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  • Today’s Calamity: Do We Want a Carbon Footprint Label on Everything We Buy?

    Cap and Trade Calamities

    If cap and trade passes, businesses could soon face “The Scarlet Letter” treatment. Businesses may have to include a carbon label on their products that tells consumers how much carbon dioxide used in the production process. Cap and trade would raise production costs for businesses—forcing them to include a carbon label on their products is salt in the wound.

    Section 274 of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill calls for an Environmental Protection Agency study “to determine the feasibility of establishing a national program for measuring, reporting, publicly disclosing, and labeling products or materials sold in the United States for their carbon content.” The purpose of the study would be to determine “whether a national product carbon disclosure program and labeling program would be effective in achieving the intended goals of achieving greenhouse gas reductions.”

    That’s right. Next to your nutrition label, you could see a carbon footprint telling you how much carbon dioxide businesses emitted to make that product. Sounds harmless. Silly, but harmless. But it may be more harmful than imagined—think of the additional costs this would place on businesses.

    This could particularly hit small businesses the hardest and put those businesses at a competitive disadvantage with larger firms within the United States who can absorb the costs more easily. We can look to the food nutritional label and a study by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University as an example. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) went into effect in 1994 and was the beginning of the nutritional facts label. The intent was to provide consumers with the information to make healthier choices and provide producers the incentive to make healthier products. These are certainly commendable goals but according to one study, “considering the relatively small magnitude of diet quality improvements from label use, it appears possible that even when consumers read labels, they do not always understand them.”

    And these labels do not come without cost. The Food and Drug Administration estimated that the NLEA would cost industry $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion over a 20-year period. These increased costs led to an increased market share for large food distributors.

    Christine Moorman, an author of the study said, “We expected that label information would allow firms to compete more honestly for consumers’ purchases, but instead we find an unintended loss of small firms in food categories.”

    A carbon label would likely do the same but instead it affects every industry. Will consumers feel guilty about buying a product with a carbon footprint on it? Will producers feel guilty enough to produce more carbon-friendly products?

    The real question is: Does it make sense to increase the costs of products like orange juice when Al Gore lives in a 20-room, eight-bathroom carbon-spitting mansion? (According to a BusinessWeek article, “The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.”)

    Bottom line—a carbon labeling program is more government micromanagement that spells higher prices for consumers.

    Click here to sign up for our Energy & Environment Update e-newsletter. Twice a week we’ll send you the latest Cap and Trade Calamity.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Today’s Calamity: Do We Want a Carbon Footprint Label on Everything We Buy?

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      To answer the Article's question, "Do we want a carbon "footprint" label on everything we buy?"

      I say why not?

      The "boot" of unsustainable taxes, fees, surcharges (and whatever else you want to call it)will soon be on the back of our neck…

    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      ANYWHERE TO WASTE! WITH EVERY INTENTION ON FINANCIALLY TERRORIZING TO CRIPPLE BUSINESSES, THE NON-ENTITLED AND THE ONLY TRULY ENTITLED: ELDERLY AND MILITARY.

    3. anorm, dallas texas says:

      No, No, and NO. next we will have to bar code ourselves at birth.

    4. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    5. Charles Mana, Saint says:

      First of all the reasons for creating cap and trade are false fabrications of a fictious science by people who are not interested in the environment nor are they interested in The United States as a Democratic Republic and keeping it as the the most powerful nation in the world. It makes no sense to argue about the pros and cons and the damage it will cause to The United States to allow such a rediculous idea to become a law since its purpose is rooted in the International Communist attempt to lead the world to globalism just as they did after WWI when Bolshevism took over Russia and made an attempt to take control of and overturn the governments of Europe, and the governments of the American continent. The symbol of this ongoing attempt is the League of nations and when the League failed in The United States because the government of the US rejected Bolshevism since at that time our government wasn't permeated by Bolshevists as is the case just after WWII and much much to a greater extent now. I would estimate that close to 50% percent of the members of the US government is immersed in Bolshevism and Global Governmental Interests totally negating their care for what's good for The United States and in fact being proactive in causing the destruction of our government and the freedom of the citizens of The United States.

      The fact is that all of the rediculous ideas and proposed laws like cap and trade, government health care reform, all the stimulus laws and the nationalizing of the private sector,the attacks on the first and second ammendments. Include in this hipocrisy is the Federal Reserve Bank which is unconstitutional, since there is no provision for the Federal, in the Constitution,for the Government to have an enterprise in banking and the idea of rewrighting the Constitution by activist judges through the Federal District courts is against the Constitution since it is stated that the Supreme Court shall be the only court of the Federal Govt. except that a lower Federal may be appointed by the congress for special cases. The Federal Courts and the twelve Districts should be abolished by congress. The presence of these courts takes away the guaranteed rights of states stated in the Constitution by overruling state laws on all levels making the Federal Dist. Judges tantamount to being Kings. In addition the statement in the Constitution in the Constitution concerning that any treaty made by the United States becomes law is well and good but I don't think that any treated can be ratified which has provisions in it contrary to the precepts of the Constitution, or which negate parts of the Constitution, the United Nations is a good example. For how can you say that a ratified treaty is law when it is in direct contradiction against the Law of The Land, The United States Constitution?

      The laws and in particular the Constitution are being relegated to the scrap bin of history. More and more of our governmental representatives are calling it a living document constantly changing its basic ideology with the time and so they call it a relative document subject to change instead of a document which acts as a bulwark against change so that the United States is built on a firm and strong foundation, based on eternal principals of Christianity and so rooted in Natural Law.

    6. Cathy Amelio, New Je says:

      Way out of control! Stop the insanity! Vote them all out!

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