NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Costly Energy Policies

August 12, 2003

Passage of the national energy policy proposed by President Bush's has been blocked for three years due to unacceptable provisions attached to the proposed legislation, says H. Sterling Burnett. The provisions concern global warming, so-called green energy and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, among other subjects.

These policies carry unacceptable costs for little environmental benefit. For example,

  • Cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels, along with all other developed nations, would result in only a half degree reduction in temperature.
  • This negligible reduction would raise energy prices 80 percent and result in a 1 percent loss in gross domestic product and a million lost jobs.
  • Renewable energy sources, excluding hydroelectric dams, will provide less than 10 percent of our energy needs during the next 50 years.
  • Both wind and solar power suffer from intermittency problems: wind turbines work only when the wind blows above certain speeds, and solar arrays work only when the sun shines.
  • According to USA Today, weight and size reductions forced on car manufacturers have resulted in more than 46,000 deaths.
  • A 2001 National Academy of Sciences report confirmed the deadly consequences of mandating increased fuel economy standards: it estimated CAFE's death toll at 1,300 to 2,600 deaths annually.

These policies would artificially restrict energy sources and transportation, harm the economy and limit consumer choice, while doing nothing to improve the environment, says Burnett.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Senators Align With Radicals To Block Critical Energy Bill," Investor's Business Daily, August 12, 2003.


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