Senator Yaw’s Statement on Wolf Administration’s 2021 Climate Action Plan, Push to Advance RGGI

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued the following statement today:

“Climate change is real and has been happening for thousands of years, yet what is consistently lacking in DEP’s self-authored Climate Action Plan is acknowledgement of the progress Pennsylvania has made over the past decade in reducing emissions – a 41% reduction since 2010.  The Plan refuses to admit that these successes have no impact on a global scale.  We have to stop fooling ourselves that fossil fuels are to blame.  Without fossil fuels, there can be NO clean or “green” energy. The Climate Action Plan repeatedly references “clean energy” while ignoring that fossil fuels are needed for every aspect of unreliable renewables.  How are wind turbines and solar panels made?  They don’t just fall out of the sky.  There is a manufacturing process involved with all of these efforts, a manufacturing process that uses machinery and involves the mining of rare earth elements.   Completely eliminating fossil fuels is not going to solve the problem of climate change.

U.S. emissions now account for just 14 percent of global emissions, down from 25 percent two decades ago. During that same time period, China’s total emissions jumped from 13 percent of the world’s carbon emissions up to 30 percent.

This administration has pushed an agenda that involves an ineffective climate policy, the cornerstone of which includes joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Climate Action Plan is used as justification for joining RGGI, yet participating in RGGI will cost thousands of direct and indirect Pennsylvania jobs, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1% over the next 10 years. Does that make any logical sense? The Independent Fiscal Office reported earlier this month that in 2020 Pennsylvania sent 79 million megawatt hours to other states – RGGI states that don’t produce their own electricity, but are happy to take from Pennsylvania’s abundant production.  Joining RGGI will certainly make Pennsylvania less competitive and more energy dependent on other states that don’t tax their coal and natural gas generation.  Pennsylvania is the engine powering other states.  Instead of constantly apologizing for our energy position, this administration should be applauding industry action and promoting technologies to reduce emissions in the oil, gas, and coal industries, and champion affiliations like Project Canary, which help these companies responsibly reduce emissions.  We actually have technology here in Pennsylvania to construct coal-fired electric generation plants, which capture 100% of CO2 emissions.  Our goal should be to encourage and support these new ideas.”

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