The Church of the Green Dragon
One of the heads of the Green Dragon has hissed again. Urged by the King Corn lobby, the EPA recently raised the limit on ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent, a change that will harm Americans and the environment. The environmental justice-obsessed agency is actually driving injustice that will profit farming conglomerates. The Obama administration's corporatist soul is showing.
Historical climatologist Timothy Ball and the head of Canada's Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Tom Harris, observed that warmists pushing "extraordinarily damaging" economic policies "expose their lack of basic science understanding (or their complete disrespect of public intelligence)." Let's be clear: greenies don't just twist science or think non-greenies are dumb. Both conditions, reinforced by a desire to control people, are prerequisites for prancing about and shrieking nonsensical dogma.
For instance, an automobile's internal combustion engine converts chemical to kinetic energy. Pistons spin a driveshaft that turns wheels. Energy is lost to heat at each step. Along with energy efficiency, fuel production and delivery expenses also determine the cost of powering an automobile. Green dogma collapses under these truths.
Biofuel production also consumes scary resources. John Deutch, former Carter DOE Undersecretary and MIT chemistry professor, concluded that biofuels are "not a long-term solution to our oil problem." Using Deutch's findings, I calculated that America must plant 390,000 square miles of biofuel crops to replace oil imports -- an effective substitution only if all cars could run on pure ethanol. The acreage required equates to the entire Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine, including all of New England. We might instead use big, cold Alaska. But Dennis Kucinich would have to summon Gaia to heat the place so that enough crops could be grown to maturity. Mystics like Kucinich, who channels "the goddess of peace," are good at this woo-woo sort of thing.
In addition to soliciting the help of pagan deities, the typical biofuel rationale goes something like the argument made in a Washington State University analysis.
Economic efficiency (non-waste, high levels of economic wellbeing) is presumed to be good in its own right, and elucidating market failures can often help provide guidance to help design policy to correct these market failures. Successfully doing so allows us in principle to reach societal goals in the least-cost, most effective way.
Dreadful economics is also professed by another head of the Dragon: green electricity generation.
The Heritage Foundation analyzed the electric utility industry. Natural gas and coal are hands-down cost winners. Doomed to a distant last place are wind and solar power.
But wind- and sun-obsessed greenies persist in misleading the public. Economist William Anderson observes that "Congress cannot repeal either economic or scientific laws." Never mind. Environmentalists can't resist trying to legislate physics, or at least sidestep physics with government force. Green strategy hinges on what Obama's Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, calls "nudges": manipulating people into complying with government's wishes. Anderson describes the green approach.
... if governments limit consumer choices, people will be forced to purchase [green] products at prices that will make them appear profitable. That means government coercion is enlisted to create the illusion that "green technologies" are viable when in reality people must use them under threat of state-sponsored violence. One cannot build a prosperous economy on that footing.
Contract, as in shrink, like what Spain's economy did. As Spanish economist Gabriel Calzada points out, Germany, Spain, and other countries discovered that "green-economy mandates are job killers." Entire societies do make grotesque blunders. Spain and Greece are current-day examples in which political and economic choices ignited decline.