Senate Bill Will Cut Economic Growth, Not Global Warming

Attempts to Control Greenhouse Gas Emissions Would Hurt The Economy, Says NCPA's Burnett

DALLAS (August 8, 2007) - A study released this week by the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. economic output would be reduced by $533 billion over 20 years if recently proposed legislation to off-set green house gas emissions is enacted. Experts with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) believe any legislation built around cap-and-trade program schemes is just a backdoor way of taxing unsuspecting Americans.

"This report just adds weight to the argument that enacting any of these recently proposed climate change bills would do more harm to the economy than good for the environment," said H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the NCPA. "No matter what you call it - allowances, off-sets, cap-and-trade - it all just amounts to another tax on energy."

"Energy taxes are some of the most regressive taxes on the books," continued Burnett. "Lower-income people end up paying more of their total annual income on food and energy. How much should the poor have to pay to salve the environmental consciences of the relatively wealthy?"

The EIA report focuses on a piece of legislation that would force companies to purchase government-issued allowances for greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation claims it would reduce emissions by 60 percent, but according to the report, the resultant spike in energy costs would reduce real economic output, reduce purchasing power and lower demand for goods and services. Indeed, gasoline prices would rise by 41 cents per gallon, coal prices would rise by 245 percent and electricity prices would increase by more than 21 percent.

"The bottom line is there is no free lunch," said Burnett. "Stringent restrictions will always lead to higher energy prices, which will always come at the expense of taxpayers. The irony is the U.S. isn't the lead CO2 emitter anymore. We have been surpassed by China, but Congress still seems to think destroying our economy will save the Earth."