The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Update on Climate Legislation

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 18, 2010

Perhaps it's the weak economy, or perhaps it's ClimateGate. Whatever the cause, it appears that support for climate change legislation is waning.

  • Several members of Congress have predicted that climate legislation will not be enacted this year.
  • On Tuesday, three corporations, including two oil and natural gas companies, announced that they are pulling out of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.
  • The Western Climate Initiative also appears to be losing members. The Arizona state government has left, and according to reports, Utah is considering leaving the group.
  • Last night Yvo de Boer, the United Nation's top climate change official, announced his resignation. AP reports that he "is known to be deeply disappointed with the outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen...."

Meanwhile, reports continue to pile up on the potentially devastating economic impact of Waxman-Markey-style climate legislation. A new study shows Texas could lose more than 5 percent of its manufacturing output and see electricity prices rise by as much as 52 percent by 2030 under climate legislation.

The Houston Chronicle reports the study was commissioned by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Margot Thorning was one of two authors of the study. "If pending legislation such as the Waxman-Markey bill is enacted, the Texas economy will experience slower growth and thousands of valuable jobs will be lost," Thorning said. "Energy-intensive industries with foreign competition could reduce their operations in Texas and relocate in countries without similar mandates."

Thorning's findings are consistent with those of other studies, including one released by the state Comptroller's Office showing that Waxman-Markey climate legislation could destroy 170,000 to 425,000 jobs in Texas and reduce the state's GDP by as much as $58 billion by 2030.

With unemployment near 10 percent, now is not the time to consider legislation that could cut U.S. jobs, raise energy costs, and reduce economic growth. Instead, Congress should encourage the expansion of domestic oil and natural gas development to create jobs, raise revenue for badly needed government programs, and improve U.S. energy security.

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.