In honor of Margaret Thatcher's memory, favorite quotes from the Iron Lady have popped up everywhere. This one came across my Facebook newsfeed: "Global warming 'provides a marvelous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism.'"
The hundreds of comments the quote received covered a variety of sentiments from hostility to adoration. A couple accused Thatcher of launching the entire global warming hoax to end a coal-miners' strike. Another cited an earlier Thatcher quote: "The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices." CFACT, the poster of the quote, responded: "Thatcher evolved. Millions have joined her."
I do not know if Thatcher started the whole thing, nor the facts behind her "evolution" on the topic. What I do know is the damaging impacts climate change mitigation attempts have had on the economy-a viewpoint the European and American governments still cling to while the Brits have "evolved."
Perhaps, Thatcher did perpetuate the idea that CO2 emissions were warming the planet, but the theory was readily embraced in Europe. Natural-resource rich, the US has historically had lower energy costs than our European allies-which gave us a competitive advantage. Pushing the global warming narrative-which promotes wind and solar power as a curative-attempted to level the playing field by moving all of us to higher-priced energy with Europe being the leader. In a December 2011 column, I posited that the EU supported the climate change narrative specifically to raise energy prices in the US.
Richard Courtney, a consultant on matters concerning energy and the environment who has served as an expert peer reviewer for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calls the global warming issue "political." He says: "Each government has its own special interests in global warming but, in all cases, the motives relate to economic policies."
Whatever the motive, the EU has led the way on renewable energy-especially wind and solar. Germany, has garnered a reputation as the country to follow when it comes to green energy. Having passed the renewable energy law in 1991, Germany has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power. Twenty-two percent of Germany's power is now generated with renewables that are "guaranteed more-than competitive rates." Power companies are passing the costs on to consumers in the form of higher rates.
Germany's record is held up as a shining example. After all, if Germany can get nearly a quarter of its electricity from renewables, why can't the United States do the same? Germany's record does sound admirable, if one doesn't know the whole story.
Post-Fukushima, Germany announced the closure of eight of its 17 nuclear power plants, with the remaining nine to be closed within the next decade. To replace the 17 power plants, it was announced that Germany would build or revamp 84 power plants-more than half would be fossil-fuel-powered, including 17 coal-fueled. This winter, energy costs in Germany were so high that its residents were literally cutting down trees in city parks and stripping the forests to heat their homes.
The tree thefts are just one of the bizarre consequences of the EU's adoption of the climate change narrative. One of the newest revelations, reported by The Economist, is: "By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood"-which it calls "the fuel of the future." It reports that nearly half of Europe's renewable energy comes from "biomass," while in some countries-like Poland and Finland-"wood meets more than 80% of renewable energy demand."
Apparently, wood was included as a renewable that would help cut CO2 emissions-the supposed driver of climate change-because if the wood came from "properly managed forests, then the carbon that billows out of the chimney can be offset by the carbon that is captured and stored in newly planted trees." As a result of the decision to allow wood to qualify for the "renewable" mandate, its usage has "soared." In fact, wood has saved coal-fueled power plants that would have been shut down because the plants can be "adapted to burn a mixture of 90% coal and 10% wood with little new investment." Additionally, wood-fueled electricity generation doesn't require back-up (redundant) power.
The EU is seeing the error of its ways. Scientists have now concluded that the idea of using wood as a renewable fuel was an "oversimplification."
While the US didn't sign on to a binding CO2-reduction commitment, our energy policies have, like Europe, pushed the more expensive energies and punished the cost-effective. Data from the Energy Information Agency reveals that the average all-in cost for electrical energy to the customer has risen at twice the rate of inflation-with no real identifiable and quantifiable fiscal benefit.
Thatcher was correct. Global warming has provided "a marvelous excuse." The question is, will the United States "evolve" and correct its course like others, or will we allow the climate change hoax to steer us toward full-on socialism?
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).