Global Warming Programs Bust State Budgets, Study Warns

February 25, 2003
Greg Lackner

CHICAGO, IL: A new study of state efforts to battle “global warming” says such programs “would carve a 28.6 percent hole in the average state’s budget, making today’s fiscal problems look small by comparison.”

The study, produced by a nonprofit Chicago-based research organization, looked at the likely costs incurred by states attempting to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, to 7 percent their 1990 levels. The study found:

  • States would incur costs 10 times as great as were predicted for a national global warming program.
  • The average household would be forced to pay $10,000 a year through higher prices for goods and services and in lost income. For the average state, the cost would total $22 billion a year.
  • Such programs would be “all pain and no gain,” since reducing greenhouse gas emissions produces little or no benefit to American consumers and businesses. Even the global benefits of greenhouse gas reductions are “an order of magnitude less than the cost.”
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is costly because economic activity migrates to states and countries with lower energy costs or fewer costly regulations; higher energy prices slow economic growth; and retiring capital prematurely would cost billions of dollars.
  • Mandating lower carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks is not effective since car and truck manufacturers would simply sell more lower-mileage vehicles outside the state, cancelling out whatever emission reductions might otherwise have occurred.

Greenhouse gases are thought to contribute to “global warming,” a potentially destabilizing warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, though many scientists dispute the theory. State efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are spurred by environmental activists disappointed by President Bush’s decision to reject the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty which would have required the U.S. to reduce emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

The study was produced by The Heartland Institute, a national nonprofit research organization. It was written by Heartland President Joseph L. Bast, Heartland Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr, Ph.D., and James M. Taylor, J.D., managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a monthly publication of The Heartland Institute. The study can be accessed at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=11133

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For further information, contact Heartland Public Affairs Director Greg Lackner at 312/377-4000, 773/489-6447, email lackner@heartland.org.