Thursday, January 7, 2010

Trans-Atlantic Green Economic Suicide

It seems a bit of insanity to be writing a post on global warming as the world suffers record low temperatures and snow fall. Indeed, I had to put an extra piece of coal on the fire to keep my extremities warm enough to type this post. But the AGW crowd will not be slowed by reality or revelations of highly politicized science. [And indeed, MSNBC posts an AP report today warning us not to be fooled, all of the experts say "despite" the "cold snap," earth "still warming." I find it somewhat mystifying that they couldn't find a dissenting expert, since we have had a decade of slight cooling, followed now by some significant cooling indeed.]

One would think that the implications and ramifications of Climategate for the theory of anthropogenic global warming would slow down Obama's push to reduce carbon emissions through a variety of taxes and a carbon trading market. But that Climategate hasn't caused Obama or the left to so much as blink is proof that this isn't about science. Its about power and money.

To see where Obama would lead us, just look at the UK. They are a decade into the push towards a green nirvana and five years into the carbon trading market. Their energy prices have doubled in five years and portend to grow exponentially over the next decade. This from the Daily Mail:

Household gas and electricity bills are expected to rocket fourfold to nearly £5,000 [$8,000 at the current exchange rate] a year by the end of the decade to meet Government-imposed green targets.

And the price heavy industry will have to pay by 2020 is so high that energy-dependent firms could be wiped out, causing thousands of job losses, said an industry spokesman." . . .

Already energy bills are loaded up by five separate charges to help fund the battle to combat climate change and become greener. They are the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, the Renewables Obligation, the Community Energy Saving Programme and shortly there will be a levy on investing in clean coal projects.

Although householders will be badly hit, the damage to industrial energy users will be even more dramatic. These companies, which range from steel and chemical plants to industrial gas companies, are dependent on reasonable energy prices that can, in some cases, account for 70 per cent of their entire costs.

Jeremy Nicholson, spokesman for the Energy Intensive Users' Group, said the Government's own figures showed that the price of electricity would go up by up to 70 per cent and the price of gas by a further 50 per cent as a direct result of meeting its renewable energy targets.

And there are, as I have pointed out many times, a whole host of secondary costs to the economy that ripple out from these acts of insanity. As Dr. North points out at EU Referendum in commenting on this article:

But, if the £5,000 figure shocks, it is only part of the equation. Higher energy costs feed through into the price of every home-produced commodity and service, while the added costs of benefits paid to redundant workers, the loss of tax income as firms close down, and the fall-off in economic activity will impose their own substantial costs.

Tied in with the way we are miss-managing our energy supplies and we are looking at a slow-motion economic catastrophe far greater than the economic crisis we are weathering, the overall costs of which are set to exceed the entire tax bill for the average household.

We are only on the edge of imposing the extremely burdensome taxes that will come with EPA regulation or the insane Waxman Markey climate change legislation. But we are already well underway to miss-managing our energy supplies.

Coal fired plants account for over half of all electricity production in the U.S. It is estimated that we have over 25% of the world's coal. Yet Obama, for once true to his word, has declared war on coal. His EPA is refusing mining and plant creation permits at every turn, and even in some cases revoking previously issued permits. What he will have us replace it with - and how much more it will cost - is very much an unknown at this point. Given the centrality of coal to U.S. energy production, it will most certainly be steep indeed.

But that's not Obama's only war on our energy supplies. You will recall his promise during the campaign to open up our coasts for oil exploration and to allow for more drilling. That didn't survive his swearing in. We now import 57% of our oil. It is not because we don't have huge oil/natural gas reserves - we do. It is just that the far left, from Obama on down, is bound and determined that we won't touch them. And today brings news from the WSJ that the Obama administration is about to make it even tougher to drill:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce Wednesday that his agency will require oil and natural-gas companies to clear more regulatory hurdles before they are allowed to drill on federal lands.

Mr. Salazar's action is likely to make it more difficult for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to fast-track the permitting of oil and gas projects on federal land. BLM field staffers would be required to seek additional approvals from their supervisors and to undertake more visits to areas where energy companies are seeking access, according to people familiar with the matter.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, shown in December, is expected to make it more difficult to speed oil and gas projects on federal land. The BLM manages more than 260 million acres of federal land, and with it, a significant chunk of U.S. energy supplies. Domestic production from federal onshore oil and gas wells accounts for 11% of U.S. natural-gas supplies and 5% of the nation's oil.

The Obama administration is already locked in a bitter fight with the oil and gas industry over proposals to raise billions of dollars in additional taxes from energy companies, and to cap the emissions of gases caused by burning fossil fuels, which have been linked to global warming. . . .

This is just so wrong. One, oil is a national security issue. We could be moving towards self sufficiency from domestic supplies over the coming decades if the left did not oppose every new well, every new mine, every new energy plant. Instead, the left has us moving to ever more dependence on oil with many of the oil production centers being in countries who are not America's friends.

And of equal importance is the cost of oil and how that will effect our economy. The massive rise in fuel prices from 2006 to 2008 was hardly an anomaly. It came about because of world demand - a demand we can expect to see return if and when we come out of the Frank-Dodd-Clinton caused depression. If we do nothing else, T. Boone Pickens estimates we will see $300 a barrel oil in a decade. If that happens, it will be a dagger in the heart of our economy. Something must be done, but on both sides of the Atlantic, the left is bound and determined to head down the path to economic Armageddon.

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