Commentary by Mike Stenhouse; August 15, 2013The debate continues in a counter OpEd in the ProJo by an executive from the Conservation Law Foundation’s RI office (be sure to read the comments below) …
In a shameless display in Providence this week, global warming alarmists were joined by local and federal officials in support of a national bus tour to discuss their concerns about climate change.
By showcasing two area youth as props, ages 8 an 15, with the implication that global warming has exacerbated their asthma, the radical environmental movement has once again demonstrated that it will deny reality in order to spread their fear-mongering propaganda among the public.
Indeed, many of the underlying assumptions that years ago fueled a rash of federal and state statutes to restrict fossil fuel usage and to promote renewable energy sources have since proven false. Most of these energy mandates were ushered into law during a period when those original assumptions were the mainstream thinking. Almost a decade later, there is a new energy reality that we must consider. Among the assumptions now in doubt, are:
Man-made global warming would be great danger to our Earth: Whether global warming continues to exist or whether the contribution of human beings to climate change and whether tolerable behavioral changes can make a decisive difference are now in open dispute. Conflicting information has repeatedly surfaced with increasing questions about the validity of the original global temperature-rise data. Many studies show that while worldwide carbon emissions have continued to rise, global temperatures have leveled.
Fossil fuel sources would become scarce in the near future: New natural gas, shale, and crude discoveries throughout the world and in the US have debunked this concern for the foreseeable future. New technologies, such as fracking, have provided access to even more reserves.
Fossil fuels would become increasingly expensive: Coal and natural gas continue to be among the least expensive sources of electricity and will continue to be the most cost-efficient sources of energy in the coming decades.
Renewable energy would soon be abundantly plentiful: The inconsistency of wind and solar sources means that they cannot be relied upon to efficiently power large areas. This means that additional fossil-fuel plants must often be built as a “backup” systems.
Renewable energy would be more cost-efficient: Renewable energy costs remain significantly higher than conventional sources, and there are few near-term expectations that this will change. Our Center will be publishing a report in the fall that will document how existing state renewable energy mandates will impose energy cost increases on every Rhode Island family and business.
Renewable energy would spur a boom in green jobs: There has been no such boom; many once-promising green companies – like Solyndra or A123 in Massachusetts – have gone out of business because of low market demand for their not-ready-for-primetime products. Some European countries that invested heavily in the green revolution have suffered through more job losses than gains. Our upcoming report will also predict a “net jobs loss” to our economy because of our own state’s burdensome energy mandates.
With our Governor attending this bus and pony bus show in Providence, the question is: what does he intend to do next with regard to state level action? Currently, laws mandating that certain percentages of our energy supply must be derived from expensive and inefficient renewable sources, in reality, force every household and business to pay higher energy costs, creating yet another drag on our already struggling state economy. Is the Governor thinking of proposing even further energy mandates?
There is a new energy reality in America that those in the green movement must come to grips with: that there is significantly less of the perceived green benefit that inspired their beliefs and the slew of energy mandate laws they have imposed our citizens. Instead of erecting new energy mandates, our state should be looking to tear down some of these costly barriers to economic growth.
In Rhode Island, we cannot afford to live in a land of make believe. Until science is more definitive on the topic or until technological advances create market-ready products, the reality is that existing energy laws cause real hardships for real people in our state.
Response #3 in ProJo (looks like we struck a chord)