Kimberley A. Strassel, the astute columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote a revealing piece on Friday titled “Cap and Trade Returns From the Grave.” She points out that Obama, in his State of the Union address, made it appear that he was moving to the middle on energy and environmental policies. Her reaction:
Snort. Guffaw. Chortle.
Listen carefully to Mr. Obama’s speech and you realize he spent plenty of it on carbon controls. He just used a different vocabulary. If the president can’t get carbon restrictions via cap and trade, he’ll get them instead with his new proposal for a “clean energy” standard. Clean energy, after all, sounds better to the public ear, and he might just be able to lure, or snooker, some Republicans into going along.
She noted that Obama proposed “a government mandate requiring that utilities produce annually a specific amount of their electricity from renewable sources—wind, solar, biofuels.” The proposed rule is known as a renewable portfolio standard and this, said Ms. Strassel, is:
“….cap and trade by another name. Consider: The goal of cap and trade is to impose crushing taxes on fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—thereby forcing utilities to switch to costly renewables. Under Mr. Obama’s new proposal, the government skips the tax part and outright requires the use of costly renewables. The result is the same: dramatically higher energy prices, from carbon-free sources.
She notes that “some Republicans—the self-styled energy progressives—have let it be known they’d be open to a new government diktat, if only the price is right.” She concludes:
(Obama will) lure Republicans into negotiations, then cement their support with lavish energy pork for their home-state nuclear, clean-coal, wind, biofuels and solar projects. As a bonus, the plan gives cover to nervous coal state Democrats….The GOP has spent some long, sometimes uncomfortable, years explaining the perils of cap and trade. Yet they risk getting the same policy, all because they’ve yet to find the moxy to resist the “clean energy” drumbeat.