Saving the Planet By Screwing Working Families

Looks like global warming is going to be on the agenda for the 2008 session of the General Assembly, and why not the Governor’s secretive panel the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, spent a lot of time and money on its recommendations. How much time and money we do not know because MDE is stonewalling anyone who requests information regarding MCCC and its ghostwriter Center for Climate Strategies (CCS). If the situation is so dire and the consequences so severe, then what is there to hide?

Apparently, there is already a “carbon bill” already before the legislature.

Several lawmakers say a proposal to cap carbon emissions — possibly the nation’s toughest plan to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming — stands to become the most ambitious bill of the General Assembly session…

The carbon bill, endorsed by a task force set up by Gov. Martin O’Malley, would call for carbon reductions of 25 percent by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050. If approved, the goals would be the nation’s strongest carbon reduction plans…

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“I think the environment’s going to loom large in this session,” said House Democratic Leader Kumar Barve, who worked on O’Malley’s global warming task force and plans to back the carbon caps. A carbon cap bill was considered last year by lawmakers, but they didn’t approve it. This year, environmentalists and several lawmakers say the cap should pass, likely with a backing from the governor.
“If you talked to me three or four years ago, anything about climate change solutions, I’d say it’s tooth and nail. But now, I’m very, very optimistic this bill is going to pass,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a Takoma Park-based group that focuses on global warming.

The specifics of the bill are unknown because bills for the 2008 session are not available on the General Assembly website.

However, going by the MCCC Mitigation Working Group’s Interim Report, the methods for reaching those reductions are: a cap and trade scheme for carbon dioxide, which builds off of last year’s deceptively named Global Warming Solutions Act. Maggie McIntosh chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee was so invested in the bill that she made the whole committee view An Inconvenient Truth. I wonder if she provided the committee members with the film’s documented convenient fictions, but I digress.

Note the last bullet point on the bottom of the slide on page 12 of the pdf. Any cap and trade scheme would require significant resources (an understatement) to create a new level of bureaucracy to manage the Cap and trade scheme. How do they propose to do generate the said significant resources: with a self-sustaining fee system, which is Newspeak for a tax.

Cap and trade schemes are exactly that, a scheme, nothing more. It is means for rent seeking utility companies to rake in windfall profits while burnishing their “green” credentials. Across the Atlantic, many EU members cannot meet their emission reduction goals through Kyoto’s vaunted cap and trade scheme. In fact, European Co2 emissions rose faster than US emissions during 2000-2004. Also, the Financial Times noted, cap and trade schemes create a muddle without any real benefit (it that is your goal) of reducing Co2 emissions. FT prefers a straight carbon tax, but they also admit, what the green’s don not, that both carbon taxes and cap and trade markets unduly burden the poor. However, governments prefer the hidden costs in artificial carbon markets because they are more politically feasible than a straight carbon tax. I’m not sure that is the case in Maryland given the governor and the legislature’s propensity for new taxes.

Other MCCC legislative initiatives include:

Carbon taxes (just in case the lumpen proles catch on to the cap and trade boondoggle).

Raise renewable portfolio standards (RPS) requirements. RPS are government mandates for utility companies to buy a certain percentage of its energy from wind and solar sources, which are extremely expensive. Guess who pays the extra costs!

Demand side management (DSM) fees for energy users. DSM fees are additional user fees for consumers.

Transportation fuel tax. MCCC recommends that emission reductions be taken into consideration in any gas tax discussions. Take a guess where that one is going.

Pay as You Drive (PAYD) Auto Insurance programs. PAYD programs connects insurance policies to mileage driven by converting part of your premium into a per mile fee on your policy.

Governor O’Malley won election, in part, based on the perception that he was looking out Maryland’s working families as evidenced by his flogging the unavoidable BGE rate hike as a campaign issue. Through the MCCC, O’Malley has now positioned himself to be perceived as a leader on climate change and the fight against global warming. However, the MCCC proposals, with their added energy and insurance costs, are quite obviously detrimental to working families.

This begs the question; do O’Malley and the Democrat monopoly care more about supposedly saving the planet from a non-existent threat or acting on behalf of working families?

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