California Assembly Outlaws Economics 101

April 12, 2011 05:17


To environmental dreamers, state-level economic suicide will serve as a trial run for national suicide. Self-inflicted misery in the name of the advancement of “clean energy” is a small price to pay for the warm and fuzzy feeling that consumers will get as the Kool-Aid goes down, the lights go out, and prosperity decays in the name of something wonderful, something green.

By Chuck Rogér

The California Assembly has passed a bill, which if signed by Governor Brown, will legally compel power companies to generate a third of the state’s electricity from sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy by 2020, a 1000 percent increase in nine years. Peter Miller, a senior scientist at the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council), declares,

As a result of the RPS program [Renewables Portfolio Standard], renewable energy generation in California in 2020 will be roughly equal to total current U.S. renewable generation, and supply enough clean energy to power nearly 9 million homes.

In the minds of “green” energy enthusiasts, the force of law has the magical power to turn fantasy into reality.

The California Assembly’s actions exemplify the liberal approach to life in general. Thomas Sowell calls the mindset that drives such idyllic thinking the “vision of the anointed.” High-minded government types believe that gifting the people beautiful visions through legislative dictate will force human behavior and economic principles to comply with the beautiful visions. The tactic never works. But scowling, finger-wagging, environmental fanatics live lives defined by the tactic. For greenies, behaving like anointed ones is involuntary, wholly unstoppable.

Adam Smith Institute Environmental Fellow Tim Worstall is making note of “the popcorn making scheduled for late 2019 as we watch the lights go out all over California. Because there’s no way at all that this can actually happen.” The “this” to which Worstall refers is the factor-of-eleven skyrocketing of incredibly expensive “renewable energy” generation in only nine years.

But impossibility doesn’t stop the Union of Concerned Scientists from calling California’s renewable energy measure a boost to “one of the few bright spots in California’s economy[.]” Yet if the renewable energy bill becomes law, it will mandate an impossible feat, which, if even moderately achieved, will prohibitively increase the cost of goods and services across California’s economy, chase businesses out of the state in droves, and motivate residents to pursue jobs elsewhere. Precisely how such numbskullery constitutes a “bright spot” will remain a mystery, because the UCS doesn’t elaborate with anything more than empty green proclamations about creating “new clean energy jobs” and “strengthen[ing] our economy[.]”

Both claims have been proved false, most notably in Spain and Germany (also here and here), where more than one existing job was eliminated for every “green” job created in catastrophic forays into “renewable” energy. So it is hard to see the “boon for the state economy” that UCS’s California policy manager sees in the state assembly’s renewable energy bill.

A UCS energy analyst gushes,

Once again, California has demonstrated national leadership in advancing clean energy. Now it’s Congress’s turn to act.

To environmental dreamers, state-level economic suicide will serve as a trial run for national suicide. Self-inflicted misery in the name of the advancement of “clean energy” is a small price to pay for the warm and fuzzy feeling that consumers will get as the Kool-Aid goes down, the lights go out, and prosperity decays in the name of something wonderful, something green.

By Chuck Rogér blogs at Clear Thinking



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