Climate Bill is Bad Policy

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Written by epublius
Saturday, 27 June 2009 12:58

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the “Climate Bill” on Friday June 26, 2009. The bill passed with 219 to 212 votes [1] with eight of the votes coming from Republicans. The bill if made law would create national limits on greenhouse gases, create a complex trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to change how individuals and corporations use energy. The goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions by 17% below the 2005 levels by 2020 and to 83% below those levels by 2050. It will require power plants, factories and oil refineries buy and sell credits that equal their emissions. Simply, this tax will create a new cost to doing business.

The Heritage Foundation recently analyzed the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers regarding the effect of the legislation and determined that the numbers do not add up. This bill will drive the cost of energy through the roof. The Heritage Foundation [2] reported that by 2035, a family of four's energy costs would increase dramatically.

  • 90 percent increase in electricity costs
  • 58 percent increase in gasoline costs
  • 55 percent increase in natural gas costs

Furthermore, if energy costs raise this dramatically it will affect every aspect of our economy. Higher energy costs will drive the price of goods and services higher than they are now currently. In addition, wages will not be rising exponentially to meet the higher costs. Economists call this inflation.

Having your electric bill climb by 90% is bad, but the affect to the middle and lower classes will be devastating. Due to higher energy costs, companies will be forced to move more jobs overseas in order to compete in the marketplace. Countries like China will be the only available option for many companies to survive.

To be clear, I do not oppose creating a cleaner environment, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. This bill might lower emissions; however, it will be at everyone’s expense. The belief is that energy companies will invest in new technologies to lower emissions. What will really happen is they will reduce their output and raise their prices to reduce their costs under the climate bill. This will create a shortage further driving cost of energy higher.

Of course, if this causes some energy companies into bankruptcy, do not worry - the government will take them over.

For the past several decades, we have had no real energy policy in this country. Some of the best options have been sidelined because the environmentalist movement has opposed available technology. President Obama appears to have bought into this nonsense. We could have cheap, clean and abundant electricity provided through a network of nuclear power plants. Instead, we pursue new technologies, which have proven to be inadequate. There is nothing wrong with developing new technologies, but many of these options may be decades away from truly being viable. A more effective way to reduce emissions is create incentives to do so, not to create a disincentive as this bill does. This bill forces companies to go into survival mode, which stops all investment in new technologies.

This climate bill will create more job losses and drive energy costs higher. Your utility bills will go up along with everything you purchase. Companies that are able to move offshore may be able to maintain their pricing. Groceries will end up costing you more, because every product is processed and shipped to your local grocery store. Therefore, a higher fuel and energy costs creates higher prices. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy.

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