The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent endangerment finding that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, “are pollutants that endanger the public’s health and welfare” would come with monumental costs. The cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per household. Job losses are expected to exceed 800,000 in some years, and exceed at least 500,000 from 2015 through 2026. It is important to note that these are net job losses, after any jobs created by compliance with the regulations–so-called green jobs–are taken into account.
A silver lining? “While the EPA has so far been silent about how it might actually regulate CO2 — and the endangerment finding is only an early step in a process that could take a year or longer.”
The aforementioned costs, paired with what little environmental benefits we receive and questionable science, are the primary reasons this should be a slow process. Even EPA officials and Congressional proponents of global warming legislation are taking their time. The projected costs of regulation aren’t going anywhere, and time will allow more facts and reasoning to come to the table.
Another concern is what a large undertaking this will be for the EPA. New York Law School professor David Schoenbrod emphasizes, “This would be a regulatory maze far exceeding anything we’ve seen before.”
The EPA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), which details how the agency would reduce carbon dioxide, includes new regulations for virtually anything with a motor:
In the ANPR, the EPA contemplates higher gas mileage standards for motor vehicles beyond those already scheduled to be imposed in accordance with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The EPA also discusses strict requirements for everything from airplanes to ships to trains to lawnmowers, all of which could be subject to new design specifications and usage limitations as well as fuel economy standards, as described in painstaking detail in the ANPR.”
Congress has been reluctant to move forward expeditiously with cap and trade legislation. In fact, The House decided against President Obama’s plan to use the budget to fast-track cap and trade. There’s good reason for such reluctance; the debate’s not over.