One industry analysis of how RGGI invested its revenues in 2018 found that the program resulted in a nearly $900 cost per metric ton of carbon dioxide reduced, vastly higher than the “social cost of carbon” — the measure of the economic impact of emissions used to justify carbon pricing schemes — that the far-left Environmental Defense Fund estimates at roughly $50 per metric ton. But Cato’s study found “no added emissions reductions or associated health benefits from the RGGI program.”

So why join RGGI if there are no economic or environmental benefits? The answer is that Wolf’s anti-energy schemes fit into a broader movement. Pennsylvania’s great success has made it a target of left-wing activists who subscribe to a rigid ideology that demonizes carbon dioxide. These environmentalists are waging a war on cheap, abundant energy from coal, oil, and natural gas.

While RGGI doesn’t specifically target fracking — it levies taxes on coal and natural gas power plants — supportive environmental groups have angled for a statewide fracking ban for years. America owes its energy independence to fracking. While the United States was the world’s third-largest oil producer in 2009, in 2019, it led the globe in oil and natural gas output, more than doubling oil production and increasing gas production by two-thirds in a decade. In 2019, America became a net energy exporter for the first time in 67 years.

Now is not the time to go backward.