Overall Cost Of Living “Constant” After Capping Carbon

Bill Scher

The first congressional hearings regarding comprehensive clean energy and climate protection legislation were held yesterday, and the most important fact mentioned did not get much traditional media attention.

When Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked by a conservative congresswoman about higher fossil fuel prices once polluters have to pay for emitting greenhouse gases, Chu stressed that “the overall cost of living” would remain “constant:”

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: So, in other words, you all see this as increasing the cost to the American consumer — the price at the pump and the price of electric power generation?

SEC. CHU: We see this as shifting costs. So that what happens is: as we turn the allocations back to the American public and to the energy sectors that would be most adversely affected, that the overall cost of living, if you will — which is the essential thing — plus the fact that we are aggressively moving towards higher efficiency — higher-efficiency cars, higher-efficiency homes — that those costs actually can be held constant.

Beyond the blatant making up of numbers that we should continue to expect from conservatives throughout the legislative process, we must also prevent conservatives from selective parsing of data.

We will often hear that “energy prices will go up.” But that’s not right. Only fossil fuel prices will go up.

Meanwhile, clean energy prices will go down, and there will be more of it. Energy-efficiency technology will allow us to buy less energy.

While overall costs will be held constant, the benefits will be profound.

Creating millions of jobs generating clean energy and energy efficiencies. Freeing ourselves from the mercy of Big Oil’s price spikes. Having predictable, stable and manageable energy bills. And averting an economically devastating climate crisis.

This is simply a good deal. And no recycling of conservative lies will change that.

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