What will the climate change bill do to your job?

June 26, 2009

diana-furchtgottroth–- Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. –-

Next Thursday, just in time for the July 4 holiday weekend, America’s unemployment rate is forecast to rise from 9.4 percent to 9.6 percent, well above rates in other industrialized countries.

Yet today the House of Representatives is rushing to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, even though the bill was incomplete yesterday and congressmen have not yet had the opportunity to analyze it. The bill would send America’s unemployment rate even higher.

The 1,200-page bill, cosponsored by Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, would increase the price of energy by setting allowances for greenhouse gas emissions and mandating new standards for energy production and use.  The bill would raise $846.6 billion over 10 years while adding $821.2 billion to federal spending.

The bill requires that greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 do not exceed 97 percent of 2005 emissions, declining to 17 percent of 2005 emissions by 2050.  Meeting these standards now is technologically impossible without radically reducing our standards of living, but Congress is hoping that technology will magically appear as needed.

The mechanism for this is a “cap-and-trade” program under which allowances to emit greenhouse gases would be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency at a steadily declining rate through 2050.  When emissions exceed a firm’s allowance, or cap, it would have to purchase allowances from the government or other firms, a tax under another name, driving up costs that would be passed on to consumers.

Electric utilities have been given free allowances to encourage them to support the bill.  Oil and gas would be particularly hard hit, because they are responsible for 35 percent of emissions yet are allocated only three percent of the free allowances.

Just as the increases in oil prices in the 1970s brought about an increase in unemployment, the energy provisions in the Waxman-Markey bill could usher in years, perhaps decades, of lower economic growth and higher unemployment than would be the case otherwise.

The effects of the oil price increases between 1972 and 1988 have been extensively analyzed by economists Steven Davis of the University of Chicago and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland.  Although their research deals with the effects of oil price increases, it is also applicable to increases in the price of energy, which would be the effect of Waxman-Markey.

Davis and Haltiwanger find that oil price increases resulted in more jobs lost than jobs gained in almost every industry sector of the economy.  The largest oil shock, in 1973, caused an estimated eight percent decline in manufacturing employment over the following two years.

Oil price increases have larger effects on economic activity than oil price declines, Davis and Haltiwanger calculate, a finding shared by other economic studies.  In other words, when energy prices increase firms lay off workers, but when prices decline the workers are not hired back as fast.

Davis and Haltiwanger also find that higher energy prices are more likely to suppress employment than monetary shocks. Many politicians fret over the harmful effects of recent American monetary policy, but overlook the even greater danger to employment from the Waxman-Markey bill.

Supporters of the bill claim that the new regulations will create jobs, because people will have to be employed to produce the new technology.  But the funds for the new expenditures have to come from somewhere, and money spent on new products is money that cannot be spent on other activities, such buying clothes or food, or anything else that Americans would otherwise buy.  This would drive down employment in those industries.

In fact, not only does the bill penalize American firms through higher costs, it gives firms a financial incentive to move abroad through “offsets,” activities that supposedly lower carbon emissions elsewhere.  Since Congress knows that firms cannot meet the standards in the bill, legislators are allowing firms to meet 30 percent of their 2012 greenhouse gas reduction obligations, increasing to 60 percent by 2050, by buying offsets. Half of these offsets can take place abroad.

The offset provisions allow firms to shift economic activity abroad to countries with laxer emissions standards, further damaging U.S. job creation. A plant’s emissions might exceed its U.S. allowances, yet its technology might produce lower emissions than the norm in a developing country, allowing the relocation to count as an offset.

The American unemployment rate now exceeds those in France (8.9 percent) and Germany (7.7 percent). With unemployment climbing even without the Waxman-Markey bill, the question for Congress is the following:  how high do you want the rate to go?

43 comments

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I likewise interpret a cap-and-trade system as a tax. Theoretically a company can pay to pollute while another can get paid for doing nothing. I do not recall hearing much discussion on a cap-and-trade program during the election. But its introduction represents a fundamental re-engineering of industrial production. The most reliable and appropriate control over the production of greenhouse gases is the cost of fuel. It makes more sense simply to apply a fuel surtax rather than creating an enormous bureaucracy.

The cap-and-trade system separate from the underlying benefits of creating green buildings. If we green our buildings, the technology believe me can usher in a new age of growth, similar to that created by the introduction of personal computers. But at the moment its just a little seed that can die if trampled over or not watered. But if you think about it from a detached perspective, as a population grows, we just need a more sophisticated way to manage the environment. Energy is an input along with air and water. On the other side of the equation are the outputs involving recycling and waste management.

Sometimes growth is limited by the structure that supports it. The question for me is whether or not a cap-and-trade system genuinely contributes to positive change. I’m not sure. I guess it depends on how exactly it is implemented. But in worse case scenario, it can rob companies of resources to adapt.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

I don’t even see the point of this legislation. Atmospheric CO2 has been rising for the last 6000 years (since man first began domesticating animals and altering the landscape for agriculture). The relative amount released today by man vs the amount released by natural processes is miniscule. The effects of the CO2 rise are already noticable. This legislation will do nothing to curb or even slow climate change, but will negatively affect the lives of everyone under it’s jurisdiction.

The author concludes that the US unemployment now is higher than both France and Germany – yet both these countries have had much stricter emission standards than the US for several years. So maybe there is an upside to an energy policy after all….

Posted by Marianne | Report as abusive

Now this woman just pisses me off. Who really knows what the unemployment rate really is… I am unemployed and don’t draw unemployment. Did you count me? As for clean energy, we need it and anyone that doesn’t see that figures they won’t be here when the existing power plants are maxed out and we have rolling blackouts and the crime rate sores and so on and so on…

Posted by Martha | Report as abusive

We cannot keep poluting the air we breathe. We must find alternate energy sources and with this bill wind turbines and solar panels will have to built and that means jobs. If a job is lost in the coal business, one should be new in the wind or solar business.

Solar panels and wind turbines will have to be built and shipped and installed all of that is new jobs.

There is no way we can cut taxes regardless of what we and keep borrowing money to run the country. Bush almost put us in bankruptcy with his stupids massive tax cuts, not one, not two, but three for the richest of Amreicans, oil companies and the biggest corporations in America, that he and the republicans call small business.

Posted by C. K. Justussssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss | Report as abusive

Why is that the supposedly most advanced and powerful country in the world has a problem dealing with global warming, and alternate energy bill. 10 years ago the bill failed 95-0 in the Senate. Are we a country of slaves to the energy industry? This is pathetic. China, Korea, Japan are investing huge amounts in solar, wind, and other alternative sources of energy and here we are struggling to pass an energy bill. There are even people who have doubts about global warming. If we give our country back to conservatives/Republicans, I don’t foresee a bright future for future generations. Only spend money on defense and bombs

Posted by Tell truth | Report as abusive

Marianne, Europe utilizes protectionist trade policies to sustain it’s manufacuring base by subsidizing exports while using various non tariff policies to restict imports. Of course much of the rest of the world does the same thing in various ways. We are the only country foolish enough to play by the rules while the rest of the world steals our jobs. Look for more of the same when these climate change treaties and bills are enacted.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

The argument that our economy is going to be hit with higher unemployment and higher taxes is nothing compared to when our farmers can’t grow crops at the scale they do now, when our nation’s forests are decimated by parasites that once were killed off by cold winters, or when fishing industries collapse worldwide because the fish cannot reproduce anymore… A good economy is needed for a high standard of living, but a good environment is needed for human survival. People need to remember this.

Posted by Sparty Spartan | Report as abusive

Marianne
The only upside is maybe we will get new House and Senate leaders once more Americans are force to work 3 jobs because we can’t afford to live anymore on our present saleries while all the other foreign counties giggle at us.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

This is the inherent flaw of capitalism. It suppress and discourage innovation and simply “right things to do” if it doesn’t make economic sense. “If” cold fusion or anything that would put an end to current state of business is discovered, it too would have to be discarded because the unemployment would be catastrophic. Should we continue to ignore environment because it “might” increase unemployment in US? Would you teach this to your children? Who cares if it’s called cap-and-trade or tax? By all means adopt it if it helps reducing emission. And it seems to be effective as demonstrated by countries that have adopted it already.

Think about how US is viewed by others. We are not the only people living on Earth. US produce the most pollutant but we do very little about its resolution compared to other countries. Drive around a neighborhood on garbage collecting days and you see 2~3 barrels of garbage from each household in one week. But then again, we don’t care what others think… do we?

Posted by BC | Report as abusive

I can’t believe this bill made it through Comgress, albeit by a narrow margin.
Atmospheric CO2 levels have been increasing for thousands of years. Man’s recent CO2 contribution has indeed increased since the industrial revolution, but when compared to the CO2 emitted through natural processes and systems such as the ocean, man’s CO2-impact on the atmosphere is like smoking a cigarette in a burning building.
Earth’s periods of temperature increase have fluctuated reliably with sunspot activity. Think about it: Earth’s temperatures rise and fall at the same time as those of Mars. We’re not blowing carbon dioxide from the tailpipes of SUV’s on Mars, but Earth’s and Mars’ temperatures both rise and fall around the same times according to sunspot activity.
With this in mind, it is clear to me that this bill is nothing more than a scheme to increase governmental control of the private companies in the United States.
Supporters of the bull said that it will help solve the problem of global warming. I’m not saying temperatures aren’t rising, I’m saying that this bill will do nothing to affect it because CO2 isn’t the cause of the problem.
This bill will prove detrimental to America if put into action by spending money America doesn’t have on a solution to a nonexistent problem in order to put the money and power of hard working people in the hands of Washington politicians.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

Both the President and Congress have already shown regular Americans who they really work for with the actions taken in the financial bailouts. Cap and tax looks to be the icing on top. While I understand that Americans may need to slow consumption and live more sustainably, I do not understand how so called representatives could even consider inflicting more pain on the many businesses and individuals who are already suffering at this point in time. Just how much do the banks stand to make if this legislation passes anyway?

Another question you might want to ask would be, “what will climate change do to your job?” Because I’m afraid to say that the prediction there would likely be the same as the one that the author reached in this article. The difference is that climate change has the potential to really mess up quite a bit more than your job.

This legislation is far from perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. Whether you believe that climate change is a man-made phenomenon or not, I think everyone realizes that the Earth’s climate is currently on a trend that doesn’t serve to benefit it. It’s within our best interests to take the issue seriously and do what we can to stabilize things.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

A few things: Firstly, meeting these standards is not technologically impossible without reducing our standard of living. Our buildings are inefficient, our transportation system is inefficient, our sources of energy are inefficient…the technologies exist to turn all of these aspects into net-zero entities. There are buildings that supply their own power you know. Our rate of consumption and waste is also horrific. There is no issue with the technology, the issue is entirely with the society. All that aside, there is no incentive to improve the technologies right now because the coal and oil and gas are so cheap. This might provide reason to invest in new technology. Secondly, this entire opinion is based on the work that TWO economists did over twenty years ago. Even if the claims have some worth, gas prices have been on the rise since then, and will continue to rise forever. Is that to say that industry jobs will continue to decline until there are none left? I don’t think that is quite the case, therefore I don’t find this entirely relevant. Energy prices will continue to rise as always. North American energy prices are peanuts compared to those in Europe and they are considered to have a better quality of life than us. Think about that. The only real logical statement I see here, is that the bill may coerce companies into moving abroad…however from what I see, nothing is manufactured here anymore anyways, so we’re not losing too much.

Posted by Tyler | Report as abusive

I’m just curious why fossil fuel burning power plants cannot gradually be replaced with nuclear facilities. There may be no solution to the the climate change problem that is likewise economically viable, but something must be done to curb greenhouse emissions no matter what the cost.

Drewbie- Despite the best efforts of the oil companies and other related interests at confusing the public, anthropogenic global warming is real. I won’t digress into your level of idiocy to prove what the overwhelming majority of the scientific community (which I can safely assume you’re probably not a part of) concluded years ago.

Posted by Vic Sage | Report as abusive

“Diana Furchtgott-Roth….a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute”
In other words she’s a shill for unregulated Capitalism.

Posted by D Sakarya | Report as abusive

What will the climate change bill do to your job?
This article is a little close to home since I used to work for a coal fired power plant and a nuclear power plant. The first statement about the unemployment rate just makes me mad. I don’t believe the government really knows what the unemployment rate really is… did they count me? I don’t work, I don’t draw unemployment. Am I looking for a job, yes, you bet. News Flash, America’s unemployment rate is already way above other industrialized countries.
As for emissions, HA, coal fired power plants cheat. They know how to ride the line; I worked there and saw them bypass the equipment that monitors the emissions. Some of the units are so old they leak every thing from every where. I left the coal fired plant because I feared for my life in that death trap. The operators were asleep at the wheel. The supervisors would jingle their keys before they entered the control room to wake up the operators, so they wouldn’t be caught sleeping. If the public only knew what really goes on in those plants. I was told by a supervisor, if the relief valves on the roof lifted, they would spew empty beer and liquor bottles because they used to sit on the roof and drink; then throw the bottles in the pipes on the roof.
Nuclear, well lets just say, it is clean and cheap but the fuel is cradle to grave responsibility for the companies. To be honest, I would be more afraid of the lack of security at the plants, it’s a numbers game. Did you see the Wackenhut scandal? Well, a nuclear power plant (XXXXXXXX XXXXX) in Mineral VA had the same problem at one time and may still. How do I know? I worked there and one of my instructors told me. He told me he used to be an officer and he covered while others slept. The officers would take their gear off in the towers, even their shoes; now tell me how they can call themselves ready to protect the plant. I know first hand that the drills are staged and rigged. See, if they fail, NRC would shut them down and that would cost a lot (politics and money). We (I and my instructors) tried to challenge them during training drills and we got our hand slapped. They believe that when the enemy comes, HA, it will only be five bad guys (terrorist) and so many vehicles (water and/or land) with “X” amount of explosives (i.e. 75 lbs) for each bad guy (DBT). Yep, that’s it, so they only drill to fight off five guys.
Are you still worried about emissions? How about unemployment? When the bad guy (terrorist) does finally come… we won’t be worrying about either any more.
Ok… back to clean energy. We need it, clean energy, the emissions are a problem and those that say they aren’t, well they must not be educated and they probably don’t have children.
Tell you what… require the Nuclear Plants to have more security and you will create more jobs; energy prices may increase but at least we may be around to use the energy.
I personally hate Coal and Nuclear after working for that company and hope they don’t get funding for the new units. I would like to see renewable energy take over.

The worst thing a company can have is a disgruntled ex-employee with a memory.

Posted by MES | Report as abusive

this article is a great big lie horrible so called journalism France has stricter emission than the u.s. so its just horrible in a million other ways so she wants the us to keep depending on foreign oil

Posted by kate | Report as abusive

June 26th, 2009 10:36 am GMT – Posted by Drewbie

I don’t even see the point of this legislation.

====================================

They had to cram this through to save 3existing carbon markets.

Kyoto is the only framework supporting carbon markets and it expires in 2012….ours has to be in place by 2012

see the connection?

this is about saving the a$$ of people that are already heavily invested in the Kyoto protocol carbon credit scheme.

Posted by LAObserver | Report as abusive

I find it interesting that the countries cited as examples of industrialized states with lower unemployment ratings than the US are also some of those states whose environmental controls are stricter and also whose gas prices are higher that the US’s. Perhaps Diana should have found some countries with freerer markets and lower unemployment rates to cite as relevant examples?

Also, I think one of the main purposes of halting pollution now is to allow there to be opportunities and resources available for future growth. If the current depressing effect on the economy is less than the future depressing effect of a polluted environment on the economy, than it would be worth it to regulate! But it is impossible to measure that…

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Dear Diana Furchtgott,

You are truely the worst economist out there. OIL is the worst legacy we will leave our children. Will Printing money like paper stop the Global warming legacy.

Posted by J Fernandes | Report as abusive

I find it incredible that people take such a narrow point of view when analysing energy. Some of the one line comments are downright idiotic!

This article is exactly right and the bill is nothing but an increase in tax aimed at forcing a paradigm change. Why did congress get such a short time to review it before it was passed without any major form of debate? The potential damage that this bill could cause needs to be fully debated rather than rammed down our throats in a politically managed and staged manner.

As a business owner and an executive who has owned and managed businesses in the USA, Europe and in the developing world, and had to deal with regulations, the environmental regulations in the USA are, in some cases more stringent than those in either Europe or Asia. This new bill and the ensuing regulations WILL result in the migration of jobs off-shore since much of what is proposed is based on either infant or conceptual technologies that are insufficiently developed to provide the millions of green jobs projected. Many of them simply are not scalable to the degree needed.It simply will be much more economical to outsource the “dirty” parts of any process to businesses in regions of the world which are less regulated purely due to cost and until such time as everyone on the planet abides by the same rule set, the USA will strangle industrial growth at home while manufacturing flourishes abroad.

With higher taxes in place and less disposable income, the US population will become even more price sensitive and will look for the lowest cost products and services, making the low cost manufacturer and service provider even more attractive. The US will lose out every time, as its standard of living deteriorates.

It is happening now and people wonder why the enconomy is not responding to the huge stimulus packages being applied. The value adding jobs have gone off-shore. building of houses has fallen off, equity based consumption expenditure has gone nd service based industries are collapsing.

France derives about 85% of its energy from nuclear power plants, why are the US based environmental groups so silent on this one? Its cars predominantly use diesel which produce the same level of CO2 per hp as a gasoline engine. Because of the geographic proximity in Europe, electrically powered trains and significant heavy barge traffic haul the vast majority of freight. In the US, this is done by diesel powered locomotives and long haul diesel powered trucks. This substantially reduces the availability of diesel for private transportation in the USA and also increases the generation of CO2.

Inter and intra-city public transportation are used more effectively in Europe than in the USA, eliminating the need for multi-car families.

I have travelled Europe extensively and with the exception of wind farms in Holland and the Northern parts of Germany, they do NOT have more power plants that use renewable energy sources than the USA. The weather conditions in Northen and Central Europe preclude the use of renewables during the cold months, when energy is needed at high levels. Europe imports its natural gas from Russia and its surrounding producers, so they burn fuel for heating purposes, generating CO2.
People must get their facts straight and not spout the popular political line.

The use of nuclear energy is safe and clean and if spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed, it can be re-used many times over until completely spent. We do not re-process nuclear fuel here in the USA because of the environmental lobby and the NIMBY’s who don’t have the faintest clue what the actual facts are, but which have bought into some very emotitional charged and totally false environmental ideas. Wake up America, don’t fall for the political BS. This bill is a very, very bad idea for the USA.

Posted by Stuart | Report as abusive

First – the Hudson Institute is hardly objective. Conservatism runs in its genes.

Second – this piece is typical Conservative deep thinking. What exists now will never change, never get developed, never get better. If there is anything we have learned in this country it is that nay-sayers cannot be trusted. America was not founded on the idea that we cannot do wondrous things. It was founded by people who were not afraid of the future or modernity. Conservatives are called that for a reason.

This article is not a reasoned discourse. It is drivel for those who want to be assured that smart people will not let our society advance because those people are afraid of the future.

Me? Not skeert of anything including you know-nothings who think the technology to get reduced CO2 output is “magic.”

Posted by Terrence Gabriel | Report as abusive

….Why do you say that something that is intended to reduce global warming will inmediately harm Americans and the rest of the world. i think you should be less pesimistic about this bill and wait and see what happens. you say that the technology hasn’t been created yet, but you dont know, actually, we dont even know what scientists will come up next. so dont give up on humanity’s capability of creating…

thats where we have to be creative, when things seem gloomy and dark, we have to overcome this. its a shared effort, and after all we all live in the same planet.

Some of the comments here are evidence of why it’s dangerous to have a scientific debate in a country where most of the citizens are scientifically illiterate. Unfortunately, it’s not just scientific illiteracy we have to worry about — most of our citizens are also unable to understand basic mathematics, much less statistics. We are quick to an opinion, but very slow to understand enough to make our opinion worth a damn. This “cap and trade” bill has been tried in other countries — it has failed. Even if this bill would produce tremendous benefits in 100 years, that is worthless if our economy is destroyed within the next 20. Anthropogenic global warming is far from a proven hypothesis. Even our perception of global warming itself could be wrong because of the miniscule lifespan of a human being — no one of us is ever on this Earth long enough to truly grasp the pattern of temperature changes over thousands and thousands of years. We have only been tracking “global temperatures” for a few decades. All other data is either extrapolated or anecdotal — even ice core temps are highly educated guesses at best (there is no scientifically valid way to prove that the temp indicated by an ice core for 50,000BC is an accurate representation of the temp in 50,000BC, since no one from 50,000BC is still around to tell us). In short, this bill is a clumsy, illiterate, foolish overreaction to a problem which may not even exist and, even if it does exist, this bill will almost certainly do nothing to remedy it. It will also almost certainly wreck not only the economy of this country, which is still the greatest in the world by far, but also the economies of every other country in the world. This bill is a sham — it is a short-term power grab for demagogic reasons dressed up to look like benevolent paternalism. The only reason it can even be proposed without a popular revolt being the result is that the politicians know they can rely on one persistent characteristic of the American people: monstrous ignorance of science. Go ahead, let the demagogues pass this legislation. You will get what you deserve. And by the time you realize the horrific mistake you’ve made, it will be too late to correct. Congratulations…we have met the enemy, and they are us.

Posted by C.J. Cave, PhD | Report as abusive

I have one overarching comment, why penalize and not put ore focus on incentives? It seems, the US and other countries (we operate mostly in China) are focused on penalizing corporations and individuals for ‘Climate Change’ related efforts towards December. Why not give a ‘positive’ spin by giving incentives? Also, we run the risk of ‘certain’ areas of ‘Green’ becoming fascist if we go down the penalizing route. And adding to some aforementioned points, the risk increases especially when led by thinkers without PhD’s in science and mathematics. Just a thought…

I hope the next main article on Reuters will be “What severe climate change will do to your life”. Isn’t presenting both sides of the story necessary if you want to encourage a great debate? How can you have one if you only present the view of a skeptic? Fair and balanced- typical coverage of mainstream media.

It’s amazing how short sighted people can be. Sure there will be costs associated with trying to prevent drastic climate change but they pale in comparison to the costs human race will have to bare in a few decades if nothing is done. Even the less severe prediction are quite scary.

I’m willing to pay a lot more for may energy use to prevent that. But wait, that will leave me with less money to buy all that useless junk the gurus on Madison Avenue insist I can’t live without. Thank you Diana for helping me see the error of my ways. Now, where did I leave the keys to my Hummer.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Ok, let’s fix it first:
-the assumption, that the effect of rising the tax on energy etc. will set our standard of living lower: i would say higher, because we don’t have to live in a world of toxic gases, the clima change, the toxic gas emmissions, the environment contamination are the factors which will determinate our future and if we don’t begin to fight with them on time than our children will have to live in a world full og garbage, smoke and the results of the toxic gases like cancer, lower average age and these is our responsibility
-on the assumption of the price elasticity should study the author, because it is that factor that determinate the abilitiy of the company shift off the higher costs on the consumers
-the author have to learn about the energy intesive processes, bacause very much of them are already in dictatorships like china, indonesia etc maden, what every time under question is, is the added value and in these aspect, however harley-davidson parts or parts of the bmw car are maden in china (just fix it yourself and look the scripts: made in china or made by bmw stands for these dictatorships)
-the u.s. are often critised of the low standards of green gas emmissions, low standards of enviromental protection on this issue have the u.s. give and show the world the good will the resulting step otherwise the other part of the world can wink with the finger and say: not just the bigger emmisioner of the world had taken steps against it!
-the last point is that every government have to recognize, that with simulteous actions against the pollution we can step forward, countries without such steps could be punished by penalty tolls, till they won’t accept such bills and this is not against of any of the four main principles of the wto

Posted by Bali | Report as abusive

Some facts to consider, which are not normally discussed:

1. While global warming has been proven, the ultimate effects it will have on the climate have not. We will not be able to determine if global warming will change our climate, and if so to what extent.

2. Even if we were capable of cutting emissions by 40% in the next 20 years (already laughable), this will not slow down or stop the immediate effects of global warming. It won’t even reverse short term effects. All we will do is slow down further additional long term effects.

3. So as the effects (if any) will be a forgone conclusion even with emission reduction, we are going to have serious problems for the third world. At about the same time the first world starts to have peak oil. Not a good time to hinder one’s own economy.

4. And at the end of the day, the third world are not going to jump on board to cut emissions. Not unless someone else does it for them (ie the 1st world pays for, or installs, all the green tech for them).

5. And there is always the depressing possibility that green energy will ultimately not work (ie. the energy costs far too much to produce). If the choice is between an economy and a hot planet, and no economy (with resulting collapse of society), you can bet what choice the world governments will pick.

So at the end of the day we are sitting on our collective asses, waiting for the eggheads to save our bacon. And rearranging the ‘emission’ chairs on the ‘economic’ titanic in the meantime, so we can feel like we are doing something.

And as the future arrives, we may find that the effort we spent trying to stop global warming, may have been better spent learning how to live with it…

Posted by It makes you think | Report as abusive

It’s a bit sad to see how we continue to not address the prime cause of our condition globally, over population.

I worked in the environmental field my entire life, started back in the 60′s with school, then trying to change things from the within the State and Federal Governments, Chemical Industry then the Finnancial Industry without any significant impact on the fundemental thinking of same, which is why I comment on the blog…

For some reason, we continue to approach the solution to problems the same way, write legislation influance by the vary people and/or institutions which have brought the world to the very edge of collapse, both finnancially and environmentally

To think that by passage of legislation here in the United States will correct environmental concerns here or globally is very short sighted.

We increase the population of the world by hundreds of thousands of people daily, and coupled with a use of natural resources that will take another “PLANET” to support the worlds population within the next 100 years…. going after the the tail of the problem is really quite ridiculus

Women have the right to control their body’s, by law…
and I continue to hear how smart they are… so, for what reasons have we not been able to address the issue of REPRODUCTION of the human species. There is only one of the species which can carry to term a “child”.

We can address every issue in the world, except population control and to make a point, the only ones that can address population control is WOMEN, the man has nothing to say about it….

No is No……

Posted by Wiley S Wesson Sr | Report as abusive

The biggest threat to our country is the economic ignorance of the populace, so vividly on display in much of this thread. This bill, which will likely not pass the senate, is economic suicide solving a “problem” of deabtable impact.

The market of billions of daily decisions by individuals is infinately smarter than a moronic plan like this….or nationalized healthcare….or bailouts for failed business models. When India and China agree to a similar system as this, I might condsier supporting it, but until they participate as well, they will reap the economic rewards of cheap energy sources while we implement this moronic system of economic handicaps. Where do you think capital will migrate when the we hinder returns through this system? Hint, like water always seeking its lowest point, capital always seeks its highest returns and it won’t be in the US. Silly idealists and political hacks with legislative power are going to blow our economic heads off. The truth hurts sometimes…but that’s the reality.

Posted by DavidR | Report as abusive

The left claims that the bill will only cost $175 per household: Two problems

1. Why should I pay even $175 if there arent $175 in benefits?

2. Obviously the $175 figure is a lie because $175 isnt enough to result in a demand reduction that reduces carbon emossions

Posted by Emo | Report as abusive

“”“Diana Furchtgott-Roth….a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute”
In other words she’s a shill for unregulated Capitalism.”"

Typical leftist shrill response: Why dont you dissect her thesis instead of engage in ad homenim attacks

Posted by emo | Report as abusive

“”Whether you believe that climate change is a man-made phenomenon or not, I think everyone realizes that the Earth’s climate is currently on a trend that doesn’t serve to benefit it.”"

This is the most absurd statement Ive ever heard. What this poster is saying is that even if climate change (notice no more global warming)is happening naturally, we can and should pass legislation to stop it. The arrogance and stupidity behind that statement is appalling

Posted by emo | Report as abusive

“Climate change”, “global warming”, or whatever you leftists wish to call it, is a myth, a hoax, and a joke.

It is an excuse for another government power-grab led by the anti-liberty, anti-capitalist, anti-American nutcases that believe dictators can do better than markets.

It is supported by you “Obama voters”, read dimwits, that have no ability to think on your own and believe the propaganda fed you by the Democrat-run teacher’s unions, the Democrat-run media, and the Democrat-run government agencies.

Climate change is not about “saving the planet”, it is about accumulating government power so the extremists on the left, the Democrats, can control the lives of their subjects; you.

Posted by Mike Constitution | Report as abusive

The Aussies were smart enough to step back from the ledge of enviro insanity and dump their version of crap & trade. Supporters claim this is a jobs bill, the Chosen One says millions of jobs will be created by this. We will see a net loss of jobs as manufacturing flees to countries like Brazil, China & India. This was nothing more than a brazen ploy to gain more control over the country. They already are trying to dictate that you can’t buy a big screen tv because of energy concerns. Crap & trade will only hasten similar restrictions.

Posted by James in LA | Report as abusive

To J Fernandes,

“Oil is the worst legacy we will leave our children” as you write on a laptop made from petrochemicals derived from oil or natural gas liquids, drive your volvo, and buy produce that was grown, harvested, and shipped by oil-based fuels. What evidence have you that oil is causing global warming? Satellite data show that global temps have been falling for the past 13 years (since 1997). Global temps today are not that different from 1980. Do the research (search rss global temp data).

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Global Warming – Climate Change – Cap N Tax is a sham. How in the world do we think we can control climate? Since 2001 the climate has been flat. This is about government control. how in the world can congress even vote on this bill without even reading nor understanding what it’s all about.

The bill even states that the technology to even meet it numbers arent even available. Plus it even has a welfare provision that states that you will be compensated if you are laid off because of it. I dont know anyone who can survive on welfare.

This will be a JOBS killa

What will energy from natural resources like oil & gas do to your job?

I can rewrite this article with another title and with the same outcome.

Some time from now there will be no “natural resources” no more. What is mankind going to do then? digging on the moon or mars? From the 1970′s on, oil & gas resources are declining, while prices in comparison are increasing. Ofcourse you don’t remember the price level of oil last year, if it didn’t create the current economical crisis, it triggered it for sure.

Is Cap’n Trade a solution? Maybe not, we just don’t know.

My opinion is that we must invest in “green” energy heavily from now on. Green energy in my opinion is not from oil, gas, coal, uranium, or other “natural resource” you can think off. Do you know how much energy you can extract from human leftovers you every day dump in your toilet f.i.? Or from animal dropouts for that matter? That’s substantial, and here and there are already projects started to benefit from that. It’s about the same as you hit your brake in a toyota prius, the energy used to gain speed and ultimately to make you need to hit your brake, is partially rerouted. now that’s some advanced thinking, and they did that thinking about twenty years ago when developing the toyota prius.

Politicians have to come up with things to create incentives, technicians and developers will hopefully do what needs to be done.

Posted by me | Report as abusive

Absolutely NOTHING!

“global warming” a.k.a. “climate change” is a SCAM, and FRAUD.

Many reputable scientists have said as much, but on and on the government and media go, about this LIE.

Just another means to stir up fear and unrest, and exploit for money!!!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

First, citing today’s unemployment rates here and abroad is a red herring, since these figures reflect current conditions and past policies. This bill won’t begin to have any effect on the economy for years to come, due to the initial free emissions allowances and extended phase-in of emission caps. Secondly, the cap is not on energy, but only on green-house gas emissions, leaving room for clean, alternative energy sources to displace fossil fuels over time, as well as the potential for development of sequestration or other emission control technologies.

No doubt there are flaws in this bill; an inevitable result of the legislative process. The dire consequences predicted by a number of the above posts, though in highly improbable. The nay-sayers always predict the most dire results. Let’s get real. What will happen if some form of cap & trade bill is finally passed is a shift of investment dollars to greener technologies and away from fossil fuels, which is the whole point. It will not result in a total collapse of our economy. There is little doubt the bill will be highly modified by the Senate in any case.

Posted by William | Report as abusive

Oh no we as Americans can’t change our lifestyles! Not the American lifestyle. In America I’m FREE to pollute that’s what the commie liberal scum don’t understand. And just because I’m free to do something means I should! Because that’s my God given right!

No Way No How! Changing our lifestyle is not what we do here in America. No no no the world does what we say, we’re the leaders! We have the best economy, we have the best freedom. We got it all. Why do you think everyone wants to come here and better themselves?

Instead of changing anything let’s deny that climate change is real because that’s easier. If we say it’s a scam with out any proof but cite “information” then we can go on living the way we’ve become accustomed. All we have to do is compare the amount of carbon that gets released into the atmosphere from non-human sources and from human sources and tell everyone that we can’t possibly be the ones to blame because looking at the numbers it can only be deduced that it’s a “natural” phenomenon.
HA but what we won’t tell people is the amount of inorganic carbon that get’s released into the atmosphere from human and non-human sources. This is the type of carbon that isn’t readily absorbed by plants. We will also conveniently leave out the amount of carbon that gets absorbed into the environment period. If we only talk about how much is released then it’s a net positive statement.

All we have to do is muddle the debate cite unemployment and ailing economy and we’ll win. Economy vs Environment pff economy will always win because people are greedy and lazy. We won’t talk about the fact that a high paying job is worthless with out clean air to breathe, but that’s ok we’ll be able to afford buying and importing all of our food from south America, or elsewhere when we’ve polluted our own land so much that nothing can grow.

Screw alternative energy those aren’t viable, I won’t really say why, I will say this though, it’s because your climate change is killing the wind currents in the midwest. So if we get those turbines up now, then there won’t be any wind in 50 years! WASTE OF MONEY JUST LIKE TAXES. No I do not want social services I’m far richer than that. I don’t care about OTHER PEOPLE’s needs because mine are met!

Posted by Louis | Report as abusive

No one can deny the actions of greedy bankers has caused suffering all around the globe. More job loss or higher cost of living will not help the plight of those who still work. Whether or not cap and trade works is moot.

Continuing to burn coal is in no ones interest but mine operators. It is the dirtiest fuel there is and has the highest CO2 emissions. Equally disturbing is the suspension of fly(coal)ash in liquids. This waste is stored on sight at power plants across the country. I find it regrettable that little attention is given by the media to the TVA coal ash spill in Kingston Tennessee.

One billion gallons of ash flooded the town when the containment facility failed. The EPA has kept 45 of the worst hazardous waste sights a secret until last week. The information was released to environmental groups through the “Freedom Of Information Act” with the help of Senator Boxer from California. The Kingston catastrophe is estimated to be 100 time worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the Alaskan coast. One can only speculate as to why President Obama while not release the names of visitors from the guest list to the White House. It is rumored coal industry interests have been making frequent visits.

The People of Kingston that were still working no longer do because of this disaster. At some point we must recognize the health of our environment is as critical to our economic well being as finances and manufacturing.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

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