Palin's Going Rogue Spreads Falsehoods About Clean Energy Legislation

November 16, 2009 10:37 am ET

In her upcoming book Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin made a slew of false charges concerning clean energy legislation.  Contrary to Palin's tired claims, legislation increasing our investment in clean energy technologies would create jobs in every state and help America become more energy independent, all for less than a quarter a day.

Palin Falsely Claimed Clean Energy Legislation Would Kill Jobs

Sarah Palin:

One such cure: Washington's misguided "Cap and Trade" plan. But let's call it what it is: a "Cap and Tax" program.  The environmentalists' plan to reduce pollution is to tax businesses according to how much pollution they produce. Industries that emit more pollutants would have to pay more in taxes. Businesses that reduce emissions and thereby avoid all or part of the cap and tax hits could trade or sell their government credits to other companies.

There are big problems with this. We have the highest unemployment rate in twenty-five years, and it's still rising. American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under cap and trade. The cost of farming, for example, will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation will also rise.  We'll all feel the effects of this misguided plan to buy and sell pollution.

The president has already admitted that the policy he seeks will cause our electricity bills to "skyrocket." Sadly, those hit hardest will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet. So much for the campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. This is a tax on everyone.

Is that what the president meant by "change"?

As more and more Americans understand that cap and trade is an environmentalist Ponzi scheme in which only the government benefits, they will refuse to tolerate it. They will make their voices heard at the ballot box, and any lawmaker who supports destructive legislation like this will soon be turned out of office. That's what we mean by "change"! [Sarah Palin, Going Rogue: An American Life pgs. 390-391]

Millions Of American Green Jobs

As Media Matters Action Network has noted, a recent study from UC Berkeley found that pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create up to 1.9 million jobs, boost GDP by up to $111 billion and increase families' incomes by nearly $1,200 per year!

Investment In Clean Energy Technology Will Create Over 1.7 Million American Jobs.  According to the Center for American Progress: "Investments in a clean-energy economy will generate major employment benefits for the entire U.S. economy. Our research finds that spending $150 billion on clean-energy investments would create roughly 1.7 million jobs. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

  • Every Single State Will Gain Jobs From An Investment In Clean Energy Technologies. According to the Center for American Progress, investments in clean energy projects would create 1.7 million American jobs in every state in the country. [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

Investment In Clean Energy Technology Creates FOUR TIMES As Many Jobs As An Investment In Oil & Gas.  According to the Center for American Progress, "spending $1 million on energy efficiency and renewable energy produces a much larger expansion of employment than spending the same amount on fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Among fossil fuels, job creation in coal is about 32 percent greater than that for oil and natural gas. The employment creation for energy efficiency-retrofitting and mass transit-is 2.5 times to four times larger than that for oil and natural gas. With renewable energy, the job creation ranges between 2.5 times to three times more than that for oil and gas." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

Investment In Renewable Energy Has Already Salvaged Many Manufacturing Facilities Closed During Economic Downturn.  Across America, factories and plants abandoned by the old economy have been re-tooled and re-opened to satisfy the growing demand for new energy technologies. For instance, once hopeless manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan have re-energized their communities by creating jobs and leading the charge toward a new energy future. [Bloomberg, 4/2/09; Star Tribune, 4/22/09; Grand Rapids Press, 3/6/08]

Clean Energy Jobs Legislation Would Rebuild America For A Postage Stamp A Day

Reuters: "Climate Legislation Moving Through Congress Would Have Only A Modest Impact On Consumers." According to Reuters: "A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding around $100 to household costs in 2020. Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $134 in 2020 and $339 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country's top energy forecaster." [Reuters, 8/5/09]

EIA: Clean Energy Legislation Would Cost Only $0.23 Per Day. According to a House Energy and Commerce Committee factsheet of the Energy Information Administration's analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: "The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has completed an analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives... The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 23 cents per day ($83 per year). This is consistent with analyses by the Congressional Budget Office which projects a cost of 48 cents per day ($175 per year) and the Environmental Protection Agency which projects a cost of 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year)." [House Energy and Commerce Committee, EIA's Economic Analysis Of "The American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009," 8/4/09; emphasis original]

CBO: In 2020, Cap-And-Trade Will Only Cost An Average Of $175 Annually, "About A Postage Stamp A Day." In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economy wide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion-or about $175 per household." Rep. Edward Markey noted it was "the cost of about a postage stamp a day." [CBO, 6/19/09; House Committee on Energy & Commerce Release, 6/20/09]

  • Cap-And-Trade Would DECREASE Energy Prices For Low-Income Americans. In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote, "households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020." [CBO, 6/19/09; emphasis original]

Study: Clean Energy Legislation's Benefits Far Outweigh Costs.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

As flawed as it may be, the Waxman-Markey climate bill makes economic sense, offering benefits worth at least twice as much as it costs, if not more.

"From almost any perspective and under almost any assumption, H.R. 2454 is a good investment for the United States to make in our own economic future and in the future of the planet," the paper concludes.


So, given that the Waxman-Markey bill would curb emissions over the next 40 years, it's a pretty simple job to tally up the potential benefits: about $1.5 trillion on the middle-of-the-road estimate. The benefits could be as low as $382 billion or as high as $5.2 trillion, depending on how you fiddle with the numbers.

Since Waxman-Markey is meant to cost about $660 billion, that means the bill provides $2.27 in benefits for every dollar spent, the brief concludes. That doesn't include extra benefits-cleaner air from a cleaned-up power sector, for instance. And it suggests that even tougher greenhouse-gas targets in the Senate version of the bill would make an even more compelling economic argument. [Wall Street Journal, 9/8/09; emphasis added]

By 2025, A Clean Energy Standard Would Save $95 Billion On Energy & Gas Bills.  According to the Center for American Progress: "A national renewable electricity standard, a key piece of the clean energy legislation currently before Congress, would save households and businesses in every state billions of dollars in electricity and natural gas bills... The numbers come from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who earlier this year analyzed a renewable electricity standard that would aim to have 25 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. They found that this standard would save families and businesses $95 billion in electricity and natural gas bills through 2030 and spur new investments and hundreds of thousands of new clean-energy jobs." [Center for American Progress, 5/19/09