Political Science vs. Economics

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on June 16, 2008

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

How unsurprising — a mainstream news media outlet (this one a Gannett property) finally takes a look at the absurd economic claims coming out of one of the state climate commissions (North Carolina) run by the Center for Climate Strategies, and rather than emphasize the findings of economists with PhDs, they instead play up the promises of a political science graduate student (and mouthpiece for CCS, who commissioned the rosy-economic scenario):

Appalachian State University researchers think they have the answer. Recommendations to state government by a climate-change commission wouldn’t hurt North Carolina’s economy and would actually create a modest number of jobs, the university’s Energy Center predicts.

Its study of 30 potential policies found they would create more than 32,000 jobs a year by 2020.

Next to the 5 million jobs workers in North Carolina held in 2004, it’s a drop in the bucket. But the researchers emphasize the overall positive impact.

Some of the biggest gains would come from requirements for energy efficiency, which shrink power bills, researcher David Ponder (aforementioned poli-sci guy) said.

Compare that to what the credentialed economists at the Beacon Hill Institute, who were commissioned by my colleagues at the John Locke Foundation, had to say:

“By 2011, the state would shed more than 33,000 jobs,” according to the report from the Beacon Hill Institute, the research arm of the economics department at Boston’s Suffolk University. “Annual investment would drop by about $502.4 million, real disposable income by more than $2.2 billion, and real state Gross Domestic Product by about $4.5 billion.”

“The negative economic effects would spill over into state and local tax collections,” the report adds. “We estimate a loss of $184.6 million in revenues in 2011.”

The failure of Lieberman-Warner ought to indicate where most folks believe the truth about energy costs, effects on the economy, and job creation lies.

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