U.S. Chamber of Commerce Comes Out Against Lieberman-Warner

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 14 Nov 2007 14:58:00 GMT

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the first lobbying groups to come out strongly against Lieberman-Warner (America’s Climate Security Act, S 2191). Using figures from CRA International’s Anne Smith, a fossil-fuel industry lobbyist, the Chamber claims:
If this bill becomes law, 3.4 million Americans will lose their jobs. American GDP will decline by $1 trillion. And American consumers will be forced to pay as much as $6 trillion to cope with carbon constraints.

The Chamber also released the following commercial:

Other groups, such as Environmental Defense, are supporting its passage and asking their members to lobby in support of the bill.

The Chamber’s figures are cherrypicked from Dr. Smith’s testimony. Her calculations are based on a computer model designed and run by her company. Not modeled are the economic impacts of climate change or the possibility of borrowing credits. Her results have not been peer-reviewed nor were reported with degrees of uncertainty.

Job Losses

Her written testimony:
By 2020, our scenarios project between 1.5 million and 3.4 million net job losses. There is a substantial implied increase in jobs associated with “green” businesses (e.g., to produce renewable generation technologies), but even accounting for these there is a projected net loss in jobs due to the generalized macroeconomic impacts of the Bill.

Her modeling finds a net reduction in 2015 GDP of 1.0% to 1.6% relative to the GDP that would occur but for S.2191. The impact rises to the range of 2% to 2.5% thereafter, leading to a loss in the range of $1 trillion by 2050. By way of comparison, the Stern Review estimated the losses due to strong emissions reductions would be about 1% of GDP, and the long-term losses due to inaction from 5% to 20% GDP by 2050 depending on climate feedbacks.

American consumers

It appears the Chamber somehow generated the $6 trillion figure from this testimony:
Our scenarios imply that real annual spending per household would be reduced by an average of $800 to $1300 in 2015. If the percentage consumption impacts projected for each future year were to be stated in terms of current real spending power (we use 2010 spending as the proxy for “current” here), these spending impacts would increase to levels of $1500 to over $2500 by the end of our modeled time period, 2050.
The number of households in the United States is approximately 116 million. $6 trillion divided by 116 million is over $51,000. The US population in 2050 is estimated to be 404 million. The per-person cost would have to be $15,000 for the total to reach $6 trillion.

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