All Pain, No Gain

Ben Lieberman /

The proposed global warming bill, the America’s Climate Security Act (S. 3036), would cost trillions of dollars and impose significant job losses and energy price increases, according to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation. But is it worth it in terms of global warming damage prevented?

Not even close. Even if one assumes the worst of global warming, this bill would hardly make a dent in the earth’s future temperature. According to Pat Michaels, climatologist and senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, the impact would be minimal. The bill itself would result in “0.013 degrees C of ‘prevented’ warming” by 2050, he says. Even making the far fetched assumption that the rest of the developed world copies the U.S and adopts similarly stringent measures, the “amount of saved warming in 2050 is around 0.11 degrees C, and about 0.20 in 2100” adds Michaels, calling that amount “too small to measure.”

Given the cost estimates from Heritage, as well as those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Information Administration, the National Association of Manufacturers, and Charles River Associates, the costs of the bill are on the order of trillions of dollars for each tenth of a degree of future temperature rise avoided. It brings new meaning to the phrase “all pain and no gain.”