Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Small and Uncertain Benefits at Large Economic Costs

Apr 05 2011

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EPA regulation is not the way to manage global greenhouse gases for many reasons:

  • The American people have not given their endorsement;
  • The EPA is a national agency and this is a global undertaking;
  • The costs are enormous, have not been delimited, nor matched to benefits;
  • The EPA mission would be to limit emissions by its judgment, not bring the global temperature to a targeted value, or generate specified improvements in welfare;
  • The undertaking would have massive adverse repercussions for the economy as the needed technologies simply do not exist;
  • Industrializing nations, whose emissions are rising, will not follow a U.S. example that ignores technological reality and damages the economy;
  • U.S. energy policy is disorganized.  Existing mandates and subsidies are not structured and coordinated to achieve concrete, attainable results.  For EPA to add more of its own mandates is not the answer.

The Administration has spent huge sums of taxpayer dollars in support of alternative energy generation it deems “green,” but its subsidization strategy lacks coherence and focus.  It does not drive the cutting edge of energy technology forward as it might because most of the money goes to existing technologies.  The Administration’s subsidization strategy is not firmly aligned with its energy mandates so as to help the economy meet them.

The EPA should not be allowed to expand its regulatory reach on its own initiative, especially when Congress has refused explicitly to grant the EPA such authority.  This is especially true in light of the large costs and the negative and not fully quantifiable effects on the nation’s economy.

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