The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) passed narrowly in the House with the help of eight Republicans, who are being soundly demonized by the Right blogosphere today. This morning I saw a headline about “The Biggest Tax Increase in History.” This was from the Wall Street Journal, so naturally the rest of the Right picked it up and ran with it. Just so you know, the nation will be destroyed.
On the other hand, Joseph Romm writes,
The definitive analysis of ACES by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found the cost to the average American household in 2020 of ACES would be about a postage stamp a day — despite repeated claims of conservatives using dubious industry-funded research that this bill would devastate the economy.
Also, Romm says,
The GOP arguments against the bill, which included calling global warming a hoax, were so lame that one Democrat, Lloyd Doggett of Texas, who had announced his intention to vote against the bill because it was too weak, switched to supporting the bill after “listening to the flat earth society and the climate deniers, and some of the most inane arguments I have heard against refusing to act on this vital national security challenge.”
Word on the Right is that cap-and-trade was tried in Europe and was a bust. On the other hand, an MIT study says the European cap-and-trade system is working well with little or no effect on the economy.
On the Left, the reaction ranges from general relief that the Dems could get something passed to concern that ACES doesn’t go far enough. For an optimistic view, see Thomas Noyes, “The price of climate change.” He says the Right also is citing an MIT study, possibly the same one:
One source of these spurious numbers, the Heritage Foundation, claims that Waxman-Markey would reduce GDP by a total of $7.4tn and destroy 1.9 million jobs by the year 2035. A family’s electricity bill would climb 90% and natural gas prices would climb 55%, adding $1,500 to the family budget. An even scarier assertion that the bill would cost families $3,100 was purportedly based on an MIT study â€“ a claim that one of the study’s authors, John Reilly, roundly disputed.
Opponents reached these conclusions by exaggerating the downside and ignoring the upside altogether. They have overstated the costs of renewable energy, underestimated the future costs of fossil fuels and left out the cost savings of improving energy efficiency. The Heritage Foundation report projects home energy prices will increase three to four times faster than the Congressional Budget Office or Environmental Protection Agency studies, and doesn’t include any benefits from improvements in energy efficiency or investing in new industries.
As a species, we have to stop relying on fossil fuel sooner or later, if only because the planet isn’t making more of it. This is not a point you can get across to a wingnut, however.