Pa.’s climate confidence game

Pa.’s climate confidence game

With much fanfare late last month, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the Keystone State had become the 24th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance.

That’s the group, as the Post-Gazette reminds, that works “toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement despite the Trump administration’s intent to quit the international climate pact.”

Many Pittsburgh officials, of course, support the measure, including Mayor Bill Peduto.

The commonwealth, per a 230-page blueprint, seeks to cut C02 and supposedly other “heat-trapping emissions” by 26 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050, calculated from a 2005 baseline, the newspaper notes.

And the plan touts grand benefits for Pennsylvania, its people and its economy should these reduction efforts be taken – from increasing disposable income and gross state product, to creating nearly 40,000 jobs by 2050.

But as noted climate change contrarian Gregory Wrightstone noted in the conclusion of a recent dissection of the plan:

“Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan will impose huge costs on the commonwealth’s citizens and businesses while burdening them with additional levels of restrictions and regulations.

“Companies will pass these higher costs on to consumers or absorb the costs, which will deter hiring and new investment.

“A rise in prices means that consumers will buy less, and companies will drop employees, close entirely, or move to other states where the cost of doing business is lower.

“The consequence means fewer opportunities for Pennsylvania’s workers, less economic growth, lower incomes, and higher unemployment.

“The justifications for imposing this plan are flawed, the costs and regulations are economically crippling, and the result is a temperature reduction so low that it is indistinguishable from zero.

“In short, the plan would infringe on the freedoms of people and make them significantly poorer.”

It’s a classic pig in a poke — the kind of confidence game, if you will, in which government types love to specialize and anathema to sound public policy.

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