March 31, 2009 Laura Henderson (202) 621-2951

Road to Serfdom: Climate Bill Envisions Future with Less Energy, Fewer Jobs, Worse Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Institute for Energy Research president Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement today after the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee formally released a draft of legislation that seeks to affect the world’s climate by rationing Americans’ use of carbon dioxide:

“Those who would characterize this draft as a blueprint for higher energy prices, fewer jobs, and reduced economic output are unfortunately missing the whole truth. In reality, the bill envisions the wholesale reordering of American society, where those who produce are punished, those who remain idle are rewarded, and those who require affordable energy to live are forced to subsidize those who require political pull to survive. introduced today is part of an agenda whose mandate extends well beyond utility bills and unemployment rolls. Quite simply, this

“Today, Americans were granted a sneak peek at what that future might look like. It’s future where grids are judged ‘smart’ not by their ability to deliver low-cost, reliable electricity to consumers, but by their inability to do so; where fuels are deemed ‘acceptable’ only insofar as they don’t fuel anything; and where a company is considered a ‘success’ not by any objective standard of economic output, but by arbitrary standards of carbon output.

“The draft bill introduced today not only portends that future, it provides the tools and timetables politicians will need to deliver it. Thankfully, for the rest of us, it also advances this debate to a new stage of dialogue – one where supporters of government-imposed energy rationing are forced to account for and defend that position in terms of dollars and cents, not polar bears and butterflies. It’s a debate, frankly, that’s been a long time coming. And it’s one in which we plan to make a significant and substantive contribution as the year goes on.”

Key elements of the Waxman-Markey draft carbon legislation:

  • Cap-and-Raid: Seeks to implement a “market-based program for reducing global warming pollution” – carbon – that will force hundreds of thousands of American businesses to obtain federal permission (via carbon credit) before creating a new job or manufacturing a new product. Although the draft is silent on how the federal permit procurement process would work, analysts predict the final version will require businesses to purchase those credits directly from the federal government, resulting in the expropriation of potentially trillions of dollars from the productive sectors of the economy.
  • Low-Carbon Fuel Standard: Also known as the “Weak Fuel Mandate” or “Fuel Dillution Standards,” LCFS seeks to impose new rules on the carbon-content of fuels produced by American refiners. The upshot is the creation of a weaker fuel, with less energy content, at a higher price – both in absolute terms, and on a per/BTU basis.
  • Renewable Electricity Mandate: Less than a year removed from Congress’s rejection of a national mandate seeking to force utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from politically preferred sources, the Waxman bill seeks to add an additional 10 percent to that charge – envisioning a final mandate of 25 percent, and setting in motion a massive redistribution of wealth from the southeast United States to the regions along the coast.
  • Green Jobs: Requires the secretary of Education to create a grant program specifically to award colleges and universities who get their students to enroll in “green jobs” training courses. The section of the text focused on what services the government will provide to the millions of American workers who will lose their jobs as a result of this policy “remains to be provided,” according to the draft.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energyenergyenergy and markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.


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