Cap and trade legislation now before Congress could cost Utah as many as 24,000 jobs and $455 million a year, Sen. Orrin Hatch warned on Thurs at a cap and trade forum at the Utah State Capitol office Building.
Hosted by Hatch (R-Utah) and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the forum in Salt Lake City examined the potential impact to the state of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), also referred to as the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill. The bill cleared the United States House of Representatives earlier this summer and is now before the U.S. Senate.
"Four different studies, including one by the fairly liberal Brookings Institute, predict that Waxman-Markey would result in a serious loss of jobs in the United States, ranging from a loss of 1.7 to 2.7 million jobs each year over the life of the cap and trade proposal," Hatch warned listeners at the forum. "What does that mean for Utah? Two studies estimate that Utah would lose between 13,000 - and 24,000 jobs annually. According to these same studies, Utah could expect a $256 million to $455 million loss each year to its Gross State Product (GSP) in the early years of Waxman-Markey. However, during the later years of the bill, Utah would see a whopping $2.8 to $4 billion loss to its GSP".
The legislation under consideration is called the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The bill would force a reduction of human carbon dioxide emissions through a cap and trade system. Energy intensive industries that cannot reduce CO2 emissions would have to purchase allowances in order to remain in business, and the impact of this new tax on carbon-based energy use would touch all goods and services produced in Utah.
"Governor Herbert and I have been very concerned about how this new tax would affect Utah's consumers," said Hatch. "What would it do to our cost of electricity? What would it do to the cost of food and clothing? What would it do to the price of gasoline and diesel? What would the impact be on Utah jobs and Utah's economy?"
To help answer those questions, Hatch says they have gone to the industries that provide those products and services to Utahns.
"We asked them to help us determine the impact of the Waxman-Markey bill on Utah's consumers, and they have done exactly that," he said. "The results of their analysis have been compiled in a report called "Cap and Trade: The Cost to Utah."
The report references a number of studies that have been completed on the national level. The conclusions vary somewhat and projections continue to change as modifications to the legislation are considered. However, Hatch says, the various studies tend to confirm that Utahns can expect to feel a major bite, over time, if the Waxman-Markey legislation were to become law.
"Four different studies, including one by the fairly liberal Brookings Institute, predict that Waxman-Markey would result in a serious loss of jobs in the United States, ranging from a loss of 1.7 to 2.7 million jobs each year over the life of the cap and trade proposal," said Hatch.
Two studies estimate that Utah would lose between 13,000 - and 24,000 jobs annually. According to these same studies, Utah could expect a $256 million to $455 million loss each year to its Gross State Product in the early years of Waxman-Markey. However, Hatch says, during the later years of the bill, Utah would see a whopping $2.8 to $4 billion loss to its GSP.
"Notice how the authors of the bill push the greatest pain from their proposals to later years when they will no longer be in office," pointed out Hatch.
"I'm very sorry to report that the bill can promise almost no benefit to the climate as a result of this legislation," said Hatch. "Dr. Martin Feldstein, a Harvard professor of economics and the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors concluded that, and I quote, 'The proposed legislation would have a trivially small effect on global warming while imposing substantial costs on all American households.'"
Using the assumptions and data from United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, studies have shown Waxman-Markey would reduce the temperature by between .07 and .2 degrees centigrade after nearly a hundred years. This is the amount of the entire U.S. contribution global temperature reductions over a century.
"I would be very surprised if anyone in this room today has a thermometer at home that can register a .07 degree change in the temperature," said Hatch. "Is it any wonder that Waxman-Markey supporters recognize it must be a worldwide effort and call for U.S. leadership to bring other nations under similar carbon constraints? It is very telling that India, China, and Mexico have all balked at committing to strong carbon reductions. The fact of the matter is, that even with U.S. and European leadership we could very well end up going it alone. Considering the pain Utahns would be asked to bear, and the loss of competitiveness for our entire nation, Waxman-Markey is a risk I am not willing to take."