Why Pennsylvania’s Sen. Casey Is Wrong on Cap-and-Trade

Published October 1, 2009

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) wrote the following letter to a constituent attempting to justify his support for cap-and-trade legislation similar to a bill that recently was passed by the House. In the left-hand column below, Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast [insert photo], publisher of Environment & Climate News, points out the flaws in Casey’s letter.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding climate change, I appreciate hearing from all Pennsylvanians about the issues that matter to them most.

[1] The international scientific community concluded human activities that add a large amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere are a leading cause of climate warming. I believe Congress must take action to reduce and eventually reverse the hazardous effects of climate change, including [2] extreme weather, famine, population displacement and the escalated spread of disease.

The House of Representatives recently considered global warming legislation. H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, introduced on May 15, 2009 by Representative Henry Waxman of California and Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, takes a comprehensive approach to reducing greenhouse emissions through a number of proposed programs, such as capping carbon emissions, renewable energy requirements and energy efficiency standards. H.R. 2454 passed the House on June 26, 2009. When this bill comes before the Senate, it is likely that the Senate will divide the contents into two separate pieces of legislation, one focused on global warming policy and one on energy policy.

As the Senate considers global warming legislation, I will continue to advocate strongly for the people and the economy of Pennsylvania. In fact, I have introduced a bill focused on climate policy, S. 1134 the Responsible Use of Coal Act, focused on carbon capture and storage technology. [3] I am also working on a program which provides assistance to workers as they train for new clean energy jobs in a transitioning economy.

In addition, I introduced a budget amendment for funding to help accelerate research and development of carbon capture and storage technology in the fiscal year 2010 Budget. Throughout the upcoming debate I will continue to fight to ensure that clean coal is included in the national strategy to reduce carbon emissions, and the affordable electricity and assistance to ratepayer programs remain available. [4] It is of great importance to me that American families are not left behind as the country addresses the challenge of global climate change.

As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I am also closely monitoring international negotiations leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. I believe that a global agreement is necessary to alleviate rising energy prices, to transform the world economy, and [5] to protect our national security.

If done properly, our national global warming policy will [6] reverse the global environmental impacts of man-made greenhouse gas emissions while cultivating new clean energy jobs, re-energizing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania, and [7] revitalizing the national economy. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to develop climate legislation that will help Pennsylvania’s workers and economy.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov. I invite you to use this office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and Pennsylvania.


Bob Casey, Jr.
U.S. Senator

1. The “international scientific community” has not concluded human activities “are a leading cause of climate warming.” At best, there is agreement that human activities have played some role in the warming of the second half of the twentieth century, but how large a role, how much warming actually occurred, and whether the world will continue to warm are all subject to lively debate in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

The theory of manmade global warming is contradicted by extensive empirical data, including the absence of a global warming trend since 2000 despite rising carbon dioxide emissions, variations in global temperatures that occurred long before human activity could be a cause, and natural feedback loops that have been observed to counteract the warming effects of greenhouse gases.

The only scientific support for the theory of manmade global warming is computer model forecasts, which are not reliable and are not evidence.

2. While Al Gore and other popularizers of global warming alarmism claim warming will cause “extreme weather, famine, population displacement, and the escalated spread of disease,” there is no empirical data supporting these claims. Weather did not become more extreme during the twentieth century despite rising carbon dioxide concentrations and a warming of approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit. Famine became less common, and rainfall and soil moisture in most areas increased modestly.

The spread of disease is likewise largely unrelated to temperatures, as shown by the fact that malaria was common even in northern regions before the use of DDT and public health measures stamped it out in the developed world.

3. Offering “assistance to workers as they train for new clean energy jobs in a transitioning economy” is an inadequate response to legislation that will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. The Heritage Foundation estimates cap-and-trade will destroy more than 1.1 million jobs. The experience in Europe is that the number of “green” jobs added will be a tiny fraction of the number of jobs lost, and they will often pay much less.

4. American families will be “left behind” if a cap-and-trade program operates as its proponents envision. The Waxman-Markey bill would increase energy costs for the average family by between $1,400 and $3,100 a year.

Low-income families and those on fixed incomes would be hardest hit by cap-and-trade as their home heating and cooling bills and the cost of gasoline rise beyond the levels they can afford. And many of these families will suffer from the loss of a breadwinner due to the job-destroying effects of higher energy costs.

5. Appeals to “national security” are increasingly frequent in the global warming debate, but the argument is bogus. America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East is only one of several factors that influence our foreign policy in that region, and not the biggest. Reducing oil imports from the region won’t make Islamic fascism go away, and could make it worse.

National security is advanced by increasing international trade and reducing tariffs on manufactured goods. Global warming legislation would directly or indirectly reduce trade and lead to higher tariffs.

6. Even those who believe human activities are causing global warming and the consequences of warming would be disastrous admit there is little we can do to stop global warming, much less “reverse” its effects. Author Björn Lomborg points out Waxman-Markey would reduce global warming by less than 4 percent by the end of the century, an amount too small to be measured.

We would have to make massive changes to our lifestyles in order to reduce emissions by the amounts required by Waxman-Markey, all for no reason. It would be “all pain and no gain.”

7. There has never been a single instance in the history of the United States when a massive tax increase led to “revitalizing the national economy.” There isn’t a single credible economist in the world who thinks this is the right prescription for what ails the economy today.

Waxman-Markey would slow economic growth by raising energy prices, crippling the nation’s energy industry, and causing manufacturing jobs to go to China, India, and other countries that refuse to cap their emissions. It would turn a recession into a major depression. It would be an economic disaster.