NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 28, 2008

While the likelihood that global warming would be a crisis has never been large and is getting even smaller, the cost of reducing man-made greenhouse gas emissions will be high, says Joseph L. Bast of the Heartland Institute.

An analysis of a carbon "cap-and-trade" proposal considered by the U.S. Senate in 2008 -- the Lieberman-Warner Act -- found that it would:

  • Destroy between 1.2 million and 1.8 million jobs in 2020 and between three and four million jobs in 2030.
  • Impose a financial cost of $739 to $2,927 per year by 20202 on national households, rising to $4,022 to $6,752 by 2030.
  • Increase the price of gasoline between 60 percent and 144 percent by 2030 and the price of electricity by 77 percent to 129 percent.

States that try to reduce emissions on their own are likely to incur costs 10 times greater than a national program because businesses and residents would find it easier to move to nearby states with lower energy costs or less burdensome regulations and because states would have to rely on more costly command-and-control regulatory approaches, says Bast.

Instead, legislators should address the issue of global warming by endorsing the following policies, says Bast:

  • Oppose higher energy taxes or carbon "cap-and-trade" programs.
  • Support research independent from government research programs that are biased toward alarmism.
  • Remove barriers to energy conservation embedded in state and local laws and regulations, such as restrictive building codes and zoning ordinances.
  • Support research and, if appropriate, capital investments in adapting to climate change rather than trying to prevent it.
  • Pursue win-win strategies that produce enough benefits to pay their way apart from their possible effect on climate.

Source: Joseph L. Bast, "Global warming is not a crisis," from: "Ten Principles of Energy Policy," Heartland Institute, Legislative Principles Series, No. 4, August 15, 2008.


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