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Good article by Victor Davis Hanson, The Power of Payback:
…The Greeks remind us that when success and bounty arrive, then, especially, it is time to be self-effacing, modest, generous, and forgiving. If not, retribution follows—whether because human nature dictates that the crowd wishes misfortune upon the haughty, or, as I confess that I believe, there is a sort of divine force that seeks to remind us of our own folly and can only do that in appropriately dramatic and timely fashion.
If it were true that the financial meltdown of last September and the tough time in Iraq were reminders to the Bush administration that once around 2003, coming off Wall Street surges and easy victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, they should have calmed down, and treaded softly (rather than ‘mission accomplished’ and ‘bring ‘em on’), so too Obama should have feared the goddess last winter…
Much more at the link.
To see where cap and tax will lead. California’s Utopian Renewable Energy Mandates Already Threatening Power Shortages and Higher Utility Bills
As a consequence of foolish environmental regulations, California officials express increasing alarm that the state’s renewable energy mandates threaten widespread power shortages in the near future. Blackouts, brownouts, skyrocketing energy bills – take a good look at your possible future, America.
This warning to the rest of America has been almost ten years in the making.
Over the past decade, sanctimonious California lawmakers have imposed increasingly stringent power requirements as part of their broader climate-change agenda. By 2002, legislation required utilities to produce 20% of their power from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal by the year 2010. By 2008, however, only 12% of California’s total electricity derived from such sources, and even this amount is misleading because 60% of that total originated from geothermal plants built long before “green power” became the latest fashion.
Despite these hard realities, California lawmakers actually toughened the state’s already-infeasible benchmarks. Following new laws and executive orders issued in just the past year, California utilities must now generate 33% of their power from renewable sources by the year 2020.
According to a recent report from state energy authorities, this stricter mandate could double the cost of achieving the previous 20% requirement, at a total exceeding $114 billion. In other words, even as California’s economy and fiscal woes reached crisis mode, lawmakers actually exacerbated these self-inflicted wounds.
Much more at the link.
Aren’t a priority, in the grander scheme of things. Analysis | With new charge, saving electricity could end up costing Missourians
Some Missouri residents and businesses soon could see a new charge on their electric bills — a fee for using less energy.
Though it might seem illogical, the new energy efficiency charge has support from utilities, most lawmakers, the governor, environmentalists and even the state’s official utility consumer advocate. The charge covers the cost of utilities’ efforts to promote energy efficiency and cut power use.
Oh, well, if the environmentalists are on board with the political apparatus and the politically-controlled, case closed, game over. It must be a good idea. It’s counter-intuitive only if you assume the goal is simply to save energy consumers money. Once you realize the goal is much bigger than that, it begins to make sense. Read on.
The assumption is that charging consumers for those initiatives ultimately will cost less than charging them to build the new power plants that will be needed if electricity use isn’t curtailed.
The article mentions no analysis of the savings this kind of program actually generates. We are to take a positive result on faith, then? And why is it a given that construction of new power plants is a bad thing?
It’s going on already:
For example, the commission last week approved a program in which St. Louis-based AmerenUE can offer credits to businesses that voluntarily shut down or scale back their electricity use during peak demand. AmerenUE will be able to recoup the cost for the program that starts Thursday by increasing the rates it charges business customers.
Kansas City Power & Light Co. already has 19 energy efficiency and demand-reduction programs, said Chuck Caisley, the company’s senior director of public affairs. He said the Public Service Commission is allowing the company to recoup up to $50 million of the programs’ costs under a rate plan in effect through 2010.
One of the company’s more popular energy-saving initiatives has provided free programmable thermostats to about 34,000 residential customers in Missouri and Kansas. KCP&L can remotely control the devices to reduce the frequency at which air conditioners run during peak demand times. The power company overrode customers’ air conditioners four times last year and twice so far this summer, Caisley said.
Just for fun, I searched for programmable thermostats to find the retail cost of the “free” ones mentioned above. Home Depot offers one for $47.47.
Honeywell has one for $53.95. I realize that’s retail, and no doubt the electric company gets them more cheaply. But they’re not “free.” Somebody paid for them, and that somebody is that company’s customers. And the part about overriding home thermostats sounds more like remote-control rationing than saving energy.
To me, this is the same thinking that’s behind one proposed healthcare reform, increasing preventive care coverage to save taxpayer money, the idea being that government paying up front reduces costs to it down the road. But how? Preventive care isn’t cheap, definitely not “free”–and a study indicates the impact of preventive care on costs is a mixed bag. We are to take Congress’s word on that, too, I guess.
Cap and tax as blackmail:
Public Service Commission Chairman Robert M. Clayton III said he feared that Missouri’s heavily coal-dependent electric customers will see a sharp spike in rates if federal climate legislation limiting carbon emissions becomes law. That makes it even more important for Missourians to reduce their collective energy use, he said.
And to let essentially government-controlled power companies ration energy use.
On the surface, this sort of program sounds reasonable. You control the demand of the (relatively) few, for the good of the many, to avoid brownouts and blackouts. It also furthers the junk science global warming agenda by reducing the number of power plants that would need to be built, avoiding the resulting defacement of the planet. But are you convinced that kind of power, to control the temperature of the air in your house, won’t be put into the service of some other noble-sounding but freedom-killing public goal, for our own good? Given the track record of history, I am not.
Because, you see, as in every other case in which that maxim has been followed, that of allowing the needs of the many to override the needs of the few, or the one, the result will be more government control over everyone. It is as inevitable as death and taxes. It’s not, ultimately, about the good of the many. It’s about the power of the bureaucrats.
From NRO, A Garden of Piggish Delights
Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy.
“I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses,” the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.
Remaining unaddressed by the President:
The Heritage Foundation estimates that by 2035, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade plan will:
* Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $7.4 trillion
* Destroy 844,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 1,900,000 jobs
* Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
* Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent
* Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent
* Raise an average family’s annual energy bill by $1,500
* Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 29 percent, or $33,400 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation.
It’s easier to change a light bulb than try to justify lowering our standard of living.
Here’s an interesting tidbit not covered much by the state-controlled media. From the Washington Times, Winners and losers emerge in climate bill
NEW YORK — In addition to raising energy prices, the climate legislation that’s winding through Congress would create a parallel financial system with a carbon-based currency.
…Everyone from small farmers to nuclear energy companies would be forced to re-evaluate their place in the new order. Power plants, factories and refineries would feel the first impact if the federal government moves ahead with plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by about 80 percent near the end of the century.
…How much it will affect other industries is still a matter of intense debate, though the primary winners and losers are already emerging.
Solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy companies, including nuclear, are some of the obvious winners in a carbon economy
Anyone who pays an electric bill would likely feel the impact of climate legislation. Utilities will try to raise rates as they invest in cleaner-yet-more-expensive energy sources. Some have already announced plans to do so. Petroleum companies also may try to import more of their refined gas and heating oil from countries with no carbon law, which will raise costs.
Much more at the link.
Who owns a lot of our debt again? State Department Says China to Get U.S. Aid under New Climate Deal
(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said that there was “no question” that China would receive both financial and technological assistance from the United States as part of upcoming climate change talks to be conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“This is a developing country issue, which includes China,” Stern told reporters on Friday. “I think there is no question that a Copenhagen agreement is going to have to include mechanisms to provide the financial flows and technological assistance to developing countries.”
So, what happens? We go begging to them to buy even more of our debt, increasing our national debt and jacking up the interest rates we pay in the future thereby stifling our economy more down the road, so that we can turn around and give them “financial assistance”? It feels a lot like supplying the rope at your own lynching. That’s just insane.
If they can afford to buy our notes they can afford to finance their own green energy industry.
Duke Energy of North Carolina is getting ready to profit from the passage of Waxman-Markey. From NRO,
A colleague passes along a petition filed by Duke Energy last Tuesday (see below — and see also this Charlotte Observer article). The company is seeking a 13.5 percent increase in household electric rates, and cites as its rationale the possible enactment of cap-and-trade legislation! “Hey, I’m afraid we need a rate hike, in anticipation of this new tax we’ve been the biggest cheerleader for (since we’ve put together a scheme to profit off it six ways from Sunday).”
Would you be surprised if I told you Duke Energy’s chief is a Ken Lay protege and former Enron executive?
What’s good for Duke Energy is terrible for the U.S., to put a new twist on an old phrase. And this pain they want you to feel — to their benefit and to feed others’ political vanity — is completely in vain. Even if you accept every assumption of the alarmist thesis, China saying not only no but hell no to binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions leaves zero dispute that the Obama Energy Tax will do precisely nothing to detectably impact the climate. For Duke — foremost among the USCAP team practicing the world’s second-oldest profession — cap-and-trade is about seeking rent, not saving the planet.
More at the link.
If this kind of thing doesn’t wake people up to what cap and trade really is, I don’t know what will.
There have been a lot of estimates of how much cap and tax, via the Waxman-Markey bill, will increase electricity prices. Some of that increased cost will come from a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) of 15 percent by 2020. But estimates can be challenged. The best illustration would be to see what rates actually are in similar conditions.
The Taxpayers Network has published a 50-state comparison (pdf), of results from 2007 that does just that. It’s a real-world comparison between rates in states that have similar renewables standards and states that don’t.
From Table 47 of the report, look at Waxman’s California and Markey’s Massachusetts, both of which have similar restrictions, and compare them to West Virginia and Indiana, both of which do not. The results, in cost per kilowatt hour:
The Commercial, Industrial, and Residential rates for electricity in cents per kilowatt hour are as follows:
Waxman’s California 12.82 c/kwh 9.98 c/kwh 14.42 c/kwh
Markey’s Massachusetts 15.20 c/kwh 13.30 c/kwh 16.23 c/kwh
For comparison, States from our industrial heartland:
West Virginia 5.85 c/kwh 3.95 c/kwh 6.73 c/kwh
Indiana 7.29 c/kwh 4.89 c/kwh 8.26 c/kwh
I’ve highlighted the residential rates. Quite a difference, isn’t there? And that’s under current restrictions. Waxman-Markey will impose other, more severe conditions. Imagine what your rate will look like then.
The other day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a Chinese audience, in reference to getting America to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, that “We have so much room for improvement…Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory…of how we are taking responsibility.”
From Hot Air, her idea of Eden.