Of the many alarming comments Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson made to attendees at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, a select few stood out as particularly daunting. On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the EPA dropped its own economic bomb, asserting that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are dangerous pollutants and a threat to human health and the environment. Consequently, the EPA is preparing to implement costly regulations on the economy to cut carbon dioxide emissions. But Jackson said we can take common sense without sacrificing our economy. Specifically she said,
“It will ensure that we take meaningful, common-sense steps, and allow us to do what our Clean Air Act does best – reduce emissions for better health, drive technology innovation for a better economy, and protect the environment for a better future – all without placing an undue burden on the businesses that make up the better part of our economy.”
A common sense way to regulate carbon dioxide without cost is impossible. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis study of the economic effects of carbon dioxide regulations found cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses of $7 trillion by 2029 single-year GDP losses exceeding $600 billion in some years, energy cost increases of 30 percent or more, and annual job losses exceeding 800,000 for several years. But Jackson didn’t stop there. She also asserted that regulations should not replace cap and trade legislation but instead complement it:
“This is not an either/or moment. This is a both/and moment.”
Not only is this redundant but it also gives lawmakers and unelected bureaucrats authority to pile on rules and regulations that would chokehold the economy. The House of Representatives already passed their 1,428 pages of legislation that includes not only a cap and trade scheme but also a host of other burdensome provisions. Meanhile, the EPA drafted 564 pages of regulations in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Surely some will overlap but you can be sure that where one misses, the other hits the economy, and hits hard. According to FoxNews, one White House official said of the way EPA will regulate: “[I]t is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it’s going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty.”
Whether it’s disguised as clean jobs legislation or pollution reduction regulation, the reality is any cap and carbon dioxide is an energy tax – an attempt to drive energy prices so high that people use less. Because we use a lot of fossil fuel-based energy and there’s no low cost alternative, there’s no way around the economic pain that will ensue.
Jackson then proceeded to talk about the science behind global warming, taking a backdoor shot at Climategate:
“Now, we know that skeptics have and will continue to try and sow doubts about the science of climate change. These are the same tactics that have been used by defenders of the status quo for years. Those tactics only serve to delay and distract from the real work ahead, namely, growing our clean energy economy and finding innovative, cost-effective ways to reduce harmful GHGs. It’s time that we let the science speak for itself. We have relied on decades of sound, peer-reviewed, extensively evaluated scientific data. That data came from around the world and from our own U.S. scientists. What is makes clear beyond doubt is that climate change is real, and that now is the time to act.”
She’s right about two things. We should let the science speak for itself and climate change is real. Climate change has always been real but it shouldn’t be confused with manmade global warming, or even global warming in general, that’s purportedly destroying our planet. With the emergence of Climategate, now more than ever is the time we should allow for transparent science. Now isn’t the time to rush things through for baseless reasons like “We’ve waited long enough.” We should allow the truth of the science to play out. The skeptics who are allegedly employing method of delay and distract are in reality seeking truth and validity. That’s not such a bad thing for legislation and regulation that comes with such a hefty price tag.