Stop The Global Warming Lies

| Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | |
by Jim Lacey

Whether it’s energy policy, global warming, or nuclear waste, if our regulators get the wrong answer, they make one up.

Effective policy cannot be built on lies and myths. But when it comes to energy policy that seems to be all we have to go on. A report recently released by the EPA, for instance, claims that by 2020 regulations enacted under the Clean Air Act will provide an annual benefit of $2 trillion for a cost of $66 billion, a 30-to-1 return on investment. And that is the EPA’s low estimate. In a best-case scenario, the benefits could reach as high as $5.5 trillion, a 90-to-1 return, or $48,000 for every American household. Where do I go for my check?

Unfortunately, the EPA is lying. Not about everything: The $66 billion cost is real, though probably low-balled. EPA regulations will most definitely remove that $66 billion from the economy, making it unavailable for job-creating investment. But what of the $2 trillion in benefits? According to analysis by economists W. David Montgomery and Anne E. Smith, these gains are an illusion. The $2 trillion figure was based on nothing more than a survey asking Americans how much they would pay to live an extra few weeks or months, or to have a little extra visibility on a clear day.

The EPA estimate, therefore, has nothing to do with job creation, economic growth, or real economic output. It has everything to do with hiding the fact that EPA regulations will place a crushing burden on the economy. The EPA knows this. In fact, in the same report that purports to prove that we all gain from more regulations, there is a real macroeconomic study, one done by EPA economists rather than policy officials. They find that past EPA rules slowed the economy by $79 billion in 2010, and will slow it by $110 billion in 2020.

Poof! In the EPA’s own report a $2 trillion annual benefit turns into a $110 billion annual loss. That is a lot of jobs.

The lies and myth-making do not end there. Last month the infamous Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) once again let its global-warming agenda get ahead of the facts. The IPCC claimed that “Close to 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies.”

We had to wait a few weeks for the supporting evidence. It turns out that to get to that 80 percent number the folks at the IPCC threw out 163 scenarios where their models did not give them the answer they wanted. Only on the 164th try did they finally get an answer they liked. Moreover, the report the IPCC used as the basis for its claim turns out to have been written by Greenpeace activists in conjunction with a lobbying group for renewable energy. No real scientists or engineers were involved. But the story gets even better. For the IPCC model to work, they researchers had to assume the world will be using less energy in 2050 than it is today. By that date there may be 2 billion more people on the planet, all clamoring for their fair share of energy resources. But somehow the IPCC thinks we will be using less energy!



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