Pennsylvania’s Unrealistic Climate Plan

Commentary

A macroeconomic study of Pennsylvania's Climate Action Plan, released earlier this month, promises impressive cost savings and job creation for the state, but the report was produced by a global warming alarmist group that is riddled with conflicts of interest and lacks integrity in its analyses.

The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), a nonprofit group based in Washington that reaps six-figure sums from eco-extremist foundations by advising states on how to fight global warming, came up with the rosy financial scenario for the Keystone State. Unsurprisingly, they found that the recommendations produced by the Pennsylvania Climate Change Advisory Committee-which was spoon-fed its proposals by CCS in the first place-would add more than $5 billion in gross state product and create 53,000 new jobs by the year 2020.

For comparison's sake, imagine you were paid $500,000 to provide all your ideas to reform schools and then were asked to advise whether or not they were financially beneficial for the state. What a sweet deal for you-are you going to tell your client your proposals are costly and impractical?

States all over the country have fallen for this scam. CCS, which was birthed years ago by the advocacy group Pennsylvania Environmental Council, sweet-talks its way into gubernatorial good graces by offering its cheap services (because it is paid by wealthy activists like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Ted Turner's foundation) in the guise of objective "technical consultants" on climate policy. It acts as if it is disinterested in outcomes, but in truth it pushes hard for caps on greenhouse gas emissions and prohibits discussion about the science of global warming.

And then there are CCS's dubious economic findings. Common sense tells the average citizen that massive new government regulations and added costs that come with greenhouse gas limits kill both economic growth and jobs. Even President Obama recognized during his campaign that such policies will cause electricity rates to "necessarily skyrocket." But CCS analysts Adam Rose (an economist) and Dan Wei (not an economist) find a way to defy those basic principles with their modeling-not surprising, since they've been either business associates or employees of CCS for several years.

In other states, CCS's work has come under more serious scrutiny by the Beacon Hill Institute, the research arm for the Department of Economics at Suffolk University in Boston. Whether it's Arizona, or Colorado, or Florida, or Maryland, or the Carolinas, BHI came to similar conclusions each time about CCS's claims-that their analyses were "seriously flawed" and "wildly optimistic." The most basic of economic principles were repeatedly violated-for example, CCS identified labor as a benefit rather than a cost.

As Pennsylvanians consider what their politicians and environmentalists tell them about the benefits of climate policy "solutions," they need to scrutinize their claims. What they are hearing just isn't so.

 

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Paul Chesser is a senior fellow for the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), a public policy education and research institute located in Harrisburg.