MCMAP Charts a Blind Course to Economic Hardship

Two independent studies announced in a press conference today find serious fault with a set of climate change mitigation policy recommendations being used by Minnesota legislators to craft economic, energy and pollution control policies.

The Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (MCCAG) partnered with the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) produced recommendations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. The resulting report, used by state policy makers is known as the Minnesota Climate Mitigation Action Plan, or MCMAP.

The MCMAP report recommends 46 policy actions with a goal of reducing Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million metric tons and estimates the cost of these changes at $726 million.

Minnesota Majority, partnered with the American Property Coalition commissioned a peer review of the MCMAP report. The Beacon Hill institute, a world-renowned economic and statistical research center at Suffolk University, conducted the review. The Beacon Hill review concluded that the MCMAP report provides zero guidance to policy makers, fails to perform the most basic task of any cost/benefit analysis and that MCMAP’s cost savings estimates are not just wildly optimistic, but are the product of a purely fictitious analysis.

The Minnesota Free Markets Institute undertook it’s own review of MCCAG’s policy recommendations, and exposed further weaknesses in the plan. That analysis found MCCAG’s assumptions and recommendations for land use, transportation and agricultural policies to be unrealistic, and in some cases, contrary to recently enacted laws. MCCAG’s emphasis on increasing the cost of driving and reducing investment in roads came under particular criticism.

Members of the MCCAG group themselves have raised concerns about the MCMAP report. Will Anthony said the costs and impacts need deeper analysis. Jim Marchessault, another member and business owner expressed reservations about cap and trade, saying, “It appears to me [that cap and trade is] a hidden tax that government will force utilities to collect and raise everyone’s energy costs.”

MCCAG claims it’s recommendations will save Minnesota millions, perhaps even billions of dollars, but the MCMAP report failed to take collateral costs into account.

Were the policies recommended by MCCAG fully implemented, fuel, electricity, and construction costs will escalate and increasing ethanol mandates will drive up the cost of food. Everything from cereals, milk, eggs, cheese, beef and poultry will cost consumers more.

A study conducted by Science Applications International assessed the economic impacts of similar climate change mitigation policy recommendations. Estimates for Minnesota show some alarming costs, including gross state product losses of $4 – 12 billion, average household income losses ranging between $3,400 and $8,000 per year, heating, fuel and electricity costs more than doubling, and job losses between 33,000 and 74,000.

MCCAG proposes to take Minnesota down a road fraught with economic pitfalls without ever quantifying the supposed benefits. The costs of implementing the MCMAP plan can be quantified. The benefits are nebulous, and even the cost of inaction hasn’t yet been established, if indeed, cost is the operative. If warming is occurring, some would argue it’s an overall benefit.

Representative Mike Beard (R – Shakopee) pointed out that periods of warming have historically brought mankind the greatest periods of prosperity and longevity. “I’d rather have long life and great cathedrals than cold, disease and famine,” he said, comparing the colder Dark Ages to the 300-year warming period of the Middle Ages.

Reviews of the MCMAP plan show that the benefits (if any) of policies geared toward stopping climate change are unknown but the costs are sure to give Minnesota sticker-shock.

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  • Shelley

    I really miss that wonderful billboard that was on 35E northbound, just over the river into St. Paul. It was the one about arresting a guy for setting his thermostat at 72 degrees…. I hope it’s coming back!!!

    If it were not for climate change – – – MN would still be under a glacier!!!

  • Minnesota Editor – GOPUSA.com

    Public comment sought for Climate Change Advisory Group Report

    For Immediate Release: April 11, 2008

    Public Comment Sought for Climate Change Advisory Group’s Report

    (St. Paul, MN…) The Minnesota Office of Energy Security and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced today the final report of the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (MCCAG) is now posted for public review and comment. Citizens can view the report and leave comments on the Office of Energy Security website at http://www.energy.mn.gov or on the MCCAG website at http://www.mnclimatechange.us . The public comment period is open until midnight Sunday, April 27, 2008.

    All comments submitted through the website will become part of the final report to the Governor and legislature after April 27th, 2008.

    The charge of the MCCAG was to consider, evaluate, and compile a multi-sector set of recommended policy options and present them to the Governor and legislature. Appointed by the Governor, the MCCAG comprises a diverse group of stakeholders bringing broad perspective and expertise to the topic of climate change in Minnesota. Members represent the following sectors: energy, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation, health care, non-governmental organizations, academia, and state and local government.

  • Sara M.

    I am glad to see that I am not the only one in MN that thinks Global Warming is one big fat scam! Shelley, I too loved that billboard, and I have seen a few others around town (Maplewood) as well.

  • Bob C.

    I saw that outrageous billboard crossing the river on my way to the tax protest at the capital in April. I returned several days later with my camera to take a picture of it and it was gone. Does anyone know what organization sponsored that thing?

  • Yes. That was us (see here). Sadly, it’s not that outrageous. A law proposed in California would have given the government remote control of everyone’s thermostats. In Minnesota, they are attempting the same thing, but here (for the time being), it’s voluntary.

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