Jonathan Small | August 1, 2022
Environmental-policy folly is no laughing matter
In states across the country and nations across the globe, politicians’ embrace of a “Green New Deal” style of environmental policy has often been a comedy of errors. But the real-world results are no laughing matter.
The problem is appearing even in conservative states like Texas, where overreliance on “green” wind power has created numerous problems. About 30 percent of Texas’ electricity is generated by wind power. That’s all well and good—unless the wind isn’t blowing, which is often the case during hot spells.
The growth of wind-power production in Texas has coincided with the shuttering of some older fossil-fuel plants and a significant increase in population and demand for power. When wind power production declines, it has ripple effects throughout the state. The remaining power plants can’t compensate for the loss of wind power.
Thus, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas recently warned citizens they could face rolling blackouts. Some manufacturers have even reportedly curtailed production due to the rising cost of electricity (which has surged 70 percent since last year).
Elsewhere, the nation of Sri Lanka has fallen into chaos due to its governmental embrace of supposed climate-change mitigation by transitioning the nation’s agriculture industry to organic farming.
That shift earned praise from all the “right” people. Sri Lanka was given an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) score of 98, while the United States’ score was just 51. Supposedly, the U.S. needed to emulate Sri Lanka, not the other way around.
But Sri Lankans have learned you can’t eat ESG scores. Domestic rice production has dropped more than 50 percent and rice prices increased more than 80 percent. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., put it plainly when he noted that Sri Lanka is experiencing “a government-created famine reminiscent of Mao.”
Americans paying high prices at the pump are getting a glimpse of a similar future. In May, in response to a question about surging gas prices, President Joe Biden declared that “we’re going through an incredible transition,” an apparent reference to his goal of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
The problem with Biden’s plan is it relies, in part, on mass transition to electric cars most people can’t afford. And there’s little infrastructure in place, such as charging stations, for those cars. Moreover, increased use of electric cars means significantly increased demand for electricity, which is already constrained in many places.
But other than that …
And, although these “green” policies have generated widespread hardship, they’ve done little or nothing to alter alleged climate change.
Even in Oklahoma, state lawmakers previously supported wind-power incentives, and giant turbines are now common. But our lawmakers wisely decided to cap those incentives. The wisdom of that decision is becoming clearer every day.
Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.