House Panel Rejects ‘Safety Valve’ for Global Warming Bill

Published July 1, 2009

Congressional supporters of carbon dioxide restrictions have rejected a series of proposals that would have limited job losses and price increases resulting from proposed carbon dioxide legislation.

Government, university, and private-sector economic studies forecast substantial energy price increases and massive job losses from the Waxman-Markey carbon dioxide restrictions. Supporters of the bill claim the studies are flawed and the forecast economic trauma will not occur.

Yet when legislators introduced a series of amendments that would serve as an insurance policy, suspending the proposed legislation if the feared economic trauma did occur, supporters of the restrictions refused to accept such safety-valve provisions.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee rejected amendments that would suspend the restrictions if any of the following happened:

* electricity prices rise more than 10 percent after inflation;

* unemployment reaches 15 percent;

* gasoline prices reach $5 per gallon;

* 10,000 steel jobs are lost; and

* China and India, which rank as the world’s first- and third-biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, fail to adopt similar emission restrictions.

“If the supporters of this legislation have any confidence whatsoever in their argument that carbon dioxide restrictions won’t ruin the American economy, they should have no problem agreeing to the safety-valve measures suggested for Waxman-Markey,” said James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

“By explicitly rejecting this insurance policy for the American economy, supporters of carbon dioxide restrictions demonstrate that they believe ruining the American economy and destroying our standard of living is a price worth paying to address a speculative and unproven global warming ‘crisis,'” Taylor added.

“It is especially appalling that the committee rejected reciprocal requirements from China and India, when even global warming alarmists have acknowledged that restrictions on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions won’t make a bit of difference in the real world unless China and India commit to similar carbon dioxide restrictions. This will be the greatest possible stimulus package for the Chinese economy, and the costs will be borne by American consumers,” said Taylor.

Dan Miller ([email protected]) is executive vice president and publisher for The Heartland Institute.