Summer is coming and homeowners know that it costs a few dollars more to crank up the air-conditioning by setting the thermostat a degree or two cooler. Well, Washington is about to try a similar thing, only it wants to spend trillions of dollars of our money to reduce the earth’s future temperature by one or two tenths of a degree C by the end of the century.

The Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill seeks to combat global warming by forcing down emissions of greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuels. Since these fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – currently comprise 85 percent of our energy supply, and the proposal seeks to reduce them by fully 83 percent by 2050, it amounts to nothing more than a massive energy tax in disguise. In other words, it will drive up energy prices high enough so that consumers and businesses are forced to use less and thus comply with the targets. A Heritage Foundation analysis of last year’s less stringent Lieberman-Warner bill estimated $1.7 to $4.8 trillion dollars in GDP losses by 2030, or $949 to $3,726 per household per year.

And what do we get for our money in terms of global warming avoided? According to a calculation by climatologist Chip Knappenberger, the temperature reduction by 2100 would be between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees C by 2100. And this generally assumes a significant amount of global warming, when in truth the science is taking a decided turn away from such alarmism.

One big reason for this is that China has surpassed the U.S. in terms of emissions and its emissions growth has been about 6 times faster than that in America. China, as well as India and other fast developing nations, have made clear that they will never hamper their own growth with global warming measures like Waxman-Markey.

When likely costs and likely benefits are considered, unilateral measures like Waxman-Markey are clearly far too much economic pain for far little environmental gain.