Obama's energy, climate plans would drag U.S. back to 1905 – or 1862
By Paul Driessen, OpEd Contributor
- | 4/30/09 4:59 AM
President Obama wants to prevent “runaway global warming,” by slashing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory data, this would return the country to emission levels last seen in 1905!
The Wright brothers had just made history. Coal and wood heated homes. Few had telephones or electricity. New York City’s vehicle emissions were 900,000 tons of horse manure annually. Life expectancy was 47.
But America’s 1905 population was 84 million, versus 308 million today. We didn’t have cars, jetliners or electricity for offices, factories, schools and hospitals. To account for those factors, we’d have to send CO2 emissions back to 1862 levels.
The Civil War was raging. The industrial revolution was in its infancy. Malaria, typhus and cholera killed thousands every year. Life expectancy was 40 – half of what affordable energy helps make it today.
No matter. The 648-page “cap-and-trade” climate bill sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman, D-CA, and Edward Markey, D-MA, would compel an 80% CO2 reduction, by imposing punitive cap-and-tax restrictions on virtually every hydrocarbon-using business, motorist and family.
That’s making some legislators nervous, as they ponder the health, economic and employment effects of restricting energy supplies and driving up the cost of everything we eat, drink, make and do – especially in 20 states that get 60-98% of their electricity from coal.
To prod Congress into action, or achieve the 80% target via regulatory edict, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Obama has decreed that plant-enhancing carbon dioxide “endangers human health and welfare.”
The actions EPA is contemplating would regulate cars, trains, boats and planes; pave the way for regulating farms and factories, hospitals, apartment buildings, malls and lawn mowers; and send energy prices skyrocketing.
Thousands of climate experts say there is no crisis, computer models are meaningless, and CO2 has little effect on climate change. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 48% of American voters now believe climate change is caused by natural forces; only 34% now think it’s due to humans.
Moreover, even if America eliminated all its greenhouse gas emissions, soaring Chinese and Indian CO2 levels would promptly offset our draconian cuts.
This alarms climate alarmists. They fear it’s now or never to wrest control over energy and the economic activities it fuels. Now or never to profit from cap-and-tax laws and renewable energy mandates.
Obama says the cap-and-trade approach will “raise” $656 billion over the next decade. The National Economic Council and other analysts put the tax bite at $1.3 to $3.0 trillion.
This is not monetary manna. The wealth will be extracted from every hydrocarbon-using business, motorist and family. The intrusive energy rules and taxes will clobber households, manufacturers, farmers, truckers and airlines.
The poorest families will get energy welfare, to offset part of their $500-3,000 increase in annual heating, cooling, transportation and food expenses. Everyone else will have to trim health, vacation, charity, college and retirement budgets to pay the higher costs.
Every increase in energy prices will result in more businesses laying off workers or closing their doors, more jobs sent overseas, more families forced into welfare, more school districts, hospitals and churches into whirlpools of red ink.
Carbon taxes and renewable energy mandates will mean hundreds of thousands of towering wind turbines – and billions of tons of steel, concrete, copper and fiberglass to build and install the unreliable, subsidized monsters.
My grandmother used to say, The only good thing about the “good old days” is that they’re gone.
Few Americans will be thrilled with returning to 1905 – or the impact that climate change laws will have on their freedoms, budgets, jobs, living standards and environment.
The White House, EPA and Congress need a reality check.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.