A Free-Market Energy Blog

US Energy Efficiency: ACEEE Propaganda (exploiting readers, including the media)

By Donn Dears -- September 1, 2016

“The fact that electricity costs the average German four-to-five times as much as the average American is of no import, according to the ACEEE.”

Some organizations publish studies purporting to demonstrate why their proposals are good for America. But the proffered intellectual justification is really opinion masquerading as facts.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently published another study–uncritically reported on by the media in Canada and the US–claiming to document that America remained behind Germany in energy efficiency.

The ACEEE uses a methodology in their reports that include non-tangible policy issues, such as whether a government has enacted the types of legislation desired by the ACEEE. Governments adopting these policies rank highly in ACEE studies, while countries that don’t adopt their environmental policies rank poorly.

These biased studies are eagerly highlighted by the anti-free-energy-market media to show how backward the US is in developing energy programs to cut CO2 emissions. Germany, for example, as reported in the Canadian Globe and Mail, “Won its top position because it has set targets to reduce energy consumption 50% below the level of 2008 by 2050.”

Once again, ACEEE ranks China (#6) ranked ahead of the United States (#8) in the ACEE’s overall measurement.

Their earlier studies have also shown the same bias against the United States (see my Calling for Government Mandates)

An interesting comparison is in the category of buildings, where China, (Table 3) with a score of 18, is almost tied with the United States, with a score of 18.5, for energy efficiency of buildings. Anyone who has visited China knows that this ranking is absurd, if energy alone was the metric.

New apartment buildings in China don’t have heating or air-conditioning and lack elevators below the fifth floor. The government assumes people don’t need heating with temperatures of 40 degrees F since they can put on sweaters or jackets. People also don’t need air-conditioning with temperatures of 95 degrees F, temperatures that are not uncommon in much of China.

Interestingly, people who buy these apartments try to add heating and air-conditioning. They also hang out their wash on the balconies because they don’t have clothes dryers. And, these new buildings are a huge improvement over buildings in rural areas that probably have little heating, and virtually no air-conditioning.

It’s also interesting to see how the United States compared with China in other areas, according to the ACEEE. (Table 9)

  • Water efficiency policy: China better than U.S.
  • Energy saving goals: China better than U.S.
  • Energy efficiency spending: China better than U.S. Cost, reliability and availability of energy have no bearing on the ACEEE’s evaluation.While the results determined by the ACEEE are obviously biased and slanted toward eliminating CO2 emissions, the fact that the media promotes the results of these phony studies demonstrates how biased and uncritical the media has become.
  • The fact that electricity costs the average German four-to-five times as much as the average American is of no import, according to the ACEEE.
  • The ACEEE uses their opinions as to what is important when it comes to energy.

It is beyond hope that ACEEE would self-evaluate the data in a way that does not see a market failure and role for government under every rock. Short of this, it is the media’s job to seek out critical voices to counter ACEEE rather than just taking the report at face value.


Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.


One Comment for “US Energy Efficiency: ACEEE Propaganda (exploiting readers, including the media)”

  1. Mark Krebs  

    A while back, ACEEE’s filed comments in one of DOE’s appliance minimum efficiency proceedings (as I recall), that implied DOE should have its own police force. After all, any Federal Agency worth its salt should have its own police force. Right?

    That way, DOE could then establish its own swat team; ever vigilant for inefficient appliances and/or other forms of energy use they might deem inappropriate.

    So where might all of this be leading?
    “Hey kid, wanna buy some matches?”


Leave a Reply