Paul Driessen

Denver installed the panels for one reason, observes Independence Institute investigative journalist Todd Shepherd. Federal taxpayers provided a fat subsidy – enabling President Obama to have a great photo-op on the museum roof and shill for solar power, with the Rocky Mountains resplendent in the distance.

So much for that win-win scenario. The next clunker boondoggle is already on the launch pad, courtesy of T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner. As they opined in the Wall Street Journal recently, they want to repeat the automotive “success” on a massive scale – replacing “clunker” electrical generating plants with government-mandated gas-fired versions.

The existing plants burn coal, which America has in great abundance, and which keeps electricity reliable and affordable – so that people can heat and cool their homes, industries can manufacture and transport products, companies can employ workers, hospitals can treat patients, schools can train future innovators, and America can ensure continued opportunity and prosperity.

Modern coal-fired power plants already scrub out the vast majority of real pollutants that their aged predecessors emitted, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz. What they don’t remove is carbon dioxide.

Pickens, Turner, Gore, Hansen and Obama insist that CO2 is causing “potentially devastating climate changes.” Thousands of scientists disagree, and satellite data clearly demonstrate that global temperatures have been stable or even decreasing since 1998, even as carbon dioxide levels have risen steadily. Storms, droughts, floods and other events are in accord with historic variations, and show no statistically significant upswings, note climatologists William Gray and David Legates.

But inconvenient facts and observations are irrelevant to climate alarmists. They apparently believe that assuming, asserting, decreeing and modeling climate disasters proves a crisis is nigh – and we must make painful energy, economic and lifestyle sacrifices to prevent it.

In other words, force America to eliminate existing generators and switch to power plants running on natural gas that Boone Pickens, Chesapeake Energy and a few others own in abundance – and to wind and solar power that General Electric, Vesta and other “ethical” companies will happily provide, if taxpayers fork over billions in subsidies.

Making money by selling natural gas, building turbines and panels, and trading carbon credits on new commodities, hedge fund and derivatives markets is an irrelevant coincidence, we’re supposed to believe.

These “socially responsible” rent seekers and their friends in Congress and the White House are masters at increasing and mandating demand for natural gas – for transportation, homes, industries and power generation. Unfortunately, the friends aren’t so attentive to the supply side of the equation. They excel at locking up America’s onshore and offshore energy prospects, and imposing burdensome new regulations on lands that aren’t off limits – making it increasingly difficult to find and produce gas.

This increases demand, shrinks supplies, drives up prices, and increases profits for the lucky few who do own abundant gas supplies. Once again, consumers and taxpayers get taken for a ride.

Once again, it’s even worse from an economic, ecological and resource conservation perspective. We are being asked to destroy dozens or hundreds of perfectly good coal-fired power plants – or retrofit them under expensive carbon capture and storage mandates – simply because some special interests assume, assert, decree and model global warming disasters.

Tearing the plants down would be a monumental waste of the resources, energy, effort and emissions it took to build them. CCS technology would require billions of dollars, 25% of a power plant’s generating capacity, major increases in fuel consumption and electricity prices, thousands of miles of CO2 pipelines and massive underground storage chambers, to reduce global CO2 by an imperceptible amount.

What America has today is government by lawyers, ideologues, social engineers and rent seekers. Congress has nary a real engineer, and precious few members with any business background or ability to figure out basic cradle-to-grave energy, resource, economic and pollution equations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t even know natural gas is a fossil fuel.

With these folks at the helm, it may be time for wise investors to look toward China and India, where reducing poverty and improving living standards guide public policy – not Hollywood movies about Climate Armageddon. Wise voters and taxpayers will join the Tea Party movement, and elect some honest brainpower, before Congress wreaks more havoc on energy, jobs and civil rights.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

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