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Martin O’Malley’s Looming Climate Tax

Last week I attended a PR event for the new movie Cool It featuring the Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg. Cool It based on Lomborg’s book by the same name, is an antidote to Al Gore’s fallacy riddled scare mongering film, An Inconvenient Truth. The film accepts that global warming or climate change (the alarmists are using climate crisis now) is real and it should be dealt with, but that it’s not the apocalyptic event Gore makes it out to be, and that the current Kyoto-style cap and trade approach is not working.

Lomborg argues—correctly—that spending trillions of dollars on carbon mitigation schemes (cap and trade) for a negligible return on investment—literally less than a degree of temperature reduction—is waste of money, which could be used to address more pressing issues like poverty and healthcare

I asked Lomborg what he thought about Martin O’Malley’s plan to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gasses by 25% of 2006 levels by 2020. Lomborg’s replied “good luck with that.”

The snarky bluntness of Lomborg’s criticism may offend Maryland’s green zealots, but it has the virtue of being true.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act introduced and signed into law by O’Malley states that reaching the 25% reduction target must have a “positive impact on Maryland’s economy.” The state’s manufacturing industry is exempted while the state’s energy production and transportation sectors are specifically targeted. The law tasks the Maryland Department of the Environment with preparing a plan by the end of 2011, to reach the goal

Reading the text of the law it appears that it’s architects (it was written by environmental special interest groups) believed they could overcome economic reality simply through legislative fiat.

Consider these three provisions:

ENSURE THAT THE PLAN DOES NOT DECREASE THE LIKELIHOOD OF RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE ELECTRICAL SERVICE AND STATEWIDE FUEL SUPPLIES…

Carbon reduction schemes do exactly the opposite. They increase the likelihood of unreliable and unaffordable energy. The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade scheme showed that it would raise an average family’s energy bill by $1,241. By what alchemy would a state level plan not increase our energy costs?

DO NOT DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACT LOW–INCOME, LOW– TO MODERATE–INCOME, OR MINORITY COMMUNITIES OR ANY OTHER PARTICULAR CLASS OF ELECTRICITY RATEPAYERS;

Unfortunately, the poorest of Marylanders would be hit the hardest by increases in energy costs.

PRODUCE A NET ECONOMIC BENEFIT TO THE STATE’S ECONOMY AND A NET INCREASE IN JOBS IN THE STATE; AND ENCOURAGE NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE STATE RELATED TO ENERGY CONSERVATION, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SUPPLY, AND GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS REDUCTION TECHNOLOGIES.

As Europe’s experience shows us, this is pure fantasy. In Spain two jobs are destroyed for every one green job created and all of Germany’s vaunted renewable energy production hasn’t stopped any carbon emissions.

This law is the result of the “findings” of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, a body formed by O’Malley and whose work he farmed out to a global warming advocacy group, the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS). The commission produced a pre-determined climate action report—paid for and written by environmental special interests—calling for all manner of economy killing policy prescriptions.

The commission’s findings and methodology were so absurd it led to this summary by the Beacon Hill Institute

1. CCS failed to quantify benefits in a way that they can be meaningfully compared to costs;

2. When estimating economic impacts, CCS often misinterpreted costs to be benefits;

3. The estimates of costs left out important factors, causing CCS to understate the true costs of its recommendations.

And

For policymakers, the CAP report offers no worthwhile guidance. The report fails to quantify the monetary benefits of reduced GHG emissions rendering its cost savings estimates implausible if not downright unbelievable.

Reading through the commission’s policy menu, Martin O’Malley has foisted upon Maryland a prescription for tax increases and regulatory burdens in the pursuit of an unattainable goal.

The Science and Public Policy Institute studied Maryland’s climate history and found that even if Maryland ceased all carbon emissions it would result in a meaningless two thousandths of a degree reduction in global temperature by the end of the century. Keep in mind, O’Malley’s plan calls for a 25% reduction of 2006 levels, meaning he has set Maryland up to bear a great deal of economic pain for no climate gain.

How is that “moving Maryland forward?”






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