Nashville Mayor’s Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions Will Increase Energy Costs

Published August 2, 2017

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry issued a statement criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, promising her city would abide by the agreement.

“The United States of America should be a global leader in addressing the dire impact of climate change on our civilization, and it is very disappointing that President Trump does not see that,” said Barry upon Trump’s June 1 announcement. “As a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, I am committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions … even if the President is not.”

United Against Carbon Dioxide

According to its website, the Global Covenant of Mayors, created in 2008, “is an international alliance of cities and local governments with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low emission, resilient society.” The Covenant counts the mayors of more than 6,800 cities in 58 countries as members.

In addition to issuing her statement criticizing Trump, Barry signed the June 1 “Statement from the Climate Mayors in Response to President Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.”

“As 347 US Mayors representing 65 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement,” said the statement. “We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.”

Ambitious Promises

In 2016 Barry, released a draft plan, “Livable Nashville,” describing steps “for protecting and enhancing Nashville’s livability and environmental quality.” Recommendations include implementing sustainable practices throughout metro departments and reducing Nashville’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2020, 30 percent by 2030, and 70 percent by 2050.

Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News, says Barry’s Livable Nashville plan lacks substance.

“This is 42 pages of empty promises, impossible long-term goals, wishful thinking, and virtue-signaling, mostly written by people being paid by taxpayers or gullible philanthropists to do this sort of thing,” Bast said. “In the lengthy document, one thing conspicuously absent is cost estimates for any of this stuff, perhaps because energy costs can certainly be expected to rise.”

Predicting Economic Decline

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says Livable Nashville will result in higher energy costs and economic decline.

“Other states, like New York, California, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, that have reduced emissions are now struggling economically with high energy prices,” Ebell said. “Energy-intensive industries in Nashville will relocate as the city tries to reduce emissions, driving up electric rates and other prices.”

Marc Morano, founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow’s Climate Depot website, says the mayor’s plan will harm residents based on a superstitious belief the city’s actions can control the weather.

“Sadly, the residents of Nashville are going to be subjected to carbon dioxide inventories, and energy and so-called green-building mandates,” said Morano. “Nashville is hearkening back to medieval times and superstition if they actually believe their centrally planned climate plan will impact global temperatures and storminess.

“If cities like Nashville want to impose nonsense on their residents now that the U.S. is out of the UN Paris pact, I say have at it,” said Morano.

‘Fewer Jobs, More Taxes’

Lindsay Boyd, director of policy at the Beacon Center in Tennessee, said the Nashville Plan recommendations “range from silly to outlandish and frankly comical” and will impose huge costs.

“The city’s plan would lead to fewer jobs, more taxes, and higher costs for consumers,” Boyd said. “For example, Nashville’s plan proposes the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) increase its percentage of energy production from solar and wind sources, yet if that was cost-effective, TVA would have already done this.

“Taxpayers and electricity customers would have to bear the brunt of higher costs to make that change,” said Boyd.

Boyd says Livable Nashville will do damage that will last for generations.

“While some of the components in Nashville’s proposal would impact Nashvillians’ wallets immediately, many will saddle future generations with the costs of implementing a failed scheme they had no input on,” Boyd said. “Local and state lawmakers, alongside Nashvillians, should reject this ridiculous plan.”

Veronica Harrison ([email protected]) is marketing director at The Heartland Institute.