Latest posts by Alan Carlin (see all)
There are lots of problems with the effort to use renewable energy sources to provide energy in place of fossil fuels. The basic problem is that renewable sources increase the cost of energy and decrease its usefulness because of greater use of the inherently unreliable “renewable” energy. The result is that energy will be more expensive, as abundantly illustrated wherever it has been used. The result is that less will be used. This can have many adverse effects. Where investments are being considered to build new energy sources, less will be built and the human benefits of increased energy will not be made available. In cold climates, more people will die from increased cold in winter. In warm climates, less air conditioning will be used, with adverse effects on productivity and comfort. Biofuels will be increasingly used for cooking, which decreases use of cleaner fuels for cooking and heating and increased human air pollution and ill health.
The Substitution of Wind and Solar for Fossil Fuels Results in Adverse Income Redistribution
The recent rise to prominence of the Green New Deal (GND) raises an important issues. The Democratic Party has long tried to characterize itself as the party that supports the lower income members of the public. But there is now a significant support within the Party for substituting renewable sources of energy in the place of fossil fuel sources. The result of such a substitution would be income redistribution from middle and lower income people to upper income individuals. This redistribution is usually justified by “preventing climate change,” but there is remarkably little evidence that substituting renewable sources of energy for fossil fuel sources has any real effect on global temperatures or that slightly higher global temperatures are bad. In fact, the best available evidence is that reducing carbon emissions has had no significant effect on global temperatures. Some trade unions have already denounced the GND proposal.
Widespread use of energy to help humans accomplish their daily tasks is one of the most important characteristics of modern society. Computers assist humans to do many of the things that make people more efficient. But they would not be possible without readily available and reliable electrical energy. Without adequate energy home heating and cooling is very problematic. And energy poverty is widespread among poorer households in poorer countries and even in more wealthy countries to a smaller extent. Death rates are higher among the energy poor.
So why is the Democratic Party aggressively pushing policies that decrease the availability of reliable energy and making it more expensive and less useful? Have they abandoned their support of lower income people who cannot afford the resulting higher prices for energy? Has the Democratic Party changed to be supporters of the rich?
The Republican Attacks on GND Have Been Based Primarily on Socialism Rather than Income Redistribution
So far the Republican Party has primarily attacked the GND as being socialistic. This has considerable truth, but what be more effective would to attack the Democratic Party for supporting climate policies that will hurt middle class and blue-collar workers badly by forcing them to pay more for less useful energy, which is a much larger part of their income than for the rich supporters of GND. But so far the Republicans have missed the main point, and limited its negative comments to attacking the socialistic aspects of GND. What they need to do is to attack the negative impact of GND on middle and lower income citizens. The Republicans could lose a few upper income supporters of climate alarmism, but are more likely to win many middle and lower income people previously often supporters of the Democratic Party.
Previous Support for Wind and Solar Subsidies Make Effectively Attacking GND More difficult
One of the problems faced by Republicans in attacking GND is that many of them have supported subsidies for solar and wind energy, so it will be hard for them to attack these sources of energy as a prominent part of GND since they have too often already supported them independently of GND. So they may be stuck with arguing socialism rather than the much more politically problematic support for adverse income redistribution. It would appear to be time for the Republicans to end support for wind and solar energy subsidies so as to effectively use negative income redistribution for all it is worth in terms of attacking political support for the dangerous GND proposals.