NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 19, 2009

Sometime in the next few weeks Congress will begin consideration of the Waxman-Markey global warming bill to limit CO2 emissions.  If passed, the bill will be the largest and widest intervention by government into the lives of Americans since the 1940s, says Pete du Pont, policy chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) and the former governor of Delaware.

The Manhattan Institute's Jim Manzi concludes that the benefits of Waxman-Markey would not be much:

  • Historical data show that the average rate of warming in the 30 years from 1977 to 2007 was just .32 degree Fahrenheit per decade.
  • The expected warming in the next hundred years is estimated to be about .50 degree Fahrenheit per decade, and the new bill is estimated to lower global temperatures by about .18 degree Fahrenheit by 2100.
  • Manzi estimates the additional economic costs of the bill would be .8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), while the economic benefits would be just .08 percent -- so the costs would be 10 times the benefits.

The cost of reducing emissions turns out to be greater than the cost they impose on societies, says du Pont: 

  • According to a 1999 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimate, the emissions cuts the Kyoto Protocol would have required in 2010 were likely to reduce America's GDP by $275 billion to $468 billion, or $921 to $1,565 per person, and of course Kyoto does not apply to fast-growing developing countries such as China and India.
  • An April study by Charles River Associates tells us that if the Obama proposal to reduce CO2 emissions becomes law, that by 2025, just 16 years from now, the cost of natural gas would rise 56 percent, electricity 44 percent and motor fuel 19 percent; annual household purchasing power would annually decline by an average of $1,827; and America will lose 3.2 million jobs.

There are alternatives, says du Pont.  Earlier this month the NCPA issued a global warming analysis titled "10 Cool Global Warming Policies."  Among them: eliminating energy subsidies and barriers to nuclear power, establishing biotech crops, reducing automobile pollution and developing new technology.

Source: Pete Du Pont, "The Big Chill; Congress shouldn't fight global warming by freezing the economy,", June 19, 2009.

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