Let's hear the truth about climate and energy bills

July 14, 2009


By Ellen Peterson



Like Chicken Little, critics of clean energy legislation predict dire consequences if legislation like the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) is passed.

Opponents claim that millions of jobs would be lost, energy prices would increase, consumer costs would range up to $3,000 per year, etc. Many of these same critics do not believe that global warming exists despite the overwhelming scientific consensus.

So, what is the real truth? For starters, their claims of millions of lost jobs are untrue. Together with the stimulus package, this legislation will help create a net increase of 1.7 million more jobs, according to the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts and the Center for American Progress.

Another falsehood is the claim about what this bill means for energy prices. According to the EPA, consumer expenditures on their utility bills will be reduced approximately 7 percent by 2020 as a result of the ACES energy efficiency standards. If we do nothing, increasingly expensive fossil fuels will stall our economic recovery. America's energy bill will increase by $420 billion annually within the next 5 years if our dependency on oil and fossil fuels continues. This translates to $3,500 annually for every family in the nation.

Opponents of change also predict that consumer costs will range anywhere from $1,700 to $3,000 a year. The costs to consumers would be only about a postage stamp a day according to the Congressional Budget Office and the net annual economy-wide costs in 2020 would be only $175 per household.

The consequences of global warming are already impacting our nation as evidenced by the devastating Western forest fires, the disappearing glaciers, and increasing incidents of severe flooding and drought. Passing ACES is a strong, first step to ensuring America's Clean Energy Future.

We cannot afford to listen to the Chicken Littles of our society and continue our old, polluting ways. Our future and the future of our children and grandchildren is at stake. Do we continue to blindly follow dirty energy practices or do we act now to follow a new path, one that will rebuild America's economy and fight global warming?