Policymakers made it quite clear consumers will be hurt by a cap and trade bill. They also made it clear that this isn’t an environmental issue. It’s strictly politics. Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) modified their global warming cap and trade proposal to win support from skeptical congressmen, but when any policymakers introduced modifications to protect the consumer and American businesses, Members promptly voted the amendments down.
The first was an amendment that would void the legislation within a year without a deal with India and China. A second would have voided the bill if gas prices surpassed to $5-a-gallon. The third would void legislation if unemployment reached 15 percent. And a fourth provision would have repealed “the entire law if the average retail price of electricity sold to residential sector goes up by more than 10 percent in one or more census divisions.” The fact that $5-a-gallon gas and 15% unemployment were set as benchmarks should be a red flag to any energy bill. What’s worse is that all four amendments failed to pass.
Climatologist Chip Knappenberger found the climate change as a result of Waxman-Markey legislation to be almost too small to measure:
By the year 2050, the “clean” version reduces projected global temperatures by 0.044ºC (or ~3% less than the rise without the legislation), the “dirty” version gets you about half of that, or 0.022ºC (~1.5% less), and the “dirtier” version saves half of that again, or 0.011ºC (<1% less). By century’s end, you don’t do much better–the temperature reduction amounts to, respectively, 0.112ºC (0.20ºF), 0.046ºC (0.08ºF), and 0.013ºC (0.02ºF).”
In other words, if the bill works we will experience lower temperatures by only hundredths of a degree in 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree at the end of the century. Meanwhile, China, the country that recently took over as the world’s largest carbon emitter, and rapidly-developing India will continue to emit without penalty.
Even analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that a 60 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 will reduce global temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree Centigrade by 2095.
But a multilateral approach simply won’t work. Just ask Europe. The Kyoto Protocol was a failure and so is EU’s carbon trading plan. As a result, permit prices are falling, electricity prices are up and carbon reduction is negligible. And this doesn’t even include two of the world’s biggest polluters, India and China.
In a case of international cooperation, India, China and the rest of the developing world would have to revert to their 2000 levels of carbon emissions by 2050. On a per-capita basis, China would backtrack to about one-tenth of what the U.S. emitted in 2000. India and most of the developing world would have to drop to even lower levels. This scenario is a fantasy and would de-develop the developing world. China and India won’t jump on board. In April a member of the Indian delegation to the U.N.’s climate conference asserted,
If the question is whether India will take on binding emission reduction commitments, the answer is no. It is morally wrong for us to agree to reduce when 40 percent of Indians do not have access to electricity.”
In effect, Waxman-Markey could help develop these countries faster by sending all our manufacturing and energy-intensive jobs overseas since it will be less costly to operate in other countries. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), remarked, “It’s a competition issue. Do not eliminate our middle class and send it to China.” The solution for that? Subsidies and protectionism, of course:
But Democrats responded that their bill already has built into it several provisions to protect energy-intensive companies, including pulp and paper, steel, aluminum, glass and cement. That includes a 15 percent distribution of free allowances to the trade-vulnerable industries, as well as a clause that allows the president by 2025 to impose tariffs on carbon-intensive goods imported into the United States.”
So not only will our energy costs be $2,979 higher per year, but now everything we import will be more expensive too. (More on protectionism here.)
Retorting Rep. Rogers’ statement about sending our jobs to China, Chairman Waxman said, “We shouldn’t say we’re going to shoot ourselves in the head just because India and China won’t do what we want them to do.”
Yet that’s exactly what we’re doing.