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Thursday, January 21, 2010

From an editorial in The Jouranl Times (Racine):

As one might expect, the release of Gov. Jim Doyle's energy policy and climate change bill has produced argument about how much harm or benefit it will produce, and there are dueling studies about the bill's effect. That is a side issue.

We should embrace the goals of the bill if not necessarily every line because doing nothing is not an option. We can suffer some pain in the near term or the certainty of great pain later. This is fact for three reasons.

First, some sort of cost will be attached to greenhouse gas emissions. Congress is considering its own climate change legislation, but even without that, the Environmental Protection Agency has already declared its intent to regulate those emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Second, oil is not an infinite resource. Depending on which analyst one chooses to believe, we are either at or just past the peak of oil production. In other words, the supply of this resource will begin declining, and this will drive up prices especially with China and India in the market seeking to fuel their growth.

Third, there is no guarantee that doing nothing will save the jobs said to be in jeopardy now. Wisconsin's paper industry, for example, has been closing mills, cutting jobs and selling off land for several years.

If we do nothing, we can be assured there will be more pain later because we will have squandered the lead time required to build new nuclear power plants, erect new power transmission lines and invest in other alternatives to mitigate the effects of oil price increases.

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