NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 2, 2009

The Senate's Kerry-Boxer and the House's Waxman-Markey global warming bills could not have been better designed to inflict more pain on the states that swung red in the last election than on those that went blue, says the Heritage Foundation.


  • The American Clean Energy and Security Act in the Senate and House's Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act both call for dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, eventually 83 percent.
  • When EPA's data for carbon dioxide emissions by state is compared with state populations and the 83 percent reduction called for in both bills is applied, a particularly eerie pattern emerges for those who live in the states that President Obama failed to carry last November.
  • Namely, the pain inflicted upon them is likely to be much greater as the work that their citizens do, the things that they make (one being energy) and the circumstances of their day to day lives result in higher per capita CO2 emissions from fossil fuels for their state.

Why any elected office holders in the hardest hit states -- regardless of partisan affiliation -- would consider being party to laws so onerous to their constituency may be puzzling to the average Joe.  Politicians, however, know that after enacting onerous laws with one hand, they -- and regulators abetting them -- can accrue even more power by arranging special treatment of favored constituencies with the other, says Heritage.

Clearly, this approach to looking at emissions per person per state can't reflect all sorts of realities that would affect and be created by such massive and complex legislation, says Heritage.  For example:

  • Some of the costs imposed on Texas or Louisiana oil refineries and tagged onto fuel sold across state lines will ripple well beyond those state's economies.
  • Overall however, it is pretty clear that Texas and Louisiana would be hit harder than Massachusetts and California.
  • Non-too-coincidentally, Massachusetts and California happen to be, respectively, in 43rd and 49th place for per capita emissions as well as the states from which both global warming bills' authors hail.

While there would be huge costs under this legislation for these liberal, urban and coastal blue states as well, CO2 fingerprints would be all over the battered economic bodies of the red state victims, says Heritage.

Source: Robert Gordon, "CO2's Political Fingerprint," Heritage Foundation, October 30, 2009.

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