Pushing climate proposals will produce consequences

During a Congressional hearing last week, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., hosted a panel of experts to help lawmakers focus on the costs of moving too quickly in our effort to address the health of our environment and the transition of our economy.

At the forefront of the discussion was not the idea that we must make changes — just about everyone can agree on that — but that we must do so at breakneck speed without regard to the harm it will do to ordinary citizens. As McKinley pointed out, even President Joe Biden’s U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry has acknowledged if we could flip a switch and go to zero emissions tomorrow, it would have no effect on global CO2 levels. Countries such as China and India would have to shut off emissions, too. Meanwhile, Americans would pay the price.

“President Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing climate proposals calling for zero carbon emissions from power plants by 2035 and net zero emissions economy wide by 2050,” McKinley said. “Can this be done? Yes. But there are consequences. Rising energy prices, massive job losses, dangerously high global CO2 levels, and we will still have extreme weather events.”

For households, the push would mean doubling electricity prices by 2035, if we go 100% renewable, according to McKinley. For industries such as steel and aluminum, that price increase could be crippling.

And of course there’s the matter of what to do for the tens of thousands of coal jobs in this country, the loss of which would affect families directly, and communities through not just the loss of income for their citizens, but loss of tax revenue.In coal country, population would scatter — more than it already has.

“Let’s use McDowell County, W.Va., for example. The closure of coal mines and power plants in McDowell County caused a loss of 80% of its population,” McKinley said.

Of course the solution is not to throw up our hands and forget about tackling this issue. The solution is, as those at the hearing were told, research, innovation, and a determination to take care of the planet and each other. It can be done. Americans can do just about anything they decide is important. The trick is getting everyone to agree on a course of action that makes sense, rather than scoring political points at the expense of vulnerable populations


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