Cutting carbon emissions may be the modern version of the old Miss America favorite wish for “world peace.” It sure would be great if we could costlessly transition to an energy platform that was entirely renewable and had no impact on the environment. Sadly though, just like achieving “world peace” remains just a tad out of reach today, the green energy dream remains just that: a dream.
Today, fossil fuels are the foundation of America’s energy supply. The good news is that the energy industry has been finding safer, cleaner ways to access these resources, which is helping bring energy costs down while at the same time reducing the rate at which we release carbon and pollutants. IWF’s Jillian Melchoir wrote yesterday about a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that highlights these trends.
This report warns however, that electricity prices are expected to go up. And that’s even without factoring in the Administration's “Clean Power Plan,” which is the name for the new regulatory regime that's coming from the EPA.
A new industry report shows just how costly these new mandates will be, leading to double-digit electricity price increases in a majority (43) states. The costs to industry over 15 years will exceed $350 billion and those costs will be largely passed on to consumers. That means that the price of the groceries and consumer goods we buy will also be going up. You can see the economic impact that’s expected in your state by visiting here.
But what about the environment? These costly mandates would modestly reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere, but—if you believe in the rationale behind global warming alarmism—would have a negligible impact on total emissions and the overall climate.
We need sensible policies that protect our environment and encourage the use of cleaner energy sources. But we should be trying to move in that direction without needlessly harming the economy and driving energy costs up. An important element of that process ought to be discussing the costs and benefits of different proposals so that people can understand the tradeoffs of different policies. We shouldn’t have agencies like the EPA making the equivalent of new laws and entirely new regulatory regimes. That’s exactly what is happening with the Clean Power Plan and Congress ought to reject this usurpation of its legislative powers.
The American people need to hear a robust debate about our environmental and energy policies. That’s not what’s happening now so each of us needs to get informed and encourage our elected representatives to do more than just offer platitudes about green energy and reducing pollution. They need to reclaim oversight of the policy making process and protect their constituents’ interests.
Some may think these higher energy costs are worth even the small projected benefits. Fine. Lets have that discussion. That's what democracy is supposed to be about. Right?