Efforts to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050 are nothing but hot air
In their zeal to address climate change, New York and 19 other states, plus the District of Columbia, have established long-term greenhouse gas reduction mandates. Most of them, including New York's and California's, require 80% reductions below 2005 emissions levels by 2050. But these so-called “80x50” mandates are much more than requirements to supply consumers with electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar generation.
In fact, they will require virtually complete electrification of these states’ economies to eliminate almost all fossil fuel consumption, not just the small percentage of fossil fuels devoted to generating electricity. The costs to consumers and taxpayers will be trillions of dollars, with virtually no benefits. Indeed, as I show in a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, the numbers behind these 80-by-50 mandates just don’t add up.
Jonathan A. Lesser, PhD, is the president of Continental Economics, an economic litigation and consulting firm. He is the author of a forthcoming report “New York’s Clean Energy Programs: The High Cost of Symbolic Environmentalism,” published by the Manhattan Institute.