October 29, 2009 Print

Cap-and-Trade Bill Would Cost Families

by Kim Trobee

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected today to consider a “cap-and-trade” bill, which, if passed, could cost families thousands annually, according to analysts. 

The legislation would set a limit on carbon emissions. Businesses would have to buy allowances if they exceed those limits, which they could sell or trade to other companies, but the final cost will be passed on to taxpayers and consumers.  In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, President Barack Obama himself predicted the damage the bill, known as Waxman-Markey, could bring. 

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

The vote promises to be close, and Democrat leaders have rushed Al Gore to the Hill to pressure fence-sitters.

Critics say Waxman-Markey would do nothing for the environment. If it were to pass, it might reduce the global average temperature by nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit by 2100, according to Cal Beisner, climate expert at the Cornwall Alliance.

“That’s not even measurable,” he said. “It’s purely a statistical artifact. It has nothing to do with the life of people or animals or plants or anything else on this planet.”

But the cost would be horrific, according to Beisner. It could cost $9.4 trillion in gross domestic product and the loss of about 1.1 million jobs per year.

“Ultimately, this can even affect, for example, churches,” he said. “They can come under the government’s mandates about how much CO2 emission they can be accounted for.”

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