Global Warming Science:


Cantwell and Collins: A Clear Attempt at Cap – and – Tax


[last update: 2010/06/20]



Senators Cantwell and Collins Promote Increased Funding for Alarmists


Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today introduced legislation to increase federal funding for abrupt climate change research. “The Abrupt Climate Change Research Act of 2005” would authorize $10 million per year for the next six years for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in partnership with universities across the nation, to conduct research on abrupt climate change.

[] “This bill augments ongoing research and will help us understand what we need to do to avoid abrupt climate change.



The Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal (CLEAR) Act


Senators Cantwell and Collins also introduced the CLEAR Act: “Our concept is simple: Instead of cap and trade, our approach is “cap and dividend,” with the dividends going where they belong: into the pockets of hardworking Americans. … The legislation aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.[] (Although they say it will reduce GHG by 83% the CLEAR act only deals with CO2 – not total GHG.)


They provide details about their legislation here (and all of the following quotes are from here):



The goal of the CLEAR Act is to ensure a stable climate for current and future generations.


The scientific debate about the reality of man-made climate change is now over: climate change is real, urgent, and largely man-made. … While uncertainties still exist concerning the timing, extent, and regional impacts of climate change, the science has settled the debate over the existence of human-induced climate change.


The scientific case for action to mitigate climate change grows stronger every day. …new scientific findings continually suggest that changes to the Earth’s climate are occurring more rapidly than scientists had anticipated just two years ago, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its most recent assessment of climate science, and for which the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The science indicates clearly that policy action can not be delayed any longer.” (IPCC is of course the “science” behind all this.)


Increased energy costs:


The act creates emissions permits that are auctioned to the “first sellers” of energy. The costs will then be passed on. “Fossil-fueled power producers should be able to pass on to their ratepayers the marginal fossil fuel price increases resulting from the cap.


Wealth redistribution via federal refund:


Under the CLEAR Act, three quarters of auction proceeds would be paid out equally and directly each month to every U.S. citizen and legal resident, regardless of their age, income, or level of energy use. Refund income would be non-taxable and would put cash back in consumers’ pockets directly, which for most low and middle income families will offset any price increases passed on to them by upstream fossil fuel producers or importers.


The federal refund gets taxed by the states:


States could also elect to levy income taxes on refunds in order to fund programs addressing state- or region-specific problems related to climate change such as economic transition assistance and adaptation projects. States might also choose to direct tax revenues to help offset higher energy costs incurred by state government agencies


“Targeted” Industry subsidies:


The remaining quarter of auction revenues would be directed to a dedicated trust, the Clean Energy Reinvestment Trust (CERT) Fund. The CERT Fund would finance a variety of essential climate mitigation and adaptation programs. …


·         targeted and region-specific compensation for early retirement of carbon-intensive facilities, machinery, or related assets in the United States that are stranded by new market dynamics


·         targeted relief for energy-intensive industries, including agriculture, that export their goods or products to countries that do not have similar restrictions on fossil fuels




Bipartisan Ignorance of Climate Data


Serious changes in regional climate patterns are already occurring within the U.S.


Cantwell (D) is from Washington State. The following figure shows annual average temperature since 1895 for Washington (from []) The long term trend is not statistically different from zero. (See also



Collins (R) is from Maine. The following figure shows annual average temperature since 1895 for Maine (from []) The long term trend is not statistically different from zero.




They also state: “increasing storm frequency and intensity in the Gulf of Mexico” (i.e. hurricanes).

The following figure shows the Atlantic Basin accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) since 1850 [] showing an approximately 55-year cycle. Recent increases are part of that cycle – not a long-term trend. (Alarmists selectively pick a start year on the low part of the cycle to obfuscate the real data.)




Cantwell and Collins say there is: “declining snowpack and lower summer stream flow in the Pacific Northwest

The following figure shows April Cascade mountain snowpack since 1930 []. The 1930 – 2007 decline is 23 +/- 28 % (i.e. not statistically significant from zero). The only significant decline took place during the Pacific Climate Shift of 1977 and since then “snowpack increased 19% during the recent period of most rapid global warming (1976-2007)” (although this change is also not statistically different from zero). (Alarmists selectively pick the 1950s as a start point for mountain snowpack to obfuscate the real data.) (See:  and for more information)




Cantwell and Collins worry about sea level rise. Sea level has been rising since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1800s. The following figures show sea level rise for Washington and Maine (from []).

Neah Bay, Washington – decrease 6 inches per 100 years; Portland, Maine – increase 7 inches per 100 years




See for more info on sea level rise.


Cantwell has in the past made ridiculous climate claims – see:




Misleading Claims


Cantwell and Collins (C&C) say: “our legislation avoids picking winners and losers


C & C provide the following scenarios for 2050.



Clear loser: under all scenarios shown above, coal is eliminated (as shown by the black arrows). Those people living where coal produces most of the electricity will also be losers. This matches Obama’s promise to bankrupt coal (“If somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can – it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted” []


Oil is greatly reduced (indicated by blue arrows). Gas is also greatly reduced (indicated by green arrows) except in the “Reference Technology” scenario, where gas is increased using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).


The American people are losers in this – with increased “taxes” for funding Congress’ favored industries. Although they state: “equally divided rebate checks -- averaging $1,100 for a family of four each year. The remaining 25 percent would finance clean energy research and development; help reduce emissions in agriculture, forestry and manufacturing; and provide transition assistance for workers and communities in carbon-intensive regions”. Given that the $1,100 is 75 % of the “taxes” (i.e. costs passed on to consumers for energy companies paying the government for permission to create useable energy) for 4 people, this means they expect it to cost $370 for every adult and child in the country. They say: “There is a strong correlation between per capita income and per capita energy use” – so the “tax” will be collected based on energy consumption and 75% redistributed to everyone equally.


They say “The CLEAR Act is likely to spur economic growth by providing consumers with additional income”. How does collecting this energy “tax” and then returning only 75% provide “additional income”? This is the C&C new math. The only people with additional income will be those in the lowest two deciles of income under this redistribution.


Since the US will become less competitive globally, the GDP will likely decline as a result. They say “in the event that CBO does calculate a net reduction in GDP as a result of the CLEAR Act, a small portion (approximately 16 percent) of the Fund could be used to ensure that the CLEAR Act not contribute to the federal budget deficit.” So this will likely be in effect a tax going to the federal government. They also say: “States could also elect to levy income taxes on refunds in order to fund programs”. Clear losers = tax payers. Clear winners = government.


Over the next 40 years, total energy used in the US will be reduced by 30 % under the “Reference Technology” scenario. Realistic? These senators are out to lunch.