NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 16, 2005

Ever since the United States abandoned the Kyoto global warming agreement, climate alarmists have tried to sell the public and policy makers on scaled-down policies less expensive than Kyoto. The latest offspring is the soon-to-be-introduced climate bill of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). His more modest plan, nicknamed Kyoto-by-Inches, resembles its predecessors: Kyoto Lite and Kyoto Extra Lite, says the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis.

Kyoto-by-Inches is based on recommendations by a group calling itself the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP). Lewis points out NCEP's official-sounding title is only for publicity since the private foundations sponsoring NCEP have no authority to set up national commissions.

Bingaman says Kyoto-by-Inches reduces greenhouse gas emissions without harming the economy. However, Lewis says the NCEP's cap-and-trade program is an expensive exercise in futility:

  • The plan lowers cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) by $588 billion during the period from 2010 to 2025 and would lead to an estimated loss of 171,000 non-farm jobs in 2025.
  • The total package of recommendations would avert only 0.012 degrees Celsius of warming by 2050, which would not materially affect potential global warming from GHG emission.
  • One component of the plan, a 36 percent increase in new-car fuel economy standards, would increase the average price of light-duty vehicles by $1,400 in 2015 and $1,200 in 2025.
  • Without the fuel economy standard component, the plan would still cost $331 billion in cumulative GDP losses and avert a mere 0.008 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Lewis says the NCEP plan serves no intelligible purpose except to break the political ice for economy-chilling anti-energy litigation and regulation. The only energy-suppression measures strong enough to stabilize CO2 levels are also a prescription for economic disaster.

Source: Marlo Lewis, Jr., "Kyoto-by-Inches Is Just as Foolish," Competitive Enterprise Institute, Number 97, June 14, 2005.


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