RALEIGH — A statewide program to reduce greenhouse gases to levels required by the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol on global warming would likely cost North Carolina households an average of $7,249 a year and consumers and businesses $22.7 billion in higher energy costs and lost wages, according to a recent study by an independent think tank.
Dr. Roy Cordato, resident scholar and vice president for research at the John Locke Foundation, has completed an analysis of the new report from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which looked at state-by-state efforts to implement the UN treaty. “The treaty on global warming would require economically devastating reductions in energy usage in order to achieve the required goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels,” Cordato said.
President Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming but because of its high costs the Senate, in a nearly unanimous vote, refused to ratify it. In 2001 the Bush Administration withdrew the US as a signatory to the treaty. Many states are now embracing the treaty on their own, implementing new laws requiring massive reductions in CO2 emissions. And according to Cordato, “North Carolina may soon be jumping on the bandwagon.”
He noted that “a little known provision of the Clean Smokestacks bill passed by the General Assembly last year establishes a commission to formulate a greenhouse gas reduction strategy for the state.”
And “while all the attention was focused on emission requirements for North Carolina’s coal fired power plants, costing about $2 billion over ten years,” Cordato added, “by far the most costly aspect of the 2002 legislation could be the global-warming recommendations made by the committee it creates.”
The study by Heartland, an independent think tank interested in promoting sound science on issues related to the environment, also predicted severe consequences for the state’s budget. Based in part on analysis done by the US Energy Information Agency, the study concluded that North Carolina would have to spend $552 million a year to achieve the Kyoto reductions and would lose $3.7 billion in revenues from reduced economic growth.
In a July 2001 Locke Foundation report entitled “The Truth on Global Warming,” Cordato wrote that “any action that North Carolina could take would involve all costs and no benefits.” He points to scientific research which shows that even if the Kyoto Protocol were implemented world-wide, the effect on global temperatures would be imperceptible. Furthermore he notes that “the two most accurate measures of global temperatures, satellite and weather balloon data, show no warming for the past 24 years.” These points were reconfirmed in the Heartland Institute study.
The new Heartland study on state global warming responses can be read online. Its specific findings for North Carolina are attached as a PDF document. For more information on global warming and air quality issues in North Carolina, call JLF at 919-828-3876 or visit us online.