Separating reality from ideology and political agendas is difficult, but essential, if we are to revitalize our economy and help the world’s poorest families take their rightful places among Earth’s prosperous people. Energy reality is certainly in our favor. But ideological forces are powerful and persistent.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Ryan Yonk, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance at Utah State University and Executive Director of Strata Policy, joins host H. Sterling Burnett to talk about a study he and his colleagues at Strata and Utah State have produced – an in-depth analysis of the economic impact of renewable fuel mandates.
Frustrated that nobody seems to care about climate change, “the country’s biggest individual political donor during the 2014 election cycle,” has pledged even more in 2016. Tom Steyer spent nearly $75 million in the 2014 midterms, reports Politico. He intends to “open his wallet even wider” now.
The campaign is about all fossil fuels: oil, gas, and coal. Instead of an “all of the above” energy policy, when it comes to fossil fuels, they want “none of the above.” A big part of the effort is focused on preventing the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands—which is supported by presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. The recent moratorium of leasing federal lands for coal mining, announced by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, is considered a great victory for “keep it in the ground.”
Based on the best available scientific evidence, it is highly unlikely continued fossil fuel use will result in catastrophic changes to Earth’s climate or will cause harm to humans or the environment. Despite the available evidence, governments in the United States and other industrialized nations seem intent on pushing the development and use of politically favored renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power, through the use of subsidies and mandates.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, former energy executive and policy advisor Donn Dears joins Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett to discuss his new book Nothing to Fear.
Wolfgang Muller, director of the European Institute on Klimate and Energy (EIKE), a German-based think tank, and Heartland Institute Research Fellow Isaac Orr explore German energy policy and debunk popular environmentalist myths about renewables in Germany.
Sustainability issues have been at the center of public discussion in Ohio since 2014, when the state became the first in the nation to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Discussions of state mandates for wind and solar power and policies requiring the use of ethanol in fuels are common in statehouses around the country.
The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.
Congress has taken action that actually advances free markets and limits government intrusion. I was in the room when, on September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports. HR 702, “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions,” is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.
Germany and the United States are embarking on two drastically different energy policies, and these countries are reaping dramatically different results. In Germany, the government devised a top-down plan called Energiewende, a term meaning “turn” or “revolution,” intended to make Germany the renewable-energy center of the world. The United States has experienced its own energy revolution thanks to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” which has transformed our nation into the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world in spite of, not because of, the federal government.
Paring it down to size will require a death by a thousand cuts, which, in environmental and energy policy, may have begun with the passage of the Cromnibus budget bill in late 2014. The Cromnibus might mark the beginning of a slow reduction of the federal government’s overreach in environmental issues.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires that states reduce their electric utility sector carbon dioxide emissions an average of 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. EPA twisted 80 words in the Clean Air Act into 1,560 pages of regulations (plus appendices) demanding that utilities return CO2 emissions almost to 1975 levels, while our population grows by 40 million.
When you read a headline such as one from CNBC touting “Solar power’s stunning growth,” realize that it’s thanks to you—even if you’ve never even thought of putting solar panels on your roof or live in an apartment where you couldn’t install them if you wanted to. If you live in the United States, vote, pay taxes, and get your electricity from a utility company, you’ve helped the solar power industry. You support the solar industry through a variety of tax and regulatory policies—voted in by politicians you elected—that favor it over other lower-cost forms of electricity generation.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
If you live in the United States, vote, pay taxes, and get your electricity from a utility company, you’ve helped the solar power industry. You support the solar industry through a variety of tax and regulatory policies—voted in by politicians you elected—that favor it over other lower-cost forms of electricity generation.
Six of the largest oil companies in the world, all from outside the United States, have released a joint statement to the United Nations calling for governments to impose a global “price on carbon” by levying a tax or fee on the carbon dioxide emissions generated by power plants. Liberal groups have been fawning over the news, trumpeting that “Big Oil” has taken up the mantle of fighting climate change. Those groups are overlooking – or more likely intentionally ignoring – the fact this announcement is nothing more than classic cronyism, not a sudden concern for the climate.
Alt-energy/transport-tech CEO Elon Musk and his trio of companies (Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX) didn’t cooperate with the Los Angeles Times on its article that tabulated his businesses’ whopping sum of corporate welfare ($4.9 billion), and he was predictably miffed by the (accurate) portrayal.