Calls for reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, in order to combat global warming
Charges that the U.S. is the world's foremost polluter
Encourages state governments to tax, spend, and regulate in order to make energy more scarce and to limit economic growth (which it views as inherently toxic to the environment)
Founded in 2004, the Washington, DC-based Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) seeks to help state legislators enact policies to combat global warming / climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions -- principally carbon dioxide -- that are produced by burning hydrocarbon energy sources such as oil, coal, and gas. This mission is founded on the premise that: “Unabated, greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is expected to increase global temperatures at faster rates and higher levels than any experienced by modern humans,” posing “progressively greater risks to people and the natural environment.”
CCS places most of the blame for global warming on the United States, which it calls “the leading emitter of GHGs worldwide.” In fact, says CCS, each of 30 separate American states are, in and of themselves, among the world's top 75 emitters of GHGs. To rectify this problem, CCS calls for “political leadership” to enact policies that not only will “reduce global GHG emissions” in the U.S., but also will “lead other nations to the same commitments.” CCS has praised President Barack Obama for his goal of reducing America's GHGs, by the year 2020, to the levels at which they stood in 1990.
CCS maintains a coterie of more than 30 experts – with backgrounds in such fields as environmental science, public policy, economics, management, business, law, education, communications, and finance – who disseminate the organization's anti-global warming message across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These spokespeople issue briefings, conduct seminars, and deliver speeches related to the development and implementation of climate policies on the state level. Moreover, the CCS website provides a virtual clearinghouse of information related to such policies on the state, regional, and national levels.
With large grants from these foundations, CCS targets particular states and then offers its consulting services to the governors and environmental bureaucrats therein. Most governors find these offers attractive because CCS provides its services to the states virtually free-of-charge. As a result, states typically make “sole-sourced” agreements with CCS, meaning that they do not seek competitive bids for similar services from any other organizations or policy analysts.
Once CCS has arranged to be a consultant in a particular state, the organization begins the process of evaluating that state's environmental challenges and subsequently proposing an array of policy options, such as:
the imposition of carbon taxes which are intended to drive up the cost of fossil fuels, thereby reducing their consumption
large increases in state gasoline taxes
vehicle taxes based on gas mileage
taxpayer subsidies of “renewable” energy sources like windmills and solar panels
higher electricity fees to subsidize energy “efficiency” programs
“smart growth” residential planning, where population growth is steered toward inner cities, so as to avoid urban sprawl and thereby reduce people's need to travel and to consume fuel
the incorporation of “green” principles into the state’s K-12 curriculum
the redirection of some gasoline taxes toward mass-transit programs
The net effect is to encourage states to tax, spend, and regulate in order to make energy more scarce, limit economic growth (which CCS views as inherently toxic to the environment), and limit the use of automobiles as a mode of transportation.
The Capital Research Center (CRC) notes that CCS's modus operandi, which is directed toward governors rather than lawmakers, "bypasses the state legislatures’ traditional role in formulating policy, supplanting them with an activist-led process." Adds CRC:
"Only later are legislators brought in to ratify policies crafted by a rigged cookie-cutter process. When it’s done right, the CCS process leaves lawmakers the sole option of rubber-stamping its policy prescriptions. A legislator who fails to do that risks incurring the wrath of CCS allies in the environmental movement as well as political heat from the governor who brought CCS into the process in the first place."
As of February 2008, CCS had been hired to make policy recommendations by the governments of 21 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and Washington.
CCS has close ties to former Al Gore staffer Kathleen McGinty, who currently serves as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and is married to CCS consultant Karl Hausker. McGinty's state agency works closely with CCS to organize and co-host meetings of the state’s “Carbon Management Advisory Group.”
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