Senate Debate on CSA: Fact Check

Charlie MillerThis post is by Charlie Miller, director of communications at Environmental Defense Fund.

Today’s Senate debate on the Climate Security Act included quite a few misstatements of fact. We thought we’d offer corrections of some of the most egregious.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

  • If the bill passes, GDP will be 6 percent less by 2030.

    This is untrue. Economic studies from the Energy Information Administration, Research Triangle Institute, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories looked at the impacts of capping greenhouse gas emissions on the U.S. economy. They agree on two things: the U.S. economy is projected to nearly double in size between now and 2030 (and triple by 2050), and the overall impact of climate policy on the U.S. economy will be small. In 2030, the median projected cost of capping greenhouse gas emissions is just 0.58 percent – less than two thirds of one percent. The 0.58 percent difference in GDP is so small, it’s like two cars taking different routes from New York to Los Angeles and guessing that one will get there at noon on the third day and the other will get there at 12:35.

  • Economy would have 850,000 fewer jobs by 2014.

    The Energy Information Administration looked at job losses from the bill. It found that there would be 65,000 cumulative jobs lost for the entire economy by 2030. For comparison, right now without climate policy, more than half a million jobs are created, and an equal number destroyed, every three months in the manufacturing sector alone.

  • The point of this bill is to make energy so expensive that we’ll use less of it.

    The goal of the bill is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to head off catastrophic global warming.

Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO)

  • The long term trend of the Earth’s climate is unclear.

    Utterly untrue. Scientists are in near-universal agreement that the Earth will get progressively warmer unless we greatly reduce our output of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

  • Alternative fuels can’t be used for aviation fuel.

    Wrong – in fact, it’s already happening. Late last year, Virgin Atlantic became the first airline to fly with biofuel. The Boeing 747-400 flew from London to Amsterdam, carrying in one of its four fuel tanks a 20 percent mix of biofuel derived from coconut and babassu palm oil ("Virgin Atlantic Biofuel Flight" by Chuck Squatriglia, Wired Magazine "Autopia" blog, 2/25/08). And a few weeks ago, Honeywell, JetBlue, Airbus and International Aero Engines formed a partnership to research second generation biomass-derived aviation fuel (see press release [PDF]).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

  • Prices of gas and electricity will go through the roof.

    Again, wrong. For the average American household, 35 cents out of every dollar of income goes to securing health and safety. But the cost of protecting our families from potentially global warming would amount to just 3/8 of a cent per dollar of household income. We have seen the price of gas and electricity rise in recent years without climate policy. The price of energy isn’t what matters to families, but the size of the bills they pay. The EIA found that – with climate policy – the average increase in household energy costs between 2012 and 2020 would be $3.40 per month over the reference case. In 2020, the EIA found the average increase in energy costs per household to be $2.90 per month. In its analysis of the Climate Security Act EPA’s Scenario 10 predicts that household consumption in 2020 would be between $239 and $454 below business as usual (or between -0.23 percent and -0.49 percent lower).

The Senate debate and tomorrow’s vote on cloture are crucially important. If you’d like to write to your senator about this, click here.

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  1. hmccard
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Have you wondered why you and other EDF writers have not received many, if any, comments on what you write about this on-going debate of S.3036?

  2. markk
    Posted June 5, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Charlie, Many of your comments are wrong and typical of the one-sided view of the EDF and other groups. As Al Gore never stepped forwrdd to take on challengers of his Inconvenient Truth so too it is easier for the EDF and other organizations to deny differing opinions as it would screw up the agenda behind the scenes which mainly involves $$$. By the way I worked inside the alternative energy industry for 15 years. here is a link to a very recent article which supports Senator Allards comments and to which you should remove your comment as there are questions and it is not “Utterly untrue” . Also, if you knew anything about the state of natural gas and the lack of new power infrastructure you would back down on your comments regarding what energy is going to end up costing. Love to hear your comments on this article, the link of which I am sending you. Mark PS I do belive we need to be resposible about the planet but the JUST SAY NO policy of the EDF and others will bury us.,25197,23411799-7583,00.html

  3. mfrancis
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Charlie!
    I have sent your data about Jon Kyl’s wrong-headed remarks and John Cornyn’s erroneous statement to my friends in AZ and TX. Keep fact checking! And of course, we’ll be back in 2009 and pass a REAL climate bill which does NOT include nuclear subsidies, puts ALL the emissions permits up for auction and requires 80+ % by 2050.
    Mary Francis