While the just-departed former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. enjoyed a high level of approval and respect within the state of Utah, he did have a few deficiencies. One of the most noteworthy deficiencies was his infatuation with the cap-and-trade carbon cult.
The cap-and-trade scheme is being enshrined in a new piece of Federal legislation. H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Read a manageable summary of the bill HERE. In short, the bill, sometimes referred to as the Waxman-Markey bill after its two sponsors, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), proposes a new national tax of gargantuan proportions. Although levied directly on carbon-based energy, the tax's impact will permeate through the entire economy, increasing prices, reducing income, destroying jobs, and significantly expanding the national debt. The Waxman-Markey bill seeks to "level the playing field" by making a more competitive player weaker, in this case hamstringing carbon-based energy sources, rather than ensuring an environment where less competitive players can become stronger.
The legislation is also Byzantine in its complexity. It exponentially increases bureaucratic intervention and oversight in many aspects of ordinary life. Particularly objectionable is the bill's empowerment of predatory speculators and banksters, who will be permitted to engage in "trading, banking and borrowing, auctioning, selling, exchanging, transferring, holding, or retiring emission allowances". In other words, speculators will be allowed to inflate and exploit a "carbon" bubble, just like they did with the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble. The latter nearly crashed our economy, and despite Barack Obama's irrational exuberance over the rising stock market, we haven't really begun to recover yet.
On August 6th, 2009, the Heritage Foundation published their own analysis about the prospective economic consequences of HR2454. In particular, the Heritage analysis projects the following effects by 2035:
* Gasoline prices will rise 58 percent (or $1.38) above the baseline forecast, which already contains price increases;
* Natural gas prices will rise 55 percent;
* Heating oil prices will rise 56 percent;
* Electricity prices will rise 90 percent;
* A family of four can expect to pay $1,241 more for energy
costs per year;
* Including taxes, a family of four will pay $4,609 more per
* A family of four will reduce its consumption of goods and services by up to $3,000 per year, as its income and savings fall;
* Aggregate GDP losses will be $9.4 trillion;
* Job losses will be nearly 2.5 million; and
* The national debt will rise an additional $12,803 per person.
(All figures are in constant 2009 dollars.)
All of these costs will be paid for no more than a 0.2 degree (Celsius) moderation in world temperature increases by 2100, and no more than a 0.05 degree reduction by 2050. Saddling the next generation with higher prices, higher debt, less income, fewer jobs, and more taxes does not seem like a worthy legacy--especially when the purported environmental benefits are so small they can barely be measured.
The cap-and-trade cultists have decided to bet the entire world's future on global warming theology. They present global warming theology as an immutable article of faith not to be questioned, and trivialize or even ignore inconvenient variations such as the fact that Fairbanks, Alaska has had frost warnings for the past two days - in August, no less.
Alaska U.S. Congressman Don Young has just issued his own warning about the pitfalls of HR2454. It is hoped that his Utah colleagues - Rob Bishop, Jim Matheson, and Jason Chaffetz - will listen.