by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute launched a counter-strike Tuesday morning against business and environmental groups looking to keep the U.S. a part of the United Nations’ Kigali climate agreement that the Obama administration signed onto.
The libertarian think tank’s senior fellow Ben Lieberman issued a brief on Tuesday that seeks to debunk what proponents of the agreement say are its positive economic advantages.
Business groups “have joined forces with environmental activists to lobby for the Kigali Amendment’s ratification,” Lieberman writes. “In doing so, they have made a number of claims that do not stand up to scrutiny,” he says, referring to the claims as “myths.” …
… One of the central arguments that business and environmental groups are making to sway the administration and the Senate to get behind the deal is the fact that it will create jobs through the production of new, more competitive products. But Lieberman argues that the new replacement chemicals will instead raise product prices.
“Granted, a relative few refrigerant makers stand to gain, particularly the two that have patented costly substitutes for which they hope to secure a captive market via Kigali,” the brief reads. “Thus, certain companies may expand hiring in response to the windfall they expect to get under Kigali, but that windfall would be at the expense of their competitors, so the overall jobs impact in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector is likely to be a wash.”
Lieberman also argues that the deal would raise the cost of household appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners by hundreds and thousands of dollars, without generating money-saving efficiency improvements. “You cannot improve efficiency by restricting refrigerant choice; you can only compromise it,” writes Lieberman.