Climate Change Action Plan Fails to Balance Evidence
HARRISBURG, PA – The Commonwealth Foundation today expressed dissatisfaction with the process and conclusion of the Climate Change Advisory Committee’s (CCAC) action plan for Pennsylvania. The plan deviates from key objectives listed in Act 70 of 2008, provides Pennsylvanians an insufficient analysis of the economic costs of policy proposals, and does not present the full scope of opinions within the scientific community.
Act 70 explicitly states that the report should “reflect the diversity of views within the scientific community.” The CCAC prevented this from happening on numerous occasions, primarily by allowing the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) to direct the outcome of the report. The CCS is infamous for going state to state, lobbying for climate change “plans,” contracting with states to conduct studies, and producing nearly identical recommendations in these reports.
The CCS is a project of Enterprising Environmental Solutions, Inc. (EESI). EESI was the sole bidder (and winner) of the contract for Pennsylvania’s climate change study. EESI, with its clear ties to CCAC, has demonstrated a clear political agenda.
Further violating the statutory directives set forth by Act 70, the CCAC ignored requirements to operate independently from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP Secretary routinely pressured voting members and helped sway the outcome of the report.
Act 70 did not require that the report include a statewide target for reducing Green House Gases (GHG), as the final report does. This is above the capacity and beyond the scope of this document, especially considering the report does not adequately incorporate a variety of scientific opinions and fails to provide economic analysis of the cost-effectiveness of its recommendations.
Dr. Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist with the American Council for Capital Formation, a third-party consultant, analyzed the CCAC action plan draft. She found that the plan failed to give Pennsylvania the needed information for sound policy decisions. Dr. Thorning concluded, “In effect, it has argued the merits of only one side and the effect is of essentially talking the state into a predetermined position. This sin of omission may leave Pennsylvanians paying the price.”
Additionally, the report fails to acknowledge the price of reducing GHG, suggesting the reductions will have a minimal cost and will even create numerous jobs. This statement is preposterous; if the recommendations were more cost-effective, there would be no need for government mandates because the private market would adopt them.
Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that legislation like Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards does not increase the net number of jobs, like the CCAD report suggests. An analysis of Spain’s subsidy-driven renewable energy market found that for every one green job created, 2.2 jobs were lost. The CCAC report’s claim of 65,000 new jobs ignores the numerous jobs lost due to new regulations, resulting in a net loss for Pennsylvania, at a higher cost to taxpayers.
Worst of all, the report does not deal with Pennsylvania as a unique economic and geological entity, but uses generic information provided from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The plan relies almost completely on information provided in the IPCC report, which provides no insight on the ecological and economic impacts these recommendations will have.
The Climate Change Action Plan fails to give Pennsylvanians a fair presentation of the debate on climate change within the scientific community, offering a biased presentation of the costs and benefits of its recommendations.
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The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.