Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 4, 2009
A recent poll shows that the more Americans learn about climate legislation, the less they like it. Especially when they realize that it will take money out of their pockets.
The Farm Bureau calculated this figure by adding the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) estimate of higher energy costs ($1,870 per year) under the Waxman-Markey bill with its own estimate of the legislation's impact on food prices. The total cost: up to $200 billion per year for U.S. consumers, which equates to a 15 percent hike in personal income taxes.
"Can you [imagine] how consumers in this country would scream if they knew they would be hit with a 15 percent hike in their personal income taxes?" asks Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau.
Bob says consumers "have a big stake" in the proposed climate bills. Take the legislation's potential impact on food supplies. He says farmers are likely to produce less food as their energy costs rise, and some could be tempted to plant trees as carbon offsets rather than grow crops. Furthermore, he says this legislation is being debated at a time when international organizations are wondering how to raise food production by 70 percent to feed an estimated world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050.
"We're heading in the wrong direction with this bill," Bob says.
Analyses by the Farm Bureau and others indicate that the climate legislation under consideration could make everyone in America poorer and take food off our plates, while shifting emissions from the United States to other countries where environmental protection is less stringent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.