A Good Discussion of Energy Policy, and a Call for a ‘Reset’

By December 3, 2009Energy, Global Warming

The American Petroleum Institute and Newsweek magazine sponsored a panel discussion Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, “Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?” Moderated by Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, the forum proved a good opportunity to hear from policymakers — Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — as well as Jack Gerard, head of the API.

The transcript of the discussion has now been posted here. We especially appreciated Jack’s calm and fact-filled presentation on the economic importance of the energy industry and the potential harm that would come from passing cap-and-trade legislation. In responding to Rep. Markey defense of Waxman-Markey, Gerard argued:

The Chairman identified his bill as market-oriented. We believe it’s anything but. In fact, that bill has already picked the winners and the losers. Unfortunately, those who consume fuels in this country like gas, diesel, et cetera, are the clear losers. We’re held accountable, responsible for 44 percent of all emissions and given 2 percent of the allowances.

Who do you think is going to bear the cost of the bill at the end of the day? And that’s why the vast majority of all economic analyses point out that we’re probably close to 2 million jobs being lost in this country as a result of the bill. We don’t believe it’s market-oriented at all.

Secondarily, consumer-focused. Same point. If you’re imposing tremendous burden on the consumers, where you’re driving their gasoline price, estimates based on EIA data, governmental data, will drive it close to $5 a gallon in the current marketplace. We believe that’s excessive and it hurts consumers.

Last point, job creator. …Every major economic analysis of the House-passed bill shows job destruction. Some are as high as multi-millions. We don’t think this bill is a job creator. We believe it’s far from it, and we believe that’s one of the key reasons why we really need to reset. Look at all the great ideas that many have, including the Chairman, and come back with a new start to get us someplace with an energy policy and a climate policy that can be integrated and work for the United States.

The one odd point about the 90-minute discussion is no one raised the issue of Climategate, that is, the documents from the Climatic Research Unit of East Anglia University that show a politicization and manipulation of research used to promote cap-and-trade legislation. Seems like an important element in a policy debate. But then, the major media have also been less than diligent in tackling the scandal.

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