Now that the relatively small wasting of money is over, the rotten fruit of that effort urges Louisianans to start wasting a spectacular amount to such a degree it would detract from their quality of life.
That comes courtesy of the garbage-in-garbage-out Climate Initiatives Task Force set up by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, which earlier this month issued its final report. It sought to align the state with environmental goals championed by the far left as reflected in lip service through the flawed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report whose recent summaries have demanded reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025, 40 to 50 percent of those levels by 2030, and to net zero by 2050.
The report explains its climate alarmism, and in doing so manages to discredit itself entirely by ignoring climate science. Laying out bombastic yet scientifically unsustainable claims, it contends:
- Climate change is a planetary threat being driven by human-induced increases in GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations in the atmosphere that have raised global temperatures … The science behind this is completely unsettled, with vast problems in data and measurement that make this assertion uncertain at best, but with the most basic problem that at least as much evidence exists that rather than temperature changes caused by GHG accumulation changes, it is the opposite.
- … and made extreme weather more common. In fact, data indicate flooding is not intensifying and becoming more frequent, nor are hurricanes, tornadic activity and intensity have declined, and wildfires and droughts are less frequent and severe than was the case throughout the first half of the 20th century, a period of far less GHG emission and concentration.
- Arctic summer sea ice reached its lowest level on record in 2012… which means around Greenland it was barely lower than levels two decades ago. And, over the past several decades Antarctic ice modestly has expanded.
- … global average sea level has risen faster in the past century than at any time in the past 1000 years. In reality, ocean tide gauge data shows that the sea level trend has not changed in over 100 years, and show no signs of drastic acceleration, with their tiny annual changes having started well before human carbon dioxide emissions were significant and with the trend unchanged since 1856. All of the perceived acceleration comes from satellite measurements and could be within the range of measurement error.
- In 2019, CO2e concentrations in the atmosphere were at their highest over the last 2 million years, and 19 of the 20 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. But the U.S. has experienced no significant warming since at least 2005, which throws a wrench into any theory that the alleged negative effects of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming of recent vintage could be caused by that. Further, U.S. thermometer readings report current temperatures similar to those recorded 80 years ago.
The 84 policy recommendations that follow – which the report hedges on in that it points out the modeling used assumes Louisiana a climate island when obviously not and can’t include all relevant environmental variables – fall into roughly four categories: low-to-no cost and impact administrative changes in practices, more disruptive and expensive bureaucratic implementations, alterations requiring regulatory or statutory and/or budgetary changes outside of the control of the governor’s office, and those policies needing cooperation from other levels of government and/or the private sector, ranging from trivially and voluntarily to major cost-sharing.
As such, a few are innocuous and actually may bring more benefits than costs, or at least impose costs only on those in the public who voluntarily accept that, such as requiring telematics for state fleet vehicles that could minimize wasted gas usage or letting electricity consumers voluntarily pay more for use of renewable energy on request. Others, such as changing state procurement practices to bias purchasing towards more expensive “green” items, would harm taxpayers and could be done unilaterally without voters’ or their representatives’ consent.
Fortunately, these have relatively minimal costs attached compared to the most drastic items that call for wholesale regulatory changes such as the Public Service Commission forcing utilities to supply more expensive renewable energy or passing legislation such as creating a carbon marketplace or adding wasteful tax breaks promoting renewable energy production and consumption. Fortunately, because neither the PSC nor Legislature (which has the final say over anything the governor or PSC does, both in terms of authority to act and money to spend on the quixotic) for the foreseeable future have majorities willing to submit to this alarmism.
And the absolute elephant in the room is the report relates absolutely zippo about the staggering costs its recommendations would impose. It tries to deflect from its avoidance of committing this suicide by recounting the standard alarmist boilerplate that that planet is doomed – again, an entirely unsupported belief according to the scientific evidence readily available – unless drastic action, regardless of costs, occurs yesterday.
Much of what it suggests falls under the framework of the CAGW-inspired and derided “Green New Deal” for the country, minus its more collectivist items of guaranteed jobs, incomes, housing, and food, which has a cost attached to it over a decade of $7.4 trillion for making the electrical grid low carbon and reducing transportation emissions to net zero. With Louisiana comprising 1.5 percent of the population, that translates into about $110 billion in taxpayer and consumer costs, or almost a decade’s worth of taxes and fees collected by state government. In other words, it would crowd out in essence any other costs for state government. Imagine tax and rate hikes doubled to indulge this fantasy.
The Legislature and PSC should throw this dreck in the garbage, and private sector entities largely should ignore it so as to avoid passing ruinous costs onto consumers, leaving only Edwards to implement what he can through executive fiat with whatever cooperation he can receive from alarmist-minded local governments. Happily, those few measures he can get going in the less than half of his term remaining the next governor easily can cancel on his first day in office.
GIGO. What a waste of time and bureaucracy that hopefully won’t proliferate much more.