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Letter to the Editor

South Carolina CECAC Recommendations Costly, Do Nothing for Climate

web posted September 26, 2008
Dear Editor.
Proposals intended to avert a feared climate “catastrophe,” delivered to Gov. Mark Sanford this week by the South Carolina Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee (CECAC), promote initiatives that would raise costs and regulation in government, increase gasoline and energy prices, and restrict individual freedoms.
The recommendations produced by CECAC, meanwhile, would do nothing to accomplish the goal of affecting global climate, according to Paul Chesser, director of Climate Strategies Watch.
“South Carolinians ought to be wary of this basket of goodies baked largely by a group of environmental extremists who want increased government meddling in peoples’ lives,” Chesser said. “The usually conservative state legislature ought to see them for what they are and consider them dead on arrival.”
CECAC was managed by the Center for Climate Strategies, a Pennsylvania-based environmental advocacy group that purports to help states determine for themselves how to develop climate change policies. In reality CCS tightly controls these commissions, who consider proposals mostly from a menu of options presented by CCS themselves. Nearly all the choices represent new taxes or higher prices on energy, increased costs of government, new regulations for businesses, and reduced energy options for utilities, and therefore consumers. That CECAC’s initiatives promote socialist policies and bigger government is not surprising, since the committee and CCS were completely funded by an eye-opening cabal of left-wing foundations: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Turner Foundation.
“It’s beyond me why Governor Sanford, who the American Conservative Union has called America’s most conservative governor, would kowtow to global warming alarmists,” Chesser said.
According to analysis of publicly-available data and peer-reviewed studies of weather-related trends in South Carolina, the Science and Public Policy Institute (scienceandpublicpolicy.org) found that no observed phenomena – including seasonal temperatures, hurricanes, drought, crop loss, and sea level rise – has fallen outside of normal variation. Further, after applying findings by former Al Gore adviser Thomas Wigley -- even if South Carolina could completely eliminate its CO2 emissions -- SPPI determined that the effect would be no more than two-thousands of one degree Celsius by the year 2100, a nearly undetectable change.
“Governor Sanford, when he created CECAC, called for the committee to determine potential benefits of any carbon mitigation measures for South Carolina,” Chesser said. “Al Gore’s own adviser would admit that no climate change would result if these costly policies were implemented, and therefore zero benefit.”
Nor did CECAC (or CCS) provide realistic cost-benefit analysis of its 51 recommendations. According to an analysis by the Beacon Hill Institute (www.beaconhill.org) at Suffolk University of a similar CCS-controlled climate commission in North Carolina, their 56 proposals would “exert significant negative effects on the economy.” Such effects in the Tar Heel state include a net loss of 33,000 jobs by 2011, with a reductions of  $502.4 million in annual investment in the state and $4.5 million in State Gross Domestic Product (GDP). South Carolina should expect an equally harmful impact.
“At a time in which we see shaky U.S. economic indicators and all-time high gasoline prices, CECAC’s proposed ‘solutions’ to climate change should be a non-starter,” Chesser said. “To impose policies that only produce higher energy costs and unnecessary regulations on South Carolinians, just so some global warming alarmists can feel better about themselves, should not be taken seriously.”
Climate Strategies Watch (climatestrategieswatch.com) is a free-market, limited-government organization that assesses climate change policy development in the states.

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