Progressive Economics: Paying More To Get Less

I must once again take my former grad school professor the estimable Allan Lichtman to task a fallacy in his Gazette column.

Lichtman puts heavy emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gasses, especially on what Maryland can do to curb quote pollution unquote and that we must pay the costs in higher energy prices now for a future long term climate gain.

As GK Chesterton said “fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” The progressive infatuation of emission reductions is a fallacy of the first order.

That progressives always speak in terms of emission reductions is the proverbial poker tell. They can spout off about all manner of emissions averted but never a word about temperatures averted. Why? Because they know that emissions reductions schemes do nothing to reduce temperature. The federal cap and trade scheme, Waxman-Markey would produce a climatically meaningless one-nine hundredth of a degree change in global temperature. Even the most ardent of climate alarmists will admit that if fully implemented the Kyoto Protocol would have produced an undetectable slowing of warming by 0.7 degrees, hence their cry for 30 Kyotos.

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That’s a pittance of a benefit for the massive costs. Yet that is to be expected given that economic analysis of Maryland’s of cited Climate Action Plan revealed that:

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.


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. The faulty analysis contained in the CAP report leaves policymakers with no basis on which to judge the merits of the CAP report’s recommendations for action on the mitigation of GHG emissions.

Paying more to get less: the essence of progressive economics.

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