by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
1. No worries for enviros: Supreme Court decision will not harm the climate
The Supreme Court decision to put a hold on the implementation of EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulations while challenges by 27 states, including North Carolina, and a number of private parties work their way through the courts has upset environmentalists across the country. I will not review the regulations or the Supreme Court’s decision in this newsletter. The John Locke Foundation has already covered the details here, here, and here. What I would like to do is try to allay the fears of environmentalists who are very concerned about the effects of increasing global warming — rising sea levels, melting ice caps, New York City under water, drowning polar bears, stuff like that — and believe that the delay in implementation of the plan may hasten the arrival of these catastrophic events. Let me assure you, those fears are not warranted. I want to provide one piece of information that might help you sleep better tonight or allow you to visit your shrink one less time a month. Nothing that this evil, planet hating Court decides either now or in the future with regards to the CPP will make the planet any worse off than it otherwise would be.
According to every estimate out there, even if the CPP were implemented with 100 percent effectiveness the planet would be about the same temperature that it would be if the regulations were not put in place at all. That’s right, the CPP will be just as effective whether it actually gets implemented or not. Using the EPA’s own modeling and assumptions, if the CCP was not delayed and went into effect as scheduled, the planet’s temperature would only be 36/1000th of one degree cooler by 2100 than it would be if nothing were done at all. So you see, while this delay put in place by the Supremes may at first blush seem to be a horrible turn of events, the fact is that no matter how all this turns out it will have no long term effect.
2. More Admissions that Solar Power is a Creature of Government Subsidies
The headline in the New York Times reads "SolarCity and Other Rooftop Providers Face a Cloudier Future." And once one reads the article to follow, it becomes obvious that the headline is an understatement. Apparently rooftop solar panel providers are increasingly on shaky ground as subsidies in different states begin to be scaled back. According to the Times:
"Nevada recently rolled back the generous support it gave rooftop solar systems; 20 other states are rethinking their policies, as well. And despite the extension of an important federal tax credit last year, losses by rooftop solar companies have accelerated."
In other words as "smart" an investment as these rooftop panels supposedly are, the more this market becomes cut off from the lifeline known as taxpayer money, the dumber those investments become.
I think one of the most telling responses to all of this was by Lyndon Rive, CEO of the solar panel company SolarCity. Referring to the loss of government support, he states that:
"I don’t think anyone forecasted this risk…It’s impossible for anyone to do it — it makes no financial sense for a consumer."
So a leading figure in this industry could not imagine the possibility that one day taxpayers might actually have enough of getting ripped off and say "no mas!" I would argue that this is truly the definition of an entitlement mentality.
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