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January 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon

 

If you’ve been outside today and need something to steam you up, this should work: Illinois is spending untold billions — yes, billions — of dollars every year to cool the climate.  It’s “untold billions” because, while it’s clearly in the billions, nobody bothers to measure the cost of many governmental programs to cool climate by lowering carbon emissions.

 

The long list of Illinois programs to fight global warming is below. Among them is the Illinois ‘25% by 2025’ policy forcing utilities into supplying 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Electricity users bear most of the cost. A similar proposal in Michigan (which has a budget surplus) recently lost after opponents showed it would cost billions in higher rates. Billions just for that initiative.

 

That’s only for state and local programs. At the Federal level, they try to measure the cost of compliance with regulations, not just direct spending.  The Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with all environmental regulations costs the U.S. economy about $183 billion per year. Illinois’ share of that, based on population, would be about $8 billion. CO2-fighting regulations are not broken out, but since that’s been a large piece of our Federal environmental policy it seems reasonable to think that a large part of that $8 billion is to fight global warming. Again, that’s just regulatory compliance cost, not direct spending.

 

We could also even use the numbers from one of the leading climate doomsayers, which probably understate the cost side. The Climate Policy Initiative issued a study a few months ago claiming the world is spending $359 billion per year to fight global warming. Illinois represents about one percent of the world’s GDP, which would roughly suggest our share is about $3.6 billion per year. That’s just on direct spending, not including regulatory compliance costs described above. The Climate Policy Initiative, by the way, is concerned that spending on global warming has plateaued and that spending at current levels is “far below even the most conservative estimates” of what they think we really need to spend to arrest global warming. Indeed, a report prepared for the World Economic Forum last year said the world would need to spend another $700 billion per year to meet the U.N.’s climate goals. Illinois’s share of that further spending would be about $7 billion.

 

Much of the industrialized world has backed off on spending to reduce carbon emissions — because skepticism over the linkage between carbon emissions and warming has gone mainstream, as we wrote about earlier. Not in Illinois.

 

Actually, maybe this week’s “polar vortex” is an opportunity. The biggest obstacle to bringing reason into the debate is that warmists have dug themselves into a hole. They’ve claimed such certainty and ridiculed skeptics so stridently that they have no honorable way out.  But now they can claim victory. It worked! All those CO2 reduction programs knocked the stuffing out of global warming — even more effectively than they had hoped!

 

I, for one, have an open mind about the science. But can’t we at least have a rational discussion about how much we are spending and towards what end?

 


List of Illinois state and local global warming programs:

Green Building Incentive

 

 

Industry Recruitment/Support

 

 

Local Grant Program

 

 

Non-Profit Grant Program

 

 

PACE Financing

 

 

Performance-Based Incentive

 

 

Property Tax Incentive

 

 

Sales Tax Incentive

 

 

State Bond Program

 

 

State Grant Program

 

 

State Loan Program

 

 

State Rebate Program

 

 

Utility Loan Program

 

 

Utility Rebate Program

 

 

Rules, Regulations & Policies

 


 

Building Energy Code

 

 

Energy Efficiency Resource Standard

 

 

Energy Standards for Public Buildings

 

 

Generation Disclosure

 

 

Green Power Purchasing

 

 

Interconnection

 

 

Net Metering

 

 

Public Benefits Fund

 

 

Renewables Portfolio Standard

 

 

Solar/Wind Access Policy

 

 

Solar/Wind Permitting Standards

 

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