WMC: Flawed global warming bill would hurt Wisconsin jobs


Scott Manley, (608) 258-3400

Study finds severe economic impacts for Wisconsin

MADISON – A new study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found widespread economic hardship in store for Wisconsin consumers and businesses if Congress adopts H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey global warming legislation.

The bill narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, and is currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Go to http://www.wmc.org to view the full report and how it affects Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin citizens can expect higher electric bills, higher heating bills and higher gasoline prices if Congress passes the Waxman-Markey bill,” said James S. Haney, WMC President. “At a time when we are struggling to keep high-paying manufacturing jobs in our state, this bill would take us in the wrong direction with tens of thousands of additional lost jobs.”

Wisconsin consumers and employers would be hit disproportionately hard by global warming regulations because of the state’s significant investment in coal-fired electricity, and the state’s status as the single-most manufacturing intensive economy in the country. The study found that key Wisconsin industrial sectors, including papermaking, machinery manufacturing and other energy intensive industries, would lose thousands of manufacturing jobs as a result of higher energy costs stemming from Waxman-Markey.

“Wisconsin businesses are faced with a highly competitive international marketplace where it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete on cost,” said Thomas J. Howatt, President and CEO of Wausau Paper of Wausau. “Driving up the cost of energy in Wisconsin with regulations like cap and trade will put us at a severe competitive disadvantage with our foreign competition.” Wausau Paper is a leading producer of fine printing and writing papers, towel and tissue products, and specialty papers.

Specifically, the NAM study predicted between 41,600 and 56,700 lost jobs in Wisconsin by 2030, depending upon the future price of carbon permits. Those figures are expected to worsen as the H.R. 2454 energy rationing plan reaches full implementation by the year 2050. Since 1999, Wisconsin has lost 160,000 manufacturing jobs, and our unemployment rate is at 9 percent.

Many of Wisconsin’s lost manufacturing jobs are expected to shift overseas where energy prices are expected to be lower, according to the study. China and India, for example, have repeatedly refused to consider enactment of global warming regulations. WMC believes any global warming regulation must include commitments from developing countries to enact similar standards to ensure a level playing field.

In addition to the lost manufacturing jobs, the NAM study concludes that Wisconsin consumers would face substantial energy cost increases as a result of the Waxman-Markey legislation, taking a significant toll on the state’s overall economy. For example, the study found Wisconsin families would face:

* An increase in electric rates of up to 60% by the year 2030;

* 79% higher prices for residential natural gas by 2030;

* An increase in gasoline prices up to 26%;

* A loss of disposable household income between $881 and $1,432 each year;

* Significant declines in state economic output, ranging from $6.8 billion to $9.3 billion per year by 2030;

“Our economy is at a crossroads, and the decisions made by lawmakers on energy policy will have a significant bearing on whether we remain competitive,” said Dwight E. Davis, Chairman, President and CEO of Greenheck Corporate of Schofield. “Now is not the time to saddle Wisconsin consumers and businesses with expensive new energy taxes.” Greenheck is a leading manufacturer of air movement and control equipment.

For all the economic harm that cap and trade would inflict on Wisconsin citizens, the expensive regulations would have a startlingly minimal impact on global climate.

Using sophisticated climate, gas cycle and ice melt models developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, climate scientist Chip Knappenberger recently modeled the impact of the Waxman-Markey CO2 emissions reduction of 83% by the year 2050. The model, which was funded in part by the U.S. EPA, found cap and trade would reduce global temperatures by a mere 0.112 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, or about 0.2° Fahrenheit.

“It doesn’t make sense to tax consumers trillions of dollars and lose millions of family-supporting jobs on a plan that won’t even work,” said Haney. “Instead, Congress should focus on supporting research and development for clean energy technologies and energy efficiency projects.”

“We have some of the most innovative companies in the world here in Wisconsin, and the best thing lawmakers can do is help us keep our costs down, and maintain a climate where innovation can succeed,” Haney said.