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Will the New Climate Bill Damage U.S. Energy Security?

Authors: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, and Trevor Houser, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Rhodium Group
June 15, 2010
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Few groups have been more strident in their opposition to cap-and-trade legislation than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Last year, four prominent members of the powerful business lobby, including Exelon Corp. and Pacific Gas & Electric, quit on account of its obstructionist approach to climate policy. When some activists announced, in a prank press conference, that the chamber would throw its weight behind an ambitious climate bill, the group responded with a lawsuit.

In arguing against cap-and-trade, the chamber has repeatedly advanced the notion that such legislation would harm U.S. energy security in some fashion or another. So last month, when the chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy announced that it had created a comprehensive new index of "Energy Security Risk"—a tool designed "to track shifts in U.S. energy security over time and assess potential impacts of new policies"—we wondered whether its calculations might be applied to the most recent energy and climate change policy proposals. In other words, what would the chamber's own definition of energy security say about the cap-and-trade bills the group so consistently opposes?

To find out, we ran the numbers on the clean energy and climate change bill unveiled by Sens. Kerry and Lieberman last month. We found that, according to the chamber's own definition of energy security risk, the bill would help America, nearly across the board.

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