May 10, 2010
Cap-and-Trade Is Back
On Wednesday, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plan to introduce legislation designed to inflate the cost of energy, strain family budgets, and decimate America's manufacturing sector -- all in the name of supposedly saving the climate.
Kerry and Lieberman have been revamping legislation that narrowly passed the House of Representatives last year. The House bill imposes oppressive limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and establishes a complex cap-and-trade scheme in which the federal government determines how much CO2 a business may emit. If a business exceeds its allowance, it may purchase additional "carbon credits" from an exchange, where the credits will be traded like a commodity. Rules for the exchange of carbon credits, including the trading of carbon derivatives, are addressed in the House bill, and my sources tell me that the Senate version will include these same stratagems.
In an e-mail sent to the media last week regarding their plans, Kerry and Lieberman said, "We can no longer wait to solve this problem which threatens our economy, our security and our environment."
My insiders also say the new Kerry-Lieberman proposal will keep the House bill's goal of attaining a 17-percent reduction of greenhouse gases (below their 2005 level) by 2020. Apparently the Senate bill will allow cap-and-trade to hit power companies first, and then within six years include the manufacturing sector.
The new bill apparently calls for more loan guarantees to build nuclear plants and grants U.S. coastal states a share of the revenue produced by any expansion of offshore oil and natural-gas drilling.
This is a bill that will cause all of us to suffer great loss.
Presently, 40 percent of CO2 emissions in the United States are derived from electricity generation, 35 percent from transportation, and 25 percent from business, industry, and natural gas to heat homes.
So where will the 17% cut come from, especially given that (according to U.S. census projections) there will be an additional 30 million people in the United States by 2020? If the cuts are distributed proportionately, the biggest blow will be to electricity production. Since 50 percent of our nation's electricity is derived from coal, that industry and its customers will be hit hardest. Coal plants are going to have to be shuttered. And what will replace that energy resource? Nothing.
Some might counter that the House bill touts complex tax credits for wind and solar development. However, when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining, those two alternatives don't provide a watt of energy -- they're simply enhancements, not baseload providers. Additionally, the Kerry-Lieberman loan giveaway for the construction of nuclear plants -- which do not generate carbon emissions -- is simply a lure to entice gullible Republicans to bite, because the White House is not a fan of nuclear power.
Recall that during his January State of the Union address, Mr. Obama said that America needs to be "building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country."
In an apparent move to make good on his promise, two days after the speech, Bloomberg reported: "President Barack Obama, acting on a pledge to support nuclear power, will propose tripling guarantees for new reactors to more than $45 billion[.]"
However, the proposal was a ruse. Many forget that shortly after taking office Obama's first budget planned to cut off money for the Nevada nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain -- meaning that the $10 billion in taxpayer dollars spent since 1983 to ready Yucca for storing nuclear waste was a total loss. Yucca Mountain will officially be zeroed out in fiscal year 2011.
Meantime, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the creation of a special panel to find a solution for storing nuclear waste.
Problem is, we already had a solution -- Yucca Mountain.
America has no nuclear option. And, as I have written here at American Thinker, the probability of additional drilling for domestic fossil fuels is low as well.
So where will the carbon cuts come from? They'll come from the American people, who will be forced to use less energy because of the higher costs imposed by cap-and-trade and a variety of new energy taxes.
Proving my point, last week members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, took part in the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference. One of the better-attended seminars was entitled "Efficiency and Renewables." Presenters included Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality. According to the brochure promoting this session, "The cheapest, cleanest, and fastest emission reductions will come from the energy we never have to use at all. Cutting energy use also saves money on homeowners' electricity bills and reduces costs for business."
Translation: America does not need a plan for additional power plants to serve a growing population; instead, the people must use less power. Coercion through increased pricing will be a key prod in producing the societal behavior modification necessary to accomplish this goal.
By the way, Nancy Sutley is also the woman who announced the hiring of the radical Van Jones in March 2009, declaring: "Van Jones has been a strong voice for green jobs, and we look forward to having him work with departments and agencies to advance the President's agenda of creating 21st-century jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources. Jones will also help to shape and advance the administration's energy and climate initiatives with a specific interest in improvements and opportunities for vulnerable communities."
Further straining the family budget, a new set of fees and taxes will be imposed on all sectors of the economy that produce greenhouse gases. This will include transportation, farming, livestock production -- even restaurants that cook barbecued chicken and ribs over an open flame and bottling companies that sell fizzy drinks. To absorb the increased cost of doing business, companies large and small will be forced to raise their prices. Already pinched personal bank accounts will be further hammered, as virtually everything is going to cost more.
The Kerry-Lieberman bill is also a job-killer. To meet the demands of the new emissions limits, the few manufacturing businesses that remain in the United States will be further shipped overseas. This is a part of an elitist plan to redistribute America's wealth abroad. In other words, this legislation will purposefully execute the loss of well-paying domestic jobs, so that those in third world and underdeveloped nations have a chance to improve their standard of living -- at our expense.
Proving my point is the House version of this bill. If your manufacturing job is shipped overseas, you are eligible for three years of unemployment compensation at 70% of your pay, plus retraining and relocation expenses. The intent is to pacify your anger with a three-year paid vacation.
And another dirty little secret about the Democrats' need to pass cap-and-trade: It's a revenue-builder. According the Wall Street Journal, the cap-and-trade system could actually generate between roughly $1.3 trillion and $1.9 trillion between fiscal years 2012 and 2019.
This so-called energy bill is a punch to the gut that American does not need. And keep in mind, as I have conclusively proven through past missives at American Thinker, as well as in my book Climategate, that the temperature of the earth is not warming, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and without the greenhouse effect, planet Earth would be a big ball of ice.
To pass, cap-and-trade will need bipartisan support. Thus far only Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have spoken out in favor of supporting a mandatory cap on greenhouse gases.
However, other Senate Republicans who could cross over and support this bill are Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, George LeMieux of Florida, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and the retiring George Voinovich of Ohio.
Brian Sussman is author of the new bestseller, "Climategate: a veteran meteorologist exposes the global warming scam," and host of the Morning Show on KSFO radio in San Francisco.