November 7, 2012
By Charlene Adam
The Skeptical Housewife
WINNIPEG, MB, Nov. 7,2012/ Troy Media/ – It’s time to party like it’s 1996! According to a report from the Mail Online, the United Kingdom’s climate monitoring Met Office said that ‘from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperature.’
Shouldn’t this be party-worthy news? Many may think this is wonderful information, but it’s unlikely those living in fuel poverty are ready to break out the bubbly; they can’t afford to. A 2011 BBC report defines fuel poverty ‘as spending 10 per cent of median household income on electricity and gas.’
Fuel poverty didn’t appear out of nowhere because someone found a fossil-fuel lamp and rubbed it to release an angry green genie. This form of poverty is often tied to fuel policies. The United Kingdom aims at 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Key to this plan is green energy.
Energy companies’ hands are tied to expensive renewable policies. If companies wished to refuse to follow the stringent, green-linked regulations, they lose their license to sell energy. The Guardian recently reported that, despite an already heavy load, thousands of Britons have been handed another blow: An 11 per cent increase in fuel prices.
Some might say that faced with scientific global warming evidence, rapidly converting to renewables was an unavoidable choice. Others might argue that it was a clever attempt by green energy providers to make use of a crisis to boost their business, but that debate will have to take place elsewhere.
As a skeptic who has studied global warming, I understand that politicians, scientists and industry leaders have a vested interest in clinging to the message of climate change gloom and doom. Who can blame them? If I were a politician who lobbied for billions in carbon taxes or a tree-ring scientist who’d hung her hat on the golden goose of climate change funds, I’d cling to past reports too.
These energy policy problems aren’t reserved for the U.K. Consider the actions of the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Congress refused to institute an energy policy similar to the U.K.’s, the EPA applied a back-door strategy that slapped fines and regulations upon selected sources in the energy industry. As a result, coal companies have been strangled. Many have shut down, which has reduced the availability of affordable energy. Some of you might cheer this news, but I doubt you’d be cheering if you couldn’t heat your frosty home or afford electricity to run your iPod.
Reports from the US Energy Information Administration shows approximately 14 per cent of America’s energy currently comes from renewable sources (eight of which from hydro), 42 per cent is generated from coal and 25 per cent stems from natural gas. Can the United States government easily replace 67 per cent of their electricity generation?
Edging out an energy industry before it’s capable of replacing it is like someone throwing out her wardrobe before she goes shopping. Granted, I admit to having had told my husband I have nothing to wear, but that wasn’t a literal comment. I didn’t wander around Sears naked, looking for a new dress. That’s essentially what the EPA is doing.
Knowing how the experiment of green energy worked in the U.K., is this a policy that should be embraced here before new forms of energy works as efficiently as conventional ones?
Energy regulations drafted to address global warming aren’t unique in government policies. They exist from politics to pedagogy. While new information may cause educational departments to unravel global warming-based science curricula and companies to stop using the words carbon footprint, it’s worse for the rest of us.
We’ll have to sever environmental issues from global-warming propaganda. Accomplishing this task will be like getting gum out of a five-year-old’s hair. By the way, if you face this situation with your kid – peanut butter does the trick. I have no simple solution for solving our global warming policy conundrum, however, other than to examine public policies carefully.
There will be resistance. As we attempt to roll back regulations, politicians will treat us as if we are removing coins from a homeless man’s begging cup.
Remember, green energy policies were fast-tracked because some thought we could solve a global disaster. Now that real world evidence shows that global warming can no longer credibly be linked to carbon dioxide caused by human’s actions, it’s time to tell politicians and the green industry that their party is over. One problem remains: Who will clean up the mess they left behind?
Charlene Adam is author of The Skeptical Housewife (www.theskepticalhousewife.com), recently published by the Frontier Centre (http://www.fcpp.org/).