Energy: We Will Reap What We Sow

Posted: Jun 01, 2009 5:45 PM
Guest blog post by Rep. Todd Akin

Welcome to your not-so-distant clean energy future. Right now, your electric car is recharging in the garage for your morning commute. The tractor trailers and buses that keep your economy moving run on clean natural gas. The batteries for your iPod, cell phone and flashlight are all rechargeable and recyclable.

That’s a vision for our clean energy future that most Republicans and Democrats can agree on. But how we get there is another matter.

My Republican colleagues and I are committed to building a sturdy bridge to our clean energy future. In the past, I have introduced forward-thinking legislation that increases our energy independence while funding research and development of new technologies. We need an energy policy that uses our domestic energy resources responsibly while rewarding innovators who develop low-emissions, emissions-free and renewable energy technology for the future.

Recently, Democrats in Congress held committee hearings on their national energy tax plan. They are trying to convince the American public to accept an inside-the-beltway scheme that rewards favored special interests, but doesn’t even clean up our environment. Carbon emissions have actually gone up in Europe under a similar “cap and trade” plan and job losses have escalated. Under the President’s plan to cap and tax carbon emissions, Americans would lose nearly three million jobs by 2029. Many of these jobs will go overseas – to countries with few environmental standards.   Additionally, besides job losses, non-partisan studies indicate that the President’s energy tax robs $4.8 trillion from our economy over the next two decades by taxing energy and raising the cost of living for ordinary Americans. What do we get in return for giving up jobs? Not much, it turns out. According to some models, we may be able to keep global temperatures from increasing by 1/100 of a degree Celsius over the next 100 years – but there is no guarantee.  Even supporters of the national energy tax admit that it will not substantially reduce global temperatures.

A long time ago, I learned a very simple principle: What we reward, we get more of. What we penalize, we get less of. If we reward green energy innovation, we will get more of it. If we tax energy usage, job creation and economic development, we will get less of them. Real energy solutions are not created in Washington. They are the fruit of the hard-work and ingenuity of American entrepreneurs who care about our environment and grow our economy.

Congressman Akin represents Missouri's 2nd congressional district and serves on the House Committee on Science and Technology.