12.4.2020

CO2 Coalition calls for the removal of misinformation used in support of Pennsylvania carbon tax

Arlington, VA, December 4, 2020: The CO2 Coalition, a group of more than 60 distinguished climate scientists, engineers and economists call for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and Governor Tom Wolf to remove incorrect information used to promote the adoption of a proposed carbon tax on electricity generation.

The governor and the PADEP are promoting the Commonwealth’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) using false and misleading claims of catastrophes due to CO2-driven man-made warming. This misinformation is being used to create unfounded fear and alarm in order to promote public acceptance of this economically and environmentally harmful initiative.

The primary goal of RGGI is to make electricity generated with natural gas and coal more expensive to make the renewable energy sector artificially competitive compared to fossil fuel energy. According to a recent study by the CATO Institute, states currently enrolled in RGGI experienced economic growth stagnation — a 34% reduction in energy-intensive industries and a 12% decline in the goods-production sector.

To justify imposing this harmful initiative, the governor claims a litany of negative effects from supposed man-made warming, including increased precipitation and flooding, heat-related illness and death and worsening air pollution. None of these are supported by science and facts. These are simply fabricated assertions intended to gin up public alarm over impending climate catastrophe.

CO2 Coalition Chairman Will Happer stated “We are told time and again to ‘follow the science’ yet, in order to promote their green agenda, the proponents appear ready to use false information and a media-driven narrative of impending climate doom and despair in order to impose their will on the citizens.”

The governor’s primary claim of man-made warming harm is that of increased precipitation and flooding. It is true that Pennsylvania’s 64 inches of rain in 2018 was the most on record. The following year was also a wet one, but so far 2020 is on pace to be substantially below the 50-year average of 44.6 inches.

Examination of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by the CO2 Coalition contradict claims of increased flooding. NOAA’s records of the biggest rainfall amounts that show a decline since a peak in 1940s and 1950s.

NOAA (2018)

Much was made of the flooding of the Susquehanna in 2018. However, the 2018 flood ranks just 31st on the list of greatest floods at Harrisburg — and only a bit more than half the record set by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.

Another unsupported claim is that heat-related deaths are increasing owing to CO2-driven warming. The fact of the matter is that studies consistently show that cold-related deaths exceed deaths from heat substantially. One recent study examined more than 74 million deaths and concluded that cold weather kills 20 times as many people as heat. Another found that more than 15 times as many people die due to cold as heat in these countries.

Gasparrini (2015)

A warmer globe would mean far fewer premature deaths associated with temperature. A far more accurate statement would aver that “global warming saves lives.”

The allegation that warmer temperatures are leading to increasing air and water pollution is dispelled by data from the EPA that reveal a long-term steady decrease in all pollutants measured despite a warming climate.

EPA (2020)

(Note: the CO2 Coalition disputes the notion that CO2 is a pollutant.)

The CO2 Coalition requests that Governor Tom Wolf and the PADEP “follow the science” by removing these and other false allegations of harm to the citizens of the Commonwealth due to a modest increase in temperature and increasing carbon dioxide. Policy on this subject should be driven by science, facts and data and not fears of non-existent threats.  

Sources

EPA (2020) Our Nation’s Air https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2019/documentation/AirTrends_Flyer.pdf

Gasparrini A, Guo Y, Hashizume M, Lavigne E, Zanobetti A, Schwartz J, Tobias A, Tong S, Rocklöv J, Forsberg B, Leone M, De Sario M, Bell ML, Guo Y, Wu C, Kan H, Yi S, de Sousa M, Stagliorio Z, Hilario P, Saldiva N, Honda Y, Kim H, Armstrong B (2015) Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study, The Lancet, Vol 386 July 25, 2015

NOAA (2018) NOAA NCEI Historical Records and Trends https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/streaks/

Vardoulakis S, Dear K, Hajat S, Heaviside C, Eggen B, McMichael AJ (2014) Comparative Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Heat- and Cold-Related Mortality in the United Kingdom and Australia, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 122, number 12

Media Contact: John Osborne, Media Manager, osborne@co2coalition.org or 419-681-1487.

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