Devastating RGGI critique mailed to 400 PA leaders

HARRISBURG, Pa — Analysis by a national organization of more than 70 top scientists concludes that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s justifications for a proposed carbon tax “are invalid and its claims of environmental and economic benefits are fiction.”

The findings are in a document being mailed by the Arlington, Va.-based CO2 Coalition to more than 400 Pennsylvania leaders in business, labor and government. Titled “Pennsylvania’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Relies on Faulty Data: Why RGGI is a ‘solution in search of a problem’”, the document comprises 25 pages of discussion, illustrations and references.

“The government bodies tasked with review of RGGI should ‘follow the science’ and reject this economically crippling program,” said Gregory Wrightstone, coalition executive director and expert reviewer for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Our analysis exposes the pseudoscience of RGGI for what it is — blatant fearmongering for the purpose of advancing a political agenda,” he said.

Analysis authors are Mr. Wrightstone; Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow for the CO2 Coalition and Competitive Enterprise Institute and Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists; and David T. Stevenson, Director, Center for Energy & Environment at the Delaware-based Caesar Rodney Institute and author of more than 100 analytic reports.

Their overall conclusions are:

  • The Wolf administration’s predictions of floods, droughts, heat waves, pollution risks, destructive sea-level rise and agricultural damage are contradicted by historical data and what science and common sense suggests for the future.
  • The administration overestimates future carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric warming because more than 99 percent of its climate models are flawed and because its assumptions for coal use likely exceed what is even possible.
  • The administration’s claims of economic benefits ignore RGGI’s poor performance in other states over the past decade. A more realistic forecast for Pennsylvania’s proposed participation in RGGI is one of billions of dollars in lost gross domestic product, hundreds of millions in tax losses, tens of thousands in job losses, higher electric bills and no environmental benefits.

“In short, the administration’s economic and environmental justifications for entering RGGI are invalid and its claims of environmental and economic benefits are fiction,” the CO2 Coalition says in the report. “RGGI is a purported solution in search of a problem. Even if there were a problem — which there isn’t — RGGI’s theoretical effects on the environment would be too small to measure, much less solve it.”

RGGI would impose a tax on fossil fuel-based producers of electricity to make them uncompetitive with less reliable and more expensive solar and wind energy. The Wolf administration has proposed instituting the tax next year, although both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature have challenged the governor’s authority to do so unilaterally.

Remarks can be submitted here irrchelp@irrc.state.pa.us