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CO2 Cap-and-Trade Meets the (China) Dragon: Why Legislating Trillions of Dollars in Regulatory Costs Would Be Climatically Inconsequential

By Donald Hertzmark -- May 13, 2009

[Editor’s Note: Projected emissions from China will more than cancel the effects of Waxman-Markey in the year 2050 when the proposed law’s 83% cut in U.S. emissions would be fully imposed. This finding, calculated with the assistance of Chip Knappenberger and the MAGICC model, is part of a wide-ranging analysis below. Discussion, comments, and questions are invited by the author.]

The Waxman-Markey climate bill–characterized as a “648 page cap-and-trade monstrosity” by Al Gore’s mentor, James Hansen–is intended to bring the U.S. into line with Europe and Japan on CO2 policy. But as I have explained previously, the current U.S. policy discouraging new coal and new nuclear capacity will:

  1. Make the U.S. more dependent on energy imports,
  2. Drive up generation costs,
  3. Artificially incite demand for fickle natural gas, and related infrastructure such as LNG regasification facilities, and
  4. Increase reliance on old coal and old nuclear for baseload power, resulting in less efficient, less clean, and less reliable electricity.