Climate politics has taken a stealthy turn on energy, according to a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Having failed to win control over greenhouse gases through cap-and-trade legislation, says Kenneth P. Green, the movement is remarketing itself as a campaign for national clean energy standards.
Green calls the push “a bad idea.” In an article in AEI’s The American, he calls clean energy standards:
• Hidden energy taxes. Energy that’s “clean” to environmentalists is more expensive than the conventional kind. “It is a particularly bad idea to overprice energy when our economy is barely moving,” Green says.
• Hidden subsidies. They force utilities to buy electric power from energy such as wind and solar, regardless of cost, then pass the cost to businesses and ratepayers.
• Hidden greenhouse gas controls. “Environmentalists have taken the word ‘green’ and used it as camouflage to cover their efforts to control greenhouse gases, which are far different from conventional pollution,” Green says.
• Hidden technology standards. Environmental regulators, the AEI resident scholar says, historically have set emission standards that can be met only by a particular technology. “The same will happen with clean energy standards, which will pretend to be technology-neutral and embrace everything from nuclear power ‘coal with carbon capture and storage’ but in reality will only give full credit to things like wind and solar power.”
In addition, Green says, clean energy standards decrease consumer choice and represent “Trojan Horse politics.”
Environmentalists “are using poll-tested words to hide their real agenda behind terms that traditionally refer to something entirely different.” Talk of “choice” in the sense of voluntarily buying green energy and products has given way to the forced choice of imposed standards. Example: new standards for electric lighting, which amount to “de facto bans on incandescent bulbs.”
Green pulls no punches.
“The new stealth approach to energy policy being pushed under the guise of a clean energy standard,” he says, “is frankly dishonest.”
(Online Sept. 16, 2011; author’s e-mail: email@example.com)