This topic is a wonderful arena for pragmatic, independent thought.
The Left is correct that the climate is changing. The Right is correct in opposing the economic measures the Left proposes for slowing climate change.
The Right is bananas for denying that the climate is changing. The Left is bananas for throwing the US economy under the bus for the sake of protecting the global climate.
Had we not discovered oil, the world’s reliance on wood as its primary fuel would have resulted in a global resource crisis. But free market capitalism, backed by the unstoppable train of human ingenuity in perpetual pursuit of a higher standard of living, led to the discovery of oil.
Human beings want to pay less per mile driven and breathe cleaner air. Those two desires will continue to *fuel* the creation of more fuel efficient vehicles + the search for cleaner-burning fuel.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing…the government does will change the fact that standalone commercial viability is required for any sustainable change in the global fuel mix.
Making it more expensive to burn coal does not change the fact that renewable energy is not yet commercially viable on a standalone basis.
As I will get into in future posts, the government is best utilized in stepping in where citizens cannot help themselves. Quick example: on a standalone basis private insurance will never cover those with pre-existing conditions.
One of the greatest uses of government resources is Research & Development. Rather than propping up wind and solar projects, and imposing GDP-stifling EPA regulations, the government should be pouring hundreds of billions of R&D $$$ into battery technology and the storage of renewable energy.
Natural gas from 2008-2012 and crude oil from 2014-2016 demonstrated the power of free markets. The Oil & Gas industry went on a drilling bonanza with its newfound ‘fracking’ technology, generating far greater supply than was demanded by the marketplace. As such, prices collapsed.
This collapse in prices was brought about by the high prices of 2004-2008 (natural gas broke $10, and is now under $4), which generated the necessary profits to pursue ‘fracking’ projects.
Left alone, the coal industry would do the same – it would take care of itself. The magic of supply and demand would force industry participants to pursue either new mining technologies and/or cleaner versions of coal in order to compete with cleaner fuels such as natural gas. In the meantime, an entire mining industry would still be employed, generating a likely greater NPV to the economy – that is an NPV net of the whatever climate costs associated with burning coal – than the current climate policies of the Obama Administration.
This is not a defense of coal. It is a defense of the power of free market capitalism. The beauty of Obama’s worldview (for himself) is that he gets to have his cake and eat it too. Free market capitalism is powerful enough to guarantee that battery technology will one day become a viable competitor to oil (having his cake). This will do wonders for the social good, but will inevitably create very, very wealthy entrepreneurs that Obama and his ilk will be more than happy to denigrate for playing the *game* unfairly (eating his cake).
From an EPA standpoint, the government is best utilized in creating and enforcing regulations that are a net positive to America’s standard of living. Hit-you-over-the-head-obvious examples such as not allowing companies to dump toxic waste into the water system. Versus highly debated environmental costs associated with fracking. Of course fracking must be policed – but not for highly partisan political purposes.