Friday is Earth Day for the left and you’ll hear no end of crowing about it. Not by accident, it also coincides with the day that the Paris Climate Agreement supposedly goes into effect. This plan, which President Obama signed onto in a non-binding fashion without any sort of blessing from Congress, signals the start of something very different: the prospect of rapidly rising energy costs in America for no discernible payoff. For that reason, those in the energy community have chosen to counter Earth Day by naming April 17-23 “Green Energy Poverty Week.”
Many of the details can be found at Oil Pro.
To meet the non-binding commitments President Obama made last December in Paris, he is counting on, among many domestic regulations, the Clean Power Plan (CPP).
Last week, on the Senate floor, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered remarks in advance of Earth Day on the unattainability of the U.S. climate commitments. He said: “The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of the president’s promise to the international community that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent.” It would “cause double digit electricity price increases in 40 states” and “would prevent struggling communities from accessing reliable and affordable fuel sources, which could eventually lead to poor families choosing between putting healthy food on the table or turning their heater on in the winter.”
The real killer stalking the world these days isn’t climate… it’s poverty. Even in the United States and other western nations there are still far too many people living at or below the margins. With new “green energy” mandates, regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and other policies born from the Paris climate agreement, one of the unavoidable costs for the working poor – the energy to keep them warm and cook their food – is about to spike. This is the story of human suffering which anti-fossil fuel advocates on the left don’t care to discuss: green energy poverty.
Green energy poverty has been defined as the conditions faced by families in households where 10% or more of their income goes to heating and other energy costs (as opposed to gas for their cars or other transportation needs). These are the people who pay the real tab created by the green energy movement. At the Weekly Standard, Stephen Moore explains why the traditional leftist anti-carbon agenda has essentially collapsed and green energy has lost its competitive edge. (Assuming it ever had one.)
So why is the left apoplectic? Because the fossil-fuels boom means that green energy is dead again.
To fully appreciate how nonviable green energy is in this new age of cheap oil, consider the economics of electric cars like those made by Tesla. In an article published in the most recent Journal of Economic Perspectives, the authors report that after extensive testing, current battery costs for a Tesla and other electric vehicles are roughly $325 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). How does that cost fare against standard gasoline in the tank? “At a battery cost of $325 per kWh,” the authors wrote, “the price of oil would need to exceed $350 per barrel before the electric vehicle was cheaper to operate.”
So when you see your leftist friends celebrating Earth Day and the Paris climate talks agreement, be sure to remind them who is actually going to be hit the hardest by all of this. It’s not the fossil fuel companies they hope to take down. The real victims are the poorest citizens who they normally claim to defend.