Working-Class Americans Are Paying for Climate Alarmism’s High Price Tag

Published May 13, 2024

It is with no pleasure that I found a media outlet recently acknowledge what The Heartland Institute has long argued: President Joe Biden’s energy and climate policies have increased American’s energy costs.

The Dallas Express, an online alternative news outlet, published a story titled “Energy Prices 30% Higher Under Biden Admin.” Unlike so much of the mainstream media, The Dallas Express didn’t expend ink trying to con voters into believing that the economy and their lives are better despite the higher prices, or that the costs Biden and company have added to peoples’ power bills are justified as a means of fighting climate change. Rather, the Express took a Joe Friday, “just the facts” approach.

“Energy prices in the United States are wreaking havoc on budget-sensitive households, making it harder for families to save money or get ahead financially,” wrote the Dallas Express. “Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, Americans’ electricity bills have skyrocketed nearly 30%, or 13 times faster than in the previous seven years, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the latest consumer price index data.”

The Dallas Express laid the blame on the policies that deserve it, noting, “[p]art of the reason for the surge in energy prices is due to the push to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power plants with renewable subsidies and green-energy mandates.”

Of course, The Heartland Institute has been on top of this story since Biden took office. We produced Energy at a Glance articles in 2021 and 2022 detailing how Biden’s energy policies have resulted in higher electricity, heating, and transportation fuel prices, and how much they went up. By our calculation, after less than two full years in office, Biden’s climate and energy policies increased average household energy costs by more than $2,300.

My colleague, Linnea Lueken, interviewed Gary Stone, executive vice president of engineering at Five States Energy, for an Environment & Climate News story covering the lingering high prices energy prices recently.

“The Biden administration has been a continually growing disaster for the domestic oil and gas industry,” Stone said. “Using the ‘New Green Deal’ as a basis, they have halted or delayed drilling on federal lands, attempted to restrict drilling because of allegedly endangered species, cancelled pipelines, and restricted exports of crude and processed gas liquids.

“Gas prices, for instance, were far lower under the Trump administration, crude oil prices were about $30 (per barrel) lower, and gasoline was around $2 per gallon less than now, all of which immediately rose under Biden,” Stone continued. “Instead of encouraging domestic production as Trump did, the current regime is now implementing onerous methane-emission regulations and taxes that some sources estimate will result in the abandonment of as much as 30 percent of domestic wells and greatly increase the operating costs, and reduce the life, of the remaining producers.

“The Biden administration will serve the ‘green gods’ even if it bankrupts much of a major industry and greatly reduces the energy available to the country,” Stone concluded.

Keep in mind, those are just the direct energy costs to drivers, businesses, renters, and homeowners. They do not include the ripple effect higher energy prices have on energy-intensive goods like food production and delivery, chemical production, and manufacturing.

Other rarely accounted for costs of Biden’s climate obsession stem from government spending on the Biden administration’s climate and energy policies. The costs of these programs are borne by taxpayers and future generations who will inherit the costs Biden’s energy policies are adding to the nation’s annual deficits and national debt.

How much are we talking about? Well, in early April 2024, the Biden administration granted outright more than $20 billion to unaccountable climate, finance, and community activist NGOs to promote green energy adoption across the country.

Author and energy analyst Robert Bryce has calculated that the subsidies and tax credits for wind and solar power alone have ballooned from an estimated $19.9 billion in 2015 to commitments of more than $425 billion by 2033, based on newly installed, approved, and anticipated wind and solar construction projects.

And, in December 2023, at a conference in Dubai, Vice President Kamala Harris bragged about the administration’s commitment to spend more than $1 trillion fighting climate change—less than the country spent on Social Security in 2023, but more than we spent on defense. This is likely an underestimate as past estimates of spending on these programs have repeatedly proven to be.

Government spending and regulations are a drag on the economy, basically a hidden tax, because they divert money to goods and services that consumers likely wouldn’t have freely chosen to spend their own money on. It also results in malinvestment and politically driven loans with companies investing in, and banks financing, projects that don’t make economic sense in a free market. These investments and financing efforts are rather driven by federal mandates or influenced by federal incentives. Replacing market assessments of how to balance the concerns of climate change, energy security, and economic progress with spending decisions dictated by political overlords, their crony-capitalist allies, and climate scolds, is a terrible idea.

Any way you measure it, Biden’s climate change program is bad for the American economy in general and devastating for hard-working Americans in particular.

Photo by Tracy O. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.