America Must Reject Global Warming ‘De-Stimulus’ Bill (Senator Inhofe Op-Ed, Washington Times, April 22, 2008)
April 22, 2008
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Earth Day Politics and Public Policy Section
America Must Reject Global Warming ‘De-Stimulus’ Bill
By Senator James Inhofe
The United States Senate will soon begin to debate a global warming cap-and-trade bill that, if passed, would impose severe economic constraints on American families and American workers for no environmental gain. We have had this debate before, starting with the rejection of the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, then again in 2003, and again in 2005. Each time, these cap-and-trade measures were defeated for two simple reasons: they did not include developing nations; and because of the significant economic impact on the American public. With the American economy facing troubles, now is certainly not the time to try this costly experiment.
What proponents of this bill fail to understand is that the American environmental success story has been built while growing our economy. Over the past three decades, Americans have proven that we can clean up our environment while expanding our population and vibrantly growing our economy. Democrats and their special interest allies have consistently taken the opposite approach and emphasized job-killing regulations and expanding the government’s power. The U.S. can follow a path of onerous government mandates or we can follow a path of developing and encouraging new technologies. A simple history lesson reveals that the technological approach is the only viable path forward as carbon cap-and-trade mandates are proving to be a failure throughout the developed world.
The Democratic majority has indicated they plan to bring the Lieberman-Warner bill to the Senate Floor in the first week of June. Various economic analyses of the bill are now coming in and, as we have seen with every other climate cap-and-trade bill, the results would be devastating to the American economy. Government and private economic estimates now show that the proposed Lieberman-Warner bill will significantly drive up the already skyrocketing cost of energy on the American public, including a 44% increase in electricity prices and up to 1.8 million job losses. American families and workers, already facing an economic downturn, a slumping housing market, and rising gas prices, will be asked to tolerate a “de-stimulus” climate bill that will further exacerbate their economic pain. The bill will bring ruinous economic consequences to America while exempting developing nations from the same requirements.
The burden on the U.S. economy is only one of the problems with the Lieberman-Warner bill. The legislation also creates a new presidentially appointed federal board to regulate carbon in typical Washington bureaucratic style. This new unaccountable board and the maze of federal mandates were aptly likened to a “Rube Goldberg” puzzle by Missouri Senator Kit Bond. Environmental groups like Friends of the Earth are warning that $1 trillion dollars of climate “pork” will flow back to Washington to be distributed and the money will be eagerly anticipated by well-heeled lobbyists.
More troubling yet is that man-made climate fears are being used to expand the sizes and scope of the federal government in other new and inventive ways. In addition to the proposed Lieberman-Warner bill, we have watched over the past year as liberal special interests have employed hundreds of lawyers to try and convert current environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Air Act into climate laws. Their attempt to list the polar bear as a threatened species is not about protecting the bear but about using the ESA to achieve global warming policy that they cannot otherwise achieve through the legislative process. The implications of such a policy would lead to drastic increases in litigation and employ teams of lawyers ready to find ways to shut down energy production.
The Lieberman-Warner command and control path utterly fails in comparison to an approach that embraces and develops new technologies. A technology emphasis is the only politically and economically sustainable path forward. I have long advocated a technology approach that brings in the developing world nations such as China and India. My home state of Oklahoma demonstrates that tomorrow’s energy mix must include more natural gas, wind and geothermal, but it must also include oil, coal, and nuclear energy, which is the world's largest source of emission-free energy. This approach serves multiple purposes – it will reduce air pollution, expand our energy supply, increase trade, and, along with these other goals, reduce greenhouse gases. Developing and expanding domestic energy will translate into energy security and ensure stable sources of supply and well-paying jobs for Americans.
Will the United States Senate choose the economically harmful Lieberman-Warner bill or the new technology path? With five weeks to go until the debate, the question is largely up to you. If you believe, like I do that we must not impose more costly mandates on the American people, I urge you to engage in the debate and contact your Senator and make your voice heard.
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