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The time is now to challenge Congress and your Florida legislators about the true cost of their proposed climate actions and what impact that is going to have on each and every one of us.

CO2’s effect as a greenhouse gas is minuscule as compared to other significant sources. Water vapor, volcanoes, and animals produce far more CO2 than any of the man-made sources like power plant generation.

Let’s put CO2 in its proper context: Each of us is exhaling CO2 at this very minute, and plants require CO2 to live and grow. Nevertheless, I’m sure at this moment some bureaucrat in Washington is trying to figure out a way to tax each of us on the amount of CO2 we produce each time we exhale.

Of course, I guess, there might be some good news there. If you choose not to exhale…you won’t be taxed.


On a more serious note, all greenhouse gases account for one-tenth of one percent of our total atmosphere and man-made greenhouse gasses, in total, account for less than one-half of one percent of that minuscule total.

Nevertheless, the single-minded drive to reduce CO2 emissions dominates the energy discussions of politicians and regulators in Washington and Tallahassee. Our speculation has now become reality, as President Obama has included approximately $650 billion dollars in his budget for “energy revenues.” Candidly, the “energy revenues” are Washington code for energy taxes that all of us will pay.

Frankly, I would have much more respect for the politicians proposing these energy revenues if they would be honest and call them taxes, which is what they really are. Instead, they are using a term called “cap and trade” which sounds very complicated and confusing to all of us.

Don’t be confused…If it walks like a tax, talks like a tax, penalizes like a tax…it’s a tax!

Basically, here’s how it works. The government determines a finite number of CO2 allowances that will be auctioned by the government and the government will get all of the proceeds to use as the government sees fit. We’ve all seen how well that works in recent months. But that’s another story.

Back to “cap and trade.” Generating utilities who are creating CO2 as part of the combustion process in coal-fired and natural gas-fired generating stations must buy sufficient allowances to cover their output. Unfortunately, the sale of the allowances is not limited to utilities.
Anyone with sufficient funds can buy the allowances at auction and then, through a market similar to Wall Street, sell them to the utilities that require them to operate. So, once the government has collected the first round of dollars for the initial sale of the allowances, market forces will take over and determine the price. And we have seen how wildly markets can fluctuate and can be manipulated — ENRON, for example.
So, what’s the impact of a “cap and trade” system on each of us?

Our trade association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, estimates that the impacts of various levels of CO2 tax per ton will be:

  • $20 per ton — about $200 per year
  • $30 per ton — about $360 per year
  • $60 per ton — about $500 per year
  • $75 per ton — about $725 per year

On average, we’re using $50 per month as the initial impact. Now keep in mind that’s just the impact on your electric bill. Virtually everything else we purchase or use will also be affected because of the higher energy cost of producing it.

Another thing to keep in mind regarding the carbon tax is the fact that it does nothing to reduce the amount of CO2 being produced — not one ounce! It simply makes it more expensive to produce it and creates more tax revenue for the government.

The proponents will tell you that the objective is to make generating with natural gas and coal so expensive that we will be forced to go to wind and solar power. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have nothing against wind and solar and, certainly, agree that there are locations in the country where those applications have merit. However, the bottom line for now is they are very expensive and they produce electricity intermittently, which means that we either have to have sufficient back-up generation or be willing to be without electricity when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. Neither of those is particularly attractive to me.

So, continue to keep in mind that the huge expenditures and huge amounts of tax increases are being proposed based upon hypothesis or consensus of a group of scientists led by Al Gore.

But again, there is an equally impressive number of scientists who disagree with the hypothesis. They just don’t get much press coverage. There simply is no scientifically provable consensus on man being the guilty party where so-called “global warming” is concerned.

Still, as I have already discussed, Congress is already hard at work to push your electric bill to unheard levels in the name of saving the planet. You and I — the thoughtful, tax-paying citizens of this nation — are in trouble. We’re playing by the rules, but Congress keeps throwing additional burdens on us.Start a dialogue with elected officials about energy

The time is now to challenge Congress and your Florida legislators about the true effect of their proposed climate actions and what that is going to cost each and every one of us. Go to to express your opinion.

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Page last updated: October 29, 2012