Theodore's World: Lieberman-Warner Global Climate Change Legislation on States

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May 29, 2008

Lieberman-Warner Global Climate Change Legislation on States

Climate Reality Bites

The Wall Street Journal

The vehicle is a bill that principal sponsors Joe Lieberman and John Warner are calling "landmark legislation." They're too modest. Warner-Lieberman would impose the most extensive government reorganization of the American economy since the 1930s.

Almost all economic activity requires energy, and about 85% of U.S. energy generates carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. For centuries, these emissions were considered the natural byproduct of combustion. As recently as the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, they were consciously not even described as a "pollutant." But now that the politicians want to decrease those emissions, the government must create a new commodity – the right to create CO2 – and put a price on it. This is an unprecedented tax that would profoundly touch every corner of American life.

The policy preferred by the environmental lobby is called cap and trade. The government would set a limit on emissions that declines every year. The goal of Warner-Lieberman is to return to 2005 levels by 2012, and to reduce that by 30% by 2030.

"Allowances" for emissions would be distributed to covered businesses – power, oil, gas, heavy industry, manufacturing, etc. If they produced less than their allotment, the companies could sell the allowances, or trade them. Cap and trade limits on energy are thus sometimes misleadingly described as a "free market" policy that would create the flexibility for CO2 reductions how and where they are least expensive. But the limits are still a huge tax.

And for the most part, the politicians favor cap and trade because it is an indirect tax. A direct tax – say, on gasoline – would be far more transparent, but it would also be unpopular. Cap and trade is a tax imposed on business, disguising the true costs and thus making it more politically palatable. In reality, firms will merely pass on these costs to customers, and ultimately down the energy chain to all Americans. Higher prices are what are supposed to motivate the investments and behavioral changes required to use less carbon.

The other reason politicians like cap and trade is because it gives them a cut of the action and the ability to pick winners and losers. Some of the allowances would be given away, at least at the start, while the rest would be auctioned off, with the share of auctions increasing over time. This is a giant revenue grab. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that these auctions would net $304 billion by 2013 and $1.19 trillion over the next decade. Since the government controls the number and distribution of allowances, it is also handing itself the political right to influence the price of every good and service in the economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this meddling would cause a cumulative reduction in the growth of GDP by between 0.9% and 3.8% by 2030. Add 20 years, and the reduction is between 2.4% and 6.9% – that is, from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion.

These estimates assume that electricity prices will increase by 44% above what they would otherwise be by 2030. They also assume that existing coal-fired power plants, which currently provide about 50% of U.S. electric power, will be shut down – to be replaced with at least 150% growth in new nuclear facilities, plus other "alternatives." Yet there are only 104 current U.S. nuclear plants, and the industry itself says it's optimistic to think even 30 more can be built by 2020.

In fact, it is pointless to project so far out over multiple decades, since no one knows how markets and consumers would respond, whether the rules would remain constant, or what new technologies might come along. While moralizing about America, most of Europe has failed to meet its mandatory cap and trade goals under the Kyoto Protocol. But the U.S. isn't Italy; we will enforce our laws. So our guess is that these cost estimates are invariably far too low.

In a bow to this reality, California Democrat Barbara Boxer last week introduced 157 pages of amendments to Warner-Lieberman. Most notably, she sets aside at least $800 billion through 2050 for consumer tax relief. So while imposing a huge new tax on all Americans, she vouchsafes to return some of the money to some people. Needless to say, the Senator will be the judge of who receives her dispensation.

Ms. Boxer's amendment shows that cap and trade is also a massive wealth redistribution scheme – all mediated by her and her fellow Platonic rulers. Oh, and she also includes an "emergency off-ramp," should costs prove too onerous. This is really a political "off-ramp" to make Warner-Lieberman seem less dangerous, but you can imagine her reaction if some future Republican President decided to take it.

The upshot is that trillions in assets and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and the bureaucracy, all for greenhouse gas reductions that would have a meaningless impact on global carbon emissions if China and India don't participate. And only somewhat less meaningless if they do.

Warner-Lieberman has no chance of becoming law this year with President Bush in the White House. But the goal of this Senate exercise is political – to get Members on the record early, preferably before the burdens of cap and trade become more widely understood; to give Democrats a campaign issue; and to pour the legislative foundation that the next Administration could cite as it attempts to regulate carbon limits while waiting for Congress to act.

So by all means let's have this debate amid $4 gasoline, and not only on C-Span. If Americans are going to cede this much power to the political class, they at least ought to do it knowing the price they will pay.


OK this is very important:You can go to this article at Heritage Foundation

Effect of the Lieberman-Warner Global Climate Change Legislation on States

The Senate's leading climate-change bill, while aiming to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide in the air, actually poses "extraordinary perils" for Americans and the economy, according to a new study from The Heritage Foundation.
The study, produced by Heritage's Center for Data Analysis (CDA), forecasts severe consequences—including crushing energy costs, millions of jobs lost and falling household income—if Congress enacts the so-called Lieberman-Warner bill.

What follows are 50 state-by-state breakouts of the impact the bill would have on jobs and the economy.


When you get there you can CLICK on your own STATE and then also CLICK on the CHART


Warner-Lieberman bill could raise gas prices

The Hill ....for complete article

The bill could add about 50 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to a study.

Lawmakers have spent the spring debating ways to lower prices at the pump. But they will soon find themselves discussing a measure that could push fuel costs even higher.

The Warner-Lieberman bill, which is expected to be debated on the Senate floor the first week of June, seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

It does so by imposing a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases an industrial sector can release. Companies that exceed that cap could buy emission allowances from greener businesses in an open market.

For refiners, the bill would act like a tax on carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas released when fossil fuels are burned. The total price hit would reach 60 cents, the study predicts.

About 80 percent of that would be passed on to consumers.

Wild Thing's comment........

Incredible! Legislation that not only limits the economy to no further growth but requires it to shrink. Amazing!

It ought to be called Kevorkianomics!

This is probably the most dangerous piece of legislation to be conceived of in two or three decades. I hope some of the GOP come to their senses.

It says it will not pass while Bush is President, I sure hope not!

This possibly passing under someone else as President speaks volumes as to the kind of people we have running for the office of President. Alll three are GREEN BRAINED, all three are GLOBAL WARMING kool-aid drinkers.

....Thank you Jack for some of these links.. Jack's blog is Conservative Insurgent.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 02:55 AM


With all due respect WT... it's time for the campfire scene and MONGO from Blazing Saddles (1976)!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at May 29, 2008 04:21 AM

At those prices, no one (even wealthy people) couldn't afford to drive anywhere. Our economy WILL come to a standstill. It's crazy that they want to kill us so badly financially.
This is the worst group of nuts I've ever seen in my lifetime. No one fights for anything anymore. They just give in because it's easier.

Posted by: Lynn at May 29, 2008 05:18 AM

Sponsored by an independent and a republican. This will hit my state hard and our congressional district is in the upper percentage of being hurt the most, 2nd from top. This past winter was hard enough with the cold weather and high heating costs. I will be contacting our senators and my representative to voice my opposition, but both of our senator's are liberal loons.

Posted by: Bob at May 29, 2008 07:53 AM

I see this as the first step to beat the American People into submission. This has to be done before they sign into the North American Union.

Obviously, looking for new sources of Oil or building new refineries is not even a consideration in their minds. Just tax the hell out of the American people, the sheep will follow the leader.

At this rate the United States should be rated as a full blown third world country way before the year 2030.

Posted by: Mark at May 29, 2008 08:46 AM

Thank you Chrissie. Lieberman was kicked out of the doghouse by his fellow dogs but he still is in the kennel, Warner has always been a Democrat lapdog.
Our public servants, don't you just love'em but deplore their eating habits?

Posted by: Jack at May 29, 2008 12:01 PM

They finally found a way to tax the air we breathe. Folks, this is one of the results of career politicians. Term limits is one of the few, but most important amendments needed to the Constitution, if we ever have a Second American Revolution.

I see Sen Boxer has figured out a way to let the lifelong welfare recipiants and illegals avoid the upcoming horrendous taxes on gas and energy. Of course, this bill will increase the numbers of poor and indigent, increasing Democrat voters as the whole nightmare gets blamed on Republicans and Exxon.

Posted by: TomR at May 29, 2008 12:09 PM

The history of this climate change bill comes from a long-standing partnership of McCain-Lieberman legislation and their Climate Stewardship Act that they had championed in 2003. McCain's finger prints are all over this national suicide legislation. Another reason not to vote for this RINO in November.

John McCain's Hidden Energy Tax

"The proposed bill, co-sponsored with Joe Lieberman, mandates an energy-rationing scheme that all economists acknowledge is equivalent to a broad-based energy tax which is similar to Bill Clinton’s 1993 BTU tax proposal."

New Study Shows Hefty Price Tag for McCain-Lieberman Bill

"U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) in January 2004 introduced a modified version of the Climate Stewardship Act they had championed in 2003. A new study by Charles Rivers Associates documents the hefty national and state-by-state costs the modified McCain-Lieberman bill would impose."

Posted by: Les at May 29, 2008 01:13 PM

Darth, GREAT idea, thanks! I agree.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:13 PM

Lynn it really is nuts I agree. And your right that even a lot of well off peoople won't like this either.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:16 PM

Bob, it sure seems they want to bankrupt the citizens of our country. Turn it into some socialist society and huge government.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:19 PM

Mark, I feel that way too. They want all of us broke unable to keep up and then more government control of our lives.
I pray with all I am that they don't put this through.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:22 PM

Jack your right, Warner has never been a true Republcian. He has been a dem for as long as I can remember. I wish these fools would be what they are and join the party that they should be in instead of messing with the Republican party and let us fill out party with REAL conservatives instead of these very literally POS.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:26 PM

Tom, I think of what you said so much and everytime things like this are in the news it is the first thing that comes to my mind. Term limits and get the bad out asap.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:28 PM

Les, thank you so much for the links and added information. It sure shows this has all been in the works for a long time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:30 PM

Lieberman is my Senator, and he's a standard lib. His position on the war is his only virtue. Somehow this doesn't bother me, not because I like Joe, but because he's consistent.

Graham, on the other hand, leaves a snail trail wherever he goes. Take John McCain and remove the record of heroism, and you have Lindsey "Bug Eyes" Graham.

Posted by: Rhod at May 29, 2008 06:52 PM

Rhod, yes that is one thing about Lieberman he has always been a lib except on one thing, the war.
I agree with you too about McCain without his war record would be politically just another Graham. LOL and I love your description of Lindsey. LMAO so true!

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2008 06:56 PM

...speaking of Blazing Saddles, Harvey Korman just passed away in LA at 81-years young! What a great comic he was. RIP sir!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at May 30, 2008 01:20 AM

Darth, he was a good guy that I know of and very funny too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 30, 2008 04:49 AM