Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 15, 2009
In this episode, I recap the recent Newsweek-sponsored panel discussion about proposed climate legislation on Capitol Hill.
Panelists included Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Jack Gerard, President and CEO of API. They discuss what the climate bill could mean for the U.S. economy and for the oil and gas industry.
Use the audio player below to listen to the conversation and follow along with the show notes. I hope you find the podcast informative.
01:08 Sen. Dorgan: I believe in capping carbon, doing it the right way, setting up targets and timetables that are achievable and will work, and finding ways both to constrain carbon, perhaps sequestered, but more likely in my judgment find beneficial use for it.
01:47 Sen. Dorgan: I have not been a supporter of so-called cap-and-trade.
02:10 Rep. Upton: One of my utilities, major utilities, in Michigan--Consumers Energy--came out and said that just because of cap and trade, our consumers would see energy costs go up by as much as 40 percent by the year 2020. That is a dagger in the heart of economic growth.
02:50 Rep. Upton: You cannot add this extra burden, this extra tax, the extra fee, the extra cost, to business if you want to keep those jobs here. They are going to go and they're going to be gone and they are not going to be back.
03:29 Rep. Markey: So what the legislation does is, its science based, it is market oriented, it is consumer focused, and it is basically going to unleash finally a technology revolution. So this, as a result, we'll have thousands of new companies with venture capital, and I think those are the best two words you can hear in the American economy.
04:04 Rep. Markey: The global trends are quite evident, what's happening. The auto industry missed this. Other industries have missed this. In telecom, we got ahead of the curve; we created the two million new jobs.
04:20 Mr. Gerard: The chairman identified this bill as market oriented. We believe it's anything but. In fact, that bill has already picked the winners and the losers. Unfortunately, those who consume fuels in this country, like gas and diesel are the clear losers. We're held accountable and responsible for 44 percent of all emissions and given 2 percent of the allowances. Who do you think is going to bear the cost of the bill at the end of the day? That's why the vast majority of all the economic analysis points out that we're probably close to two million jobs being lost in this country as a result of the bill.
05:14 Rep. Markey: The principle reason that our country has really not built [nuclear power plants], is that in France, in Japan, in China, they're all socialist and communist countries that have the government pay for the construction. Our country has capitalism, so that's just a constraint.
05:33 Mr. Gerard: The nuclear industry has been given allowances, free allowances, and they don't emit any carbon. So some of us believe some of the reasons they support the bill is because in many ways, it's a free handout. I will say that they get more allowances than the oil and gas industry gets refineries that are held responsible for 44 percent of all emissions.
06:26 Mr. Gerard: Oil and gas is a key important player. Let me share a couple key facts with you that you're probably not aware of. There are 9.2 million people in this country that are employed directly and indirectly by the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry in the United States constitutes 7.5 percent of all GDP.
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.