Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Win for Rational Policy and Cost Effective Energy in Europe

By Marita Noon
Under current American energy policy, it often feels like we should just wave a flag of surrender. We have so few wins. But there is some encouraging news; something worthy of cheer!
Two days after the news broke, I was speaking for the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute’s regional meeting. Gratefully for me, none of the attendees at the regional meeting had heard—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).
Like the coal miners, maybe you haven’t heard the good news. In my Margaret Thatcher piece, I chronicle some of the history of the global warming/climate change agenda. In short, I posited that Europe has embraced the ruse and pushed it on other western economies, 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.
Now, add on the victorious news.
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, 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;” 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 and coal for energy production—and you have the environmentalists on the ropes.
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.”
I hope this good news will 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 is a big win! It is a battle, not the war, but a victory for rational policy and cost-effective energy, nonetheless.
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 Daryl Hannah’s latest 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, 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.”
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!