By Craig Rucker
President Biden and congressional Democrats constantly fret about “climate change.” Indeed, they have made it such a high priority they are taking an “whole of government approach” to addressing it. In fulfilling their aims at curbing emissions, the entire Biden Administration has been systematically and intentionally dismantling the powerful, reliable energy system America has built over the past century, and offering in its place little more than vague promises of a “clean, renewable” system will miraculously appear to replace it.
It’s a bold promise. It’s also a foolish one.
The reason why is that there really isn’t a solid example, anywhere in the world, that Green energy has proven itself to be a “success” as a main supplier of energy. Team Biden insists we should follow Europe’s lead on “green energy,” because our friends across the Atlantic have shown the “energy transition” works. To the contrary, actual news from Europe should shake even the most ardent climate activists out of their extreme weather nightmares and green utopia fantasies.
Despite warmer than expected winter weather, banning fracking for gas in Europe and then embargoing Russian gas over Putin’s war in the Ukraine forced EU countries to spend $1.2 trillion importing energy between January 2021 and February 2023. LNG imports in 2022 were 60% and $25 billion higher than in 2021, as Europe outspent China, Japan and South Korea combined on imported fuels.
Russia merely sold its gas elsewhere, using the profits to finance more weaponry and prop up its economy.
EU households have struggled for years to pay their bills, as jobs disappeared and food, gasoline and electricity prices shot upward. Food costs rose 18% on average across the continent in 2022; 32% in Lithuania; 48% in Hungary. Average new cars in Britain cost 43% ($14,400) more than five years ago, beyond the reach of middle class families.
Experts say Germany’s electric rates could hit 40 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2023-2024, and then rise to 50 cents. Britain is not far behind. (By comparison, the average US price is 12.5 cents/kWh, ranging from 8.4 cents in Wyoming to 18.3 in New York, 21.0 in California and 42.4 in Hawaii.)
Even worse, the German government wants to force families to replace gas furnaces with heat pumps that are powered by that pricey electricity, but don’t even keep homes warm. Families that don’t comply would be fined 50,000 euros ($53,600). (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: Biden’s Energy Secretary Casually Reveals That She Wants To Control Our Decisions)
The entire UK auto industry could go belly-up, as Net Zero policies make manufacturing (especially electric vehicles) increasingly non-competitive against China. The Middle Kingdom’s low-cost, coal-based electricity, control of essential metals and minerals, minimal environmental standards, and cheap, slave and child labor give it dominance over automobile, battery, wind turbine and solar panel markets. 900,000 German automotive jobs, and tens of thousands in Italy, face extinction.
Not surprisingly, one-tenth of German companies plan to relocate operations to other countries. The huge German chemicals company BASF is shedding 2,600 jobs, because of soaring costs, limited gas supplies, excessive bureaucracy and exorbitant taxes. Green Europe is staring into the abyss.
Meanwhile, China and India are on the ascendance – using coal and natural gas (and a dash of wind and solar for good PR and ESG scores) to electrify homes, factories, schools and businesses. “China goes for cheap coal to beat green West,” while “India cheers the return of King Coal,” says Reuters.
No wonder Europeans are getting restless, and angry. A British town chosen to be the country’s “first Net Zero village” revolted against the heat pumps they were to get, and the bureaucrats backed down. Facing outrage over the looming automobile death knell, Germany, Italy and five other EU nations have formed an alliance to oppose proposed bans on internal-combustion engines.
So maybe “yes,” we should look to Europe for good, practical lessons on Going Green. But perhaps we shouldn’t draw the same conclusions about it as do those in the Biden Administration.
Craig Rucker is president of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org).