NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 19, 2007

Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) recently introduced their "Low Carbon Economy Act" (LCEA) intended to combat global warming.  The bill ought to be called the "The Trillion Dollar Giveaway and Wealth Redistribution Act," says Steven Milloy, adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.


  • The LCEA's ostensible goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2006 levels by 2020; to 1990 levels by 2030; and by more than 60 percent from today's levels by 2050.
  • These goals are to be accomplished not by directly mandating reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) but rather by compeling larger emitters to pay for the right to emit GHGs.
  • The lack of a mandate to reduce GHGs emissions means that they could actually increase under the LCEA, as long as emitters are willing to pay to do so.

Further, the federal government would issue rights or "allowances" to emit the GHGs, says Milloy:

  • The bulk of these allowances -- 76 percent for the first five years -- will be given away at no charge to special interests, including private industry, farmers and states.
  • This giveaway works out to a total of $1.34 trillion -- not adjusted for inflation -- that would be handed out to global warming special interests from 2012-2030.
  • Additionally, companies that must purchase allowances will most likely pass along the higher costs to consumers in the form of higher prices for all goods and services that involve the energy use.

Ultimately, even if GHG emissions were lowered as per the LCEA, there would most likely be little impact on climate, especially since it won't keep China, India, Brazil, Mexico and other developing nations from more than making up for the GHGs that America may reduce, explains Milloy.

Source: Steven Milloy, "Global Warming's Trillion Dollar Giveaway,", July 16, 2007.


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