This is How Climate Research Works Too

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on May 22, 2009

With the EPA and Congress barreling towards greenhouse gas regulation, you might think that all the states and local governments putting together their own plans might declare victory and move on to more pressing matters like creating make-work with federal stimulus money. You’d be wrong.

The Almanac newspaper reports today that the Menlo Park (Calif.) City Council earlier this week approved a climate action plan created by its volunteer Green Ribbon Citizens’ Committee. As with TARP, however, it appears local leaders may only be willing to go as far as tax-grabbers from larger jurisdictions will pay for them to go:

The City Council approved the plan in a unanimous vote at its May 19 meeting. Prepared by a consultant that specializes in creating climate strategies for local jurisdictions and revised by city staff members, the plan expands upon and fleshes out a dense list of recommendations prepared by the volunteer Green Ribbon Citizens’ Committee in late 2007, council members say.

They acknowledge, however, that (the plan is) incomplete. The city exhausted the $38,000 it expects to receive in grant money to prepare the plan before it had a chance to fully revise the document, and council members look poised to allow a city commission to work on the plan — possibly in consultation with the Green Ribbon committee.

Undoubtedly it was the “consultant” who exhausted the $38k (which the city doesn’t even have yet!). Pretty good gig when these eco-consultants can drop their “climate plan” template on a municipality and collect a cool five-figure (plus?) sum for filling in the blanks. By the way, local watchbloggers, you might check how these consultants are working, lobbying, and wining and dining city officials to get these deals. Back to The Almanac:

Much of the discussion at the May 19 meeting centered on how the city could quantify its efforts to rein in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. In an impassioned speech to the council, Mitch Slomiak, head of the Green Ribbon committee, urged the city to set measurable goals in reducing emissions, and to treat its “carbon budget” in the same way it regards its general operating fund budget.

You know, like their personal slush fund and favor factory. Like Waxman-Markey.

But council members struggled with how to make the issue tangible.

Easy — make it as tangible as CO2!

Unlike most of the line items in the city’s budget, a decreased carbon output won’t provide a direct benefit to the city.

Hmmm…truly a dilemma for politicians who expect something in exchange for wasting their constituents’ money.

“One might almost conclude that anything we do here is basically symbolic, and setting an example,” said Councilman Andy Cohen.

Money quote: About as close as you’ll get to hearing a global warming alarmist politician saying their climate plans are meaningless.

Councilman John Boyle said he was struggling with the idea of how the plan would fit in with the city’s budget. He noted that even actions that would pay for themselves, such as installing solar panels on city buildings, often take decades to recoup their costs.

But you’re forgetting all the green jobs!

The plan leaves much to be desired, but council members say that approving it is an important gesture — and that its existence may help the city in competing for grants, especially through the federal stimulus bill.

Aha, the real motive — meaningless gestures paid for by (not yet issued) grants, so you can get more grants!

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