Gasp! What a shocker! The EPA announced that six green house gases are a health hazard. While we all expected this, there will be a plethora of unexpected consequences. Though, the conspiracy lovers will likely say completely expected and intended. On Friday, April 17th the EPA announced that CO2, N2O, methane, hydrofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and perfluorocarbons are serious health hazards to current and future generations. The exact impact of these chemical emissions have been the subject of much debate throughout the scientific community. However, the EPA’s findings seek to end such debate and once and for all declare humans responsible for “Climate Change.” And to regulate it accordingly.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
“This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a release, later adding, “The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.”
The findings likely also precede a fresh batch of new EPA regulations that will have disastrous impacts on the U.S. and world economies. Naturally, the White House response was swift and telling.
“The president has made clear his strong preference that Congress act to pass comprehensive legislation rather than address the climate challenge through administrative action, that’s why the president has repeatedly called for a bill to provide for market-based solutions to reduce carbon pollution and transition to a clean-energy economy that creates millions of green jobs.” Ben LaBolt White House spokesman
What does this really mean? Not a whole lot, unfortunately. I’m willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt here. He very well may have “made clear his strong preference.” However, that doesn’t mean that Congress won’t do what it does best. Which is pass legislation that will comprehensively expand government control, in this case through EPA regulations, deeper into the private sector. After all, what good is a government that doesn’t grow like kudzu?
The great minds at the Heritage Foundation have some interesting projections regarding the creation of “millions of green jobs.” Given the history of fiascoes caused by the whole green energy movement, I find the Heritage projections far more realistic than that of the White House and President Obama.
With increased regulation through the CAA, there is a small initial increase in employment as businesses build and purchase the newer, more CO2-friendly plants and equipment. However, any “green-collar” jobs created are more than offset by the hundreds of thousands of lost jobs in later years. [Chart shown below] illustrates the projections of overall employment losses from these restrictions on CO2 emissions.
Center for Data Analysis, Heritage Foundation chart marking job losses
The chart depicts an initial loss of approximately 300,000 jobs in 2010 with growth in 2011 and 2012 and then continued losses reaching upwards of 800,000 jobs by 2016. So much for creating millions of green jobs. At its best the Center for Data Analysis shows a positive of 400,000 total jobs in 2012 only to have those jobs completely wiped out in the following years. The damage of this many job losses during our current financial predicament would be catastrophic. With current unemployment at 8.8% and rising the last thing that we need to be doing is further regulating energy, and thereby crushing businesses. If the economy were a domino line, energy would be the head domino. If you knock it over, everything else is bound to tumble after it.
Energy is one of the primary costs of doing business. It effects every aspect of production, transportation and administration. The more expensive it is to do business, the less businesses survive and grow. This in turn effects the price of goods (hiya trickle down economics, nice to see ya) and services. Thus increasing the cost of living, especially on the poor and future generations.
Of course it doesn’t stop there. Through the CAA (Clean Air Act) the EPA will be able to regulate virtually everything that emits CO2. From cars, trucks, boats and aircraft to schools, hospitals and commercial buildings. Via the Heritage Foundation:
In addition to increasing the costs of energy use, regulating GHGs through the Clean Air Act will expand the EPA’s authority to unprecedented levels. The ANPR will likely:
- Trigger the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program, which could require permits for large office and residential buildings, hotels, retail stores, and other similarly sized projects;
- Regulate the design of manufacturing plants;
- Regulate the design of airplanes;
- Lower speed limits below current levels;
- Impose speed restrictions on ocean-going freighters and tankers;
- Export economic activity to less-regulated countries, thereby compromising the U.S.’s ability to compete in the global economy; and
- Transform the EPA into a de facto zoning authority, granting the agency control over thousands of previously local or private decisions, affecting the construction of schools, hospitals, and commercial and residential development.
These regulations are just a small sample of the areas into which the ANPR would expand the EPA’s authority.
If this isn’t scary enough for you, consider the costs of energy. Right now energy costs are rising (we can see that at the pump). High energy costs help to fuel recessions. Conversely, lower energy costs help bring economies out of recession. It would make sense that one would keep energy costs low during a recession to prevent a full blow depression. However, that doesn’t appear to be the wisdom of Capital Hill at the moment. Of course, the Environmental Advocacy Group is hailing this move by the EPA as a great step forward.
“The U.S. is taking its first steps as a nation to confront climate change,” said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel at the environmental advocacy group. “Global warming threatens our health, our economy, and our children’s prosperity. EPA’s action is a wake-up call for national policy solutions that secure our economic and environmental future.”
The last bit is particularly interesting, given that every “green” initiative has caused damage to the economy. The key difference with this ANPR (Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) is that it will be catastrophic. Imagine if we combined today’s recession with the results of the Carter administration. Because that is precisely what regulating green house gasses through the CAA will do. Restricting CO2 emissions by 70% would rip even a stable and flourishing economy apart. The damage to our bruised economy will be unparalleled.
GDP loss due to CO2 regulation through CAA
- Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses are nearly $7 trillion by 2029 (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars), according to The Heritage Foundation/Global Insight model (described in Appendix A).
- Single-year GDP losses exceed $600 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars).
- Annual job losses exceed 800,000 for several years.
- Some industries will see job losses that exceed 50 percent.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) the U.S. GDP dropped roughly 6% in the fourth quarter of 2008. I am certain that we all remember what that drop felt like, right? Well, take a look at the chart to the right. That displays a $339 billion per year decrease in GDP. To say that Global Warming threatens our economy isn’t accurate. Using the CAA to regulate CO2 emissions threatens our economy. Be sure to read the full post by Heritage.
**Source articles: CNN & Heritage Foundation