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Kerry smacks down shills from AEI and oil-funded think tanks. (updated) [View All]

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-10-09 10:18 PM
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Kerry smacks down shills from AEI and oil-funded think tanks. (updated)
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Edited on Tue Nov-10-09 10:47 PM by ProSense
Baucus Committed to 'Balanced' Climate Legislation; Kerry Takes Think Tanks to Task

Once opening statements were over, the hearing quickly morphed into a debate between Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and two witnesses over the accuracy of conservative think tanks' studies on the bills economic effects.

Margo Thorning, chief economist with ACCF, a think tank that has received more than $1.6 million in funding from ExxonMobil since 1998, pointed to a survey her organization produced with the National Association of Manufacturers that says the U.S. would lose up to 2.4 million jobs by 2030 and that household income would be about $1,200 less than it otherwise would be.

She said the study relied on macroeconomic models, which are able to capture the dynamic impact of changes in energy prices, as opposed to input-output models, which are not able to capture the impact of higher energy prices on the U.S. economy.

Kerry jumped on the claim.

The question of assumptions is really fundamental to this, he said.

Numerous studies have been done by academic and progressive think tanks as well as environmental groups that have found a net reduction in household costs and growth in jobs, Kerry said.

A University of Massachusetts Amherst study, for example, concluded that the clean energy boost provide House-passed American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) bill, in conjunction with the stimulus package, would provide a net increase of about 1.7 million jobs. A cost analysis by the EPA projected an increase in annual costs of about $80 to $111 per household, but that didn't factor in the economic benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A University of California, Berkeley assessment concluded that the number of jobs, GDP and household income would rise with the legislation because energy efficiency would reduce costs.

"You don't take into account the cost of inaction," Kerry added.

As Thorning began to mention the unwillingness of India and China to take action on climate change, Kerry interrupted her, saying,

Thats not accurate. Thats not accurate. You need to be accurate.

The changes that have been taking place are taking place in the rest of the world; not in the U.S., Kerry said. China, India and others are going to clean our clock if we don't act.

AEIs Kenneth Green drew Kerrys ire when he contended that economists, EarthFirst and people like me at AEI say cap-and-trade doesn't work cap and trade hasn't worked in Europe and it will not work here.

Kerry countered:

Europes trading system didnt fail; its working

They began a two year initial phase in which they acknowledge they made some mistakes, Kerry said. They've reduced emissions. They're growing their economies. Germany today has created more jobs in the (renewable energy sector) than in their vaunted automobile industry.

Green, however, sees structural problems with Europe's cap-and-trade program. "We will see many of the same problems here" only on a much larger scale, he said.

Kerry, an author of the Senate's Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, told Green he was seeing something that thousands of others dont.

Those others, said Kerry, presumable referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, won a Nobel Prize; we didnt.

If all these people are over here and youre over there, the (burden) is pretty heavy (on you) to tell me we need to exercise the precautionary principle, said Kerry. After asking whether AEIs studies have been peer-reviewed, Kerry added, You realize there are two or three thousand peer-reviewed studies that contradict your findings.


Updated to add: C-Span video (starts about 51:00)

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