Gov. Mitch Daniels: Let's Chat


“Cap and trade legislation fails the test of government that works. The cost of this policy will be certain, massive and immediate. The benefits of these policies will be dubious, miniscule and decades in the distance. I really do believe that before we take a plunge of this magnitude, people should talk it over, think it through, take a deep breath and consider whether there’s a better way to achieve goals we all agree on.”

— Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels speaking at an energy summit in Indianapolis, IN, May 27, 2009.


First of all, cap and trade has already been proven as successful government policy. It was used in the 1990 Clean Air Act to reduce the pollution that causes acid rain.

The results? Well, the sulfur dioxide cap worked so well that The Economist crowned it “probably the greatest green success story of the past decade.” (July 6, 2002).

In the 1990s, the acid rain cap and trade program achieved 100% compliance in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. In fact, power plants participating in the program reduced SO2 emissions 22% — 7.3 million tons — below mandated levels.

All this has been achieved at a fraction of the cost estimates. Prior to the launch of the program, costs were estimated to run from $3-$25 billion per year. After the first 2 years of the program, the costs were actually $0.8 billion per year and the long-term costs of the program are expected to be around $1.0-$1.4 billion per year, far below early projections.

The doom-and-gloomers were wrong then. And they’re wrong now.

As for taking a deep breath and talking it over, Governor Daniels may be new to the debate, but global warming has been a known and serious problem for decades.

Environmental Defense Fund first starting working on the threat of global warming in Reagan era. The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated more than 10 years ago. The McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act was first introduced in 2003. And there have been three votes in the Senate on moving forward on a cap and trade bill.

We’ve had ample time to debate the pros and cons. Governor Daniels may not want to move forward on this policy. That’s his right. But, he owes it to his constituents and the American people to base his arguments on facts, not misleading and baseless hyperbole.

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