Pete DuPont’s post-mortem on Lieberman-Warner in the Journal’s Political Diary today offers a pretty optimistic prognosis for the patient. DuPont warns that the bill will be back next year, whether McCain or Obama is the next Oval Office occupant, and previews its effects.
The Senate’s global warming bill began by capping greenhouse gas emissions and reducing them each year, from 5.8 billion metric tons in 2015 to 1.7 billion in 2050. A Heritage Foundation study calculates that such reductions would cost more than 600,000 jobs a year through 2028 (900,000 in both 2016 and 2017), and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the annual economic losses at $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion by 2050. Electricity prices would rise about 44% by 2030, and gasoline prices by more than 50 cents a gallon. Existing coal-fired plants, which provide about half of our electricity, would be shut down, requiring nuclear generation capacity would have to expand by more than 150%, to 1,982 billion kilowatt-hours from the current 782 billion, by 2050. That is a good idea–nuclear plants are virtually pollution-free–but doubling the number of them has zero chance of happening in a country that has not started construction of a new nuclear plant since 1977.
Then comes modern socialism: The government would offer “allowance” permits to emit greenhouse gasses. Initially about half the permits would be auctioned off to businesses, which Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) says would raise about $3.3 trillion by 2050–money the federal government would give away to favorite constituencies. There would be $190 billion for “environmental” job training, $228 billion for federal “wildlife adaptation” and $237 billion to the states for similar efforts. There would be billions for international aid, domestic mass transit, energy research and so on.
The permits that wouldn’t be auctioned off would be given by the government to the states, foreign countries, Indian tribes, carbon-heavy industries, utilities, oil refineries and so forth to help them meet their global warming challenges.
To make all this work, the bill would create massive new federal bureaucracies, beginning with a Climate Change Credit Corp., which would invest government money in private businesses, and a Carbon Market Efficiency Board, which could change the rules and alter the government demands on businesses.
Finally would come protectionism: A new climate change agency would have the authority to determine whether other countries are taking proper action to prevent climate change, and to restrict their imports into America if not. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) tells us if a foreign company “enjoys a price advantage over an American competitor” whose country has no cap-and-trade system, “we will impose a fee” on the foreign company’s imports “to equalize the price.” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) wants to impose trade sanctions on countries that do not cap their emissions. Should Barack Obama become president, his protectionism will become our policy; add to that this global warming bill and rampant protectionism will be with us once again, as it was in 1930.
If Obama and McCain were as gung-ho about cap-and-trade as DuPont suggests, wouldn’t they have shown up to vote for Lieberman-Warner?