel on Climate Change's] estimates of climate sensitivity must have been very much exaggerated. There may, therefore, be a good reason why, contrary to the projections of the models on which the IPCC relies, temperatures have not risen for a decade and have been falling since the phase-transition in global temperature trends that occurred in late 2001. Perhaps real-world climate sensitivity is very much below the IPCC's estimates. Perhaps, therefore, there is no ‘climate crisis' at all.”
Monckton continues, “At present, then, in policy terms there is no case for doing anything. The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing.” If nothing else, the Monckton study proves beyond any doubt that the UN International Panel on Climate Change's computer models that ‘predict' climate change have greatly overstated the impact of carbon emissions, and Congress should not reorganize the entire energy sector and economy around what may be an errant hypothesis.
That is why Congress must vote against the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, before the economy is wrecked, the oil, natural gas, and coal industries bankrupted, and the American people being buried at the gas pump and on their home-heating bills for decades to come.