Climate anxiety in Allegheny County

Climate anxiety in Allegheny County

Allegheny County Council has named the members of its Sustainability and Green Initiatives Committee. And according to a prior news release announcing formation of the group, it will, as the Post-Gazette reported it, “collaborate with the county’s sustainability manager and municipalities to investigate the feasibility of a regional climate action plan … .”

“It also will provide an updated greenhouse gas assessment to move the county in the direction of the long-term goal of carbon neutrality; offer recommendations to incorporate sustainable practices in all county departments and offer recommendations on ways to promote and educate the public about the county’s environmental and energy initiatives.”

Of course, this raises more than a few questions.

What, exactly, would a “regional climate action plan” entail?

Any time we hear the word “regional” juxtaposed with some kind of proposed government action, we cringe. Remember the “Regional Renaissance Initiative” of the late 1990s?

That soundly voter-thumped ballot measure wasn’t merely “The Stadiums Tax” but the creation of a vast new unelected group of bureaucrats vested with unaccountable taxing authority bent on remaking Greater Pittsburgh in the image of ever bigger government.

Gee, what could have gone wrong?

Would some kind of “Regional Climate Action Committee” attempt to install some kind of perverted government-designed industrial policy in the guise of saving us all, not from man-made “disaster” but the cyclical nature of all things climate?

Will “educating the public” instead be an attempt to indoctrinate it in the typical one-sided manner we’ve seen to date? Will cooler heads be allowed to be heard in this heated debate?

Perhaps the committee will decree that fossil fuels be banned – that all natural gas production and use be eradicated in favor of the blight that would be the acres upon acres of land sullied with row after row of solar panels and wind turbines for as far as the eyes can see?

Might it also decree that a new “environmental tax” be imposed to pay for it all?

And what, exactly is this “long-term goal of carbon neutrality”?

As energy scholars at The Heartland Institute recently wrote:

Eliminating carbon-based energy and carbon dioxide emissions will impose far greater human and ecological costs. It is fossil fuel replacements that will inflict incalculable damage to people and planet.
 
“Replacing coal, oil, natural gas and internal combustion vehicles would require millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of battery modules, millions of acres of biofuel plantations, a complete overhaul of electrical grids and infrastructures, on millions of acres.

“That will require billions of tons of steel, aluminum, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, concrete, plastics and other materials – which will require digging up and processing hundreds of billions of tons of ores and minerals.”

Is this what we can expect the Allegheny County Council’s Sustainability and Green Initiatives Committee to support? Unsustainable and hardly “green” prescriptions that are anathema to sound public policy?

District 3 Councilwoman Anita Prizio, who will chair the new committee, told the P-G that because “climate change” has received so much attention at the federal and state levels of government, she wants to bring that type of awareness to the county through the committee.

“I am anxious to get started discussing sustainability and green issues with my colleagues,” she said.

Given the possible man-made regulation calamities ahead, not to mention what the real definition of “anxious” is, so are we, Ms. Prizio. So are we.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).