Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Bakken, Keystone XL
Prebuttal to the State of the Union Address
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Tonight President Obama will give his fifth State of the Union address, and the first of his second term. Among the topics the President is widely reported to discuss tonight are climate change, renewable energy, and various administration programs to spur economic growth and job creation. The Institute for Energy Research provides the following reading list to address claims the President may make about these topics:
Beyond the Congressional Budget Office— Dr. Joseph Mason
We have recently seen a boom in US oil and gas development on private and state lands and waters. The success of this development could be expanded greatly if the President were to open up federal lands for energy development. This report explains the benefits of pro energy growth policies in terms of tax revenue, job creation, GDP growth, and wage increases.
Companies such as Solyndra and Abound Solar were touted as the future of energy in America. However, not even hundreds of millions of dollars in government loans could save them from their inevitable failures. The President and his administration have shown that they are incapable of picking winners, but the question remains if this will change their policies moving forward.
Proponents of wind and solar energy like to refer to them as “free” energy sources. Due to the intermittency of these sources, this is just not the case, as they need more reliable sources such as coal and natural gas to back them up. California, a state that has put much of its energy focus on wind and solar, is a great case study of how wind and solar energy actually increase electricity costs.
North Dakota has been booming economically, thanks in large part to the Bakken shale formation. Energy development in this area has led to lower unemployment and overall economic growth. The success of the Bakken should be seen as a model for the rest of the nation and something that the President should strive to emulate in his second term.
Approving Keystone XL Pipeline Would Be a Big Win for Obama— Daniel Kish, IER. US News and World Report
In light of Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, the decision now rests squarely on the President’s shoulders. The President’s first term was marked by recession and energy regulation, but he has an opportunity to change this in his second term by approving Keystone XL.
The President often points towards other countries as models the United States must follow. One of his favorite examples has been that of Germany and its push for more wind and solar power. This push has led to a destabilization of the German electric grid, thus turning Germany into a shining example of whatnotto do.
The President’s decision to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 indicates his preference of efficiency over safety. The aim of this new standard is to combat carbon emissions, but this strategy could lead to lighter and less safe vehicles.
Carbon Tax Would Raise Unemployment, Not Swap Revenue— David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D. and Nicolas Loris. Heritage Foundation
A carbon tax has been mentioned as a possible option to curb carbon emissions. This tax would have a damaging effect on the economy without the proposed environmental benefits. Going into his second term, the President will have to choose between policies that will damage our economy or ones that will help foster growth.
An expansion of the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) was passed as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal. Despite the expansion, which will cost taxpayers $12 billion, the wind industry continues to experience layoffs and cancellations due to a multitude of issues. Will the President and his administration continue to prop up the costly and ineffective wind industry in his second term?
The President has made it clear that he wants to take actions to curb carbon emissions. If the U.S. as a whole stopped emitting all carbon dioxide emissions immediately, the ultimate impact would be a reduction of only 0.08°C by 2050. In fact, the increase in CO2 emissions from other countries around the world will make any reductions here irrelevant.