Planet Gore

Show Me the Money!

A quite revealing letter is circulating from New York State Senate Energy Committee Chairman Kevin Parker to Gov. David Paterson. It’s so bizarre that I’ve had to ask the fellow who sent it if it is a potential gag: the “properties” of the document at least claim it was written by the “New York State Senate” on April 2. Accepting his assurances, this letter confirms the obvious: that the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is all about the money.

The letter complains of the governor’s decision to increase the free allocation of RGGI ration coupons to utilities, thereby decreasing the revenue collected from an auction. (Note to the Obama administration: from where will you raise the hundreds of billions your budget spends on social engineering should your own cap-and-trade rationing scheme actually reduce emissions as promised?)

For example, the chairman states: “For New York to forego revenue is a very significant and troubling decision, given the fiscal challenges faced by the State. More importantly, that abandoned revenue was originally designed to be allocated to projects reducing New York’s carbon footprint, promoting ‘green collar’ jobs, and conducting research into pollution reduction technologies.” He rattles off various, essentially unrelated (in any material way) issues related to particulate, ozone, acid rain, mercury, other river pollution — all of which, as you know, can theoretically be addressed in a spectacularly inefficient (expensive) way through chasing GHG emissions. Or — just a thought – through programs already enacted to address them.

Oh, he remembers to toss in climate change there once, at the end of the letter, as an apparent afterthought.

So we see that the chairman — of the Energy Committee, mind you — understands not so much the substance of the issue at hand but at least the real important thing: raising revenue from taxpayers, especially for pet projects.Which makes sense, really, given that New York’s scheme, like RGGI and Kyoto (even if put on steroids) would each do one obvious thing – finally achieve a long-held wish-list of rent-seekers and nagging pressure groups – and notably avoid doing another – detectably impact the climate. That is, this has never been about the climate. There’s no reason to start expecting it to be, now.

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