DC Winter Storm Underscores Climate Policy Snow Job

Energy expert explains 2010 “Snowpocalypse” would have cost more under cap and trade

WASHINGTON – The record-breaking winter storm Washington, DC experienced this week offers unique perspective on another snow job in the nation’s capitol. Commenting on climate policy lessons courtesy of Mother Nature, William O’Keefe — CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute and president of Solutions Consulting Inc. — released the following statement:

DC’s record 55-plus inches of snow this season has already cost more than $400 million in lost productivity alone, according to some estimates. Under the cap and trade system being pushed by some federal lawmakers, the costs to American businesses and households would have been even greater.

The EU’s emissions trading scheme has already witnesses tremendous price spikes in the midst of erratic weather. A long cold winter in 2005-2006 caused Europe’s permit prices to rise, and utility costs followed. Homeowners in Germany are paying 25% more for electricity now than they did before the implementation of cap and trade.

This climate policy’s vulnerability to cold fronts, dry spells, and other weather extremes isn’t the only aspect that would leave Wall Street opportunists salivating and average Americans straining. Emissions trading could drive the creation of risky financial tools like the derivates, hedges, credit default swaps that led to our recent economic crisis and the scandals associated with it.

These market manipulations and volatile fluctuations fail to send a clear price signal to attract and make productive the investment in clean and renewable energy that supporters claim it would. Cap and trade has the potential to be the next sub-prime housing market, the next Enron, the next blow to our already weakened economy.

As Washington works to clear its streets from this week’s ‘snowpocalypse,’ policymakers should work to clear a new path on climate policy. Americans are facing not only a financial crisis, but also the risk of climate change. To address these momentous challenges, we’re going to need well-researched, effective solutions instead of policies shown to snow the US public.”

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