Arguing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday, one state agency alleged another improperly refused to publish an executive action implementing a de facto carbon tax, effectively halting the polcy.
At issue is a decision made by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) not to publicize a regulation decreed by then-Governor Tom Wolf (D) entering the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The LRB, which drafts all state legislation upon lawmakers’ requests and provides other policy reference services, declined to promulgate the rule enrolling the commonwealth in the multistate compact, citing a state House of Representatives resolution opposing it.
Carbon capture is like burning witches.
In the 15th to 17th centuries, the elite in Europe and the United States believed that “evil humans were negatively affecting the climate and weather patterns.” The people were demanding something — anything — be done about famine and crop failure. There must be consequences, facts be damned, so inconvenient women on the fringes of society were labeled “witches” and burned at the stake in droves.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Timothy O’Neal (R-Washington) has indicated he’s drafting legislation to bestow tax credits on power plants to cover costs of complying with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Pennsylvania is among eleven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to have joined RGGI, a compact to levy de facto taxes on electricity-generation facilities for emitting greenhouse gases — chiefly carbon dioxide and methane — which are associated with global warming. Because Keystone State legislators have balked at the program, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced in 2019 that he would enter the state into it using his own regulatory authority. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Commonwealth Court blocked the state’s entry into RGGI, insisting that Wolf breached the limits on his executive power, but the ruling is not ironclad as the Democrat-run state Supreme Court could reverse it.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport) indicated Wednesday he will soon introduce legislation to create a regulatory framework for “carbon capture” in the commonwealth.
Carbon capture is the process of catching carbon-dioxide discharge from fossil-fuel-fired power plants and manufacturing facilities for either reuse or storage so that the emissions don’t make it into the atmosphere and exacerbate global warming.
In the context of the massive attention paid to climate change, nations around the world have committed to substantially reducing and even eliminating their carbon emissions by 2050. Achieving these goals relies on several ‘green’ technologies that would form the basis of a future energy system. As envisioned, mass deployment of these technologies will encounter fundamental physical limits that call into question their ability to function as replacements for their equivalents in the current energy system. By placing firm targets, nations around the world have committed to terminating their carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to offer confidence that a better world is achievable if only society implements the right policies and employs the correct technologies. This assumption is inaccurate, based on a view that is at odds with nature.
Due to unavoidable physical constraints, future green technologies offer little promise for achieving economies of scale. Many of the improvements suggested to improve their performance remain marginal and frequently come with the environmental costs of additional embedded energy requirements, extensive land use and greater material complexity. The outcomes achieved under laboratory conditions are not guaranteed to be viable at the scale necessary for them to make a significant difference.