Republicans For Environmental Protection: ‘Conservatives, Of All People, Should Not Ignore Basic Principles Of Economics’

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"Republicans For Environmental Protection: ‘Conservatives, Of All People, Should Not Ignore Basic Principles Of Economics’"

Republicans for Environmental ProtectionWhy are so many Republicans in Congress lying about green economy legislation? Republicans for Environmental Protection have no idea. In a sharply worded press release, this organization of conservation-minded conservatives criticize the Hill Republicans’ $3100 light-switch-tax lie, which is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis of carbon pricing. They describe the GOP pattern of lying about energy as “a disservice to American citizens” and “a dangerous unwillingness to learn the right lessons from the election debacles of 2006 and 2008″:

Conservatives, of all people, should not ignore basic principles of economics. Such tactics, which are designed to score political points and gain headlines, are a disservice to American citizens, who urgently need Congress to debate the climate issue constructively. Voters are counting on their elected representatives to work together across party lines to develop balanced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower America’s dangerous dependence on oil, and help us move more quickly to a more diversified, robust energy economy.

REP’s statement explains that spreading lies about green economic policy is dangerous for our nation and even the political future of their own party. They offer one possible explanation why so many leading Republicans, from House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) to Budget Committee ranking minority member Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), keep on lying:

Few except special interests and politicians who do their bidding would argue that limiting emissions that put human health and the environment at risk puts a burdensome “tax” on American families and businesses.

Text of the full release:

‘Energy Tax’ Rhetoric Ill Serves Debate on Climate Legislation

Republican members of Congress have taken to calling cap-and-trade legislation an “energy tax” or a “light switch tax” on American families and businesses.

Most recently, congressional Republicans misrepresented a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study analyzing cap-and-trade proposals. They distorted the study’s conclusions to exaggerate the costs of cap-and-trade legislation on individual households, by making faulty calculations based on erroneous assumptions and by ignoring a basic principle of economics – the time value of money.

Conservatives, of all people, should not ignore basic principles of economics.

Such tactics, which are designed to score political points and gain headlines, are a disservice to American citizens, who urgently need Congress to debate the climate issue constructively. Voters are counting on their elected representatives to work together across party lines to develop balanced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower America’s dangerous dependence on oil, and help us move more quickly to a more diversified, robust energy economy.

The scientific evidence for a human role in climate change is compelling enough to warrant prudent measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many religious leaders and business executives agree. An ethic of traditional conservatism is to exercise proper stewardship over the environment that supports our economy and to reduce risks of environmental harm.

A cap-and-trade bill, or competing alternatives such as cap-and-dividend or carbon tax measures, would take the fundamental step of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, thus sending a signal that CO2 emissions carry a cost and free disposal in the atmosphere is no longer appropriate.

Environmental legislation works to reduce harmful emissions by putting a price on those emissions, either directly or more commonly, by limiting their disposal into the environment. The Clean Air Act put a price on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other harmful air pollutants. The Clean Water Act put a price on sewage, hazardous chemical wastes, and other types of water pollution.

Few except special interests and politicians who do their bidding would argue that limiting emissions that put human health and the environment at risk puts a burdensome “tax” on American families and businesses.

And even if lawmakers are sincerely doubtful about the human role in climate change, there are sound reasons for reducing fossil fuel dependence anyway. Our heavy dependence on oil is a strategic liability. It’s only a matter of time before oil prices spike upward again. A large share of remaining global oil reserves is located in politically unstable parts of the world. Sticking to an energy path of high oil dependence will leave the U.S. chronically vulnerable to overseas political turmoil over which our country has little control.

The recent Republican tactics to fight climate legislation show a dangerous unwillingness to learn the right lessons from the election debacles of 2006 and 2008. A refusal to face facts, acknowledge risks, and make responsible policy choices for the greater good is not conservative. It is reckless endangerment of our country and it must stop.

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