Washington Post, “Economics of climate change in forefront,” reporting on conflicting analyses of the Kerry-Boxer bill.
Margo Thorning, chief economist at the conservative American Council for Capital Formation, criticized the June prediction for using a static economic model rather than a macroeconomic one, which would show how higher energy prices reverberate throughout the economy. She added that the assumption embedded in the EPA analysis that Boxer cited — a 150 percent increase in the number of nuclear plants by 2050 — was unrealistic.
But studies projecting large job losses are similarly based on data that have not been established. One by the American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers found that up to 2.4 million jobs could be lost by 2030 in part because it assumed that only half as many carbon offsets would be available to keep energy prices lower. Another, by the Charles River Associates for the National Black Chamber of Commerce predicted a 2.2 million job loss by 2030 because of plugging in higher cost estimates for nuclear and geothermal energy projects. “There’s never a single, precise answer,” said Ken Ostrowski, a director at McKinsey and Co. who helped write the firm’s reports on the cost of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency.
“You have to deal with uncertainties like the speed at which the technology could be implemented.”
The NAM/ACCF study of the Waxman-Markey bill is here.
Analyses aside, one should also apply the test of common-sense to Kerry-Boxer/Waxman-Markey: Proponents wants to create scores of new federal government programs and regulatory regimes, including the establishment of an expansive and intrusive system of “cap and trade” to make energy more expensive. And that’s supposed to create jobs AND substantively address GLOBAL warming?
Elsewhere in the Post, columnist Dana Milbank maligns Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for challenging the scientific consensus of global warming, which too often looks like an imposed political consensus. From “A senator in a hostile climate“:
It must be very lonely being the last flat-earther.
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, committed climate-change denier, found himself in just such a position Tuesday morning as the Senate environment committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, took up legislation on global warming.
That’s just a slur, two slurs, in fact. “Flat-earther” is the equivalent of calling the Senator deluded and dumb. “Clime-change denier” is worse, tantamount to calling the Senator evil. Denier is the preferred term of those who want to stop informed debate of the science of global warming, an especially ugly choice of words because of its parallels to “Holocaust denier.”
The goal of this rhetoric is to delegitimize the speech involved in acknowledging the scientific and policy implications of the now decade-long temperature plateau. Or to bully into silence the increasing number of the public who doubt that global warming is man-made. These citizens, voters, taxpayers are either stupid or evil, so they better shut up.
Bad atmosphere in which to make good policy. Good atmosphere in which to make bad policy.
We find Senator Inhofe’s media webpage and especially his EPW Press Blog to be centers of intelligent policy discussions, informed by a healthy skepticism of analyses, claims and wild promises. Too bad some in the media prefer slurs to skepticism and squelching to speech.