Obama Touts Energy Taxes To Fight Global Warming
President Barack Obama told a group of Asian youths in Burma Friday that countries that tax energy usage emit the least carbon dioxide and use energy most efficiently.
“The countries that are most efficient in energy use, not only do they not subsidize energy — in fact, they tax energy use,” Obama said. “So you look like — in a country like Norway, which produces a lot of oil, but gasoline there is still $6 or $7 a gallon, which in liters — who wants to do a liter conversion for me?”
“Anyway, it’s very expensive,” Obama added.
Obama’s remarks came after he rather ironically bashed Asian countries for subsidizing energy use. Obama himself has come under fire from conservatives for subsidizing green energy companies, some of which went bankrupt and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
“Now, oftentimes this is with the best of intentions,” Obama said. “The idea would be we want to make gasoline cheaper or electricity cheaper so that poor people can afford it. The problem is that when you subsidize energy, there’s no incentive to use less energy.”
“So typically when you have a lot of fuel subsidies, those economies are very inefficient in how they use energy, and they generate more pollution,” Obama said, touting Norway’s high gasoline taxes.
The European Union and Scandinavian countries have devised various taxes and emissions control programs, like cap-and-trade, to encourage people to use fewer fossil fuels to fight global warming. The negative side effect of these energy taxes is that electricity and gasoline prices are much higher than in the U.S.
The U.S., on the other hand, has no explicit price on carbon dioxide emissions, but new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency limit emissions from power plants. Republicans have called the EPA rules de facto energy taxes.
“In the United States, I’ve instructed my Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the amount of greenhouse gases that power plants can send into the atmosphere,” Obama said.
“And we’ve doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars,” he continued. “So in a few years, by the middle of the next century, by 2025, you won’t be able to sell a car in the United States unless it is delivering twice as much mileage for every gallon of gas.”
Obama’s remarks come after the White House announced an agreement with China to cut future carbon dioxide emissions. The announcement is meant to show that the world’s two largest economies are committed to fight global warming ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris next year– despite 18 years with no significant warming trend.
While touted as a landmark success by liberals and the media, the Obama-China deal has a glaring problem: The U.S. has committed to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 while China has only vaguely promised to have its emissions peak around 2030.
“The joint U.S.-China statement is part of a giant game of climate poker in which all big players are bluffing like mad,” Dr. Benny Peiser, president of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“This poker game is only going to intensify in the run-up to the 2015 U.N. climate conference in Paris,” Peiser said.
Aside from possible Chinese bluffing, Obama also faces increasing opposition to his domestic climate policies, especially new EPA regulations. Republicans won control of the Senate and have already vowed to fight EPA rules.
“I have heard from Kentuckians across the commonwealth about the pain being inflicted on them by EPA’s unilateral actions,” said Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. “I fully intend to do everything I can do to fight these onerous E.P.A. regulations.”
McConnell is set to become Senate majority leader next year when Republicans officially take control of the Senate.
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