Adam Crain

Don’t Short-Circuit The Energy Debate

August 12, 2016

Adam Crain

When it comes to the Left’s ideas on environmental regulations and renewable energy, the sky is the limit – or maybe more accurately, they resemble pie in the sky.

The Progressive Policy Institute recently released a proposal to reduce Carbon Emissions.  Report author Derrick Freeman writes:

“Progressive Policy Institute has long supported a national emissions trading program or carbon tax as the most efficient tools for achieving greenhouse gas reductions. Unfortunately, there is little chance of either happening…Yet, in one year, EPA has proposed a rule that has the potential to accomplish what the U.S. Congress failed to do. Although a resort to command-and-control regulation would not be our first option, in this case it could be a catalyst for a bottom-up approach to cap and trade or a simple carbon tax.”

Proposals like “a simple carbon tax” from Progressive Policy Institute coupled with the push to cut emissions by 80% before 2050 and install 500 million solar panels before 2020 illustrate how far the divide has grown between policy ideas and practical implications.

Could we install half a billion solar panels and begin putting America on the path to cut emissions by more than 80%? Of course. But the price tag would be astronomical; completely unsustainable, in fact. Energy prices would increase dramatically, and companies like Ford and American Airlines would be forced to pass this and the cost of increased regulations on to consumers. Families on tight budgets could expect to see their grocery bill rise thanks to a substantial uptick in transportation costs.  Financial ramifications could go on and on…and all with no guarantee of success.

Don’t believe us? Europe is already trying this scheme and the results speak for themselves – while a noble cause, the science is just not there and the result of forcing renewable energy sources onto private individuals and companies has proved detrimental to European economies. Even the comparably modest EPA regulations already in effect are hurting South Carolinians.

Consider Manhattan Institute’s report on the claim that “transitioning toward clean energy systems is possible, affordable and a job creator.” Robert Bryce, MI Senior Fellow writes: “Renewable-energy mandates may appeal to ‘green’ voters; but Europe’s experience clearly shows that such mandates drive up electricity prices and hurt national competitiveness.”

The Manhattan Institute goes on to explain:

“Since 2005, the EU and several of its member countries have enacted various climate-change initiatives, including emissions trading and renewable-energy mandates. During 2008-2014, EU member countries spent some $106 billion on energy subsidies. The three countries that contributed the most toward that $106 billion (Germany, Spain, and the UK) have also seen the largest increases in residential electricity rates. In Germany, those rates increased by 78%, in Spain, they increased by 111% and in the UK, they rose by 133%. Over that same period, residential rates in the US rose by 32%.”[i]

The mistake of proponents of these policies is not that they desire to set America on a path toward clean energy. Their goal is worthy, but their plan for “command and control” government mandates is not.

Ronald Reagan once said, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” This has never been more true in energy policy, as they refuse to acknowledge the unworkable implications of their proposals in favor of well-intentioned utopian dreams.

Meanwhile, those who believe in the power of the free-market continue to be painted as proponents of dirty air, bad water and filthy streets simply for pointing out the “inconvenient truth” that the clean energy numbers don’t add up and America is broke.

In fact, several U.S. Senators recently proposed a resolution in Congress “calling out” companies, conservative think tanks and foundations that balk at big government proposals and the actions of the Obama EPA. This overt assault on free speech ignores that the heart of the objections are based on the questionable science and bad math behind their schemes.  No, in their view, people who disagree with them must be silenced at any cost.

If subscribers to the liberal environmental agenda are really concerned about energy independence and quality middle-class jobs, they should be willing to engage in an honest competition of ideas in the public square.

That’s what we stand for! How about you?