The Detroit News reports that the United Auto Workers are gearing up for battle for a surprising new cause: greenhouse gas emissions standards. Alan Reuther, Legislative Director of the newly-green union, wrote congress recently to warn against a bill authored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski which would prevent the EPA from declaring C02 a danger to public health, saying:
The UAW also is deeply concerned that overturning EPA’s endangerment finding would unravel the historic agreement on one national standard for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for light-duty vehicles that was negotiated by the Obama administration last year
In the absence of the EPA standard, California and other states would certainly move forward with their standards, thereby subjecting auto manufacturers to all of the burdens that the one national standard was designed to avoid
By 2014, the light-duty vehicle fleet modeled in this study would achieve 31.5 mpg. This will add about $848 to the manufacturing cost of each car and light truck assembled in North America. If this cost is applied across 13.3 million North American assemblies, $11.3 billion more in content will be added to North American-built vehicles. This will create 62,000 additional jobs, of which 20,000–54,000 will be in the United States. Just under 40 percent of these jobs will be in the auto and auto parts sector. The remaining 60 percent will be either in the broader manufacturing supply chain, including raw materials such as steel or intermediate goods (stamped, machined, molded, cast and forged parts), or in nonmanufacturing jobs elsewhere in the economy.
In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act established incentives for the domestic manufacturer of advanced batteries. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 subsequently funded these incentives. Earlier this year, the federal government announced the first wave of awards under these programs. The results are spectacular—48 projects have been announced to develop and deploy batteries and electric vehicle components in the United States.The bottom line is that the United States could emerge as a leading producer of lithium-ion batteries in less than five years because of government policies that lower the cost and risk of critical technology development. That is smart policy for jobs, energy security and carbon avoidance, and shows what well-structured government stimulus policies can achieve.
Incidentally, that particular program only cost about $2.4b. The UAW have become masters at hiding their venal bottom line beneath labor and now environmental justifications, but it’s always there. In this case it comes down to two sentences:
Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation is the ideal policy tool because it provides support at the scale, predictability and duration needed to fund a meaningful economic and technological transition. Domestic manufacturing incentives funded through steady allowance revenues, could prove crucial in the choices firms make about where to locate production and our economic stake in these emerging trends.
Meanwhile, recent past seems to show that they’re barking up the wrong tree. Battery assembly for the Chevy Volt, which is proudly displayed on the report’s cover, is taking place at a non-union shop. And those scabs are assembling batteries from cells made by a Korean firm. Apparently the green future does not belong to the UAW.