Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More on Climate Change and Cap & Trade

The opinion section of today's Washington Post is a treasure trove of energy observation.

First, columnist Anne Applebaum takes on the notion that world leaders can do anything at all about climate change. Applebaum argues that the only thing that is going to fix the problem is money-- not treaties, speeches or conferences.

Now, when she says "money," she doesn't mean it in the way President Obama would typically interpret it, i.e., "Let's print more tax dollars and subsidize companies in the green energy sector...and while we're at it, maybe create an extra government agency or two to perform (poorly) redundant regulatory tasks."

Applebaum argues that the only way to fix the climate change problem is for some entrepreneur to get obsceneley wealthy running a company that actually performs in the renewable energy sector (Memo to T. Boone Pickens...).

She states:

"The truth is that carbon emissions will not be reduced by international bureaucrats, however well-meaning, sitting in a room and signing a piece of paper. They will not be reduced by public relations campaigns or by Oscar-winning documentaries. Above all, they will not be reduced by a complex treaty that neither the United Nations nor anyone else can possibly supervise, particularly not a treaty that effectively punishes those countries that abide by it and ignores everyone else. They can, however, be reduced by the efforts of entrepreneurs such as Pickens. If he and others can find economically viable ways to produce clean energy, then the problem will solve itself without the aid of a single international conference. To put it another way: The first solar power billionaire will have many, many imitators. "

Chew on that.

But the real star of the opinion pages is the "gift that keeps on giving"... Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who comes out firing against cap & trade:

"American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy. Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security. Consequently, many of us in this huge, energy-rich state recognize that the president's cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy.

There is no denying that as the world becomes more industrialized, we need to reform our energy policy and become less dependent on foreign energy sources. But the answer doesn't lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive! Those who understand the issue know we can meet our energy needs and environmental challenges without destroying America's economy.

Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.

In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also increase.

The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics."

You betcha!

But alas, the chattering classes- as they are wont to do-- have already pounced on her, saying she has no idea what she's talking about.

The Summit of Green Futility [Washington Post]

The 'Cap And Tax' Dead End [Washington Post]