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The Cost of Curbing Carbon

June 2, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

As the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act hits the Senate floor today, many of the major newspapers used their pages to drill home the same point: that the debate won’t be focused on how to best curb greenhouse gases, but primarily on the economics involved in doing so.

L.A. Times:

>A major climate-change measure goes before the Senate this week for the first time since Democrats declared it a priority after taking control of Congress, but the long-awaited debate is ranging beyond the effects of global warming.
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>It also is focusing on Washington’s most primal issue, money.
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>The bill would impose new pollution regulations on industries while significantly expanding another business, carbon “offsetting.” Billions of dollars would potentially be available for farmers who offered polluters a way to make amends for excess emissions – a provision that could attract crucial support from farm-state lawmakers.
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>"I definitely think this debate will be primarily about economics, because there are very few voices left who want to argue about whether or not global warming is really a problem," said Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council climate center, a bill supporter.
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>Given the financial stakes, agricultural interests from Georgia pecan growers to Montana wheat growers are among those weighing in as lobbyists fortify their positions.
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>"The global warming fight is not only a battle over big pollution — it’s a battle over big bucks," said Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch.

Robert Samuelson for the Washington Post:

>The chief political virtue of cap-and-trade – a complex scheme to reduce greenhouse gases – is its complexity. This allows its environmental supporters to shape public perceptions in essentially deceptive ways. Cap-and-trade would act as a tax, but it’s not described as a tax. It would regulate economic activity, but it’s promoted as a “free market” mechanism. Finally, it would trigger a tidal wave of influence-peddling, as lobbyists scrambled to exploit the system for different industries and localities. This would undermine whatever abstract advantages the system has.
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>[…]
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>As “allowances” became scarcer, their price would rise, and the extra cost would be passed along to customers. Meanwhile, government would expand enormously. It could sell the allowances and spend the proceeds; or it could give them away, providing a windfall to recipients. The Senate proposal does both to the tune of about $1 trillion from 2012 to 2018. Beneficiaries would include farmers, Indian tribes, new technology companies, utilities and states. Call this “environmental pork,” and it would just be a start. The program’s potential to confer subsidies and preferential treatment would stimulate a lobbying frenzy. Think of today’s farm programs — and multiply by 10.

Wall Street Journal:

>As the Senate opens debate on its mammoth carbon regulation program this week, the phrase of the hour is “cap and trade.” This sounds innocuous enough. But anyone who looks at the legislative details will quickly see that a better description is cap and spend. This is easily the largest income redistribution scheme since the income tax.
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>[…]
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>Ms. Boxer expects to scoop up auction revenues of some $3.32 trillion by 2050. Yes, that’s trillion. Her friends in Congress are already salivating over this new pot of gold. The way Congress works, the most vicious floor fights won’t be over whether this is a useful tax to create, but over who gets what portion of the spoils. In a conference call with reporters last Thursday, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry explained that he was disturbed by the effects of global warming on “crustaceans” and so would be pursuing changes to ensure that New England lobsters benefit from some of the loot.
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>Of course most of the money will go to human constituencies, especially those with the most political clout. In the Boxer plan, revenues are allocated down to the last dime over the next half-century. Thus $802 billion would go for “relief” for low-income taxpayers, to offset the higher cost of lighting homes or driving cars. Ms. Boxer will judge if you earn too much to qualify.

The Associated Press:

>Only a few senators now dispute the reality of global warming. Still, there is a sharp divide over how to shift lessen the country’s heavy dependence on coal, oil and natural gas without passing along substantially higher energy costs to people.
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>The petroleum industry, manufacturers and business groups have presented study after study, based on computer modeling, that they say bear out the massive cost and disruption from mandating lower carbon emissions.
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>Environmental groups counter with studies that show modest cost increases from the emission caps provide new incentives to develop alternative energy sources and promote energy efficiency and conservation.
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>"This debate is going to be mostly about costs," says Daniel Lashoff, director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But we want to make sure in that debate we don’t forget that the cost of inaction on global warming would be much higher than the cost of the emission reductions called for in this bill.”

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Comments

Anonymous 06/02/2008 6:54pm

This just go’s to show how stupid we all are if this is allowed. The more we allow the Government to do the less rights we posses. THIS BILL IS VERY SCARY and could kill our economy and our country. We cannot allow this bill to be passed.

Anonymous 06/02/2008 6:01pm
Link Reply
+ -1

Energy Security Issue / Geo spatial Intelligence Agency

http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2008/05/balance-of-power-the-hybrid.html

Anonymous 06/02/2008 9:44am
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2064293/Global-warming-inertia-‘as-bad’-as-Josef-Fritzl,-says-Bishop-of-Stafford.html

Anonymous 06/02/2008 9:44am

British really want the cash. They taxed their GDP/GNP and Global warming is together, again this goes out to the Live 8/G8 rockers who wanted to tax our GDP/GNP. The new federal five year budgets, five year ‘emergency sustainable program budgets’, the doubling and tripling of program budgets by Congress and the federal hiring put in the programs are more than we need. We can’t wait for more overrides on these big expenditures over long periods of time. Bush is leaving and maybe dems will get over CIA Bush’s son and putting more family in the federal government with no term limits.

The bills signed under Clinton are expensive. The food program is costing us billions. We provide 40% of the worlds food aid and it’s not enough.

PEPFAR was used to extend budgets and hire federal employees and now we have a food crisis. How are we going to use global warming?

Congress is using Bush’s programs to double and triple budgets and extend budgets and commitments. He’s leaving and there won’t be excuses for using our money to get even with Bush.

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