Senator Boxer’s Ignorance of Climate Bill Is Absurd

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) looked ridiculous last week when she insisted the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act would cause “no increase in gas prices.”

She is chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over climate change, so there is no excuse for her not knowing that the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act was designed to make gas more expensive.

Under the Lieberman-Warner “cap and trade” scheme, industrial users and suppliers of energy would have to buy the right to emit greenhouse gases from an annual government-run auction, whereas now these emissions are free.

But businesses would not simply absorb higher input costs; instead, they would pass along the burden to consumers. That’s why, in a report released last April, the Congressional Budget Office says that “most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline.”

Here’s a few estimates of how high the price of gas would go under the Lieberman-Warner energy rationing plan, as compiled by the minority staff on the Senate EPW Committee:


  • The independent analysis by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) predicts gasoline prices will increase between 60% and 144% by 2030.
  • The EPA estimates that the Lieberman-Warner bill will increase fuel costs an additional 53 cents per gallon by 2030 and by $1.40 by 2050. 
  • An independent study by NERA Economic Consulting estimates that the price of motor fuel will rise by 48 cents per gallon by 2030.
  • The Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates gas prices will increase anywhere from 41 cents per gallon to $1.01 per gallon by 2030. 

Gas prices will rise under this bill.  Whether it’s an additional $1.40 as predicted by EPA or $5.16 as predicted by SAIC, Americans would pay more for gas under Lieberman-Warner.