Real Abundance, False Promises

WASHINGTON – AEA president Thomas Pyle made the following statement in response to the non-binding “Green New Deal” resolution introduced this morning:

“For nearly a decade now the United States, long blessed with vast natural resources, has benefited from the greatest energy expansion in the history of the world. Our energy producers have delivered the low cost, affordable and reliable energy that has fueled economic growth and opportunity for all Americans, no matter their race, sex, creed, or color. We have drilled our way to prosperity here at home and, as this energy revolution continues, the U.S. will lift millions of people out of energy poverty around the globe while reducing the power of those who fuel their hostile regimes with petrodollars.

During this same time period the green left — through the apparatus of the Democratic Party — has done everything in their power to stop it. They have failed. The resolution is nothing more than an organizational device to advance the political agenda of the socialist wing of the Democratic party wrapped in a green bow. There is nothing aspirational about making false promises to the very people it claims to be trying to help. In fact, it is immoral.”

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

The State of American Energy is Strong

WASHINGTON – In response to President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address held Tuesday night, AEA President Tom Pyle made the following statement:

“This evening, President Donald Trump reminded us that the state of American energy is strong. America’s economy is booming, creating a thriving environment for innovation and energy development.

Producers and consumers alike should be proud of America’s energy progress in 2018. The enormous resource wealth of the United States is finally being unlocked, lowering prices and improving Americans’ economic well-being. These wins didn’t occur in a vacuum. They happened because America’s energy producers had the know-how and the Trump administration had the resolve to do away with self-inflicted federal red tape that hampered ingenuity and technological progress.

A key priority of the President’s agenda in 2019 must be to address the lack of pipeline capacity that is stranding energy resources in several key locations across the United States. We also look forward to finalizing important regulatory reforms in the year ahead. 2018 was a year of great success for American energy, but as President Trump said, ‘we’re just getting started.'”

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

A Grand Carbon Bargain?

The policy du jour within the center-right and neoliberal ivory towers is the carbon tax. Economics brand names like Janet Yellen, Richard Thaler, and Larry Summers took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal recently to inform us that a carbon tax of their design can be a bipartisan winner in these factious times.

The so-called “Economists’ Statement” is a five-pillar proposal that they think will transcend the partisan divide by taxing carbon-based fuels while simultaneously mitigating the well-known regressive effect of energy taxes with a “dividend” and removing burdensome, top-down regulations. The economic flaws with a tax-and-dividend arrangement are documented extensively in the October 2018 study, “The Carbon Tax: Analysis of Six Potential Scenarios.”

But promises of regulatory relief do not stand up to scrutiny either. The problem is that no one to Yellen, Thaler, and Summers’ political left agrees that regulatory red tape should be cut.

The third pillar of the plan expressed in the Wall Street Journal reads, “A sufficiently robust and gradually rising carbon tax will replace the need for various carbon regulations that are less efficient. Substituting a price signal for cumbersome regulations will promote economic growth and provide the regulatory certainty companies need for long- term investment in clean-energy alternatives.”  But simply by reading the last five years’ worth of commentary from the environmentalist left, we should recognize that the promised compromise prioritizing economic efficiency has a snowball’s chance on the Senate floor of surviving intact.

To state what the left’s body of work makes obvious: A carbon tax only appeals to that faction in conjunction with a wide range of other carbon-mitigation strategies. A carbon tax that will draw left wing support isn’t a tax-for-regulation swap, but a complement to existing and accelerated regulation. As the ascendent “Green New Deal” shows, a standalone carbon tax has no currency with the party that now holds a majority in the House of Representatives.

Below you’ll find a sampling of the environmental left’s perspective on the carbon tax and I think you’ll realize, as I have, that the ‘Economists’ Plan’ is a nonstarter.

  • “A Green New Deal is more than a smart carbon tax or some environmental regulation. It is one part of a progressive vision that strives to actually create the much-talked-about but still-painfully-absent 21st- century economy—with millions of living-wage jobs and justice for all.” — Greg Carlock and Sean McElwee, Data for Progress
  • “We’re going to win this by building the arguments that will then lead to big demands, like no new fossil fuel frontiers, country-wide bans on fracking, closing off the Arctic to drilling permanently, and those types of policies. One of the reasons that it’s been difficult to win and sustain victories to put a price on carbon, a carbon tax (and I don’t think a carbon tax is a silver bullet, but I think a progressively designed carbon tax is part of a slate of policies that we need to make this transition happen), is that when consumers are hurting  — and we’ve been in the midst of an economic downturn, recession, or crisis depending on where you live — it’s hard for politicians to increase the price of energy. When suddenly oil is way cheaper and your energy bill is dropping, that’s a good time to introduce a progressive carbon tax.” — Naomi Klein, Author, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”
  • “There’s one other truly grave danger with carbon pricing that zealous advocates occasionally do fall into: the idea that it’s the only thing that needs to be done. Exxon, for instance, has made it clear that the price for a carbon tax should be an end to other kinds of regulations (and probably a corporate tax cut); to bring Republicans along you’d need some kind of grand bargain that, perhaps, limited the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon, or scrapped Obama’s Clean Power Plan. One of the temptations I try to avoid is saying, ‘If only you’d paid attention back then.’ In 1989, back when I wrote that first book, it’s plausible that a low price on carbon, set to rise slowly over the years, would have been enough to bend the curve of emissions enough to save us from climate change. But in 2016, that’s no longer true. At best it’s one arrow in a quiver full of other arrows we’re also going to need to let loose in a volley.”— Bill McKibben, Founder, 350(dot)org
  • “There’s been a predominant conversation in Washington, D.C., that’s been led by economists and politicos that have tried to frame a carbon tax as the only way. It’s proved time and time again to be not politically popular, and we haven’t even priced the policy at where economists say it needs to be. The idea that [a carbon tax is] the way out of this mess is something we need to be pushing back on.” — Evan Weber, National Political Director, Sunrise Movement
  • “The thing about carbon pricing is, it’s helpful, but it’s not dispositive. There are a number of sectors that are impervious to a carbon price, or close to impervious. A carbon price works when it’s part of a package that includes R&D and performance standards. It does not work in isolation. It helps, but it doesn’t do nearly as much as is required.”— Hal Harvey, CEO, Energy Innovation

Alluring though it may be to former Federal Reserve chairs and academic economists, a carbon tax that replaces regulatory fiat fails to satisfy the appetite for control that motivates the environmental activist class. The promised compromise is out-of-touch and unrealistic; those of us being asked to agree to it ought regard it as such.

Press Release: AEA Sends Rep. Rooney Yellow Vest for His Support of Economy Wrecking Energy Tax

WASHINGTON – Last week, a handful of members of the House of Representatives introduced carbon tax legislation, “The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.” The bill sponsored by Rep. Deutch and Rep. Rooney, the sole Republican sponsor, seeks to impose a $15 per ton tax on carbon emissions and would increase by $10 annually. In protest of his destructive energy tax, the American Energy Alliance sent Rep. Rooney a yellow safety vest along with the following letter:

Dear Representative Rooney,

In solidarity with our French brethren who have protested expensive climate policies, we at the American Energy Alliance have enclosed in this package a yellow vest to object to your sponsorship of a destructive carbon tax, the inaptly named “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act,” that will raise energy costs on American families and put the U.S. in a weaker financial state.

The “Gilets Jaunes” movement that began last fall in France is the public’s rebellion against rising fuel taxes explicitly billed by President Macron as a way to meet France’s commitments under the Paris climate accord. In order to speak out, average citizens took to the streets wearing yellow safety vests that serve as a rallying symbol for French motorists. Just like your carbon tax, Macron’s goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by making fuel more costly and restricting consumer choice.

Your bill’s $15 per ton tax (set to increase $10 every year) would result in higher energy prices for all Americans. Promising Americans a “dividend payment” in return is to sell a false bill of goods. Americans don’t want handouts, they want a thriving economy. And as economic studies have shown, a tax-and-dividend is a surefire way to choke growth and hurt employment. Nobody wants a so-called dividend if it means losing a job.

A carbon tax like the one you introduced would not only inflict harm on consumers and the broader U.S. economy, it would foist additional burdens on state and local governments, all while failing to make any meaningful dent in the total emissions profile worldwide.

Whether ballot initiatives in Washington state, provincial elections in Canada, or protests in France, when the people weigh in on carbon taxes there is a common answer: Non!

On behalf of AEA’s grassroots activists, we hope you reverse course and start listening.

Sincerely,

 

Tom Pyle
American Energy Alliance, President

AEA will hold lawmakers accountable for any sponsorship or votes cast in favor of carbon tax proposals in the 116th Congress. These actions will also be scored on the American Energy Scorecard.

###

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

Budweiser thinks its customers are gullible fools

For its Super Bowl commercial this year, Anheuser-Busch has opted for a little green virtue signaling. The punch line of the ad “Wind never felt so good” is “now brewed with wind power for a better tomorrow.” I say punch line intentionally, because the claim is a joke. It’s the latest entry in the corporate 100% renewable PR misdirection campaign.  Indeed, the lie underpinning this ad is so brazen it should qualify as false advertising.

The lie here is fundamental: pretending that Anheuser-Busch, or any of the other companies like Google or Apple making these false claims, are actually using only renewable energy to power their operations. They are not. Every Anheuser-Busch bottling plant plugs into the electricity grid like everyone else. In 2017, the US electricity grid derived just 6.3% of total generation from wind power. Solar, the other trendy source, generated just 1.3%. Unless Anheuser-Busch has unplugged its bottling plants from the grid and just has a direct line to the closest wind farm, they are not brewing their beer with wind power.

But how do we know they aren’t doing that? Well, because wind power is intermittent, it only blows some of the time. An Anheuser-Busch bottling plant, on the other hand, needs constant power. A modern manufacturing business cannot be run with the lights turning off and on all day. So Anheuser-Busch relies on the grid, where power generation is dominated by coal and natural gas.

So how can Anheuser-Busch and other companies get away with this lie? Well, they enter agreements to “purchase” electricity from a company owning a wind farm. They then claim that payoff as offset for the real electricity they are using from the coal plant down the street. It’s an accounting gimmick, a little flimflam that provides cover for false claims of 100% renewable power usage.

The core of the corporate 100% renewable myth is that these companies think their customers are ignorant and gullible. They count on customers not realizing that electricity is a “just in time” product, virtually every electron generated is used immediately. Storage is difficult and impossibly expensive, and long distance transportation (e.g. from rural wind farms to population centers) is costly and inefficient.  In order for the lights to come on whenever you flick the switch, you must have a stable, constant source of power. Wind and solar do not provide that fundamental service.

Now perhaps we shouldn’t blame Anheuser-Busch for getting in on this game. A company with a collapsing market share is liable to grasp at any straw on its way down. But maybe, just maybe, lying to your customers about your business practices isn’t the wisest way to go.

The Greenist Manifesto: Fanciful Green Trappings for Garden Variety Socialism

One by one we have seen the 2020 candidates for the Democratic nomination, both presumed and declared, voice support for a “Green New Deal.” While some of these candidates may simply be mouthing the words to assuage the more rabid elements of the environmental far left, the mere fact that this idea is being taken seriously should be of concern to every freedom loving American. The Green New Deal is truly a Greenist Manifesto, a call for reviving old socialist ideas but this time with green characteristics.

While there is not yet any actual legislative proposal to evaluate, we do have a list of proposed policies that a coalition of interests, fronted by newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, developed in the hopes of providing guidance to the newly created House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

The Green

The list of “green” proposals is as comprehensive as it is fanciful: reaching 100% renewable power, building a nation-wide smart grid, upgrading every building for energy efficiency, eliminating greenhouse gases from industry and transportation, and funding massive investment in a “drawdown” of greenhouse gases, among others. All within a mere 10 years. A low-end attempt to estimate the cost of these proposals adds up to many trillions of dollars per year (for reference the federal government currently spends $3.3 trillion annually, so we are talking several times current spending every year). But even before considering the astronomical cost, there is a more practical barrier: the bounds of technology and even physics. Simply put, these goals are not possible.

Take 100% renewable power. In 2017, wind provided just 6.3% of electricity generation in the US, with solar providing a mere 1.3%.  And that is after decades of subsidies and federal and state mandates for renewable generation.  A recent estimate calculated that to simply generate enough electricity to meet current US power demand, it would require covering 12% of the land area of the continental United States with wind turbines. That is more than twice the size of California of just wind installations. And the physical turbines are just the beginning, huge numbers of long distance power lines will have to be built to move this renewable power to cities.

Wind and solar are also intermittent.  Currently, natural gas or coal are typically used as backup when renewables are down, but in this brave new green world some alternative will need to be found, perhaps batteries. Vast acres of hugely expensive batteries, the technology for which has never been proved able to power the entire grid on their own.

All this in just 10 years.

And how will we eliminate greenhouse gases from agriculture and industry? The Green New Deal helpfully offers investment in “local-scale agriculture” as a fix. Except that local agriculture is inherently less efficient than large-scale agribusiness, not to mention there is no technological fix for methane emissions from livestock. Without coal, how does industry produce the steel in all those wind turbines and solar panels? Perhaps there is some sort of future technology that would allow all the mining of minerals and cement production that will be needed to build the vast fields of wind and solar – not to mention the batteries! – to be done free of greenhouse gas emissions, but that technology certainly doesn’t exist today. The same would need to be done for all the other products made from fossil fuels: plastics, clothing, pavement, etc.

And in just 10 years.

Then there is the simple, modest goal of eliminating emissions from transportation. The average age of passenger vehicles in the US is currently more than 10 years. What will greens impose? A government confiscation effort of vehicles in order to meet a 10-year decarbonization goal? At least for passenger vehicles there is technology for electric vehicles (though shudder at the vast cost of replacing hundreds of millions of vehicles with more expensive electric alternatives), but what about freight trucks, ships, trains, airplanes? Are we going to electrify 140,000 miles of railroad? Put nuclear reactors in every ship (or maybe just revert to sail power)? There is not even theoretical technology available for replacing jet fueled airplanes, and even if one were discovered tomorrow, designing a new airplane alone can easily take a decade.

Even on longer time scales than 10 years and with unlimited money, achieving any one of these goals would require huge technological advances. It is a simple fact that, even if it was a good idea, we do not have the technological knowledge today to achieve any of these goals in just 10 years, irrespective of cost.

Yet this Green New Deal is still treated as a real policy proposal, not a fanciful alternative universe from a sci-fi novel.  Why, it’s almost as if all this “green” hand waving is just a cover for some larger agenda.

The New Deal

The second half of the Green New Deal, on the other hand, looks much more familiar: a job guarantee for everyone, a living wage guarantee, a free hand for labor unions, government mitigation of income inequalities, a universal basic income, universal health care, and any other programs the drafters might desire. Other than the baffling provision for a “just transition” for all workers most affected by climate change, these are all provisions that are fairly standard fare for your average advocate of far left socialism.

It is not made explicit what this standard socialist and progressive wish list has to do with climate change, but for today’s environmental left, it appears logic and coherence are not required qualities. For those not on the left, this manifesto should be a warning, though. It seems that the United States keeps having crises that a certain group of people tell us require the implementation of the same statist, command-and-control policies: Wilson’s war socialism, Roosevelt’s new deal, Johnson’s war on poverty, Carter’s energy crises, and now today’s climate change.  All conveniently have the same solutions: more government “investment,” more government control, more socialism.

It’s a trap

A skeptic might wonder why the answer to every new crisis is to do the same things the far left has been doing or trying to do for 100 years. A skeptic might wonder about the seriousness of the purveyors of climate change alarmism when they treat a supposed existential threat to humanity as a convenient opportunity to press their long held policy goals. For while the fanciful proposals in the “green” section are quite literally not possible, the policies in the socialism section are very real and concrete.

Ultimately this Green New Deal is not about saving the environment. The greenwashing is about creating a sense of urgency and moral panic. The more panic the better to entrench government ever deeper into the lives of American citizens. Americans resisted socialism in the Cold War, now it’s time resist socialism in the Green War.

____________________________________________________________________

A condensed version of this post was first published in The Daily Caller on 1/11/19.

Welcome to 2019 and the 116th Congress

All eyes are on Congress this week as a new class of legislators is sworn in and Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. At this crucial time, AEA is ready to advocate for free market energy policies and to protect the American people from threats of increased energy prices.

House Democrats have made it clear they will make energy policies a focus through a new select committee and proposals in line with a “Green New Deal.” Unfortunately, what this translates to for American families is expensive government subsidies and mandates, as well as ever-increasing energy prices that Americans can’t afford. House Democrats have made it clear that they are happy to raise energy costs just to virtue signal their “action” on climate change.

Proponents of “Green New Deal”-type legislation might claim future costs of climate change, but they never talk about the current costs of their policies. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California Rep. Ro Khanna have even opted to vote against a provision, “PAYGO”, which is supposed to force Congress to find financing for expenditures with available funds. This goes to show just how costly their climate policies would be, and that is even before the higher energy costs kick in.

But not all threats will come from Democrats. Several Republicans have suggested they will propose carbon tax legislation in the 116th Congress even though the idea has repeatedly been a nonstarter when put to a vote. A carbon tax could inflict at least a $3.7 to $5.9 trillion hit to our economy in the near term, and would put significant financial strain on the states as well. It is a bad idea that AEA will stand against no matter the form it takes.

2019 will be an important year to stay up-to-date with the American Energy Scorecard as AEA will be regularly scoring Congress on their votes relating to energy and environment policy. We will hold Congress accountable for their votes in Washington that will have direct and indirect impacts on their constituents.

While Congress will keep us busy, there are still needed reforms in executive agencies as well. Former Secretary Zinke’s successor at the Department of the Interior ought to continue the work Zinke started in streamlining NEPA and opening federal lands and waters to energy development. Both reforms would strengthen American energy independence and lower energy prices for Americans. Further, it’s time to allow for the construction of critical energy infrastructure and we hope progress is made to that end this year.

We look forward to the adoption and implementation of rules from the EPA to reform CAFE mandates, the Clean Power Plan, and more.

2019 will be another busy year in Washington D.C. and AEA is here to enable Americans, not Washington bureaucrats, to make their own energy choices. We look forward to engaging and mobilizing our 100,00+ grassroots advocates to advance market-oriented energy and environmental policies and advocate for the elimination of subsidies, mandates, and special interest giveaways that lead to higher energy costs.

To get involved, sign up here.

Additionally, be sure to follow AEA’s Energy Townhall blog throughout the year and stay up-to-date with the latest developments on social media: https://twitter.com/aea and https://www.facebook.com/americanenergyalliance.

AEA Statement on Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Resignation

WASHINGTON – In response to the announcement that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will step down at the end of the year, Thomas J. Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, made the following statement:

“In the two years that Zinke has led the Department of the Interior, he has served the country in a way we haven’t seen from the federal government’s land use agency since the days of President Ronald Reagan. Streamlining permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act, reforming regulations on methane venting and flaring, and reorganizing Bears Ears National Monument are just a few of his many significant contributions. Most importantly, Zinke has unleashed American energy potential by tapping into the vast resource reserves on federal lands and opening up previously unexplored areas to development.

Secretary Zinke’s record stands as a testament to the Trump Administration’s America First focus. He has taken a common sense approach at Interior that benefits all Americans by appropriately balancing the many different missions within the department. We look forward to working with his successor to ensure that the Department of Interior remains focused on unlocking the natural resources on federal lands and unleashing American energy potential.”

###

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

AEA Applauds POTUS for Reform of WOTUS

WASHINGTON – This morning, the EPA announced a proposed rulemaking to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition under the Clean Water Act. The rule would fully repeal the definition of the Obama administration regarding which waterways and wetlands are to be considered under the Clean Water Act. AEA President Thomas Pyle made the following statement: 

“Historically, the ‘Waters of the United States’ definition has been abused to increase the size and scope of the federal government and violate the property rights of landowners under the guise of protecting our country’s waterways. Despite the Clean Water Act affirming up front the primacy of the states in regulation of water, the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction has been a source of litigation and controversy for decades. One administration after another, both Republican and Democrat, has sought to invade the states’ proper primacy in local water regulation, and the Supreme Court has rightfully struck down these overly broad definitions.

The 2015 WOTUS definition created by the Obama administration sought to go even further, writing a rule so broad that it effectively stretched federal regulatory power to virtually every bit of water in the country. Unsurprisingly, that rule has remained mired in litigation ever since. Rather than continuing to subject landowners to this uncertainty, the Trump administration is wise to repeal the 2015 rule in order to more accurately conform with the plain text of the the Clean Water Act as well as previous Supreme Court decisions.”

###

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

EPA Rule Ends Obama’s War on Economic Reality

WASHINGTON – This afternoon, the EPA proposed a rule lifting carbon dioxide emission requirements for new and modified coal power plants, a reform of an Obama-era rule which effectively mandated presently uneconomic carbon capture technology.

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle made the following statement:

“The Trump Administration’s move to ease Obama-era restrictions on clean coal technology is yet another action towards bringing Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ to an end, and is fully within EPA’s power to do. The Obama-era rule defied economic reality, making the opening of new coal plants all but impossible by requiring expensive, impractical carbon capture technology.

For the last decade, regulations have been strangling the coal industry, which provides millions of Americans with affordable and reliable energy. In 2008, President Obama famously said ‘…if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them…’ We are pleased that the Trump Administration has taken yet another action to stop the political and regulatory assault on beautiful, clean coal.”

###

For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]