The High Cost of Cheap Energy

We are hearing over and over from Republicans how cap and trade will cost the economy jobs.  How it’s a national “energy tax.” The truth is that without a price on carbon, enforced globally, we will lose far more jobs over the coming years.  And we will lose even more of our national independence.

We will transition to a solar based economy in the next few decades.  As carbon fuels are depleted and as we truly accept the damage they do to our environment, we will substitute solar based forms of energy production. This has the potential to revolutionize our country, as we put Americans back to work at good jobs making things of great value to us. Instead, because we are so in the thrall of global corporations and their puppets in Washington, we will probably surrender what’s left of our autonomy to the Chinese.

See, the Chinese are hell bent on dominating the coming solar economy. Here’s an excerpt from an October 8 article in Businessweek:

“China has certainly done more than any other country to establish a leading position in clean energy. It started by creating demand, adopting its first renewable-energy law in 2005 and ensuring that its domestic utilities captured the bulk of the resulting projects. It supplemented this with a raft of industrial policy measures meant to support the development of its supplier base—cheap loans, tariffs on imported wind turbines, aggressive domestic content rules, and so on.

….So far this year the China Development Bank has offered $32.2 billion in low-interest loans to the country’s solar and wind manufacturers. Those outfits haven’t yet landed big contracts in Europe or the U.S., but armed with export credits that the West is hard-pressed to match, they’re making inroads into emerging markets. And Beijing, which controls most supplies of rare-earth minerals, essential for so many clean-energy technologies, is moving to restrict exports—a worrisome prospect for the industry.”

To take this lead, they are using the some of the dirtiest factories on earth to make the generators of clean energy.  If we do not enforce a global price on carbon, then we have effectively surrendered our ability to ever be energy independent.

The United Steel Workers, among others, realize this.  They have recently filed a complaint with the US Trade Representative saying “protectionist and predatory practices utilized by the Chinese to develop their green sector at the expense of production and job creation here in the U.S.”

But we get nothing but whining from Repubs – “electricity will cost too much….whaaa” “protecting the environment will cost us coal mining jobs…..whaaa”

We get these gems from Kim Strassel, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, about cap and trade:  

“The bill is designed to crush certain industries, namely coal.” “In Ohio, billboards have shown Democrats John Boccieri and Zack Space as puppets, manipulated into voting for the “National Energy tax.” “Kentucky Republican Andy Barr demands Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler explain his vote to cost his state 35,000 jobs…” “…one of the lessons of 2010: Cap-and-trade policy is terrible. Cap-and-trade politics is deadly.” (Read the rest of her bile here)

This is nothing but shilling for the corporations who do business in China and other polluting nations.  And certainly nothing but mindless shilling for rich coal executives. Neither the global corporations nor the fat cat coal mining execs want a price on carbon because it would lower their obscene profits.

The truth is that if we had a global price on carbon, good jobs would return to Kentucky and other coal states because we use carbon more efficiently than almost any other nation.  For the first time, we would be the beneficiaries of strong environmental policies rather than the losers. And coal mining wouldn’t disappear overnight, as we need coal to power the factories that would make the clean energy generators.

We could become truly energy independent, get good jobs – real jobs –  back, and save the planet.  Not a bad deal for paying a little more for electricity. What are the costs of letting the Chinese determine the fate of our country?

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