What Happens When Environmentalists Ignore Both Science and EconomicsAlan Carlin | November 27, 2015
In recent years many environmental organizations have united in support of an effort to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere with the objective of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels. Their efforts have primarily been directed towards reducing CO2 emitted by electric power generating plants burning fossil fuels. The effort has made much more “progress” in some Western European nations than in the US, but since the capture of EPA by the environmentalists in 2009 under the Obama Administration, the USEPA has been doing its best to catch up.
The basic tool advocated by the environmentalists to achieve their ends is government intervention in the market for electric power generation. Such intervention ignores not only science but also economics. As explained in Chapter 9 of Environmentalism Gone Mad, atmospheric CO2 levels have little or no effect on global temperatures. But just as serious, the environmentalists are attempting to substitute detailed Federal Government regulation of the electric generating market for the market mechanism and the present primarily state-oriented regulation. As usual, such intervention will lead to shortages and higher prices in the markets involved. The result is entirely predictable. These include bankruptcy of non-competitive non-hydro “renewable” power companies (as in Spain), soaring electricity prices (as in Western European countries such as Germany, Denmark, and Great Britain), electricity shortages (as in Great Britain and Germany when the wind does not blow and the sun is not shining), and the departure or decline of energy intensive industries. The Western European nations that have pursued this approach are suffering the consequences.
The Environmentalists Have Effectively Been Put in Charge of USEPA and Now the Electricity Supply System
Now the US is attempting to catch up to Western Europe through EPA regulation of the electric power generating industry despite the inevitable results. To do so the environmentalists have effectively been put in charge of the US electric power generation system by the Obama Administration through control of the USEPA. The results will be the same or possibly even worse than in Western Europe.
Government regulation of the market for goods and services in East Germany led to shortages of everyday necessities (such as cars and even some foodstuffs) and the loss of export industries. Government regulation of CO2 emissions from electricity generating plants in the US will not work any better. Plentiful, reliable electricity is a necessity of the developed world. Thus in supposedly “saving” the world from the at most minor effects of increased CO2 on temperature, the environmentalists will damage something that really matters–the ability of our economy to supply the needs of the US population and US competitiveness in world markets. This is now inevitable in the US unless the implementation of the recent EPA final regulations of the industry is stopped by Congress or the courts before serious damage is done or a new administration rapidly rescinds the EPA regulations.