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Wasting a Trillion Dollars to "Prevent" Global Warming Is Stifling Economic Recovery
Raymond Richman, 4/12/2012

Last March 29, 2012, the President of the United States told two untruths when he called on the Congress to end taxpayer giveaways to the oil industry and instead to double-down on investments in clean energy industries “that have never been more promising”. 

The first untruth is that we have been giving special benefits to the oil industry. That would only be true if one includes the industry’s “social costs”, the costs of pollution from  emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but not if you also include the “social benefits” which environmental extremists always ignore. Indeed, the “social costs” have not been very costly while the “social benefits” have been enormous. The alleged social costs include health effects while the evidence is clear that we are living longer healthier lives. The industrial revolution which raised living standards throughout the world was  made possible by plentiful and cheap fossil fuels. 

The huge expenditures and costs placed on households and businesses by the government (EPA et al) and so-called clean air laws have had no measurable effect on climate change. Indeed, a growing number of physicists, geologists, archeologists¸ and other climate change scientists reject the “undeniable” anthropogenic or man-made global warming (AGW) theory and argue that natural forces, especially the sun’s magnetic disturbances and their effect on the amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth, are more likely the major cause of climate change. An experiment is under way at CERN, the world’s foremost nuclear laboratory to test that hypothesis. The world is spending trillions of dollars on the basis of unproven AGW theory.

The second untruth is that investments in clean energy industries “have never been more promising.” The truth is that neither wind nor solar will be economical for decades if not a century or more. Neither is reliable and both need to have back-up generating facilities and neither is competitive with nuclear, natural gas, coal, and water power. The President mentioned algae as a source and even the Obama-supporting press laughed at that. All the alternative so-called renewable sources have serious social costs. Wind mills are noisy and are destructive to birds and solar is more expensive and requires huge amounts of acreage. Their growth is limited in any case and both are inherently unreliable. They will always require government subsidies and will never pay their own way. The evidence is clear that so-called renewable energy plants, wind and solar, are unsustainable. The fact is that every wind and solar plant has needed subsidies equal to or greater than half its cost.

This has contributed to increases in government debt and added to the “sovereign” debt of states and nations AND they pay no taxes. Contrast the public costs of so-called “green” energy with producers of fossil fuels. Oil, coal, and natural gas companies not only require no subsidies but they pay enormous sums in taxes. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, as reported in the Wall St. Journal, the oil industry paid some $35.7 billion in corporate income taxes in 2009, the latest year for which data are available. Wind and solar plants not only pay no taxes, tax credits being one of the incentives to construct such facilities, but they often receive cash and land from federal and state governments and exemption from local government property taxes. Many are also enabled to borrow at low interest rates as a result federal government guarantees of loans made by banks and other commercial lenders.  The money wasted on them can and should be put to better uses. To mention a few, controlling floods, getting hurricanes and tornadoes under control, and reducing the possibility of natural disasters. That would be meaningful climate change.

The U.S. government is stating a half-truth when it states that oil companies receive government subsidies. They used to enjoy percentage depletion allowances but those are now denied to the large  oil companies. What they pay in income taxes exceeds their net income. Moreover, when the wells they dig prove unproductive, they can only use their losses to offset gains from their productive wells. They pay more taxes to federal and state governments than any other sector of the economy. Wind and solar plants add to the fiscal deficits of the states and federal government and raise the cost of energy to businesses and households. The trillions of dollars being spent world-wide by governments, businesses, and.households to prevent global warming is not only  futile but is preventing economic recovery in the U.S. and most of Europe. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and their thousands of engineers and managers and millions of temporary workers are essentially wasting their talents in producing energy plants and fuels that make no contribution to economic well-being

In fact, the main federal incentive for the wind industry, the 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour Production Tax Credit, is set to expire on December 31, 2012.

The economic growth in developing countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia is highly dependent on the growth of government debt and trade deficits in the U.S. and Europe. The international trade deficits of the U.S. and Europe, with the exception of Germany, that are feeding that growth, are unsustainable --to use a favorite term of environmentalists.  

The proponents of foolish measures to prevent global warming argue that capitalism cannot be sustained in spite of the fact that capitalism has grown and continues to grow. Socialist nations – China is a good example -- that today show growth have embraced capitalism at least temporarily-- in order to grow. Private enterprise economies have delivered the world’s highest sustainable living standards for workers throughout the world while the economies of and living standards in socialist countries stagnate.  It is time to get real about climate change and time to get supicious about the motives of the proponents of foolish and expensive "renewable" sources.

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Comment by Evil Inhofe, 4/13/2012:

Crime doesn't pay.


Comment by Wynn, 4/14/2012:

You have no specific data to back your claims. Please cite.


Comment by M, 4/14/2012:

Q) What is the definition of who is a climate change denier?

A) Someone who is winning an argument with an environmentalist?


Comment by Bob, 4/14/2012:

"Indeed, a growing number of physicists, geologists, archeologists¸ and other climate change scientists reject the “undeniable” anthropogenic or man-made global warming (AGW) theory and argue that natural forces, especially the sun’s magnetic disturbances and their effect on the amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth, are more likely the major cause of climate change. An experiment is under way at CERN, the world’s foremost nuclear laboratory to test that hypothesis."

 

This is Absolute Hogwash !!    Please provide your peer review climate science/evidence to backup this Sun's Magnetic Distrubance claim ??  

Response to this comment by jeff raymond, 4/19/2012:
Is it “Hogwash” or sacrilegious?  Apparently Copernicus must not have been right either: his peer reviews were not exactly encouraging. Science by consensus: how progressive!  Please enlighten me and provide the exact equation of the mathematical model that unlocks all the mysteries of the climate.
Response to this comment by jeff raymond, 4/19/2012:
Is it “Hogwash” or sacrilegious?  Apparently Copernicus must not have been right either: his peer reviews were quite negative. Science by consensus: how progressive!  Please enlighten me and provide the exact equation of the mathematical model that unlocks all the mysteries of eath’s climate.  There is no point for scinetist to explore the mysteries of the universe when you ( or a peer review ) have all the answers.
Response to this comment by Indy Ian, 5/3/2012:
Is this post intended to be taken seriously? It appears to be just another divisive and polarizing bit of hyperbole that has become all too common these days. People claiming lies but failing to prove so or offer a valid counter argument. For instance, you claim the POTUS lied and proceed to offer the example of costs associated with continued dependence on oil. Have you quantified the social costs? Probably not. Have ratepayers and tax payers not been forced to pay for various failures, accidents, and deliberate failures in the form of higher rates and taxes? Have we not fought wars to ensure access to cheap oil? Are you at all familiar with the claims you're making and the facts they bring along? Indeed, the social benefits from the industrial revolution have been vast but that is in the past and energy policy is about the present and future. Not to mention, it was really access to affordable energy that made it possible, which is the same goal we have today only such access is being threatened by continued outright dependence on foreign, harmful, or dwindling energy resources. With regard to AGW, it clearly hasn't occurred to you that many people do not involve them in such debates. After all, many of these so-called socialist endeavors are in fact nothing of the sort. Access to clean air and water are not things that we should all be forced to lose just so a capitlist run amok can make a profit. Despite the rhetoric and spin, most environmental laws are not only valid but warranted. By your implied reasoning, hitmen are simply capitalists who shouldn't be held to any ethical or legal standards. If hyperbole is all you understand, this ought to resonate with you. "The truth is that neither wind nor solar will be economical for decades if not a century or more." In fact, this is not a truth and you just made it up. Otherwise you would cite a source for this nonsense. There are several places and studies that prove this baseless claim false. None of what you claim to be a truth is and you demonstrate an obvious lack of knowledge on the matter. Wind and solar would only need backups in certain situations. Do coal plants have diesel generators? Yes. nothing you claimed about wind and solar is true and by doing so, you prove simply that you believe everything you see on mainstream shill networks. The rest of your "argument" is fraught with red herrings as well. Who cares how much tax fossil fuel companies pay? The fact is that these companies are profitable and mature yet continue to recieve huge amounts of government subsidy. Now, that, makes no sense. Why subsidize them at all? You claim they pay more in taxes than they bring in, which is another outright lie. You mention China as a good example of growth. Really? You do realize China heavily subsidizes and outright owns much of the industries that have grown right? Of course you do. So you think we should subsidize more? You're all over the place, boy. If you want to discuss sustainability, at least do so intelligently and use the term as its intended. Its quite simple actually. Can we continue to do what we do today indefinitely and the answer is undeniably, no. Suffice it to say that your post is idiotic. You're simply another moutpiece for mainstream special interests. Meanwhile our congress is comproised entirely of inept shills who listen to yahoos like yourself moonlighting as some sort of hack expert when in reality you know very little of facts. The US has become stagnant because of your kind of thinking; do nothing until its too late and support shareholders over the people or long term priorities like energy independence, safety, security, and real sustainability. And let me preempt your likely cop out. No, I am not a socialist, nor a democrat, nor a treehugger. I am an independent, an engineer, an American who actually cares about my country, neighbors, future generations and who actually knows what I'm talking about when it comes to energy policy. Your position is hypocritical, shortsighted, misinformed and bias at best. Sadly, its typical for those with such myopic views to insist on forcing them upon others who actually knew better before considering what you had to say.
Response to this comment by ep, 6/11/2012:
You claim to be an "engineer" but I find this difficult to believe.  You make many general statements that I believe are inaccurate, but let me discuss just one of them:  It is very well established that solar and wind energy can at most provide 20 - 30% of our national power in the U.S., thus the original statement in the article about "back up power."  You miss the point entirely when you equate this to "diesel generators at a coal plant."  The point is the wind does not always blow at the optimum speed, and neither does the sun shine at peak intensity.  So some other kind of power is needed whenever the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.  A potential solution, that is being pursued vigorously, is to Store some of the power generated by wind or solar, such as pumping water on top of a nearby hill during the day, then generating power using water turbines at night.  But then, we must look at total costs of any technology.  Fortunately, competent scientists and engineers are doing this.  So far, wind and solar are prohibitively expensive, as are the Energy Storage technologies.  Such an analysis requires Facts and Figures.  For the forseeable future, renewable energy is simply too expensive to replace conventional power generation technologies.  We cannot afford it.  I think renewables can make a welcome contribution, but that contribution reaches a maximum of about 25% by most scientific, fact based analyses.




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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

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