African Americans Cool on Global Warming, Survey Shows

By Michael W. Chapman | June 24, 2009 | 2:38 PM EDT

Clouds swirl in Kansas. (AP Photo)

( – While Congress considers legislation to reduce carbon emissions that allegedly cause global warming, a new survey shows that a majority of African Americans are opposed to legislation sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) because of the potential  impact it would have on the economy and minority households.
The Waxman-Markey bill would mandate a cap-and-trade policy on carbon-producing energy companies in the United States – the amount of carbon a company could release would be capped and if the firm exceeded its cap, it could buy, i.e., trade, credits to cover its excess output. That money would go to the government and be redistributed apparently to more environmentally friendly firms and to certain households.  
A new survey by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative group, shows that  “76 percent of African American adults believe that securing America’s economic recovery should be the top priority, even if it means delaying action on climate change."
The survey of 800 African American adults, with a +/- 3.4 percentage margin of error, also found the following: 
-- 56 percent of African American adults think our federal and state policy makers fail to adequately take into account economic and quality of life concerns when considering new anti-global warming laws.
-- When asked if federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could increase unemployment, 38 percent of survey respondents said they felt African Americans would proportionately lose more jobs.
-- Only 15 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay one dollar more for gasoline due to greenhouse gas legislation. The numbers dropped to 5, 3, and 4 percent if gas prices increased by $2, $3, or $4 a gallon.
-- Only 11 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay $100 more a year for electricity in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The numbers dropped to 6, 4, and 1 percent when respondents were asked if they would be willing to pay and extra $200, $300, or $600 a year for electricity. 

-- More than one out of every three African American adults surveyed said that greenhouse gas emissions should not be reduced if doing so would cause price increases and unemployment.” 

According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the cap-and-trade plan would generate $340 billion for the federal government. Republicans and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) say the estimated revenue from Waxman-Markey is closer to $366 billion, which they say averages out to about $3,000 per household.
In other words, the extra costs the carbon-emitting companies would pay would be passed on to consumers and those costs average out to roughly $3000 per household.

Waxman and Markey dispute that number, with Waxman saying that the cost is closer to $50 per household because a lot of the revenue generated from the bill would be redistributed to Americans and, in the long-term, cleaner energy sources would save people money. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts the cost per household at $140, and a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report put the number at $175 per household in 2020.

The conservative Heritage Foundation says the EPA's numbers are relatively low because the agency assumes that much of the plan's costs will be rebated back to consumers. Further, the CBO's numbers are not accurate, according to Heritage, because it also assumes much of the costs will be rebated back to taxpayers.

The Heritage Foundation estimates that the cost of Waxman-Markey will be around $1,900 for a family of four in 2050. It also reported that the Waxman-Markey bill would produce the following:

-- reduction in aggregate GDP by $7.4 trillion
-- destroy 844,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 1.9 million jobs
-- raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
-- raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman