Debate on the Lieberman/Warner bill to address global warming was begun this week. I’ve got a bunch of links to pass along that should help you understand the magnitude of this bill.
First, let’s start with the basics. High Priest of the green religion, Al Gore, continues to plug man-made global warming wherever he goes, regardless of the appropriateness of his statements, and millions around the globe have bought into his hype. Not everyone has, though, including some who are the very best in their fields. For example, Joe Bastardi, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com, recently challenged global warming advocates to an open and honest debate. Lawrence Solomon just released a book called ‘The Deniers’, a compilation of thousands of eminently qualified scientists who have been persecuted or ignored because they are skeptical of man-made global warming.
One of the key problems with global warming hysteria is that the catastrophic predictions are based on computer models that begin with inaccurate assumptions. Fred Singer of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research offers this graph to help non-scientists understand:
As you can see, the computer models don’t match the observable data. It’s rather hard to end up with the correct conclusion when starting from an incorrect beginning position, isn’t it? Sadly, that doesn’t stop Gore and his myth-spewing ilk.
It is for this reason (among others) that Charles Krauthammer calls for reform in the Church of the Environment. Make no mistake, that’s what it is: a religion. A way for elites to control the masses via a moral guilt-trip. The problem is that there is so much evidence to the contrary that any objective look clearly obliterates the global warming fanatic’s position. The only way for them to maintain their momentum is to refuse a look at the facts, substituting pseudo-morals in their place.
The end result is energy rationing. A proposal has been offered in Britain for every citizen to carry a carbon rationing card which gets decremented every time that person travels, uses electricity, or purchases anything that requires any energy. Other than food, the single biggest control over a people is that of their energy usage – the ability to move around, to buy and sell, to innovate, and to live freely.
This brings us to Lieberman/Warner.
This bill is very similar to the comprehensive immigration reform bill defeated last year – it’s hundreds of pages of dense legalese designed to mislead and cause confusion. Here’s a stunning visual representation of the bill and its provisions:
Take a look at what some people are saying about this legislation [emphasis mine]:
Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma:
[T]his would be the largest single tax increase in the history of the country. This is the — using their own figures, it would be $6.7 trillion, with a maximum giving back over the life of this bill of $2.5 trillion. That leaves $4.2 trillion dollars.
Senator Kit Bond of Missouri:
According to EPA, under Lieberman-Warner, the average household power bills rise 44 percent by 2030. They lose $4,377 to higher energy prices and pay $1.40 more for gas by 2050.
I, like Senator McConnell, toured my state this past week talking about energy. And you know something?
When I told my Missouri constituents that the Senate this week would not be talking about moving a bill to open up the massive oil and gas supplies that we have in America to lower prices, that this body would be considering a bill to add huge price increases to all energy, they could not believe it.
What is the Senate doing? That’s a good question, because these higher U.S. energy prices would drive energy-intensive manufacturing jobs overseas to foreign countries with cheaper energy prices. Manufacturing workers are already suffering.
We’ve seen half of U.S. fertilizer industry leave the country. Chemical companies and plastic companies are leaving the U.S. Just recently, Dow announced it was thinking of selling its plastic business because firms in Asia and the Middle East have access to cheaper energy.
Adding to this misery, manufacturers estimate this bill will cost my state of Missouri over 76,000 jobs and cut between 3 million and 4 million jobs nationwide by 2030.
It’s nice to see several Senators actually showing some spine on this issue! There’s hope yet.
By rationing the use of fossil fuels, the bill would lead to higher coal, natural-gas, and petroleum prices, even though the prices of those commodities are already at historic highs. Everybody knows about oil prices; less well known is that the price of natural gas recently reached its highest point since Hurricane Katrina disrupted supplies in September of 2005. Coal prices have tripled in the past year due to global shortages.
In short, now would be an exceptionally bad time for Congress to make energy more expensive. Yet that is precisely what the cap-and-trade bill sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John Warner would do. Under a cap-and-trade system, a company can only emit greenhouse gases up to a certain limit (the “cap”). If it exceeds that limit, it must purchase allowances, either from the government or from other companies that are under their limits (the “trade”).
Estimates vary, but every credible analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill concludes that it would increase household electricity bills and the price of gasoline while creating a drag on economic growth, with the manufacturing sector bearing most of the burden. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the Lieberman-Warner bill would increase average annual household energy bills by $325 over the next 10 years and $723 over the next 20. An Environmental Protection Agency analysis of a similar cap-and-trade proposal found that gas prices would rise by 26 cents per gallon. Energy-price increases will hit manufacturers the hardest. The EIA concluded that the Lieberman-Warner bill would depress manufacturing output by 9.5 percent by 2030.
Myth #1: LW wouldn’t be expensive.
Fact: LW works like a massive energy tax. By restricting carbon-dioxide emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas — with a freeze at 2005 levels beginning in 2012, to a 70-percent reduction in 2050 — the bill forces down supply and thus boosts the price of energy. In fact, if energy prices didn’t go up, then the targets in the bill wouldn’t be met. As energy is the economy’s lifeblood, and 85 percent of it comes from these fossil fuels, the impact will be substantial. Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses could reach $4.8 trillion by 2030.
Myth #2: The costs fall on industry, not consumers.
Fact: Virtually all the burden imposed by LW falls upon consumers. The bill would spur net job losses well into the hundreds of thousands, and possibly nearing one million. Particularly hard hit is the manufacturing sector — one million jobs would be lost by 2022 and two million by 2027. The losses in household incomes could reach $1,026 per year by 2015. Annual household energy-price increases could hit $1,000 by 2030, including a 29-percent increase in the price of gasoline from 2008 levels.
Myth #3: Global warming is a crisis that must be addressed at all costs.
Fact: Global warming is a concern, not a crisis. Both the seriousness and the imminence of the threat are overstated. For example, the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report estimates 7 to 23 inches of sea level rise by the end of the century — far less than the widely popularized claims of 18 to 20 feet and little more than ongoing trends over the past several centuries.
Myth #4: LW effectively addresses the threat of climate change.
Fact: Even assuming the worst of global warming, LW reduces the threat by a minuscule amount. The bill reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the United States only. China has overtaken America as the world’s largest emitter, and its emissions growth is several times greater than that of the U.S. India and other fast-developing nations are on a similar trajectory. Thus, the unilateral impact of the bill on global emissions would be inconsequential.
Myth #5: LW’s cap-and-trade approach is a proven success.
Fact: Critics of the cap-and-trade approach in LW — in which emissions are capped and regulated entities may trade their rights to emit — point to the European Union’s substantial difficulties since initiating its own cap-and-trade program in 2005. Most E.U. nations aren’t on track to meet their targets, and many are seeing their emissions rise faster than those in the U.S. The program is furthermore plagued by accusations of fraud and unfairness. LW essentially adopts the European approach wholesale.
Overall, the Lieberman-Warner bill promises substantial hardship for the economy overall, for jobs, and for energy costs. Given current economic concerns and energy prices, this is the last thing the American people need. At the same time, the environmental benefits would likely be small to nonexistent. The Lieberman-Warner bill fails any reasonable cost-benefit test.
A full reading of Lieberman-Warner’s details shows that the latter form of green subsidy is in fact envisioned, and presented below. This reveals at least one form of energy-tax funded underwriting of green groups and their various franchisees to do what they do — only under Lieberman-Warner, it would be on your dime, whether you like it or not. A small provision tucked deep into the bill creates a revenue stream for them to train other countries on how to agitate against the U.S., seek their own U.S. taxpayer-provided rents, and otherwise advocate for the green agenda.
But it doesn’t stop there. Two other categories of recipients stand to profit from Lieberman-Warner at your expense. Remember, all this is being enacted in the name of “doing something.”
Once you hack away the bureaucratic lingo, the bill promises to rope the U.S. into a form of international wealth transfer – of the very kind that we would be paying for already if the Senate had found the nerve to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This transfer will be funded by the higher price you pay for goods, as manufacturers and importers pass along the cost of their ration coupons.
Now to the lowest-hanging fruit. The fact that the corporations touting Lieberman-Warner stand to profit from it financially is old news, at least to anyone who isn’t a journalist. But as I posted earlier, some of these rent-seekers have decided not to support the current version of the bill after seeing that they’ll have to pay for their ration coupons and so won’t get to keep the full increase in energy prices for themselves. Others, mostly nuke and windmill types like Exelon, GE and FPL, remain quite gung-ho because they’ll still clean up, so to speak, at your expense.
If we suppress emissions, we also suppress today’s energy sources, and because the economy needs energy, we suppress the economy. The models magically assume smooth transitions. If coal is reduced, then conservation or non-fossil-fuel sources will take its place. But in the real world, if coal-fired power plants are canceled (as many were last year), wind or nuclear won’t automatically substitute. If the supply of electricity doesn’t keep pace with demand, brownouts or blackouts will result. The models don’t predict real-world consequences. Of course, they didn’t forecast $135-a-barrel oil.
As emission cuts deepened, the danger of disruptions would mount. Population increases alone raise energy demand. From 2006 to 2030, the U.S. population will grow by 22 percent (to 366 million) and the number of housing units by 25 percent (to 141 million), projects the Energy Information Administration. The idea that higher fuel prices will be offset mostly by lower consumption is, at best, optimistic. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a 15 percent cut of emissions would raise average household energy costs by almost $1,300.
Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer of California, however, is one of those ignoring reality:
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, declared in her opening floor speech today that a “recession is the precise time to” enact the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill because it “brings us hope.”
The Lieberman-Warner global warming bill would have many consequences, but “hope” is not among them. The Cleveland Plain Dealer editorialized on June 1, that the bill “will just bore new holes into an already battered economy.” American workers, already suffering from a weakening economy, skyrocketing home energy, and gas prices would face more economic pain under the bill. With average gas prices across the country approaching or at $4 a gallon, the Senate’s global warming “de-stimulus” bill will further drive up the cost at the pump.
Despite these economic woes, Senator Boxer claimed that now is the “precise time” to pass a bill that will raise energy prices. “Why do this [the Lieberman-Warner bill] now? We’re in a recession. Precisely because we’re in a recession is why we should be doing this. This bill is the first thing that brings us hope,” Senator Boxer said during her opening remarks on the Senate floor today.
As Michelle Malkin says of Boxer’s statements: “We’re in a recession. Ergo, tax the poor!”
Fortunately, President Bush has stated he will veto the bill if it comes out of Congress. At this point, even that looks unlikely. The Republicans in the Senate are putting up quite a resistance for a change. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled quite a nifty tactic today, stalling the entire debate on the bill by refusing to allow the waiving of the traditional reading of the bill. Hugh Hewitt has all the details:
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell used the element of surprise today to follow through on a promise he’s made to fellow conservatives for quite some time. Either the Democrats were going to give President Bush’s judicial nominees, especially ones for the Appellate Court level, the same treatment given to previous administrations, or things were going to start moving very slowly in the Senate. Harry Reid’s most recent broken deal with McConnell was to confirm three of Bush’s nominees by the Memorial Day recess. It didn’t happen.
Today, just before 1PM in the East, Harry Reid took to the floor for the purpose of substituting a 491-page amendment by Barbara Boxer on the Climate Change bill currently being discussed. The clerk read the title of the bill, which is customary. Senator Reid asked that the reading of the bill be ended so time could be divvied out and the matter discussed on the floor, which is again very customary. Mitch McConnell then objected to the suspension of the reading of the bill, much to Reid’s surprise and amazement.
So, here’s the summary of this bill: it is the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of America, taking trillions from you and me and giving it to special interests and whoever else Congress thinks should have it. It will dramatically increase prices of every kind of energy (one example is driving gas prices from $4/gallon to at least $4.50/gallon literally overnight), with an equally dramatic restriction on your use of all forms of energy. Millions of American jobs will be lost. It will do nothing to save the environment.
This is what the bill will accomplish. How’s that sound to you? For a state by state analysis of the economic damage this bill will do, check out the Heritage Foundation’s comprehensive report.
It sounds like Congress is unlikely to pass this bill in its current form, and it’s music to my ears to see how McConnell is leading the charge against it. The House is even less likely to pass it than the Senate, and Bush has pledged to veto it. Still, why would you take a chance? Call your Senators and tell them what you think of this legislation. Then pay attention to what they do with it.
I said before this is similar to the immigration reform, and you know how many times that’s come back. This will undoubtedly come up again in the future. The harder and faster it gets killed now, the longer it will be until it comes back in another form. Encourage your Senators to be slayers.
There’s my two cents.