A Win for Rational Policy and Cost-Effective Energy

Published April 27, 2013

You’ve heard the cliché: “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” Within the past month, I’ve experienced both sides of that adage—in reverse.

On April 2, I was driving from Albuquerque to Farmington, NM, where I spoke for the San Juan Country Tea Party group. During the three-hour drive, I listened to talk radio. That was the time of the Cyprus bank crisis and the middle of budget discussions in DC. By the time I got to Farmington, I felt defeated and hopeless. “Sometimes you lose.” I wondered how I’d motivate and inspire the folks in Farmington. The speech worked. There was a lot of Q & A. It ended well.

On Thursday, April 18, I made virtually the same trip—ending in Durango, Colorado, where I spoke for the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute’s regional meeting. This time I had a totally different attitude. Just 2 days before, we’d had a big win. “Sometimes you win.” I could hardly wait to share the good news! Gratefully for me, not one of the guys at the regional meeting had heard the news—which was good. If they’d all heard it already, they didn’t need me (or I’d have had to come up with a new speech). It was great to be able to share the “win.”

Maybe you haven’t heard the good news. If you haven’t read my Margaret Thatcher piece—where I chronicle some of the history of the global warming/climate change agenda, please stop and read it now.

In short, I posit that Europe has embraced the ruse and pushed it on other western economies (read the USA), as it would change the energy playing field by removing America’s low-cost energy advantage. This, I believe, is why the European Union (EU) originally began espousing the narrative. They have been the leaders in so-called green energy. The EU is held up as the one to follow. It has actually implemented cap and trade—which Obama, with control of both houses, couldn’t get through.

Now, add on the victorious news.

The win? The Economist magazine, historically a supporter of manmade climate change, phrased it this way: “On April 16th the European Parliament voted to reject an attempt to bolster Europe’s flagship environmental programme, the Emissions Trading System (ETS).” The Wall Street Journal(WSJ), like this: “The European Parliament refused to save the EU’s failing program, which is the true-believer equivalent of the pope renouncing celibacy.” If the pope did renounce celibacy, it would throw the entire Catholic church into a tailspin as it would remove a basic tenant of the faith. Likewise, the April 16 vote, has removed the foundation from the religion of climate change.

In its coverage, the Financial Times (FT) affirmed my supposition: “The shale gas revolution in the US, which has lowered energy prices for the country’s manufacturers, has heightened Europe’s concerns about industrial competitiveness.”

Regarding the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to withdraw a large tranche of permits from the market to reissue later, Roger Helmer, a Member of the European Parliament, whom I met a year ago at the Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change, posted the following on his blog: “It would also (though the EC doesn’t mention this) make energy more expensive; undermine European competitiveness even further; drive even more businesses and jobs and investments offshore (known in the jargon as ‘carbon leakage’); and force more households and pensioners into fuel poverty.”

Add to this news the “climategate” email leaks that proved tampering with evidence and a repression of dissenting opinion; England’s announcement that wind turbines are a “blight,” and the Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (now the Prime Minister’s Senior Parliamentary Advisor) John Hayes’ comment: “We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. … It seems extraordinary to have allowed them to be peppered around the country without due regard for the interests of the local community and their best wishes;” BP’s near-total retreat from renewable energy; and Europe’s tree-thefts as a result of high-cost heating bills and increasing use of wood (often imported from the US and Canada) and coal for energy production—and you have the environmentalists on the ropes. 

And, remember, the EU has been a leader in manmade climate change mitigation, and in demanding the same from us. The Economist states: “Over the past few years more than a dozen countries and regions have followed the EU in establishing or proposing cap-and-trade schemes.” And from the WSJ: “Aided by Al Gore, Europe tried to turn cap and trade into a global policy.” (Don’t forget, Europe bestowed a Nobel Peace Prize on Gore for his scare tactics.) The FT reports: “The repercussions of Tuesday’s vote are spreading far beyond the EU to other nations with carbon market plans, including Australia, Korea and China.” And now they’ve realized, from the Economist: “In a new world of carbon trading, the ETS will not be the scheme that others copy.”

Why the change in approach? According to the Economist, Europe’s largest companies, especially energy-intensive ones such as chemical firms, opposed the reforms. “They complain that the ETS is imposing higher costs on them and they do not want carbon prices artificially raised.” From the FT: “Complaints from business groups that the carbon market and other climate policies are contributing to higher energy prices at a time when they are already grappling with a weak economy appeared to be decisive in Tuesday’s vote.” The WSJ offers parallel comments. Regarding the collapse of carbon prices, it states: “The low price of carbon allowances is good for consumers who don’t have to absorb the extra regulatory cost in what they pay for energy.”

Bottom line? It is about low-cost energy. A cap-and-trade scheme—or a carbon tax—artificially raises the price of energy, at a time when inflation is nipping at the heels of individuals and industry.

Helmer observed: “For the first time in my recollection, the European parliament has faced up to reality, and voted for jobs and economic survival rather than climate alarmism. This is an early indication that we are starting to make progress in our campaign for rational energy policies, and for affordable energy.”

Good news, eh? It is up to me—aided by you; it is up to you—aided by me, to spread this message.

You help me by forwarding my weekly column on to your friends and family and by talking up this story with your colleagues.

I help you by doing the research and providing you with the talking points in the form of my weekly column. I give you with the facts on America’s energy issues—triggered by current news stories. I hope to motivate and inspire you to keep up the fight when you are tired of waving signs and, instead, feel like waving a flag of surrender. The EU parliament story should encourage you. It is a big win! It is a battle, not the war, but a victory for rational policy and cost-effective energy, nonetheless.

 Additionally, my column from the week of March 24, is especially encouraging, as it addresses 6 specific non-energy news stories from March 11-20 and three recent energy stories where government overreach was smacked down.

 Remember, the environmentalists are on the ropes; they feel cornered and are trying to strike back. Last week, the Sierra Club and 20 other environmental groups called for a moratorium on coal leasing in Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin—from which 40% of America’s coal comes. Reports say: “They also want more attention given to the climate change impacts of greenhouse gasses emitted when coal is burned.” Environmental activist and fading actress, Daryl Hannah’s latest the film, Greedy Lying Bastards, is now playing. Forbes contributor Larry Bell says this about the disinfomercial: “It is premised on the notion that Big Oil is pouring lots of carbon-drenched money into pockets of climate crisis skeptics.” Bell quoted my mentor, Ron Arnold: “Greedy Lying Bastards producers spent nearly $2 million to complain about climate skeptic money, in yet another Big Green attack on anyone who disagrees with the climate fanatic industry which is, itself, a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that seeks to impose anti-energy policies in the name of preventing climate change.” 

 Together, I believe we can impact public opinion and prevent the USA from going down the same expensive path upon which the EU embarked. Celebrate this victory—they have been far and few between. Spread the word!