Cap-and-trade is a tax, and it’s going to be a great big one.

– Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.

Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

– President Barack Obama

Cap-and-trade schemes will inflict massive economic pain for no environmental gain. It will create an intrusive “Green Nanny State” that destroys jobs, reduces personal freedoms, staggers economic opportunities and limits civil rights.

While much media attention in recent months has been riveted on health care, government bailouts and runaway spending, another major issue is flying under the radar in Washington, the so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation. Designed to address “global warming,” it is a complicated regulatory scheme that puts the thumbscrews to businesses that use electricity and other forms of energy derived from oil, gasoline, natural gas and coal. While it is chock-full of technical language and lengthy verbiage, one thing known with certainty is that cap-tax-and-trade will inflict intense pain for no environmental gain.

In short, cap-and-trade policies will place severe limits on how much carbon dioxide America will be allowed to generate. Companies and utilities would be issued permits dictating how much CO2 they can put into the air each year. If they cannot stay within those limits, they will be compelled to switch to wind, solar or geothermal energy (assuming those sources can be built), or they must capture the CO2 and store it somewhere using technologies that do not yet exist or buy “carbon credits” from brokers and/or middlemen.

Don’t miss Whistleblower’s “POWER PLAY: ‘Cap-and-trade’: How Obama is using a phony crisis to advance global governance, cripple industry, tax everyone (especially the poor) and gain unprecedented power”

Cap-and-trade restricts and taxes the energy we get from coal, oil and other “carbon-based” fuels. Because 85 percent of America’s energy comes from these hydrocarbon sources, prices will soar for everything we heat, cool, drive, make, grow, eat and do! The impacts will be excruciatingly painful.

The complex system will be administered, regulated and policed by thousands of government bureaucrats, and paid for by every American family, driver, business, school district, hospital, airline and farmer.

By slashing carbon-dioxide emissions 83 percent below 2005 levels, the ostensible goal by 2050 is to stabilize the earth’s temperature, climate and weather patterns that have never been stable!

The last time America emitted that small amount of CO2 was 1908! To reach that level would require monumental changes to our lifestyles and living standards. Politicians and unelected pressure groups, bureaucrats and judges will dictate home building, heating, cooling and lighting decisions; transportation and vacation choices; how food can be grown and shipped; what kinds of products can be purchased and how they must be manufactured; how much energy must come from subsidized, unreliable “green” sources. Yes, all will be dictated by Washington.

Restrictions and taxes on fossil fuels will hit America’s manufacturing heartland especially hard. For example, the American Council for Capital Formation calculated that cap-and-trade would spike Indiana’s electricity prices nearly 60 percent by 2030, further increasing school and hospital energy costs from 28 to 42 percent, causing numerous jobs to be exported to other countries, where there would be few restrictions on CO2 emissions. Other states would be similarly hard-hit, says ACCF.

Other experts have calculated that cap-and-trade would destroy millions of American jobs, raise energy costs for the average U.S. family by $1,400 to $3,100 per year and send overall food and living costs upward by $4,600 a year.

While poor families might receive energy welfare handouts and wealthier families be able to absorb the increased costs, cap-and-trade will severely affect middle class families. They would be forced to pay for skyrocketing energy and food costs. Hospitals and school districts would have to raise fees and taxes, or cut services. Cities and states would have to cover rising welfare and unemployment costs, even as tax revenues dwindle.

Switching to renewable energy does not merely increase costs and reduce reliability, but also negatively impacts the environment. For example, the production of ethanol mandates growing corn or switchgrass on farmlands the size of the state of Montana. Wind and solar power would mean covering millions of acres of America’s landscape with huge turbines and solar panels. Hundreds of millions of tons of steel and concrete would be needed to build them, and because wind turbines and solar panels are unreliable much of the time, backup natural-gas generators would also be needed. Even worse, all this pain would bring no climate gain.

Carbon-dioxide emissions from China, India and other countries would quickly dwarf America’s imposed reductions. These nations are building new coal-fired power plants every week to modernize, reduce poverty, improve human health and ensure families, offices, schools and hospitals have dependable electricity. Even Germany plans to build 27 new coal-fired power plants by 2020, and Italy to double its reliance on coal by 2015.

Of course, some will gain from taxing and hyper-regulating our economy. Al Gore and other middlemen or traders involved in emission trading will make billions if not trillions of dollars in cap-and-trade transactions. Well-paid government bureaucrats will have new “green jobs,” as will scientists, eco-activists and renewable-energy companies, getting a windfall of $6 billion to $10 billion annually in taxpayer cash to conduct climate research, issue dire warnings about global-warming cataclysms and build wind and solar projects.

The Earth is cooling. Our economy is in the tank. Congress and the White House need to stop hyperventilating about global warming, and allow the free market and private enterprise to get our economy back on track.

 


Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and is currently involved in helping spearhead the committee’s All Pain No Gain petition to challenge global-warming policies.

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