Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama Agenda: The Environment

Let's continue our discussion of Obama’s agenda. Obama is not an environmentalist, that's obvious from his lack of passion and his fealty to the unions. Though, he must placate his base, which includes environmentalists. However, as previously discussed, the environmental movement has been partially co-opted by socialists who want to remake the American economy. Hence, his policies are a mix of liberal environmentalism (forced conservation, massive subsidies, pet projects) and down right socialism masquerading as environmental policy.

Obama's environmental policies come in four parts. The first two are premised on liberal environmentalism. The other two are pure socialism.

Part One: Alternative Energies

Obama's stated goal is to ensure that by 2025, 25% of our energy comes from solar, wind, biofuel, and geothermal sources (note the absence of natural gas and nuclear). To achieve this, he proposes:
• Weatherizing one million homes annually.

• Pouring $150 billion into alternative fuel technology.
This is fairly standard liberal environmentalism. Obama believes that by picking "winners" and subsidizing them, he can bend the laws of physics and economics. But reality tells us otherwise. Physics bends for no one and the history of subsidies is a history of waste, fraud, and failure. Indeed, subsidies keep better solutions from emerging, and thus ultimately prove entirely counter productive. But that's the kind of solution you get from the left.

Undeterred, Obama has already spent considerable amounts toward these goals. For example, the stimulus bill included five billion dollars to weatherize low-income homes. This may cover 500,000 homes by the end of 2009, if you believe the estimates. More insidiously, cap and trade, currently D.O.A. in the Senate, includes a provision that would require an environmental inspection for all homes prior to sale, with the homeowner being required to raise the energy efficiency of the home before a sale would be allowed. If this passes, look for home sales to plummet, fixer-uper’s to disappear, and poor people to be priced out of the housing market.

The stimulus also included $18 billion in grants and loans to renewable energy companies, $100 billion in tax credits, and $6 billion to modernize the nation’s electricity grid. The FY2010 budget inclues another $39 billion in spending and $20 billion in tax incentives on renewable energy.

Obama claims this will generate five million "green" jobs, though the history of subsidies says otherwise.

The cap and trade bill also includes a requirement that utility companies produce 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Despite all of this, the Energy Information Administration estimates that all of the above will only increase the share of electricity generated from renewable sources to 15.8% by 2030 from its current 7%.

Part Two: End Dependence on Foreign Oil

Obama next proposes to reduce our oil consumption by 35% by 2030. That would represent an amount equal to what we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela (combined). Here's how:
• Increasing fuel economy (CAFE) standards for vehicle fleets.

• Putting one million plug-in hybrid (American made) cars on the road by 2015.

• Implementing a $7,000 tax credit for buying a hybrid.
Obama’s Dept. of Transporation is drafting rules that will require cars and trucks (not previously included) to be 5% more efficient each year until 2016. They will also require that the amount of ethanol or biodiesel used in the US increases from 9 billion blended gallons to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

As for Obama’s hybrid goal, current hybrid sales rates are approximately 175,000 a year, so he may just get his wish. But none of them are American made.

Part Three: Stop “climate change”

This is where Obama's environmental policy loses touch with environmentalism and drives fully into socialism. Obama's goal here is to save the world from "climate change" by:
• Implementing an economy-wide cap and trade program to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions by 80% by 2050.

• Developing and deploying clean coal technology.
The undistorted scientific evidence is clear that all of the claims that the Earth is heating up are wrong, the assertions that "carbon causes warming" are false, and the idea that mankind contributes significantly to carbon emissions is an obvious lie. Indeed, as we pointed out before, everything mankind does represents around 3% of all carbon emissions. It is thus logically impossible to rationally conclude that capping carbon will have any effect on global temperatures.

Obama knows this. Yet he's proposing a cap and trade bill, that will severely damage or retard the American economy. Why would he propose a painful cure, that can't work, for a disease that isn't real? Because the socialists in the environmental lobby want to remake the American economy along European-socialist lines.

Not coincidentally, 65% of Americans oppose cap and trade.

Part Four: Punish oil companies and speculators

Finally, Obama proposes a little classic socialism, consisting of class warfare and redistribution. This has never worked before, but, like a typical liberal, he thinks he can make it work. Go figure? Here's his plan:
• Enact a “windfall profits” tax and redistribute the proceeds to poor people in the form of $1,000 energy rebates.

• End tax loopholes (read: deductions) for oil and gas companies.

• Limit “excessive energy speculation.”

• Implement a “use it or lose” it approach to existing oil and gas leases.
Obama’s FY2010 budget ended around $30 billion (over ten years) in tax deductions for oil and gas companies. Beyond that, he hasn’t bothered with any of these promises.

So that’s Obama’s environmental agenda, a mixture of heavy-handed, ineffective and stupid environmental ideas (with obvious “unintented consequences” that they are overlooking) and flat out socialism. That’s why Obama has only a 43% approval rating on environmental issues.

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, everything above comes from Obama’s own website.


Tennessee Jed said...

I love the level of detail in your articles, Andrew--fantastic job, you have laid it all out. The whole winners and losers redistribution thing seems to be the prime thing with Obama. It always make you ask the same question, though. Does he really believe all this stuff or is that rhetoric to mask the real agenda; make money for soros and algore, reward his friends, punish his enemies and consolidate more centralized power.

StanH said...

Environmentalism, it sounds so noble. The truth however, this is the place where most of the ‘60s radicals landed. They know their ideas are dumb meritless tripe that a super majority of America deplore, but who can argue with “saving” the planet. To qualify my position, I love the outdoors, and firmly believe we need to be good stewards of the earth. The left however uses environmentalism, like victim hood as a club to beat us about the face and shoulders. This like so many of Barry’s worn out marxist policies expose him and his minions for who they are, and allow us/citizenry through Commentarama and other blogs to pick up the club of truth and do a little pounding of our own. Good read Andrew! Sunlight and truth will send the rats (Washington politicians) scurrying for shelter from the coming storm in 2010 …vote’em out.

Writer X said...

Regarding environmentalism, I would settle simply for parents (some, not all) to teach themselves and their children that it's not okay to drop their trash in the streets and on the sidewalks like it's some kind of collective garbage can. But my tastes are simple.

In all seriousness, I agree with TennesseeJed: Andrew, your posts are always filled with spot-on relevant data and stats. Thank you! I always feel more informed after reading them. And more disgusted with the Obama administration and its policies. I'm guessing his approval rating will hover around 40% by Christmas.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed. Good question. I suspect that the truth is that he's somewhere in between -- impose a little redistribution and profit obscenely in the process.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I think the socialists moved into and took over the environmental movement.

Socialism never caught on this country, so they looked for a Trojan horse to use -- different identity groups. Each time, they used the group they invaded as cover for pushing socialism. Each time they failed, disgracing the group they invaded in the process. Once that group lost all credibility with middle America, they moved on to the next.

They went from being "advocates for the poor", to invading the peace/hippie movement, to the blacks/civil rights movement, to the unions. When Reagan won over the union rank and file, they moved to the environmental movement, where they've been busy disgracing that.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Writer X, I'm glad you all approve! :-)

I have nothing against honest environmentalism. I want to conserve resources, protect species, and make polluters pay the full costs of their pollution. BUT I believe in free market solutions. And I'm really, really annoyed that the environmental movement has been hijacked by idiots, whacko extremists and socialists.

LawHawkSF said...

As a Californian, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with environmentalists is public flogging. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but because of the "environmentalist" protection of a fish that nobody else gives a crap about, the greatest agricultural area in the world is quickly deteriorating into a badlands. The Central Valley provides food for the world, and jobs for hundreds of thousands of farmers and farm workers. Or at least it did. The unemployment rate in the Valley is now over 20%, the economy of California is a shambles, highly productive and hard working people are standing in bread lines, bankruptcies are being filed faster than the courts can process them, and all because of one stinking fish that contributes literally nothing to the ecosystem. I no longer have any sense of humor about eco-warriors. They are costing people their livelihoods (and even their lives), destroying one of the greatest accomplishments of man, and turning California into a dustbowl. Not funny.

Opus #6 said...

Andrew, this is another detailed, well-argued piece. Impressive. These socialists think they can get away with it. I sure hope we can reverse most of their idiocy when the conservatives return to power. Because we will return to power.

patti said...

BOOM! you always deliver the goods to your readers. and even though i get a need to put on my helmet when i'm getting all edumacated here, i keep on reading and passing it on. you are truly the ripple effect gone wild! tapes sold on late night tv to follow.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You're definitely at ground zero of the environmental movement. As they do to California, so they would do to the rest of the nation!

AndrewPrice said...

Opus 6, thanks! I hope so to. I think that the further that Obama gets with his agenda, the more we need candidates who run on a platform of repealing his idiocy.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, LOL! Thanks! I'm glad you like it (and thanks for passing it on), sorry you need the helmet. Maybe some day we'll have a decent government and you can take the helmet off!

MegaTroll said...

Wow, Keep up the great work. These could turn into an invaluable database when people ask what's wrong with Obama's policies! I'm going to refer people here.

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