Stupid, Green, and Growing…Your Cost of Living

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act passed the Senate last week by a 36-9 vote. To refresh: the bill—introduced by the O’Malley administration—aims to reduce GHG emissions 25% below 2006 levels by 2020. The administration and its environmental allies claim the reductions will stem the tide of global warming, all while providing net economic growth and more jobs. This is part of O’Malley’s “Smart, Green and Growing” initiative. Four Republicans inexplicably voted for this monstrosity (David Brinkley, Barry Glassman, Andy Harris, and EJ Pipkin). The house version of the bill, now awaits a vote in the Economic Matters Committee, where it died last year.

As I noted in January, the bills cheerleaders hailed it as a “compromise” because it exempts the state’s manufacturers, most notably the steel industry, which played a crucial role in killing the bill in 2008. However, the bill specifically targets energy production and transportation for reduction. The legislation tasks the Maryland Department of the Environment with crafting regulations (cap and trade) to achieve the specified reductions. The burdensome regulations emanating from MDE would impose steep costs on both the energy and transportation sectors of Maryland’s economy, meaning higher costs on all goods and services. Manufacturers may be exempt, but they still need purchase energy to produce their goods and fuel is needed to transport them to market. These costs are naturally passed on to consumers and utility rate payers both commercial and residential. Writing in the American Spectator William Yeatman and Jeremy Lott concisely destroy the conceit of O’Malley’s argument:

This isn’t rocket science. It’s basic math. Fighting climate change hurts the economy because almost all acts of economic production are powered by combusting fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), a process that emits greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming. Alternative “clean” energy sources such as wind and solar power are said to be the solution to climate change, but they are much more expensive than fossil fuels. So more clean energy = higher production

Furthermore, even if climate change were the apocalyptic scenario it is hyped to be (it isn’t), GHG reduction schemes would have no meaningful effect on global temperatures.

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The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, based on recommendations from the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, will significantly raise the cost of living for all Marylanders. And since you were wondering, yes the Senate just passed a bill based on recommendations, which provide “zero guidance to policy makers regarding the desirability of policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions.”

None of us should be surprised by this. We’ve already seen how O’Malley’s green initiatives have increased energy costs. O’Malley’s policies are “smart,” not “green,” but are definitely growing the cost of living.

Also, note the binding target date of 2020—long after he leaves office, even after a —sigh—second term. Of course, O’Malley will find a way to blame Bob Ehrlich for it all.

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