American Elephants

The Great Green Plan to Save the World and Distract You From Administration Scandals by The Elephant's Child


Last month President Obama unveiled his plan for a national energy tax. He has tried this before. If you remember, back when he ran in 2008, he said that under his plan, electric rates would “necessarily skyrocket”, and the purveyors of energy from traditional sources instead of his preferred clean renewable sources, would go bankrupt. We were told back in 2008 that Obama has fixed ideas and does not change his mind. That his ideas are set in concrete. It would certainly seem to be true. He always comes back to the same ideas, and does not notice when the world has changed around him.

The energy picture has changed. In spite of environmentalist hopes, wind and solar have proved to be an insignificant part of our energy needs. That whole need to reduce our dependence on “foreign oil” isn’t so important as we surpass Saudi Arabia with our own energy output. The administration is unaware, and still trying to end our use of fossil fuels.

What the president will do is use the EPA to close coal-fired plants, in the name of preventing CO2 emissions from increasing greenhouse gasses. But that’s not the way it works. Instead of increasing emissions causing the planet to warm, increasing warmth causes more CO2, with a time lag of as long as 500 years.  There has been no warming at all for over 15 years, but CO2 continues to increase — with no ill effects. CO2 is a natural fertilizer and is helping to green the planet, and feed the world. It would help even more if we weren’t putting food crops in our gas tanks.

When a coal-fired power plant is shut down, jobs are lost in the mines, in transportation, and in the plants themselves. The cost of electricity goes up, because coal is our cheapest, most abundant source of power, and the fear of carbon emissions is misplaced. When the cost of power goes up, it affects not only our electric bill, but everything we buy, raising costs across the board, not just for manufacturing, but every business has power costs.

The issue is so urgent, in fact, that the president can’t be bothered to observe constitutional niceties in solving it — he will implement drastic new regulations administratively through executive-branch agencies. In fact, his entire “plan” is a response to the administration’s failure to get these kinds of measures passed by the American people’s elected representatives in Congress. Early in the Obama presidency, the Democrat-controlled Congress blocked his cap-and-trade carbon-taxing scheme, prompting him to remark that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Well, this is how he’s “skinning the cat.” The pleas for bipartisanship that littered Obama’s speech were pure disingenuousness, considering the entire effort is designed to bypass Congress and vest himself with the authority to implement these regulations directly through the bureaucracy.

The president laid the groundwork for this by raising the “social cost of carbon” by more than 60 percent. This figure is used in government calculations about the cost of regulation, meaning that the higher the price the more beneficial regulations will seem to be if they reduce carbon. I mentioned this earlier. It was buried in a trivial rule about microwave ovens.

It is all about “saving the world.” Things so important can’t be trusted to the free market. Obama expects the masses to join his crusade. We’ve been here before: putting a million electric cars on the road by 2015, and creating 5 million green jobs.  That it proved to be preposterous does not matter. He’s back in full community organizer mode. You should “push back on misinformation,” “broaden the circle,” “convince those in power.” Sounds like the latest five-year plan in the old Soviet Union.

But his huge, economically destructive, anti-democratic campaign won’t work. America’s ability to influence the global climate is approximately zero. The president’ ability to damage the country is larger.



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