“The Real Climate ‘Deniers’ Are the Greens” – Wall Street Journal, 2 February 2014

Europe’s strategies to use more green energy have mostly failed, causing some countries to accumulate enormous debt. Germany and Spain, for example, have both decided to reduce their renewable energy subsidies—for Germany, renewable energy subsidies have been estimated at costing $32 billion per year for consumers.

According to the Center for European Policy Studies, European steelmakers pay two times as much for electricity and four times as much for natural gas than US steelmakers; electricity costs for homeowners in Denmark have also skyrocketed, costing over three times the average rate in the US.

While the term “climate denier” has been applied to those who don’t believe in the effects of climate change, the term should now be used for environmentalists who incessantly promote renewable energy and its positive outcomes, like job growth.

‘Climate deniers’ refuse to believe in the high costs that renewable energy subsidies have cost Europe; they refuse to believe in the advantages of the US’s natural gas boom; and they refuse to believe in the difficulties of lowering global carbon dioxide emission levels.

Natural gas has had a large positive environmental impact in the US: in 2013, we saw a 41% increase in US natural gas production from 2005. This boom in natural gas reduces the US’s need for coal, thus curbing emission levels. According to the EPA, coal power plants expend twice the amount of emissions than natural gas power plants. Moreover, the US’s emission levels are diminishing at a faster rate than the EU’s: from 2005-2012, the US’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 10.9%, while the EU’s emissions only fell by 9.9%.

Instead of turning to natural gas to decrease debts, coal-use and emission levels, countries are using more and more coal. Global coal consumption has risen by almost 55% during the last ten years, as both populations and demand grow; global carbon dioxide emissions have also risen by 32% over that ten year span. Germany is likely to turn to coal as the country continues to shut down its nuclear power plants. China too will gravitate towards coal, its carbon dioxide emission levels having increased by almost 3.6 billion tons since 2005.

What we can gather from this information is that the US knows how to successfully implement carbon policy, what Obama has introduced as the Climate Action Plan. The US has been able to simultaneously cut emissions while fostering a natural gas boom.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 23, 2014

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Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“Rethinking Energy Subsidies” – Wall Street Journal, 27 March 2013

While climate change remains a large global issue, the world’s leaders have had a hard time addressing it. In a critique of the world’s subsidies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that energy subsidies might be to blame — that they both hinder and worsen climate change debate and subsequent actions.

Energy subsidies are a large part of global government funds, annual budgets often reaching into the billions. There are a few reasons why governments don’t curtail their energy subsidies: most people don’t understand the disadvantages of subsidies; energy producers protect them; and they are mistakenly thought to help the poor.

Energy subsidies allow residences and businesses to pay less than production and distribution costs. Energy subsidies also boost the use of fossil fuels, and force governments to cut spending in other areas of their budgets, like education and health. The IMF reported that if the world lowered its energy consumption, then we would meet 25% of our goals established at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. We are currently nowhere close to any of those goals.

It is frequently argued that energy subsidies also aid the poor. The IMF reported that, “the richest fifth of households in low- and middle-income countries, garner six times the energy subsidies as the poorest fifth.” Those in lower income brackets, who don’t own things like cars or A/C units, use less energy, and therefore use less subsidy; while those in higher income brackets with multiple cars and A/C units use more energy, and receive more subsidy.

Because energy subsidies push down the prices of gas, cooking fuel, electricity, etc., people tend to use more of them, which inevitably leads to severe environmental impacts. Undervaluing energy costs are also severely detrimental to countries that use a lot of energy, costing major economies — those that are prone to using more energy — $1.41 trillion per year.

Economically speaking, subsidies rarely work as a long term solution, since selecting what to subsidize is often not objective, and subject to undue political and personal influence. Experience has shown that it is difficult to monetize effects of climate change. People and societies only implement what is practical and pocketbook-economical.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 6, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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