• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Finally, Some Honesty on Energy from the Left

    Michael Schellenberger and Michael Nordhaus already have taken plenty of heat from the enviro/left for their book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. Their latest article in the American Prospect is not going to mend any fences. Schellenberger and Nordhaus write:

    Like conservatives who see tax cuts as the solution to all problems, greens are now offering carbon auctions and energy taxes as the answer to the economic crisis. “Capping global warming pollution and auctioning off the pollution rights will inject $150 billion into the economy each year,” Krupp of EDF told his members in an Oct. 24 e-mail. But auctioning carbon permits does not, in fact, inject any new money into the U.S. economy. Requiring industry to purchase pollution permits functions the same as a tax.

    President-elect Barack Obama even admitted as much to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year:

    Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it – whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.

    Unfortunately far too few on the left are willing to admit, or even understand these basic facts. The Center for American Progress’ Matthew Yglesias writes:

    [I]t’s worth noting how odd it is that the United States has the kind of highly ideological and deeply shortsighted business community. There’s no way a serious climate policy could be anything other than bad for oil companies and catastrophic for coal companies. But for most companies? Well, there shouldn’t really be a general problem. Firms whose operations are more carbon intensive than the average firm would be put at a competitive disadvantage, but by the same token firms whose operations are less carbon intensive than the average firm would be given a leg up. And there should be half of each.

    Half of each? How does he figure that? All companies use energy and all of them would be severely hurt by an energy tax. Most companies, and the vast majority of small businesses, have no idea where there energy comes from. Firms generally best succeed when they manage to narrow the focus of the company’s resources to their main field of competence. Forcing every business in America to be an expert on energy in addition to what they already do best (whether it be writing software, managing risk, building bicycles, etc.) will only retard economic growth.

    Oh and did we mention that even if it is 100% successful cap and trade will do nothing to prevent global warming?

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Finally, Some Honesty on Energy from the Left

    1. kent/virginia says:

      The main focus our Government should be concentrating on is how to encourage independent research and development of viable alternative sources of energy to ensure America will be a competitor in the global market for future generations. Find ways to cease our dependence on foreign oil. Carbon caps and other micro-management by government of American industry will only constipate the economy further. Our country has always prospered when government got out of the way and found ways to encourage the private sector to develop new technologies and industries without government interference. Tax incentives and deferments and the like are better than further building bureaucracy. The lawyers in power in Washington produce nothing but hot air and deficits. They are spending our grandchildren's tax burden right now.

    2. Evan from Anchorag says:

      Forcing a manufactoring company to pay a carbon tax will just send them to Mexico where they will not have to pay it. Why wouldn't they all move South?

    3. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      I would love to see all the coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants shut down for a week. Declare that they have no intention of restarting until the government stops meddling in energy production.

      Those that think alternative energy is great should be disconnected from the electric grid and simply given permission to install either a wind mill or a solar panel. They will come crying for a fossil plant as they find themselves freezing to death.

      Alternative energy is a scam without enormous electric energy storage capacity. One way to prove it is to disable the advocates of the alternative energy from conventional electricity sources. That will reduce the demand and reduce the dreaded Co2. Coming to think of it, should we stop exhaling because it is Co2?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.