Report challenges economics of Montana Climate Change Action Plan (MCCAP)
Bozeman, MT. January 26th, 2009: The Montana Policy Institute, a nonpartisan policy research organization based in Bozeman, has released a study by the Beacon Hill Institute challenging the economic assumptions and methodology employed by Montana’s Climate Change Advisory Group’s Montana Climate Change Action Plan (MCCAP). The study does not address the science of climate change or attempt to assign motives to the Advisory Group’s recommendations. It simply examines the economics of the MCCAP plan and the methodology employed to assess the plan’s costs and benefits.
The study concludes that:
• MCCAP costs and benefits are not quantified in a way that allows them to be compared. Estimated costs to reduce greenhouse gases of between $93 million to $691 million are set against metric tons of greenhouse gases reduced, without any attempt to weigh the benefits of reducing those gases against the costs of reducing them. The result is an apples to oranges comparison that assumes any decrease in greenhouse gases – however small – is worth any cost to Montana’s citizens – however large;
• When estimating economic impacts, costs are sometimes misinterpreted as benefits;
• Cost estimates leave out important factors, including program expenses, alternative scenarios, demand-based consumer responses, and other factors, resulting in unrealistically low best-case figures.
These shortcomings disqualify the MCCAP as a scientifically sound basis for public policy. The Montana Policy Institute believes that a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis using realistic assumptions and sound economic principles should be conducted before Montana policymakers decide to create new mandates, new bureaucracies, and new open-ended spending commitments. The stakes are too high on both sides of the climate change issue to accept anything less than a full and honest debate.
The complete study can be found at: www.montanapolicy.org.
The Montana Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, tax exempt policy research organization based in Bozeman. Our mission is to equip Montana citizens and decision makers to better evaluate state public policy options from the perspective of individual freedom, individual responsibility, and free markets.