January 6, 2013 By: Mark Glennon


If you’ve been outside today and need something to steam you up, this should work: Illinois is spending untold billions — yes, billions — of dollars every year to cool the climate.  It’s “untold billions” because, while it’s clearly in the billions, nobody bothers to measure the cost of many governmental programs to cool climate by lowering carbon emissions.


The long list of Illinois programs to fight global warming is below. Among them is the Illinois ‘25% by 2025’ policy forcing utilities into supplying 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Electricity users bear most of the cost. A similar proposal in Michigan (which has a budget surplus) recently lost after opponents showed it would cost billions in higher rates. Billions just for that initiative.


That’s only for state and local programs. At the Federal level, they try to measure the cost of compliance with regulations, not just direct spending.  The Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with all environmental regulations costs the U.S. economy about $183 billion per year. Illinois’ share of that, based on population, would be about $8 billion. CO2-fighting regulations are not broken out, but since that’s been a large piece of our Federal environmental policy it seems reasonable to think that a large part of that $8 billion is to fight global warming. Again, that’s just regulatory compliance cost, not direct spending.


We could also even use the numbers from one of the leading climate doomsayers, which probably understate the cost side. The Climate Policy Initiative issued a study a few months ago claiming the world is spending $359 billion per year to fight global warming. Illinois represents about one percent of the world’s GDP, which would roughly suggest our share is about $3.6 billion per year. That’s just on direct spending, not including regulatory compliance costs described above. The Climate Policy Initiative, by the way, is concerned that spending on global warming has plateaued and that spending at current levels is “far below even the most conservative estimates” of what they think we really need to spend to arrest global warming. Indeed, a report prepared for the World Economic Forum last year said the world would need to spend another $700 billion per year to meet the U.N.’s climate goals. Illinois’s share of that further spending would be about $7 billion.


Much of the industrialized world has backed off on spending to reduce carbon emissions — because skepticism over the linkage between carbon emissions and warming has gone mainstream, as we wrote about earlier. Not in Illinois.


Actually, maybe this week’s “polar vortex” is an opportunity. The biggest obstacle to bringing reason into the debate is that warmists have dug themselves into a hole. They’ve claimed such certainty and ridiculed skeptics so stridently that they have no honorable way out.  But now they can claim victory. It worked! All those CO2 reduction programs knocked the stuffing out of global warming — even more effectively than they had hoped!


I, for one, have an open mind about the science. But can’t we at least have a rational discussion about how much we are spending and towards what end?


List of Illinois state and local global warming programs:

Green Building Incentive



Industry Recruitment/Support



Local Grant Program



Non-Profit Grant Program



PACE Financing



Performance-Based Incentive



Property Tax Incentive



Sales Tax Incentive



State Bond Program



State Grant Program



State Loan Program



State Rebate Program



Utility Loan Program



Utility Rebate Program



Rules, Regulations & Policies



Building Energy Code



Energy Efficiency Resource Standard



Energy Standards for Public Buildings



Generation Disclosure



Green Power Purchasing






Net Metering



Public Benefits Fund



Renewables Portfolio Standard



Solar/Wind Access Policy



Solar/Wind Permitting Standards


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6 years ago

$75 billion according to that SBA thing? Holy shit! No wonder we’re fucking broke!

6 years ago

Weather isn’t climate, my friend.

6 years ago

Remember this when you get your next heating bill.

6 years ago

That picture is classic! Fits my feelings just right!