By Tom Harris for RealClearEnergy
At long last, the Biden administration is admitting what experts have always known: reckless energy policies have disastrous consequences. This time, the Department of Energy quietly released a report highlighting the positive economic benefits of developing the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, an energy project canceled by President Biden in the hours following his inauguration.
But the DOE’s report is a proverbial day late and a dollar short. The cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline has already cost the United States thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth while families suffer under the weight of record high energy prices. It’s time for lawmakers to make American energy independence a top priority.
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Released without a formal announcement, the DOE’s report points out that the pipeline would have created between 16,149 and 59,000 jobs and would have had an economic benefit of between $3.4 and 9.6 billion. That’s no small impact.
Yet with one stroke of his pen, Biden slashed the project and instead focused his efforts on costly “green energy” goals. As a result of his executive action, 11,000 pipeline workers were promptly laid off and told to “go to work to make solar panels” instead.
But Biden’s green energy efforts are bound to backfire sooner rather than later. That’s because today, more than 70 percent of the energy produced and consumed in America comes from oil, gas and coal. That’s not likely to substantially change anytime soon. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts that oil’s share of energy production in the United States will only fall 8 percent in the next two decades, from 31 to 23 percent.
And that’s assuming a sustained commitment to green energy policies. The forecast spells bad news for the Biden White House. At his political peril, Biden ignores the lessons of Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, who both lost elections due to spiked oil prices and accompanying recessions.
Two years into sowing its Green New Deal policies, the administration is reaping a bitter harvest. Due to Biden’s folly, oil, natural gas and electricity prices have more than doubled in just a single year. Meanwhile, more than 28 percent of Americans abstained from purchasing food or medicine to pay an energy bill in 2021. And now, the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act includes wind and solar spending that will cost Americans $369 billion.
If the president and his Democratic allies in Congress refuse to heed lessons from the past, they have a rare opportunity to view an even more desperate future of what will certainly come to pass by staying on the same irresponsible course.
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Conditions in Europe serve as a timely warning of that future. European leaders are years ahead of the United States in their quest towards achieving a green utopia, but they’ve seen little success. In Germany, the situation has gotten so desperate that candle sales are skyrocketing as families anticipate power outages in the dead of winter. Some German villages are being ploughed over to make way for digging brown coal, a step necessitated by Germany’s misguided overcommitment to wind and solar power. These desperate measures might help but are insufficient to protect the vulnerable.
Europe’s obsession with green energy and overreliance on Russian gas have resulted in energy cost increases so severe that 147,000 more people are projected to die this winter from cold-related illness than if electricity prices had remained at the 2015-2019 average.
Despite this, in Finland, electric car owners are being told not to warm up their vehicles on cold mornings to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the nation’s failing electricity grid.
The United Kingdom takes the prize for dystopian power-saving measures, where families are being bribed to sit in the dark in exchange for electric bill savings and other prizes. If the United States follows in Europe’s green footsteps, it risks ushering in a similarly dark, cold and dismal existence.
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American families deserve better. The problem is that the Biden administration is waging unrelenting war on energy producers and sabotaging American energy production in pursuit of a green energy pipedream.
Our nation has the resources and the technology to produce energy for all our needs. Lawmakers must recommit themselves to the goal of an abundant energy future that brings prosperity and fuels dreams in America’s communities.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.
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