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Testimony before the United States Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chairman
On the U.S. Climate Action Partnership Report
By Fred L. Smith, Jr.
President, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Thank you, Chairman Boxer and members of this Committee for inviting me to testify today on the Climate Action Partnership’s recent plan titled “A Call for Action” and what it could do to the American economy. I am Fred Smith, President of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free-market public policy group focusing on regulatory issues. I am aware that CEI is regarded as a contrarian voice on the science of climate change. However, this hearing is not about the science. I am here to talk about the economic effects of the Climate Action Partnership’s policy recommendations, and so I am happy for the purposes of this discussion to accept all the scientific arguments behind their proposals.
By taking that issue off the table, I hope that we can proceed to discuss the economic issue without the obfuscation of wrangling over the science. I also hope that members of this committee will recognize that attempts to allege “climate denialism” in response to my points are ad hominem attacks not worthy of consideration.
The theme of my testimony today is that some business leaders joining with environmental pressure groups to promote a policy does not necessarily mean that the policy is good for the economy or for the American people. In general, if a company’s stance on an issue appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Strange alliances such as these – businesses allying with lobby groups to demand more regulation of those businesses – are actually all too common in history, and the motivation is rarely altruism.