I am trying hard to resist fisking Eric Poole’s article in the Harvard Business Review on the EPA’s new anti-coal initiative. In the interest of my own mental health and brevity I’ll limit my observations to a few choice examples.
Something reassuring happened Monday after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy unveiled the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan, arguably the most important step the U.S. has taken in the fight against global climate change: The S&P 500 and Dow Jones stock indexes rose to record highs. I’ll take that as a sign investors aren’t buying the old scare tactic that federal climate action is bad for the economy.
or the market may already have discounted the Obama Administration’s anti-coal policy or other events that happened at the same time overshadowed the policy announcement or the market has a life and momentum of its own that’s disconnected from the larger economy or any number of other possibilities. Are short term market moves really a gauge of long term investor sentiment? That would make an interesting study.
Renewables are growing faster than any other kind of of power generation, with more solar panels installed in the U.S. over the last 18 months than the previous 30 years combined.
Alternative energy is heavily subsidized. In total biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind account for about 5% U. S. energy production, most of which is wind, the most heavily subsidized.
The cost of solar and wind are falling rapidly
The Chinese are dumping solar panels on the United States.
California is also delivering some big results. The Golden State’s energy efficiency programs have saved its residents $74 billion over the last few decades and avoided the construction of more than 30 power plants.
California is a net importer of energy. California’s programs have resulted in their importing more energy from elsewhere rather than generating it locally. Californians are in essence taking the same attitude that American do to China: if it’s not happening here, it’s not happening at all and has no consequences.
Illinois, a state heavily dependent on coal for electricity, has aggressive energy efficiency mandates that require utilities to cut energy use by 2% annually by 2015, as well as a 25%-by-2025 renewables standard has been a boon for the state’s wind industry.
Over the period of the last thirty years Chicago has derived more than 85% of its energy from nuclear power. The state’s energy mandates are driving businesses out of the state (businesses have left Illinois faster than any other state) and Illinois’s aggressive subsidies for wind power are actually higher than the value of the power being generated.
I could go on. You can prove practically anything if you cherry-pick the data with sufficient ferocity. If you torture the data long enough, they will submit.