Businesses Giving Away the Store on Global Warming , by Steven J. Milloy

Businesses are poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the battle over global warming.Though Americans have already dodged the global-warming bullet twice—the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Kyoto treaty was rejected by the Senate in 1997 and by President Bush in 2001—three business-supported bills on greenhouse gas emissions are vying to be attached to the energy legislation moving through Congress. It's a dream come true for the usual suspects, radical environmental activists.The bill with the most support, introduced by Senator Bingaman, a Democrat of New Mexico, favors nuclear power, caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and would make non-nuclear energy producers and consumers pay for emissions in excess of permitted levels.The champion of the Bingaman bill is Exelon, the largest domestic operator of nuclear power plants. While Exelon's support for nuclear power is understandable, its effort to hamper non-nuclear competitors and force consumers to pay for higher energy costs is not.Under the Bingaman bill, power plants and industrial facilities whose emissions of carbon dioxide exceed allowances (to be determined by bureaucrats) would have to purchase “extra” allowances from the government at a cost of $7 per ton of carbon dioxide released.For a coal-burning utility like American Electric Power that emits more than 220 million tons of CO2 a year the cost of extra allowances could be substantial and would be passed on to consumers.Exelon looks to the Bingaman bill to make nuclear power more competitive with coal-generated electricity. This might make sense if there were some tangible and worthwhile benefits to be derived from favoring nuclear power over coal, but in terms of global warming, there don't seem to be any.A Competitive Enterprise Institute report estimates the Bingaman bill would cost $331 billion in lost productivity between 2010 and 2025 while perhaps averting an insignificant 0.008 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050.Competing with the Bingaman bill is legislation introduced by Senator Hagel, a Republican of Nebraska. Supported by oil giant British Petroleum, it offers tax breaks to energy companies that voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions.The third global warming bill was introduced last year by Senators McCain and Lieberman. Like the Kyoto protocol, the McCain-Lieberman bill would establish a tight national cap on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.GE's John Rice told Energy and Environment Daily that the company was open to any of the three bills. “We're not picking a side because, quite frankly, we see positive elements in all of them,” said Mr. Rice.But there is another Senate bill that would address global warming hysteria as the junk science phenomenon it is.Some power companies are taking steps to address their carbon dioxide emissions, the costs of which will be passed on to consumers.But the Ratepayers Protection Act, introduced by Senator Inhofe would ensure that the costs associated with voluntary actions taken by utilities under the guise of global warming are not passed on to consumers.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />