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What's the Cost if Congress "Fails" to Enact Cap-and-Trade?

That is the question posed this week on National Journal's energy experts' blog. My answer, available  here, is that "failure" will have multiple benefits:

-- The U.S. economy won’t be hit by virtual or outright energy taxes in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, improving prospects for a recovery.

-- Congress will not declare political warfare on coal, continuing America’s access to abundant, affordable base-load power.

-- Congress will not adopt carbon tariffs, avoiding an era of trade warfare between the United States and emerging industrial powerhouses such as China and India.

-- The U.S. Government will lack a bully pulpit for pressuring poor countries to ban coal-based power, allowing them to escape from energy poverty.