New York Legislative Race to the Bottom

Roger Caiazza

In a couple of weeks, the comment period closes for the Draft Scoping Plan that outlines how New York is to achieve its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act net zero ambitions.  Despite the fact that any rational observer can only conclude that there is no real plan for a reliable electric system and the Plan provides very little cost information, environmental advocates have convinced the most progressive of the State’s legislators that it is not enough.  On May 26 Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Codes Committee, and State Senator Liz Krueger, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, along with environmental advocates and experts, announced the introduction of the Climate Change Superfund Act (S.9417).   In brief it codifies the litigation against fossil fuel companies as a cash cow for adaptation programs.

The press release states:

In light of the billions of dollars in damages that New York State has suffered as a result of climate change, and the tens of billions more to come in future decades, this first-in-the-nation legislation will use the polluter-pays model exemplified by existing federal and state superfund laws to collect $30 billion over ten years for climate change adaptation from the parties most responsible for causing the climate crisis – fossil fuel companies.

Right now consumers are facing pain at the pump as well as in their gas and electric bills. At the same time, the oil and gas industry is raking in enormous profits.The Climate Change Superfund Act will claw back some of the oil and gas industry’s recent windfall profits and use them for adaptation costs that would otherwise be charged to state taxpayers. The program is designed to prevent such costs from being passed on to consumers.

“The climate crisis is here, right now, and it’s already causing billions of dollars in damage and a growing death toll in New York State,” said Senator Krueger. “We must begin to make the investments necessary not only to mitigate future climate change, but to adapt to and defend ourselves from the damage that’s already been done. The cost of inaction is inconceivable – in money, in lives, and in countless other ways. Nonetheless, there will be a large price-tag to the work we have to do, and it’s only fair that the companies who made the mess should pay for cleaning it up. The Climate Change Superfund Act is one critical piece of the puzzle of funding our state’s response to the climate emergency.”

“The damage done to our climate and to our communities from decades of corporate disregard for scientific evidence is irreparable and omnipresent,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “As we continue to take big steps towards a green future in order to mitigate the worst potential impacts from climate change, the Climate Change Superfund Act would be a vital resource to invest in adaptive and resilient infrastructure, and it is common sense to charge those who did the most damage to our climate for the costs of keeping people alive amidst our new climate reality.”

Rationale

Unfortunately, their rationale uses the same line of reasoning that was used to pass the Climate Act.  Because “everybody” knows that climate change causes unusual weather and the climate and weather illiterate think anecdotes prove their case, they actually believe that New York has suffered billions in damages from climate change and not just weather.

The bill language says:

Climate change, resulting primarily from the combustion of fossil  6 fuels, is an immediate, grave threat to the state’s communities, environment, and economy. In addition to mitigating the further buildup of greenhouse gases, the state must take action to adapt to certain consequences of climate change that are irreversible, including rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, extreme weather events, flooding, heat waves, toxic algal blooms and other climate-change-driven threats.  Maintaining New York’s quality of life into the future, particularly for young people, who will experience greater impacts from climate change over their lifetimes, will be one of the state’s greatest challenges over the next three decades. Meeting that challenge will require a shared commitment of purpose and huge investments in new or upgraded infrastructure.

Implementation

It is a holiday weekend and I have other things to do than to try to make sense of the implementation language in the proposed legislation.  If ever get to the point where I can stomach looking into the plan, I will try to figure out how they account for the fact that New York’s total GHG emissions are less than half a percent of total global emissions.  What share of global emissions is accountable for New York’s alleged problems?   Shouldn’t that be somehow a function of New York emissions?  I suspect the innumeracy of the authors of the legislation affects the plans and upon closer inspection will undermine the whole thing.

My impression skimming through the legislation is that this applies to fossil fuel production.  Ronald Stein recently pointed out that the primary usage of crude oil is “to manufacture derivatives and fuels which are the ingredients of everything needed by economies and lifestyles to exist and prosper”.  If I am right that this legislation covers fossil fuel production then how do they hope to address that aspect without unduly impacting consumers?

One last point.  In another outstanding example of cluelessness, the underlying argument that the primary reason fuel prices have gone up is because the evil oil companies are making windfall profits.  Somehow these energy market experts have convinced themselves that if this monstrosity ever gets enacted and withstands the inevitable lawsuits that the fossil fuel producers won’t simply pass the costs on to consumers.  They say they are going to prevent that, but aside from yet another magical solution, I cannot imagine how that could ever work in favor of the consumer.  At the same time these same politicians have enacted a holiday on fuel taxes because costs are too high.

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Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.  More details on the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act are available here. This represents his opinion and not the opinion of any of his previous employers or any other company with which he has been associated.

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Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 2:16 pm

Knowing economics, or math, gets in the way of being a good environmentalist/socialist.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 2:43 pm

As AOC proves almost daily.

James B.
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 5:42 pm

Against all evidence, AOC has a double major from Boston U. in Economics and International Relations.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  James B.
May 29, 2022 9:07 pm

My son majored in econ and math. I spent some time with him reviewing the course catalog. He took a lot of courses in econometrics some of which could count towards his math major. But, we could see that it was possible to get through an econ major without much math at all.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 30, 2022 5:24 am

Mathematics is the fundamental problem at the heart of ‘modern’ economics. In order to formulate ‘tractable’ models of economic activity, Keynesian Klowns and their fellow travelers need to aggregate all factors of production, e.g., capital. In their world a 1,000 MW CCGT is equivalent to a 1,000 MW solar farm or a stack of currency. Governments favor this version of economics because their role therein as directors of the economy is implicit, but it’s crap. Economics is indeed a science, but it is not a physical science, and treating it as such is not only incorrect, but has allowed the government camel full access to the private sector tent.

Phoenix44
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
May 30, 2022 11:04 am

A good economist doesn’t need anything more than basic math. Hayek showed that anything else is “scientisim”, the appearance of science whilst actually being nothing at all. The best economists with lasting influence did not virtually no maths at all. Modern economics, particularly macro-economics, is dominated by statistics, which really tells you all you need to know.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 6:00 pm

We have now entered the AOCene!

AOCene.jpg
MarkW
May 29, 2022 2:17 pm

Does this mean that when oil prices fall and gas companies are losing money, that the state of New York will be subsidizing the oil companies to keep them from going bankrupt?

Or is this merely another heads I win, tails you lose political scam?

No one
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 2:29 pm

Communism leads to starvation. This will lead to death by exposure, weather (pun intended) indoors or outdoors.

Duane
Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2022 4:25 am

The latter.

It is true that the oil production industry is highly profitable when market prices greatly exceed their cost of production. But very high prices are the result of high demand in a booming low unemployment economy and production lags behind, as it always does during a rapid runup as we’ve had since the end of the COVID recession a little more than a year ago. The pendulum always swings the other way, so inevitably the economy will cool or even slip into recession, depressing demand … at which point the oil market flips with production exceeding demand. Prices drop, sometimes dramatically (as we just saw two years ago at the beginning of the COVID recession. A drop so precipitous that for a few days in April 2020 crude oil prices became negative!)

Oil and gas prices are certainly coming back down. There is a lot of recession talk already, and when it hits oil demand will drop again, but not as dramatically as it did two years ago. And when that happens the high profits today will be no more and many smaller independent producers will likely lose money or even disappear.

Back and forth, forth and back. That’s how it is in the oil industry.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
mkelly
Reply to  Duane
May 30, 2022 6:55 am

In an unrestricted or less restricted market you maybe close to correct. However, with the present administration stopping pipelines, not leasing properties, and declaring areas off limits then production has no chance to bounce back.

None of this has to happen. We are intentionally be harmed by this administration due specifically to their belief in a lie.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2022 8:41 am

Or is this merely another heads I win, tails you lose political scam?

Really, you had to ask that question? Or was it just a rhetorical flourish?

Phoenix44
Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2022 11:06 am

Not losing money, but profits falling below the “acceptable” level surely? And the legislators have worked out that level, otherwise how can they know current levels are “excessive”, right? So if profits fall below the level deemed correct by NYC, then they must be given taxpayer’s money. That’s the logic here.

Devils Tower
May 29, 2022 2:36 pm

During the last oil crash many producers were pushed to the edge, some over it.

Now they would like to ramp back, guess what, hostile goverment, no supply chain, and no workers. Where do you think this to going…

This will be remembered, the pipe lines to the beltway should be the first shut down when the tanks go dry.

Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 2:37 pm

These NY legislators are real dunderheads.

NYC already tried this move in a different guise in2018. NYC lost with a fed district court suit dismissal, and then again in a unanimous 2nd Circuit fed court of appeals decision in 2021 upholding the dismissal. The suit was NYC v BP. And the second circuit reasoning would directly apply to this proposed idiotic ‘legislation’. And they did not mince words.

Something to do with A1§8.3 (interstate commerce clause) removing any possibility of individual states/cities assuming powers expressly given to the US Congress alone.

The fact that they even proposed such a law shows how clueless and desperate AGW believers are. But then, we already knew that from AOC of NYC.

Graham
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 2:54 pm

There is a drastic shortage of oil ,petrol and diesel around the world .
This might be a great time to stop shipments to New York State as the State is hell bent on trying to sue the oil companies for supplying them with petroleum products .
There are politicians all over the world just as stupid who have swallowed the nonsense that CO2 is causing them harm .
They think ( I douht that they can think for them selves ) that their state will continue to function without fossil fuels .
It might be time to find out .

Editor
Reply to  Graham
May 29, 2022 4:34 pm

Graham said, “This might be a great time to stop shipments to New York State as the State is hell bent on trying to sue the oil companies for supplying them with petroleum products.”

I agree…or at least the oil companies should limit shipments to NY so that the prices skyrocket at the pumps. MAYBE (<–big maybe) the voters will respond and replace the nincompoops who hold office there.

Regards,
Bob

Editor
Reply to  Graham
May 29, 2022 6:09 pm

No more corporate owned gas stations, no more New York offices, remove all New York presence. If they complain that natural gas or oil pipelines are running underground in the state, shut them off also. I doubt a company with no presence in the state can be taxed there.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 7:58 pm

Yeah, Rud, but the involved NY State legislators still get their accolades from the MSM and low-information voter.

MkeBob
May 29, 2022 2:49 pm

“…they actually believe that New York has suffered billions…” Well, belief is part of every religion.

Steve
Reply to  MkeBob
May 29, 2022 5:11 pm

Well they should as well pay back the billions in productivity and increased standard of living that low cost energy from fossil fuels created.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
AWG
May 29, 2022 2:59 pm

This is how price controls work in a profoundly dysfunctional communist system. Instead of just dictating a price range for a gallon of fuel X, they conjure up some Rube Goldberg method that primarily enriches lawyers, “experts” in Climate Change, politicians (through bribes-for-cutouts schemes) and market manipulation and arbitrage games

Ron Long
May 29, 2022 4:07 pm

The road to dysfunctional socialism/communism is paved with price controls. This probably means New York will do this. Florida, anyone?

Reply to  Ron Long
May 29, 2022 4:36 pm

I am assesing my options to move out of the state

Reply to  Roger Caiazza
May 30, 2022 4:53 am

I’m right behind you, Roger. Sheesh!

Kevin T Kilty
May 29, 2022 4:18 pm

Mental illness. Roger you are a saint for having the fortitude to look at any of this.

Reply to  Kevin T Kilty
May 29, 2022 4:49 pm

Thank you.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin T Kilty
May 29, 2022 8:12 pm

Yep. Mental illness combined with greed is a nasty thing.

May 29, 2022 4:32 pm

Is this shit,shite or Shiite or a noxious mixture of all three?

BobM
May 29, 2022 5:03 pm

The bill says:
“Climate change, resulting primarily from the combustion of fossil 6 (sic) fuels, is an immediate, grave threat to the state’s communities, environment, and economy.”,

but does nothing about the “combustion of fossil fuels”. As I’m sure everyone here is also thinking, every such company should stop shipments into New York, citing the law. Would love to see what happens next.

2BAFLYER
Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 11:37 pm

It would hilarious to watch all the New Yorkers having to take the [electric] train to Philadelphia to catch a flight because Jet-A has been cut off to the airports up there

Matt Kiro
Reply to  BobM
May 30, 2022 8:59 am

I have a suspicion that the State of NY and New York city are the two biggest users of fossil fuels in the state. Either they stop using any petroleum product and natural gas immediately, or they sue themselves for billions.

Steve
May 29, 2022 5:09 pm

Nobody is forcing them to fill up their car or take an airplane.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Steve
May 29, 2022 5:30 pm

This is what I keep trying to get at. They demonize oil companies while completely ignoring that the very civil society that is supposedly injured by their use is the one in fact using them. All society needs to do to protect itself from these evil oil companies is to stop using their products.

No politician would run on such a platform so instead they blame the suppliers instead of the consumers, hoping that the consumers will be too stupid to tie the two together. Sadly, it seems to work.

Observa
Reply to  davidmhoffer
May 29, 2022 11:56 pm

The numbnuts know they can’t sue all the consumers for their past climate changing and what chance ff suppliers won’t pass on any new so called climate taxes in future? Fix their prices below normal rates of return and they’ll reduce supply and ultimately pull out.

H.R.
May 29, 2022 5:23 pm

From the article (emphasis mine): “The climate crisis is here, right now, and it’s already causing billions of dollars in damage and a growing death toll in New York State,” said Senator Krueger. “

Where are the bodies? Where are the death certificates listing ‘Climate Change’ as the cause of death?

Assumptions based on models based on assumptions. No supporting data.

Mike Smith
May 29, 2022 5:43 pm

We’ll be hearing more and more about energy poverty. Next come the claims that energy is a “right” followed by calls for “Universal Energy”. But on the first still night, there won’t be any.

Every net-zero proposal is based on “beliefs” that have not been proven (e.g. by pilot projects) and don’t even stack up on paper for those who understand the basics of engineering and economic.

Felix
May 29, 2022 5:48 pm

I’d like to see that list of “billions of dollars in damages that New York State has suffered as a result of climate change” — I don’t care about “the tens of billions more to come in future decades” because that will be unfalsifiable, but the damages so far would be falsified in a heartbeat, so it will never be published.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Felix
May 29, 2022 8:04 pm

They will count the damages from normal extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 31, 2022 5:05 am

Severe, but not extreme. Hurricanes, extra tropical cyclones and large storms have always happened in New York. Sandy was no exception, and neither was the remnant that passed through flooding Manhattan in recent times. To call it Extreme is to suggest unprecedented in human history.

We need to back off of the “extreme” language. If a worse storm comes along, which it will sooner or later, will be say it was extremer? Apocalyptic? Biblical?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Pflashgordon
May 31, 2022 10:13 am

I agree with your second sentence. In my defense, however, severe weather is extreme weather; extreme doesn’t have to mean unprecedented in human history. And you could say the same thing for the word severer as for extremer. Anyway, I wrote “normal extreme” which should suggest it is not unprecedented in human history.

We should not get wrapped around the axle, as does MGC, concerning colloquial word usages on blogs.

Chris Hanley
May 29, 2022 6:28 pm

New York’s total GHG emissions are less than half a percent of total global emissions. What share of global emissions is accountable for New York’s alleged problems?

In their minds these things possess some apotropaic power to ward off unpleasant natural climate events.

May 29, 2022 8:49 pm

So where is the $3 a gallon going, anyway?

Rod Evans
May 29, 2022 11:21 pm

It is time for the fossil fuel suppliers to present agreements for supply to the politicians and green energy advocates that are proposing damaging legislation to the companies supplying the energy these people rely on.
The agreement would be short and simple to understand. vis.

By signing this agreement you hereby agree to purchase fossil fuels for the benefits they provide. As a condition of this agreement, any impact caused or litigation arising from your use of this product which you have agreed to purchased freely without coercion or pressure will be yours.
If you do not wish to sign this ‘supply desire’ agreement the connection to your property of the company’s fossil fuel will be stopped.
A similar agreement at fuel stations would also be posted. Anyone not having a desire to use the product would be blocked from filling up their vehicle until they acknowledge they are freely buying and willingly using the product for their benefit, and agree to its ongoing use and availability.
Let us see how many of the siren anti fossil fuel voices out there want to have their energy supply closed off?

Last edited 1 month ago by Rod Evans
Ed Zuiderwijk
May 30, 2022 1:57 am

I am waiting for the moment that one of the last remaining rational New Yorkers decides that senator Kreuger cum suis have done enough damage and finds a purpose for the second amendment.

observa
May 30, 2022 3:05 am

Well you gotta break a few eggs to make the ultimate global souffle’-
Council launches legal action over $4m geothermal plant that’s never delivered power (msn.com)
If the local ratepayers aren’t up for a bit of experimental planet saving then give our new climate changing PM a tingle and too easy with Albanese.

Those city slicker climate changers should get out and about a bit more and learn some history-
Hydro Power Plant – Visit Bulloo (explorebulloo.com.au)

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  observa
May 30, 2022 3:44 am

Anyone with a grasp of thermodynamics will know that if someone tells you that they can make electricity from 86C water in sufficient quantities to power a town you just know they are having you on. The gullible councillors should look in the mirror and blame themselves for being ignorant.

BobM
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
May 30, 2022 7:17 am

That’s it. The politicians probably don’t know what “thermodynamics” means, let alone understand it, or understand how to generate electricity, or engineer and build such a project. Sounds like a standard bunch of goofballs somehow running a town. Same as here.

observa
Reply to  BobM
May 30, 2022 7:42 am

But…

“Winton Shire are particularly proud of this community owned, clean energy project and hopes it will be the first of many of these types of generators throughout central Australia.” according to a statement by the Winton Shire Council.
New geothermal plant in Winton, Australia provides local economic opportunities | ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

Not to mention all those jobs for the girls and boys at Peak Services-
Homepage – Peak Services (wearepeak.com.au)
Feelgood public circus sheltered workshop meets subsidy miner at its scintillating best. Something to look forward to with the new feelgood clowns in Canberra.

Brian BAKER
May 30, 2022 4:40 am

So the producer pays. Not the user. The same goes for guns. Sue Colt for Sandy Hook etc. Now if the Russians are listening they might think that it isn’t the Ukrainians that are the problem, it’s the people manufacturing the weapons. And we find ourselves in Dr Strangeloves territory where George C Scott thinks 10% casualties of the US population
is acceptable. Or take Cag Le May’s position in the Cuban crisis where he felt he could destroy most of the nuclear-tipped Scuds. I am not trying to worry any New Yorkers out there but Putin does have 6,500 nuclear-tipped weapons at his disposal that the Russian ambassador has assured the British Government he would only use if the stability of the State came into question.

I think New Yorkers ought to think about something outside their immediate domain.

Oldseadog
May 30, 2022 8:10 am

A man with an alligator under his arm walks into a bar and asks the barman “Do you serve politicians in here?”
“Er, yes we do” says the barman, keeping a wary eye on the alligator.
“Good” says the man, “I’ll have a cold beer and my pal here will have a politician.”

Andy Pattullo
May 30, 2022 9:22 am

Sounds like fossil fuel producers should simply write off New York and stop doing business with them.Then the New York intelligentsia can sit in the cold and dark and simply sue themselves for being complicit all these years in the evil consumption of fossil fuels. There is a four letter word that can be substituted here for “sue” but it comes to pretty much the same profane outcome.

James Franklin McCain
May 30, 2022 10:08 am

In the past 150 years, human lifespans have doubled worldwide. This was primarily made possible through improved medication, sanitation, and nutrition. None of this would have happened without electricity, and cheap, affordable, universal, electricity would not have happened without fossil fuels.

Why in the world does the fossil fuel industry not sue the States who are seeing them, and make a claim for compensation that would be many times the claims of those States seeing them for damages?

stinkerp
May 30, 2022 11:04 am

When the village of idiots keeps electing village idiots to run their goverment, guess what kind of goverment they get.

ResourceGuy
May 30, 2022 2:27 pm

Go for the monkey pox stimulus/recovery plan to pay for it.

roaddog
May 30, 2022 11:04 pm

Ring the Bell of Evolution.
Here’s hoping that fossil fuel shipments to New York stop immediately. Its in the best interest of all.

May 31, 2022 8:01 am

It’s just a pay-off to their buddies in the tort bar, and a quid pro quo they’ll be looking for in a partner position at one of those ambulance-chaser firms one day after politics.

HOJO
May 31, 2022 11:58 am

How can they possibly prove the methods work? They seem not to have any common sense and only want to virtue signal others during this every day of the week mass . I guess they will have to build a wall to keep all this goodness from escaping so they can fudge the numbers for the members of the church of the holy climate change. Glad I left that hellhole back in the late 70’s The state is looney tunes.

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