RGGI Is A Giant Scam That Doesn’t Even Lower Emissions!
Jim Willis on NGL Pipelines
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
[Editor’s Note: RGGI is the worst of scams — a slush fund eyed by enviro and social justice warriors as a piggybank for their own efforts — that doesn’t even lower emissions.]
The main reason Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf wants to force his state (against the will of a majority of residents) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a carbon tax, is that it will supposedly cut down the state’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is supposedly causing Mom Earth to toast (see Gov. Wolf Goes Bonkers: EO Destroying Gas-Fired Elec, Carbon Tax). An article from the leftists at POLITICO and its subsidiary E&E News network, though, contains a bombshell revelation.
RGGI, the “nation’s first CO2 cap and trade system,” doesn’t actually lower CO2 emissions! It’s nothing more than a tax, a revenue generator so sleazy politicians can redistribute the wealth from poor people (electric ratepayers) to rich people (those who use so-called renewables and get big government handouts/incentives to do so). That’s what RGGI amounts to–a reverse Robin Hood scheme of giving money from the poor and middle class to the rich. Disgusting.
We were thunderstruck as we read the following article which questions whether or not RGGI actually works (hinting in the article that it does not). The statement that grabbed our eyeballs was this (emphasis added):
An analysis of electric power emissions data from the EPA shows that six RGGI states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont—saw an uptick in greenhouse gases from power plants last year relative to both 2020 and 2019.
RGGI is supposed to lead to less CO2, not more. That’s it’s entire raison d’etre. RGGI does not work, period. So why does Wolf insist on forcing PA to join it?
Often referred to as a “cap and invest” initiative, RGGI is a cooperative venture of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that targets carbon dioxide emissions from large power plants. Its current members include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Vermont, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Virginia…
Since the first auction in 2008, power plant emissions in the RGGI region have fallen by about 50%, but observers are divided as to how much those reductions can be attributed to the program itself, rather than market forces — and how best to ensure the trend continues.
“The RGGI program has not been very ambitious … I think because of the fear of high energy costs and the fear of imposing heavy costs on the private sector,” said Timothy Hamilton, an associate professor of economics at the University of Richmond. “We’ve seen big changes in the last 10 or 20 years, but most evidence points to that being primarily driven by natural gas coming online.”
As many coal plants in the RGGI region have been replaced with natural gas over the last two decades, some are concerned about whether emissions reductions will continue. An analysis of electric power emissions data from the EPA shows that six RGGI states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont — saw an uptick in greenhouse gases from power plants last year relative to both 2020 and 2019.
“The only place where much coal exists at this point is in Maryland,” said Brian Megali, director of clean energy policy at Constellation Energy Corp. “So the opportunity to cut emissions dramatically is diminishing.”
Whether RGGI states should commit to faster emissions reductions is a key focus of an ongoing review of the program, the third since the initiative’s founding.
As part of the review, some environmental advocates have called for incorporating environmental justice principals into the program design, facilitating greater engagement with members of the public and lowering the size threshold for generators that are required to purchase allowances, among other changes. Clean energy advocates also note that several RGGI states have enacted policies to shift toward 100% carbon-free power within the next two to three decades and argue that the program’s framework should reflect those plans.
Still, the review comes as Republican lawmakers in Virginia and Pennsylvania are criticizing what they see as unnecessary costs of RGGI for consumers. Broadly, they say that RGGI acts similarly to a tax, raising costs for consumers, and have questioned its emissions benefits.
Under RGGI, the proceeds from each allowance auction are reinvested into state programs. States have elected to use the money to promote energy efficiency, help with flood control and develop renewable energy projects, among other initiatives.
Raising the price of CO2 allowances would increase the pool of money reinvested into states, while putting fossil fuels at an economic disadvantage relative to renewable energy. But an overly ambitious RGGI framework could also raise electric rates, given that compliance costs may be passed on to consumers, at a time when prices are already elevated, economists say…
As states debate what RGGI should look like through the rest of the decade, some lawmakers in Pennsylvania are preparing legal challenges to stay out of it altogether.
Last night, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued an order staying publication of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s RGGI regulation until the court issues a further order on the issue. It comes after the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate earlier this week failed to override Wolf’s plan for the state to begin participating in RGGI later this year.
The veto override attempt was the latest effort over the last two years to prevent Pennsylvania — which produces a significant amount of natural gas and some coal — from joining the cap-and-trade program.
“The first word that comes to mind is relentless — and exasperating,” Mark Szybist, a senior attorney in the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said of the ongoing controversy in Pennsylvania.
RGGI opponents failed to gain enough votes to override Wolf’s veto of a bill that could have effectively prevented Pennsylvania from regulating carbon emissions through RGGI. But the effort is unlikely to end there.
“The next step is to address this issue in the courts,” Erica Clayton Wright, communications director for Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R), said in an email…
Opponents have also questioned whether RGGI is effective at cutting carbon emissions. If Pennsylvania were to join RGGI, power plants in the state might retire or run less often, but similar plants in neighboring states would ultimately make up the difference, Pennsylvania state Sen. Joe Pittman (R) said last week.
“This makes no sense. There is no benefit to the climate. All it does is increase the cost of electricity and greatly diminish our ability to have family sustaining jobs in the Commonwealth,” Pittman, one of the most vocal RGGI critics in the Pennsylvania Senate, said during a March 28 hearing on the initiative…
For one thing, the auction proceeds can be used to invest in a variety of energy and climate programs of each state’s choosing. The Wolf administration also expects that participating in RGGI would increase gross state product by nearly $2 billion and bring in more than 30,000 jobs between 2022 and 2030, in part through the money the program would raise.
Editor’s Note: This article demonstrates the absolute sleasziness of the Wolf Administration and corporatist/socialist forces behind RGGI. Read it again and notice the following:
- The only progress in lowering emissions has come from the use of natural gas produced in Pennsylvania.
- RGGI is, essentially, merely a giant slush fund paid for through taxes on ratepayers for folks such as Tom Wolf and Patsy McDonnell to use to pass out as favors to friends.
- Enviro grifters with socialist aims hope to use RGGI as a phony “environmental justice” piggybank to grab some of the money for themselves and repress ever more oil and gas production. As we’ve noted here before, if “environmental justice” were a real thing the DRBC wouldn’t be able to get away with denying lower income residents of places such as Wayne County the natural gas development opportunities the same governing allows in adjoining Susquehanna County under the SRBC.
- In yet further proof that leftists always accuse others of precisely what they’re doing, we see the Rockefeller family dominated NRDC complain of relentless obstructionism simply because an RGGI program no voters have chosen is getting implemented before Tom Wolf leaves office; as if the NRDC wasn’t totally about relentless opposition to oil and gas here that they’re helping develop in China.
Yes, RGGI is a scam, a big one Democrats are trying to deliver for their gentry class elitist constituency.
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