Shapiro keeps RGGI alive. Why?

Shapiro keeps RGGI alive. Why?

The Shapiro administration is making budget provisions in the new governor’s first spending blueprint for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

That’s despite candidate Shapiro’s well-placed skepticism about the program – a perverted government-created, -directed and -regulated “market” to cap and trade emissions – to tax carbon emissions, that is — that is dubious at best and charlatanism at its worst.

As Climate Change Politics reports it:

“As a candidate, Shapiro said he was concerned RGGI would not provide the right balance of reducing emissions while protecting jobs. His administration says including the program in the budget does not indicate a change in the governor’s stance, but accounts for the program should it be allowed to move forward.”

RGGI now is tied up in the Pennsylvania courts.

Perhaps one could spot the governor a point or two under the guise of the budget inclusion being prudent, if purely for planning purposes. But color us skeptical. Very skeptical. For as the news report further tells it:

“The proposed budget says the estimated RGGI proceeds”– estimated to be $663 million – “would leave the state well-positioned to help support communities and employees impacted by the energy transition, while investing in greenhouse gas abatement, energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy programs.”

Which, of course, makes it sound like the Shapiro administration has bought more into RGGI than previously stated. In fact, it sounds like unqualified support.

Never mind a mere year ago that Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) concluded that RGGI could nearly quadruple energy costs for Keystone State consumers. That’s double, times two, we wryly note.

RGGI remains a public policy clinker that will cost jobs (tens of thousands by various estimates), will lead to higher electricity prices (calculated to be in the billions of dollars by various estimates) and will threaten the stability of the already fragile power grid.

And all that for insignificant reductions in emissions. In fact, some analyses conclude some non-RGGI states have had better emissions reduction than RGGI member states.

Which only further confirms that RGGI is a proverbial pig in a poke proffered by pols egged on by envirocrats, both of whom see a golden opportunity to redistribute wealth for faux environmental benefits and with a heavy “social justice” undertow.

As Travis Voyles, acting secretary of the Virginia Department of Natural and Historic Resources, reminded in a Washington Post commentary last September:

“RGGI provides no incentive and no choice for consumers, enables energy generators to simply pass through all costs, and does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Virginia now plans to leave RGGI. Pennsylvania should entertain RGGI no further.

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