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EPA’s Administrator Musters a Breathtaking Army of Straw Men

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, speaking at the National Press Club Monday criticized citizens who disagree with the power grab(s) being undertaken by the agency to regulate greenhouse gases. Jackson sends an army of straw-men arguments marching into a very important debate about science, our economy, and the authority of an executive branch agency to set policy.

As you might expect, we’re running into the same old tired arguments.

Once again industry and lobbyists are trying to convince us that changes will be absolutely impossible. Once again alarmists are claiming this will be the death knell of our economy. Once again they are telling us we have to choose: Economy? Or environment?

Most drastically, we are seeing efforts to further delay EPA action to reduce greenhouse gases.

This is happening despite the overwhelming science on the dangers of climate change…despite the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision that EPA must use the Clean Air Act to reduce the proven threat of greenhouse gases…and despite the fact that leaving this problem for our children to solve is an act of breathtaking negligence.

Yeah, breathtaking. We get it.

Let’s take a look at Jackson’s claims.

1. “Once again industry and lobbyists are trying to convince us that changes will be absolutely impossible.” Really? Who’s arguing that? Here is a paragraph from the National Association of Manufacturers’ policy on climate change:

The NAM understands the fundamental importance of protecting the environment. Our member companies are committed to greater environmental sustainability, including energy efficiency and conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with global climate change. We know we cannot solve the climate change issue alone. The U.S. Congress must engage in a thorough and transparent deliberative process for establishing federal climate change policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining a competitive level playing field for U.S. companies in the global marketplace.

The policy then lists a set of principles for federal action on climate, stating that policies must be equitable and economywide in scope, include all sectors and recognize the different competitive environments and abilities of sectors. The EPA does not have the authority to accomplish this balancing under the Clean Air Act.

2. “Once again alarmists are claiming this will be the death knell of our economy. Once again they are telling us we have to choose: Economy? Or environment?” Ah, alarmists. Because with unemployment near 10 percent amid inconsistent signs of a recovery, and the United States competing in a global economy, anyone who expresses concerns about a vast new regulatory regime imposing new costs on the energy sector, manufacturers, and transportation is an “alarmist.” Here is a link to a study conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation on the effects of the Waxman-Markey legislation, including a loss of $2 trillion to $3 trillion in economic growth and two million jobs over the 18 years of the bill.

3. “Most drastically, we are seeing efforts to further delay EPA action to reduce greenhouse gases.” Thank goodness for these “most drastic” efforts, also known as legislation. You see, it’s not only industry and lobbyists and citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights in calling for a delay in the EPA’s unprecedented power grab. It’s Senators, like Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). And Representatives like Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO).

4. “This is happening despite the overwhelming science on the dangers of climate change.” That’s a point of some contention, isn’t it? We see scandal after scandal undermining the credibility of the most prominent scientific polemicists on climate change. (From Iain Murray at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Climategate: This Time It’s NASA,” and “The Real Climate Confusion.”)

5. “despite the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision that EPA must use the Clean Air Act to reduce the proven threat of greenhouse gases…” Advocates  often simplify the court’s decision in Massachusett v. EPA as ordering the agency to regulate greenhouse gases. It’s not that direct. The court ruled that the EPA did have the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases and is required by the Act to base the decision on a consideration of “whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change.” In any case, that’s a statutory authority that Congress, as the policymaking branch of government, can remove or modify as it wishes.

6. “and despite the fact that leaving this problem for our children to solve is an act of breathtaking negligence.” Unlike, say, the federal debt? In any case, Administrator Jackson is using the tired political tactic of invoking “the children,” in this case on behalf of a false choice. Opposing the Obama  EPA’s power grab, arguing against the agency’s attempt remake and burden the U.S. economy over the wishes of the public and policymakers does not mean “leaving this problem for our children to solve.” It means accurately identifying the problem, relying on our elected policymakers to address the issue through the political process, avoiding Pyrrhic victories that burn down our economy, and using the best of technological advances to improve efficiency and energy conservation.

What’s breathtaking about that?

Federal Control of Greenhouse Gases Would Hammer Texas

By | Briefly Legal, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

From the Texas Public Policy Foundation, “Foundation: Federal climate change proposals could cost Texas almost 200,000 jobs“:

HOUSTON – The enactment of current federal proposals to cap carbon emissions could cost Texas as much as 200,000 jobs and $41 billion in economic activity in the year 2030, according to new research released today by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

“Texas, having an economy tied to energy development and manufacturing, is particularly vulnerable to adverse impacts from federal mandates to reduce greenhouse gases,” said the report’s co-author, Dr. Margo Thorning. “If pending legislation such as the Waxman-Markey bill is enacted, the Texas economy will experience slower growth and thousands of valuable jobs will be lost. Energy intensive industries with foreign competition could reduce their operations in Texas and relocate in countries without similar mandates.”

By 2030, Texas would lose 144,600 to 196,900 net jobs, even after accounting for new “green” jobs. Gross state product would drop as much as $41 billion, and manufacturing output would fall in the range of 5 percent.

“The sectors that would absorb the most damage from a cap of carbon emissions are among the most productive and central to Texas’ economic success during the last decade,” said TPPF’s Kathleen Hartnett White. “These are the type of good-paying jobs we need to bring to Texas, rather than lose those jobs to foreign countries that don’t handicap their industries with costly and ineffective carbon mandates.”

Yes, you can’t really argue that creating jobs is priority while supporting legislation to submit emissions-creating economic activity to an all-encompassing federal regulatory regime.

Admittedly, it does appear that federal legislation is less and less likely. The politicized science of global warming has suffered serious, self-inflicted damage in recent months (a summary from Deroy Murdock), so advocates of federalizing carbon dioxide are counting on regulation through an EPA endangerment finding under the Clean Air Act. Which takes us back to Texas and the state’s legal challenge to EPA action. From Investor’s Business Daily, “A Green Tea Party“:

In Texas’ suit, state Attorney General Greg Abbott said the [climate science] shenanigans made any policy decisions based on that work flawed and unjustified. Abbott cited several examples in which he said climate scientists engaged in an “ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research and manipulate temperature data.”

“With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization (the IPCC) that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” Abbott argued.

“This legal action,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 10th Amendment champion, “is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas’ freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach.”

A Hoosier’s Perspective on Climate Legislation and Manufacturing

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Pat Kiely, president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association, makes the case in The Indianapolis Star that manufacturing helps define what it means to be a Hoosier, and that definition is put at risk by ill-considered, far-reaching climate legislation.

From “Vulnerable to high cost of restrictions“:

Developing countries such as China and India are unwilling to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. If increased energy costs drive manufacturing from Indiana to developing nations that do not restrict greenhouse gas emissions, then there is no reduction in emissions and we have done nothing to achieve the purported goal of fighting climate change. While it does appear noble that the United States would demonstrate leadership to the world in regulating itself, the downside has lasting economic hardship to the nation’s economy and to states like Indiana.

The Indiana Manufacturers Association’s membership understands the importance of environmental stewardship. That said, the method of control is critical. States have different needs based on their overall production of greenhouse gasses — be it from production of energy, agriculture, manufactured goods or transportation-related factors. It seems the federal government should work first to resolve our domestic imbalances before offering to give foreign competitors billions of dollars that we don’t have to take American jobs.

Pat also notes the NAM and ACCF’s study on the economic effects of the Waxman-Markey bill, which shows for Indiana the potential:

  • Loss of up to 59,260 jobs.
  • Residential electricity price increases of up to 60 percent.
  • Gasoline price increases per gallon of up to 26 percent.

Indeed, industrial states like Indiana would suffer disproportionate damage from Waxman-Markey and whatever climate-control scheme the Senate develops.

EPA Endangerment: A Hammer to Manufacturing Jobs

By | Economy, Energy, General, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

CNN ran a very good report on Thursday’s “CNN TONIGHT” on the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding and the economic impact of government programs to restrict carbon dioxide. Included in the report was a video segment with NAM’s Keith McCoy and Jason Speer of Quality Float Works of Schaumburg, Ill. From the transcript:

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quality float works has been around since 1915. Making metal float balls used on flagpoles, weather vanes, plumbing and industrial devices. Over the years, company executives have been working hard to reduce their carbon footprint, recycling used oil, reducing their EQs (ph) and buying more fuel efficient equipment.

Still the company’s Vice President, Jason Speer is worried about new environmental regulations that could be in the making. This week the Environmental Protection Agency declared greenhouse gases a danger to public health, paving the way to regulating carbon dioxide emissions. Issuing its finding, the EPA said, quote, “Science overwhelmingly shows greenhouse gas concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity.” But Speer says if the EPA imposes new regulations, it could cripple his company.

JASON SPEER, QUALITY FLOAT WORKS: Manufacturing is an energy intensive business, and you know, every little penny counts right now and this environment, you know, we are trying to compete internationally. With some of these regulations, it hinders our ability to compete globally.

SYLVESTER: Many in the business community lead by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers oppose agency regulation under the Clean Air Act.

KEITH MCCOY, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS: The Clean Air Act is not designed for this type of action so you’re really taking a square peg and hammering it into a round hole. If they’ll do it, it will be done probably with great pain to manufacturing.

SYLVESTER: McCoy says with unemployment already at 10 percent. Added regulation could slow the country’s economic recovery, but Tufts University Professor, Gilbert Metcalf disagrees saying outside of the gas and oil industry, job losses shouldn’t be too severe.

PROF. GILBERT METCALF, TUFTS UNIVERSITY: I think the job loss is very much overblown. If we start with a kind of modest policies that are embodied in either the House or the Senate.

That’s not really a very comforting assurance from the Tufts academic, even if he’s right: Outside of the industry that creates 9 million jobs and accounts for 7.5 percent of the U.S. GDP, it’s no big deal.

The report followed with a discussion on the economic consequences with Margo Thorning of the American Council of Capital Formation and Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Waxman-Markey: Let’s At Least Be Straight About the Jobs

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

The Economist’s U.S. correspondent, who writes under the nom de plume of “Lexington,” is exasperated about the lack of straight talk from Congressional advocates for government limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Lexington believes in taking action, with the most straightforward way being a carbon tax. But, since the public regards taxes as bad, politicians “waffle and obfuscate” on energy policy.

From “The myth of green jobs“:

John Kerry, who is neither stupid nor ignorant, claims not to know what “cap and trade” means

And Barbara Boxer, asked what the government should do to create jobs, said we should pass an energy bill, ie, the cap and trade bill that dare not speak its name. This, she said, would “allow this economy to take off“.

For heaven’s sake. The point of putting a cap or a tax on carbon emissions is to curb carbon emissions, thereby saving the planet from cooking. It is not about creating jobs. It will certainly create some, but it will destroy plenty, too.

Both presidential candidates last year vigorously promoted the notion that halting climate change will not merely be painless but will actually provide a huge boost to the economy. Kevin Hassett explains why this is nonsense

If politicians insist on pretending that everything is a free lunch, they should not be surprised if a) many voters don’t believe them and b) the rest get angry when the bill arrives. 

The Senate bill sets a target of reducing C02 emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The House bill set a target of a 17. The NAM and the American Council for Capital Formation analyzed the House bill, Waxman-Markey, and found the legislation would result in up to 2.4 million lost jobs, higher energy prices for businesses and consumers, and cumulative GDP losses of up to 3.1 trillion dollars over an 18-year period.

Yeah, for heaven’s sake.

A Labor Day Message: Anti-Energy Bill Would Kill Jobs

By | Energy, Global Warming, Taxation | No Comments

The Philadelphia Inquirer today publishes a column by Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and David N. Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, “Millions of jobs would vanish with energy bill“:

This Labor Day, America is in its 20th month of recession, making this the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. More than six million jobs have been lost across the country, and manufacturing has suffered disproportionately, accounting for 1.8 million of those lost jobs.

So it’s difficult to understand how our federal lawmakers could seriously consider legislation that would depress economic growth and job creation for the next 20 years. But that’s what we can expect from the far-reaching climate-change legislation headed for a vote in the Senate when Congress returns from its summer recess.

No, Waxman-Markey is NOT a Jobs Creation Engine

By | Energy, General, Global Warming | No Comments

We responded of one line of argument against the NAM/ACCF study — that of slanted assumptions — in a post below, and were going to get to the other criticism, which boils down to: “Look how much the economy grows with Waxman-Markey. It’s great!”

Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has already done the work, though, and done it well, so we’ll just defer to his post at Planet Gore, the global warming/energy blog of National Review Online, “When Opponents Stop Trying.”

[Naturally] Team Soros hails the conclusions, “NAM/ACCF Forecasts 20 Million New Jobs Under American Clean Energy And Security Act”. Implication: it’s some sort of job creator. Here’s their announcement’s lead, with emphases added to highlight the implied claim:

A new analysis of the economic impact of clean energy legislation forecasts powerful job and economic growth through 2030. The analysis of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), commissioned by the right-wing National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), finds that 20 million new jobs will be created in the United States by 2030, even under high-cost assumptions.

The logic, you see, is because it wouldn’t kill EVERY new job between now and then. Ha! It’s a good thing . . . new jobs occur “under this bill”! (Where’s my giggle emoticon? Had it here somewhere . . . )

That was our reaction too. They’re just dismissing the loss of 2.4 million jobs as a little inconvenience, a minor bump, no big deal. Tell that to 2.4 million individuals who aren’t working thanks to Waxman-Markey.

P.S. The Team Soros dig is a reference to the Center for American Progress and its various arms, affiliates and Internet emanations, in this case The Wonk Room at the Think Progress blog. Leftist market manipulator George Soros is a major source of funding for the group.

Realistic Assumptions About Energy Development

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Health Care, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

The critiques, dismissals and attacks against the the National Association of Manufacturers’ and ACCF’s study on the economic effects of the Waxman-Markey bill will accuse the analysis of using dodgy assumptions, especially of being too conservative in the amount of alternative energy and nuclear power that will be developed.

Here, for example, from The Vine, the environmental blog of The New Republic (our emphasis):

Technically, NAM is using the same economic forecasting model as the Energy Information Administration, but NAM fed its own, very different assumptions into the model. Not all of those assumptions have been disclosed yet, but the ones that have seem a little dubious. For instance, NAM assumes that, under a climate bill, we’d see just 10 to 25 gigawatts of new nuclear power. But the EIA predicts we’d see that many nukes built without a climate bill, and as much as 95 gigawatts under a carbon cap.

The NAM is working hard to see that more nuclear power is developed, recently joining in the establishment of a coalition to link the workforce and energy policy issues.

Unfortunately, this Washington Times story captures the reality of energy production in the United States today, “Bill requires doubling nuke use,” with this discouraging subhead, “Low-cost solution unlikely, unpopular.”

To satisfy House Democrats’ low-cost solution to global warming, Americans would have to double their reliance on nuclear energy by 2030 – a target the nuclear industry says is unlikely and that many environmentalists and Democrats dislike.

That is the conclusion of a new Energy Information Administration report that looked at the House Democrats’ global warming bill. To produce enough clean energy at a reasonable cost would require construction of dozens of new nuclear power plants, even though no new plant has been built in decades.

The article includes comments from environmental activists:

This thing is completely so buried in the 20th century it isn’t even funny,” said Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, which opposes expanded nuclear power. “To assume that nuclear and carbon sequestration are going to be the low-cost sources of electricity in the future are wrong.”

He said EIA underestimated the ability of wind and solar power to expand quickly and cheaply.

The new National Academies of Science study, “America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation,” examines the role of alternative energies in the U.S. energy future, and is quite positive about their contributions. Still, as the chart on Page 36 shows, the EIA’s estimates for electricity supply in 2030 are as follows (in terms of terrawatt horus):

Coal: 2,800
Petroleum: 55
Natural Gas: 500
Nuclear Power: 920
Hydropower: 300

Renewables combined (wind, solar photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, geothermals, and biopower) are: 233.

Coal: 2,800
Renewable: 233

And remember, solar power and wind are not suitable for baseload power generation. You could quintuple the renewable energy supply estimated by the EIA for 2030 — and that would be a good thing — and it would be still be only a small contributor to the U.S. energy portfolio.

So who’s being realistic?

NAM/ACCF Study Details Job Loss, Economic Pain from W-M

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers and American Council for Capital Formation today released an analysis of the Waxman-Markey legislation, including state figures on the economic impact and job loss that the law would cause — effects that fall heavily on manufacturing.

ACCF’s website hosts the study and supporting material, and the NAM’s news release is here. Key findings:

  • Cumulative Loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to $3.1 trillion (2012-2030)
  • Employment losses up to 2.4 million jobs in 2030
  • Residential electricity price increases up to 50 percent by 2030
  • Gasoline price increases (per gallon) up 26 percent by 2030

This analsysis relies on the widely used — including by the Energy Information Administration — NEMS model, and the assumptions take into account new technologies, the creation of “green jobs,” and the expansion of domestic energy production. In addition, this study factored in the impact of the economic stimulus bill.