Opinion

On energy policy, Obama talks down to Americans

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Chris Horner
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      Chris Horner

      Christopher C. Horner serves as a Senior Fellow at CEI. As an attorney in Washington, DC Horner has represented CEI as well as scientists and Members of the U.S. House and Senate on matters of environmental policy in the federal courts including the Supreme Court. He has written on numerous topics in publications ranging from law reviews to legal and industrial trade journals to print and online opinion pages, and is the author of two best-selling books: Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed (Regnery, 2008) and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism (Regnery, 2007), which spent half of 2007 on the New York Times bestseller list.

“Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.” — Barack Obama

Folks, you are being treated like infants — while you are being robbed. Windmills and solar panels are not “innovative”; they exist only because some politicians have made icons of them and are wedded to them as a result.

These technologies aren’t new. Wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1891. Solar cells were patented in 1888. The modern solar cell was created in 1954. In 1978, Jimmy Carter vowed to increase solar cell subsidies, supported by promises that solar cells would provide 20% of our electricity by 2000. Solar still provides just a fraction of one percent of it. So close! And solar gets three pitches in the 2011 State of the Union address as if it’s some breakthrough waiting to happen. Sigh.

Coal-fired electricity was commercialized in 1882. Somehow it’s a dinosaur and the others are new. Please.

Commercial windmills and solar cells were invented at the same time as coal-fired power plants and automobiles. Two of those four technologies have succeeded spectacularly and as a result are under assault from people who hate abundance, mobility, and freedom from reliance on them.

Those other two are dismal failures that cannot find markets and investors in a nation where the Snuggie and Vince the Sham-Wow guy did. That’s pathetic. And they and their enablers in Washington and state capitals snivel that they are “innovative,” “just-around-the-corner,” “new” technology and therefore need welfare because otherwise the companies that produce them will go bankrupt.

The answer to that drivel is not only that being new does not in any way mean a company needs welfare but also: if your company can’t survive without government subsidies, then go bankrupt. After all, the truth is that they’ll go bankrupt even if we do give them that wealth transfer. Just a little later — until you give them more. They got bugs crawlin’ in their skin, man, can’t you see? They can stop any time they want, but just a taste, man, just a taste!

Windmills aren’t Sputnik. They aren’t “big things” (his closing line), unless you have to live near them (ask the Kennedys if there’s one at your viewing party).

They aren’t the Internet. The Internet made people more efficient, allowed them to do more, to create more wealth with less. Windmills and solar panels are the opposite. They are woefully inefficient, are inherently uneconomical, would not exist without government support, and in any other way do not deserve being in the same conversation with actual innovations like those that have been produced in Silicon Valley. Except that if we had forced Silicon Valley to run on more expensive, less reliable, and less efficient energy sources, those innovations would have happened somewhere else.

Which brings me to something a colleague of mine says, made only more relevant by the current White House: Do not despair; there will always be an America. It’s just that it may have moved to Asia.

Christopher C. Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

  • Partytime

    All that community organizing couldn’t help poor barry figure out how to solve the energy crises. Forget what odumbo barry says and drill baby drill.

    • cong

      Odumbo Barry? Whoa, you a smart one, ain’t ya now? Watch a whole lot a Fox News, too I bet. Get ya real smart-like that way. Drill baby drill, yes sir, that’s what we say down here in Narlins. Love them BP boys drilling away, den selling the oil from drill baby drill on the open market fo da Chinee to buy.

      Yea siree, drill dumbshit drill.

  • A H

    The innovative aspect of solar energy will be when it becomes as common as coal. Coal was and is cheap and easy. Solar takes a large initial financial investment to implement but can eventually pay for itself, and it is cleaner than coal. We Americans want the quick, easy and immediate gratification of coal, and we don’t want to fool with the work and money involved in solar generated power. So we belittle it. Nay, we demonize it. The problem isn’t politicians. Or the government. The problem is that “we the people” will never use solar energy, or any other clean energy, until it becomes cheap and easy. Like coal. “We the people” pay lip service to caring about the environment, but we care more about money and not having to work at something that is constructive rather than destructive. As bad as our economy is, the majority of us STILL won’t better our country’s energy infrastructure in the name of sustainability, because sustainability will not bear fruit in our lifetime, and if it’s not in our lifetime, why should we worry about it? That attitude is prevalent in all facets our society. We will not grow as a country until we overcome the instant gratification hurdle – to make responsible decisions across the spectrum of our society; we must all make the choice to support energy sources and technology that is constructive, and not destructive, not because of global warming, or because it can turn a profit, but because it is the right thing to do.

    • ChillytheAlaskan

      Waaaaaahh!!!

      You and your friends use all this highly expensive “free” energy YOU like and leave the rest of us alone! We will drill more and continue to use the cheap energy God provided for us, which does not cause global warming, but does cause PROSPERITY!

      Just think how prosperous we would be right now if we had been using our HUGE reserves of oil instead of purchasing from our enemies.

      You and idiots like you have allowed the commies to cripple us.

      • cong

        Speaking of “IQ of a zucchini”… there’s not enough oil in America’s HUGE reserves to power America, and besides, the companies that drill the oil, like, say, BRITISH Petroleum, sell it on the open market to the highest bidder, silly.

        The oil that comes out of the ground in Alaska or the Gulf is just as likely to end up in Shanghai as it is in Seattle. You so silly.

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  • cong

    Own a lot of oil and coal stock there, Chrissy?

    • flips

      Yep, he’s worried about his “stranded assets.”

      • TommyV

        Let me know in what lifetime I can expect electric cars to become popular. Please….what a joke! Drill; drill; drill ;)!!!

        When will all of you progressives learn that America is finally onto the lies? Didn’t the last election teach you anything? A complete and utter whupping! How have you managed to rationalize that repudiation? Obama has the IQ of a zucchini….where is he going to be able to take us? He’s not even bright enough to take the hint from last November and a huge hint it was! That’s just more good news for us. Keep it up Barack, we conservatives love it when your true stripes show! I can’t wait until 2012….another woodshed moment….I love it!

        We won! And you won’t see another rise for the progressives in your lifetime…thank God.

        Optimism has finally returned to this country. Even the USA Denigrator-in-Chief is trying tio catch that train but we won’t let him on….unless he sits in the back!! :)!