CO2 Coalition Scientists: No scientific justification for Wolf’s carbon tax
Appearing before the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee were Gregory Wrightstone, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based CO2 Coalition, and Dr. Patrick Michaels, senior fellow with the coalition and a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.
Dr. Michaels said all but one of 102 computer models used in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) Climate Action Plan “failed dramatically” in representing how the climate behaved in the past. He suggested that it would have been preferable for the state to have used the one model that more accurately reflected past climatic conditions than to have averaged the results of all 102 irrespective of their accuracy.
In addition, he said, the Pennsylvania analysis uses a CO2 emission model that assumes an unrealistic increase in the use of coal that exceeds some estimates of the quantity of recoverable coal reserves.
Correcting for the state’s reliance on flawed analyses reduces the predicted warming by 2050 to less than two degrees Fahrenheit from the state’s projection of 5.4 degrees.
“These realities effectively destroy the credibility of the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan,” said Dr. Michaels.
The state DEP has used the action plan as a basis for a proposal to enter into a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that would tax fossil fuel-generated electricity, making it more expensive. Analysis by David Stevenson at the Delaware-based Caesar Rodney Institute says RGGI would threaten jobs of tens of thousands of workers at power plants, coal mines, manufacturers and supporting industries and a loss of billions of dollars in Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product.
“Because of DEP’s flawed climatic analysis, the agency’s predictions of drought, flooding and other extreme weather events have no scientific basis,” said Mr. Wrightstone. “The Wolf administration is engaging in fearmongering to drive a political agenda.
Mr. Wrightstone disputed DEP’s speculation about future adverse weather resulting from purported climate change:
DEP’s projection of increased flooding are contradicted by data from the Ohio, Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers that show a decline in the size of flood crests in the last 100 years even though the average rainfall has increased by three inches, said Mr. Wrightstone.
Although Gov. Wolf makes much of Susquehanna River flooding in 2018, he said, that event ranks 31st in the list of greatest floods at Harrisburg and only slightly more than half of the magnitude of the 1972 flood from Tropical Storm Agnes.
Mr. Wrightstone, an expert reviewer for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the IPCC “can discern no connection between a modest increase in temperature and any change in flooding worldwide.”
A DEP projection of more drought is unsubstantiated by data showing decreasing aridity in Pennsylvania over the last century while the climate warmed slightly during the period, he said.
A DEP projection of more heat waves is contrary to data showing a peak in the country’s hot weather occurring in the 1920s and 1930s before CO2 levels began increasing following World War II, said Mr. Wrightstone.
Health Risks from Pollution
DEP’s projection of health risks from air and water pollution are inconsistent with data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showing double-digit percentage decreases in pollution, said Mr. Wrightstone.
“Our air and water today are cleaner than in more than 100 years and getting cleaner every year. According to the EPA, nationally, our concentrations of air pollutants have dropped significantly since 1990,” he said.
DEP predicts damage to Pennsylvania agriculture, but actual data shows improvements in farm production, said Mr. Wrightstone.
“Pennsylvania is no different than most of the rest of the globe, which is benefiting from a moderate rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide and natural warming. Over the last 50 years there have been increases in the length of growing seasons and crop production and an overall greening of Earth.
“Government bodies reviewing RGGI should ‘follow the science’ and reject this economically crippling program,” he said.
The CO2 Coalition is made up of more than 70 of the top scientists bringing honesty to climate science.