The View From 1776
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Green Energy Comes Up Short
In addition to forcing citizens, with a disparate impact on lower-income people, to pay three to six times as much for energy, mandated green energy is dangerously inadequate.
All of the vaunted green-energy capacity in the nation, after years of huge subsidies and tax manipulation, overall amounts to little more than 2% of the nation’s power needs.
Liberal-progressives, enraptured by the pagan environmental gospel of Al Gore, have campaigned to put petroleum producers and coal miners out of business To do so requires killing the free market, in which consumers have overwhelmingly demonstrated their preference for the opposite.
Green energy is a form of production controls, price control (raising taxes on petroleum and coal producers) and federal and state subsidies in a vain attempt to make green energy competitive by raising the price of traditional fuels.
One rationalization for federally-mandated green energy is the need to reduce reliance upon foreign sources of petroleum. This is arrant nonsense. Recent shale gas discoveries, as well as continuing discoveries of huge of oil deposits such as Exxon-Mobil’s recent one in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrate that we already have more than a century’s supply of oil and natural gas, if the government will allow production to proceed.
If green energy policy is forced down our throats, as Democrat/Socialist Party leaders in Washington and states like California demand, there is real danger that we will freeze in the winter, broil in the summer, and go hungry as crops fail for lack of water, enough farm land, and diminished cultivation. People in the upper-income brackets may be able to afford battery-powered automobiles (made possible only by federal mandates and subsidies to auto makers), but the average citizen will be much less mobile than today.
To have sufficient, reliable green energy capacity, we would have to cut down almost every tree in the nation to cover the landscape with wind turbines and cover the deserts with solar panels. Hydro-electric power is out, because dams interfere with snail darters and salmon migration. Even solar panels are mightily resisted, because they interfere with the habitat of variety of desert rat. And to grow enough corn for ethanol, there will be little arable land left for food production, turning the nation into a net importer of food crops.
The ultimate irony is that many green energy projects consume more energy than they produce, and all of them reduce consumers’ standard of living.
There is a precedent for such willful destruction, imposed on the general public by intellectual planners. Russia, before 1917, was one of the world’s largest exporters of grain. Under Soviet control, the nation no longer grew enough to feed its own citizens.