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Heartland Institute Experts React to U.S. House Passing Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

June 13, 2016

Heartland Institute Experts React to U.S.


Heartland Institute Experts React to U.S. House Passing Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

The United States House of Representatives on Friday voted 237 to 163 in favor of a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the economy. A carbon tax would apply to 85 percent of our nation’s energy, greatly increasing electricity and gasoline prices for every American.

The following statements from environment and energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at and 312/377-4000.

“A carbon tax would be a total disaster for the poor, single mothers, and the elderly – three demographics that liberals pretend to care about when they are not asking for handouts for their environmental special-interest groups. Implementing a $25-per-ton tax on carbon dioxide, a gas that you are currently exhaling, would reduce the average household income by approximately $1,400 per year. For someone earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, it would take 193 extra hours of work just to pay off their share of the carbon tax.

“Too often people talk about the impacts of a particular policy in numbers and percentages, but numbers are abstract concepts that do not really capture the impact these policies will have on everyday people. One of the single greatest determining factors on whether a child excels in school is whether they were read to as a child. If parents have to work an additional 193 hours to pay their carbon taxes, where does that leave time to cook healthy meals for their kids or read to them?

“These policies are most fiercely advocated by people who already live a comfortable, middle-class-or-better lifestyle. But these same people who say they care about the less-fortunate are consistently the ones sawing the bottom rungs off the ladder through their job-killing proposals.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute

“I have spent much of a half century studying and understanding this fact: Were our planet not blessed with carbon dioxide, life would not exist. It seems unfathomable that a group of intelligent people would want to limit our life’s blood.

“Without 150 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere, plants would perish – and man along with them. Before World War II, we were perilously close to having too little CO2 in the atmosphere. Now the industrial revolution has saved us, and hopefully we are on our way to 500 and 600 ppm, which the planet has exceeded for much of its history.

“Carbon dioxide has no down sides. It increases green matter everywhere, including the yields of our crops, which are slowly reducing starvation in the world. And surely CO2’s insignificant role as a greenhouse gas, when compared to water vapor, is not negatively impacting the temperature of our planet. It is surely time to end the insanity and defeat the idea of imposing a carbon tax.”

Jay Lehr
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

“Beyond being the environmental equivalent of a certain delusional hidalgo from La Mancha tilting at windmills, carbon dioxide taxes are inherently regressive and harmful to low-income Americans.

“Because poor families spend a larger share of their income on electricity and transportation, the Congressional Budget Office found a $28-per-ton carbon dioxide tax would result in energy costs being 250 percent higher for the poorest one-fifth of households than the richest one-fifth of households.

“Working families, already living in a precarious state thanks to the glacial pace of the economic recovery from the Great Recession, cannot afford to be the collateral damage that comes from the quixotic questing of do-gooding environmentalists.

“Thankfully, the members of Congress who voted for this resolution recognize that carbon dioxide taxes are wrong for their constituents and wrong for the United States.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“It is good to see that the majority of Congress still understands that taxation of energy is detrimental to all Americans. It is important at this time, with elections just around the corner, that the people know which of the Congressional members are willing to stand up to government overreach.

“It is Congress’s job to set forth business-friendly legislation, not taxation that will harm the elderly and the poor. Understand that this tax would not benefit anyone and does nothing to meet ‘Earth’s climate needs.’”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

“The Obama administration apparently does not understand that regulations such as the Clean Power Plan will have no measurable impact on global climate. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted this at a Congressional hearing, and repeatedly asserted that the primary purpose of the rules is to set an example for the world to follow.

“But developing countries, the source of most of today’s carbon dioxide emissions – the only gas targeted by the Clean Power Plan – have indicated they have no intention of limiting their development for ‘climate protection’ purposes. In fact, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the foundation of all UN climate change agreements, states clearly in Article 4 that the ‘economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties,’ not climate change.

“Actions to significantly reduce CO2 emissions would entail dramatically cutting back on the use of coal, the source of 81 percent of China’s electricity and 71 percent of India’s. As coal is by far the least expensive source of electric power in most parts of the world, reducing CO2 emissions by restricting coal use would unquestionably interfere with development priorities. So developing countries simply won’t do it, citing the UN’s own treaties in support of their actions.

“Most of the public would pay nothing at all to support an improbable hope that other countries follow America to possibly avert a hypothetical future problem. So of course polling companies never ask the public about this important issue. The answer would be most inconvenient.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute

“The anti-technology fringe has tried for years to thwart use of our inexpensive, abundant, and geographically distributed fossil fuels of coal, oil, and natural gas by imposing a continuously increasing tax on carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel combustion. This is based on the false belief that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels causes global warming with catastrophic consequences.

“Fossil fuels are to be replaced by solar, wind, ethanol from corn, other biofuels, etc. – all of which are expensive, unreliable, and require the use of vast land areas. The carbon tax is expected to make renewable energy sources cost competitive. However, fossil fuel energy is required to make renewable energy sources. So carbon taxes increase the cost of renewable energy sources, too. The net result of carbon taxes is greatly increased energy costs with grievous economic harm to most of our society.”

James H. Rust
Professor of nuclear engineering (Ret.), Georgia Tech
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

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Isaac Orr is a policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment on mining and energy issues and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @thefrackingguy
Jay Lehr is an internationally renowned speaker, scientist, Senior Policy Advisor with the International Climate Science Coalition and Senior Science Analyst at CFACT.
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department. @HeartlandGR
Bette Grande is a State Government Relations Manager at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district. @BetteGrande
Tom Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition @TomHarrisICSC
Professor of Nuclear Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (ret.), Climate Change and Energy