Just one problem: the chamber study wasn't based on a number that appears in the EPA's rule. As a consequence, those Republicans cluck-clucking on the supposedly horrific impact of the rule were wrong. Since anybody in a position of authority following the subject should have known better, Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's Fact Checker, awarded these Republicans four Pinocchios. That's the Fact Checker's "Whopper" category.
Here's an example of what prompted that: Rep. Marsha Blackburn pulling numbers directly from the chamber "study," or more likely the press release on it:
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
But when the EPA's rule was announced, the reduction was set at 30 percent of the 2005 base tally of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
So the chamber's study by its Institute for 21st Century Energy was based on a figure nearly a third higher than the actual one, meaning the claims that it and Republican lawmakers made about 224,000 lost jobs and $51 billion a year in lowered gross domestic product and $289 billion in higher electric bills were way off.
Which doesn't mean anybody should assume that the only problem with the chamber study is a math flaw caused by the timing of its release. The EPA rule will spur growth in clean energy sources and energy efficiency, which means more jobs, more economic growth and less electricity consumption.
Over the next few months, we'll no doubt be hearing a good deal more about alleged costs and benefits of the EPA's rule. The truth is that, even with the best intentions, it's difficult to predict what the precise impact of an untried regulation will be. Particularly when the energy arena is undergoing a massive transformation. The chamber, of course, didn't have the best of intentions.
It would be a good thing if the EPA had picked 42 percent. Given the gravity of the global warming crisis, doing more now is an investment in a clean-energy future and in perhaps preventing some of the worst effects of climate chaos. Pressuring for greater reductions to happen sooner is something citizens should be focusing on during the 120-day public comment on the EPA rule.
Public comments can be made here. The week of July 28, there will be hearings in four cities, Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.