Protectionism in the Name of Global Warming Regulations

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By Nick Loris 

Protectionism is always bad policy. But protectionism during an economic downturn, after taxes have already risen, and in addition to a massive $2 trillion tax on energy consumption is, well, not good.

Yet that is exactly what Energy Secretary David Chu seems to be edging towards.

In response to the notion that American companies will move overseas when CO2 is capped, Secretary Chu suggested that the U.S. simply levy a carbon tariff on imports.

This is why Secretaries of Energy should stick with energy and not economic policy. This is why free-markets work and command and control economies do not.

At any rate, the supposed logic goes something like this.

Since energy, predominately fossil fuel, is the lifeblood our economy, industries across the board will be hit with higher energy costs. Particularly hit hard will be the manufacturing sector. In the first 20 years, the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill would have destroyed over 900,000 jobs, caused nearly 3 million job losses in the manufacturing sector by 2029, caused some manufacturing sectors (e.g., paper, chemicals, and plastics).

The logical solution for these companies is to move overseas where they can make more efficient use of labor and capital and won’t be put at a competitive disadvantage in the United States. In response, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday advocated adjusting trade duties as a “weapon” to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China’s top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.

Mr. Chu, speaking before a House science panel, said establishing a carbon tariff would help “level the playing field” if other countries haven’t imposed greenhouse-gas-reduction mandates similar to the one President Barack Obama plans to implement over the next couple of years. It is the first time the Obama administration has made public its view on the issue.

‘If other countries don’t impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage…[and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost,’ Mr. Chu said.”

The Heritage Foundation has already documented how costly a cap-and-trade implemented in the United States would be. Our Center for Data Analysis calculated the costs of global warming cap-and-trade legislation in the U.S. alone and the cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per household. Annual job losses exceed 800,000 for several years. That’s a scary price to pay for what little, if any, environmental benefits we receive.

A carbon tax on imports makes all of that worse.

Read the rest of this article at The Heritage Foundation.

24 Responses to Protectionism in the Name of Global Warming Regulations

  1. suzanne March 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    FINALLY! I have never bought into the global warming lie, and I am so happy to know I am not alone!
    Thank you for your website and resources.

  2. Neil F. March 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    Suzanne: What, did you just now get a computer? I don’t mean to sound like a smart a**, I’m just curious to know what took you so long to find this out. You did say “FINALLY!!”, Have you had a hard time finding people with the same point of view? I ask because ten years ago I had no trouble at all finding “deniers” such as myself. I would like to know what kind of difficulties you encountered when you started looking. I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering that after reading your post.
    Anyway, welcome, and know that you have never been alone.

  3. Dan McGrath March 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    A lot of people feel like they are alone in their skepticism. We’re bombarded daily, or even hourly with the “consensus” message. That’s why we launched our billboard, bumper sticker and yard sign campaigns (if you want a yard sign, let me know and I’ll try to arrange one for you – stickers can be ordered on the site and we have them at many events for free).

    We had a booth at several county fairs in Minnesota last year, and I heard Suzanne’s message over and over again. It was funny how many people didn’t even believe their eyes when they say the bold red and white letters bearing our site’s name on the banner. Their eyes lit up, then they would cautiously approach the booth and ask, so are you saying that global warming is a scam, or are you saying it’s real?

    Seemed obvious enough to me, but so many people couldn’t believe they weren’t alone.

  4. Craig March 28, 2009 at 3:20 am #

    What a joke. This is just another way of Chairmen Obama and his fellow loonies in congress breaking the back of the Middle Class in America. These people (and Al Gore the head loony) just don’t realize that you can’t screw around with nature. The heating and cooling of the planet is a natural cycle and if these idiots mess with nature they will only make it worse and then they can say “see, we should have done this sooner”. Fools, they are all fools, I just don’t know how people can be so stupid to fall for this, well wait I can, look who they voted for for president. I hope enough people wake up before it’s to late and can change the course this country as far as this global warming joke.

  5. Rob N. Hood March 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm #


    1) U.S. policy has not kept pace with climate change. Ice in the Arctic Ocean is melting much more quickly than most people appreciate and U.S. policymaking is lagging far behind environmental realities. The Arctic is the fastest warming region on earth and is on pace to be ice free in the summer by 2013. The past few years have witnessed extraordinary melting and last summer the two fabled Arctic passages over Eurasia and North America opened together for the first time in history. Recent satellite images of the Chuchki and Beaufort Seas show dramatically less ice than what is historically normal for this time of year. By every measure, from huge ice shelves breaking free to complex environmental dynamics that scientists do not fully understand, the polar ice cap is disappearing and all indicators point to another record sea ice minimum this coming summer. We may be approaching a tipping point past which the melting sea ice cannot recover.

    2) This dramatic and unprecedented climatic change is affecting the geopolitics of the region. The Arctic is home to an estimated twenty-two percent of the world’s remaining undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves as well as access to the fabled shipping routes over Eurasia and North America, both of which have led to balance-of-power struggles in the region. The next few years will be critical in determining whether the Arctic’s long-term future will be one of international harmony and the rule of law, or of a Hobbesian free-for-all with dangerous potential for conflict. This is a story still being written with a plot full of characters who speak of multilateral cooperation but pursue their own self-interest. There is, however, reason for optimism, as governments in Washington, Moscow, Ottawa, Oslo and Copenhagen have issued public commitments to behave peacefully in the Arctic region, in addition to the general goodwill that has developed during the ongoing International Polar Year.

    But there is reason to worry, especially considering Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior in regards to military and economic expansion in the region. Russia has resumed long-range bomber flights and naval patrols in the Arctic and has assumed a more belligerent foreign policy overall that should give the other four Arctic coastal states pause.


  6. Sherry Dickens March 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    Yes, we are bombarded daily; I was just asked on one of my favorite websites if I participated in Earth Hour. I constantly keep my energy useage as low as possible, why in the name of heaven would I do it for just one hour? Unless it’s a media publicity blitz! All of the money spent on the publicity for this one operation, what if that money went to build a new recycling plant? Whenever I question any information about global warming, I feel as if people are looking at me as if I’m a serial killer!

    The media and the government constantly take unverified data and treat it as if it is a Holy message that came down from the Mount.

    And yes, I do feel like there is not very many who question the accepted “status quo”, since when has it become un-american to question?

  7. Neil F. March 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Dan: I never looked at it that way. I geuss my experience was not typical. I actually did at first believe AGW was real, but then I smelled fishiness when Al Gore started pushing it. After that it did not take long for me to find Freinds of Science, where I first saw people like Fred Singer , Tim Ball, Patrick Micheals, and Richard Lindzen, to name a few.
    I think the reason peoples eyes lit up when they saw the site’s banner was because of the fear that is manifested from the political incorrectness of AGW denialism, or their fear of ever questioning the orthodoxy of AGW.
    I never suffered from either of those mainly because I never gave a rats rear end about what people think of me. I think that is why it was easy for me to question the whole thing the moment I started to smell fish.

    So I would like to say to everyone like Suzanne, who may be afraid to question AGW: DON’T BE AFRAID!!!!!!! The worst that could happen is that some idiot might insult you and call you names and say you don’t care about climate refugees (chuckle). I’m sorry, the millions of climate refugees (chuckle, chuckle). They can’t hurt you. You are free to believe what you want to believe. For me I want truth….and I think you do too.

  8. Rob N. Hood March 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    That’s not fish you smell- it’s money, of course…

    The Arctic is melting, and may be ice free in the summer by 2013. It doesn’t really matter why the Arctic is melting, it is melting and so what we should do is go after the oil under our current polar icecap.

    Really. No shit. Congress, dumb as posts, seemed to buy it, mostly – unless they were busy denying that global warming exists at all.

    The danger in allowing the polar icecap to melt is the “ice albedo effect”, mostly. Less ice means less sunlight reflected back into space which means ever increasing global heating.

    A minor danger in going after these 90 billion estimated barrels of oil (worth maybe ten trillion dollars) is the carbon they contain – roughly 10 billion tons, spread over 20 or more years as we burn the oil. Significant, but maybe not be the major worry.

    The ice/albedo effect may be irreversible. On any timescale that we want to contemplate, we need to use carbon negative energy schemes to quickly bring CO2 down to pre-industrial levels. Or we could just pretend it’s not happening at all and be simple-mindedly happy for the oil companies and their future windfall $$$$$$$$$.

  9. Neil F. March 30, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Rob N. Hood: Wrong again. Ok, sorry, your not wrong, the article that you lifted your post from is wrong. I don’t remember where I’ve seen it, but I know I have read that article before. And it is at least a year old. It would be nice if you credit your sources.

    “The Arctic is the fastest warming region on earth and is on pace to be ice free in the summer by 2013.”

    Well, that is not true. In fact according to the NSIDC there is more ice this year than last. This is the chart from today 3/30/09

    “The past few years have witnessed extraordinary melting and last summer the two fabled Arctic passages over Eurasia and North America opened together for the first time in history.”

    The key to this passage is the phrase “for the first time in history”. What they should have said is “for the first time in RECORDED history”. Which is actually been only around 50 years. In this link they accurately say that it was the first time in recorded history. And they also say that they were open but not free of ice.
    An explorer named Roald Amundsen was the first to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage in 1905

    “By every measure, from huge ice shelves breaking free to complex environmental dynamics that scientists do not fully understand, the polar ice cap is disappearing and all indicators point to another record sea ice minimum this coming summer. We may be approaching a tipping point past which the melting sea ice cannot recover.”

    This last sentence should read; “We may be approaching a tipping point past which the melting sea ice cannot recover, or we may not be.” If you know what junk science is, you would know that whenever you see words like “may”, “might”, “could”, or “maybe”, you are reading junk science. In other words, it is speculation. It clearly says that the scientists do not fully understand the complex environmental dynamics. And again, their predictions are wrong because if you look at my first link in this post, there is more ice right now than there was at this time last year. So I’m wondering how that international hunt for arctic resources is going now. Actually, it ain’t right now.

    Nice try Rob, but you’re going to have to do better than this.

  10. Neil F. March 31, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    Rob N. Hood: You are a broken record. You keep saying the same things, but you ignore the reality of what is actually happenning right now. And what is happenning now is not what the predictions you rely on say was going to happen. If the Arctic is on track to be ice free by the summer of 2013, would it not stand to reason that each successive year between the time that prediction was made and 2013, that the ice would be less and less? If it were I might think that there is a possibility that you might be right. But that is not supported by the facts.
    You seem to be afflicted with what is called a confirmation bias. You only see what you want to see and ignore the rest. I don’t know why you continue to post here because you are not going to convince me, or anyone else here, that you are right. Especially with those tired worn out arguments that you use. You may as well be arguing that the Sun is purple and the Moon is just our imagination.
    At any rate, I am no longer going to respond to you Rob. You are a complete waste of time.

  11. Neil F. April 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Looks like the ice has other ideas:

  12. Rob N. Hood April 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Would it really matter where I get my info.? No, it would not, because you wouldn’t really care or believe it anyway. Besides, it is about getting people to think for themselves, is it not? You people who don’t believe anything that is not fuel-powered or have some rpm’s will never yield or truly have an open mind. What say you about the article below? (oh, please let me guess! : It has nothing to do with global warming, or it is false, or it is just a coincidence… etc. etc. etc. You people are extremely predictable, ya know?

    WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) – One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday.

    They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.

    Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available at

    “The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing — more rapidly than previously known — as a consequence of climate change,” U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.

    “This continued and often significant glacier retreat is a wakeup call that change is happening … and we need to be prepared,” USGS glaciologist Jane Ferrigno, who led the Antarctica study, said in a statement.

    “Antarctica is of special interest because it holds an estimated 91 percent of the Earth’s glacier volume, and change anywhere in the ice sheet poses significant hazards to society,” she said.

    In another report published in the journal Geophysical Letters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that ice is melting much more rapidly than expected in the Arctic as well, based on new computer analyses and recent ice measurements.

  13. Neil F. April 8, 2009 at 4:59 am #


  14. Neil F. April 11, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    Are volcano’s a symptom of AGW?

  15. Neil F. April 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Sea ice extent averaged over the month of March 2009 was 15.16 million square kilometers (5.85 million square miles). This was 730,000 square kilometers (282,000 square miles) above the record low of 2006, but 590,000 square kilometers (228,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

  16. Neil F. April 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    I think your ice is on the wrong track. It just might be a mile thick over your head come 2013.

  17. Neil F. April 18, 2009 at 7:42 pm #
    Wer’e going to have to move south pretty soon at this rate!

  18. Rob N. Hood April 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Talk about a broken record… AND you are addicted to junk science. What’s wrong with good old-fashioned junk food?? Get a life Neil, or a girlfriend.

  19. Rob N. Hood April 29, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    BBBBBroken record….. alert.

  20. shawn doering July 1, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    Every one knows how a top works ? Right !? I promise you this. When enough water reaches the Equator, the Earth will start to wobble an where will the water go then? The earth has never had this many people on it before. An this many people can’t get along with each other ! something will happen ! But to punish Americans for CO2. This will send all industry to China an India . Free trade already started the process. What will stop the rest from leaving ??????

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