“The debate over a carbon tax is now not just one of theoretical speculation; proponents need to explain why the U.S. outcome would be different from what actually happened in Australia.”
“Wind power simply cannot be scaled up to replace traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power….Wind subsidies might make a few people rich, but they won’t make wind a free market success story.”
– Josiah Neeley (below)
Time is relentless when it comes to the advantages from mineral-energy density and disdavantages from wind and solar intermittency. Such energy reality creates a sharp divide between consumer-chosen free-market energy and government-directed political energy. Or more bluntly, voluntary choice and coerced choice.
And when it comes to the carbon tax, real-world politics bats last, evicerating any theoretical scheme to implement a (God-like) revenue-neutral, equity-adjusted, border-adjusted carbon-dioxide (CO2) tax.
Enter Josiah Neeley, who left the free-market Texas Public Policy Foundation for the Left-funded, energy-interventionist R-Street Institute several years ago.
Neeley’s views from 2013 apply equally well today. A critic of climate alarmism, Neeley also criticized a CO2 tax (see below).
And he rejected wind power is a viable, large-scale resource as follows:
Whatever recent inroads wind has made are due rather less to its merits as an energy source than to staggering government subsidies…. Wind power simply cannot be scaled up to replace traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power….Wind subsidies might make a few people rich, but they won’t make wind a free market success story.”/blockquote>
Carbon Tax Follies
Here is what free-market Neeley wrote in “Will Australia’s Elections Doom the Carbon Tax?”:
Conservatives won a landslide victory this weekend in Australia. A coalition of the Liberal and National parties (which in Australian terms are the right of center political parties) led by Tony Abbott won 88 seats in Australia’s 150 seat parliament, against 57 seats by left-wing Labor Party.
One key factor behind this electoral victory was the unpopularity of Australia’s new carbon tax scheme, which had been instituted under the previous Labor government. Incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pledged to repeal the carbon tax, and even Labor leader Kevin Rudd campaigned on a promise to convert it into a cap-and-trade system.
The election is important to America because of what is says about the political viability of carbon taxes. In fact, as Robert Murphy of the Institute for Energy Research has noted, Australia’s carbon tax experience casts doubt on many of the claims made in favor of a carbon tax. Both electricity prices and unemployment spiked in Australia after its carbon tax was introduced, without any comparable environmental benefit:
[T]he promises of those calling for a “pro-growth” U.S. carbon tax have been proven to be utterly false in Australia: Its carbon tax came with income tax increases and fewer jobs as well as more command-and-control energy regulations.
The debate over a carbon tax is now not just one of theoretical speculation; proponents need to explain why the U.S. outcome would be different from what actually happened in Australia.
So what was true some years ago remains true today:
- A carbon tax is a political loser. In Australia, in the US, even, most recently. in Washington State.
- A CO2 tax is bad for energy prices and employment–the very opposite of a “pro-growth” economic policy
- Wind power is a political energy, not a market-viable resource.
Josiah Neeley was–and is–right. And maybe he can dare to tell us why this is not the case–rather than just assuming what must be debated and presenting a lawyers’ brief for the energy-statist side.
One wishes that R-Street could shift its funding sources away from climate alarmists/forced-energy transformationists to be able to free its staff to speak truth to Malthusian Statism. Only then would this Institute live up to its advertised mission:
R Street’s Energy program seeks to advance a cleaner environment and a thriving economy through principles of market competition, limited government and well-founded science.
Intellectual veracity–and truth in advertising–anyone?