Sunday, June 21, 2009

Michele Bachmann is a liar: Climate action edition

Michele Bachmann is crazy in a lot of ways. If your reading this blog, you probably know that. One of her most outrageous examples of that is her denialism and lies about global climate change and the cost of federal action on climate change to avoid the devastating effects of climate change.

She has been doing this by making wild and incorrect claims to scare the American people into opposing climate action. She's thrown out a lot of figures, for example in a op-ed she wrote for the Avista Capital Partners-owned Star Tribune in which she claimed the cost of climate action would be between $3,128 and $4,000 per household. To combat climate action she's called for ‘Armed and Dangerous’ Opposition.

But as we learned today her fearmongering is far, far from the truth. In reality the modest climate action being considered by Congress now in the form of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) would likely cost $5 dollars a year or less per household, and that's without factoring in the negatives economic impacts of climate change that would be averted with this action.

The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) released a report about the economic impacts of H.R. 2454 (ACES) at the request of Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan. And here's what they found: the average household would spend a minuscule amount to reduce global warming pollution. Their analysis determined “that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion—or about $175 for the average household.” To put that in perspective, 48 cents per day – a tiny bit more than the cost of a postage stamp – to avoid climate change. In fact, households in the lowest economic quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020.

But the CBO is certainly overestimating the what the costs would really be. It only estimates the economic impact of the cap and trade "title" of the bill and does not factor in the other major parts of the bill dealing with energy efficiency and renewable energy which would significantly lower economic impacts. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that the efficiency provisions alone could save $170 per household in 2020. The math is easy. That's nearly as much as the CBO estimates the total cost per household to be which makes the cost of climate action a mere $5 a year per household in America or a little bit more then a penny a day.

And even that estimate is likely far overstating the costs of action. Most environmental regulations cost much less then originally estimated, for example the actual cost of the Clean Air Act of 1990 was just one quarter of original EPA estimates.

So when you hear politicians like Michelle Bachmann lying about the costs of climate action remember what the truth is. Climate action will cost per household at most, will create 30,000 new jobs in Minnesota and prevent the worst impacts of climate change which could hit Minnesotans, particularly our farmers. Unfortunately Minnesota's Rep. Colin Peterson is leading the fight to block climate change action with some of the same Bachmannesque denalisim which is sadly being enabled by Rep. Tim Walz who helping him delay progress until Peterson's demands to weaken the American Clean Energy and Security Act are met. It's too bad that Minnesota Democrats are standing in the way of climate action that will help the farmers in their districts and create new jobs for their constituents. I'll have more on that soon.

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