Senate Democrats

Rhetoric v. Reality on Senate Global Warming Bill

The following document highlights the top myths being asserted by opponents of the Senate’s global warming bill with the corresponding facts. In short, gas prices under the Climate Security Act may only modestly increase, and under some models may in fact go down. In addition, the measure provides tax relief to consumers and will spur investment in renewable sources of energy, which in turn will create millions of new jobs.

RHETORIC: The Climate Security Act Will Increase Gas Prices by $1.40 by 2050.

REALITY: The Bush Administration Itself Concedes the Climate Security Act May Only Nominally Increase Gas Prices. According to the latest modeling from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Climate Security Act could raise gas prices by 53 cents by 2030. [EPA Analysis of S.2191, 3/14/0]

REALITY: Families Will Be Spending Hundreds Less on Fuel by 2020 Under the Bill. Analysis by the National Resources Defense Council found that annual household spending on gasoline and other vehicle fuel will be less than consumers spent in 2007, under the Climate Security Act. The NRDC report found the average yearly household fuel bill in 2020 is likely to be up to $530 lower and in 2030 is likely to be $590 lower. The lower total fuel bill is primarily a result of higher fuel efficiency and greater use of alternative fuels that more than fully offset any higher fuel prices that would result from the law. [NRDC: Household Transportation Fuel Bills and the Climate Security Act Including Savings for 2020 and 2030: June 2008]

REALITY: The Climate Security Act Will Drastically Reduce Oil Imports. In a statement responding to the President’s veto threat on the bill, the Environmental Defense Fund wrote, “analysis based on data from MIT shows that the Climate Security Act would reduce oil imports by at least half a trillion dollars through 2030.” [Environmental Defense Fund Press Release, 6/2/08]

REALITY: The Price of Gas Has Skyrocketed Over This President’s Term. In his Statement of Administration Policy, the administration stated one of the reasons the President could veto the bill was because it “would increase gasoline prices another $0.53 per gallon relative to the expected price in 2030 and another $1.40 per gallon relative to the expected price in 2050.” Interestingly, since President Bush has taken office, the price per barrel of crude oil has risen 310 percent, from $32.12 on January 26, 2001 to $131.58 on May 23, 2008. [Statement of Administration Policy, 6/2/08; EIA Cushing, OK Crude Spot Price]

RHETORIC:  Energy Prices Will Increase Under the Climate Security Act.

REALITY: The Climate Security Act Provides Relief to Consumers Through Their Local Electric and Gas Utilities.
The bill provides $911 billion through 2050 to consumers through local electricity and gas utilities (local distribution companies) to ensure that consumers are protected from increases in energy costs, and to promote low carbon energy, and energy efficiency. [Summary of Substitute to S. 2191, 5/21/0]

REALITY: The Measure Calls for Billions in Tax Relief For Consumers. The bill sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance from rising energy costs. The measure calls on the Senate Finance Committee to develop the details of the relief. [Summary of Substitute to S. 2191, 5/21/08

RHETORIC: Climate Security Act Will Cost the Nation Jobs.

REALITY: The Senate Measure Provides Training and Assistance to Workers Displaced By Global Warming Mandates. The bill provides a total of $190 billion through 2050 to fund the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program, and a new Climate Change Worker Assistance Program. [Summary of Substitute to S. 2191, 5/21/08]

REALITY:  Investments in Renewable Energy Will Stimulate the Economy By Creating Jobs. According to a landmark 2004 study, a $300 billion investment in America’s economic and energy future over 10 years would produce 3.3 million jobs and a $1.43 trillion gain in GDP. Authors of the study from the Apollo Alliance found that 932,000 of the jobs would be in energy diversity, 900,000 would be in industries of the future, such as hybrid cars, energy efficient appliances. The report estimated 827,000 would be created in high performance buildings and 679,000 jobs would be created in infrastructure investment. [Apollo Alliance: New Energy for America, 2004]

REALITY: In 2006 Alone The Renewable Energy Sector Created Millions of Jobs. In 2006, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries generated 8.5 million jobs and nearly $970 billion revenue in America. [National Wildlife Federation: Recharging America’s Economy, May 2008]

RHETORIC: Any Global Warming Plan Must Include Nuclear Power.

REALITY: An Expansion of Nuclear Power Would Create an Increased Security Risk. According to the Union of Concerned Citizens, a large-scale expansion of nuclear power in the United States or worldwide under existing conditions would be “accompanied by an increased risk of catastrophic events—a risk not associated with any of the non-nuclear means for reducing global warming.” Such catastrophic events could include a massive release of radiation due to a power plant meltdown or terrorist attack, or the death of tens of thousands due to the detonation of a nuclear weapon made with materials obtained from a civilian—most likely non-U.S.—nuclear power system. [Union of Concerned Scientists, 12/10/07]

REALITY: An Expansion of Nuclear Power Would Produce a Large Amount of Waste. An expansion of nuclear power would also produce large amounts of radioactive waste that would pose a serious hazard as long as there are no facilities for safe long-term disposal. [Union of Concerned Scientists, 12/10/07]

RHETORIC: Cap and Trade Systems Are Risky and Unproven.

REALITY: Cap and Trade Systems Have Been Used in the U.S. Since 1990. Cap and trade first gained prominence in the U.S. when amendments to the 1990 Clean Air Act established the first system to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the primary cause of acid rain. This system was proven to be such an environmental and economic success in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions at a fraction of the expected costs, the European Union borrowed directly from it to design its cap and trade system for CO2 emissions. [Union of Concerned Scientists, Catalyst Spring 2005]

REALITY:The Sulfur Dioxide Cap and Trade System Was an Unqualified Success. The U.S. acid rain cap and trade program achieved 100 percent compliance in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. Power plants participating in the program reduced SO2 emissions 22 percent, 7.3 million tons below mandated levels. [Environmental Defense Fund, 9/17/07]