“I believe in science. To that end, as one of my first acts as Governor, Illinois will become a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, upholding the goals and ideals of the Paris Climate Accord.”
– J.B. Pritzker
Governor Pritzker got a big round of applause for that line from his Inaugural Address audience on Monday.
But how many of those clapping know what the alliance is? Some, I suspect, but not many.
How many know what it will cost or even care? None, I’m confident, and that’s a story repeated often.
The U.S. Climate Alliance is a coalition of 17 governors “committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.” Specifically, they say that means supporting policies to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels.” California Governor Jerry Brown formed it when President Trump announced withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement was nonbinding and it was widely agreed that the world had come nowhere near to meeting its emission goals, so many nations last month signed off on further rules to try to revive it.
A number of Illinois officeholders and lawmakers earlier encouraged Governor Rauner to join the alliance, though he declined.
But good luck finding anything whatsoever from those supporters or anybody else on how much it will cost Illinois to meet alliance goals. I can find nothing.
We’ve seen this often before. If it’s green, do it. Cost be damned. That’s what happened with the Illinois’ Clean Jobs Bill passed in 2015. We asked and asked for supporters and the Rauner Administration to produce any estimates of cost. Nothing. If it has something to do with climate, blank checks are fine. Illinois has dozens of green energy programs with unknown price tags. They’re listed at the bottom of our earlier article.
Maybe the new alliance isn’t a big deal, or maybe it is. Maybe the new alliance is just talk, or maybe Pritzker will take it seriously. But is it too much for somebody to tell us what it will cost?
It’s usually progressives giving out the blank checks on climate matters (though Governor Rauner signed the Clean Jobs Bill). They’re supposedly for the little guys, but energy costs are horribly regressive. It’s the poor and working class who really feel it when their gasoline and utility bills don’t reflect the best alternative available.
What you think of global warming shouldn’t matter. If you support efforts to reduce carbon emissions, you should want to get the most bang for the buck on those efforts. That means you must get comparative costs.
Maybe this goes beyond climate with Pritzker — maybe he thinks we needn’t worry about the cost of other things he does. That attitude sure seemed apparent in his Tuesday announcement that step pay increases would be paid for state workers, though he won’t disclose the cost. As we wrote earlier, he either signed a blank check not knowing the cost, or he knows the cost and is hiding it. (But we found it — about $200 million per year.)
–Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.