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Policy: Environment & Energy

Europe exits climate money pit as Obama jumps in

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Ron Arnold,Columnists,Environment,Barack Obama,Energy Department,Climate Change,Analysis,Energy and Environment

What does America have to show for the billions of taxpayer dollars spent to stop climate change? Is the climate better now because of 20 years of throwing money at it?

The issue is the climate, not the loads of exorbitantly expensive subsidy scandals, secretive scientists and bureaucratic claptrap we've generated to allegedly stop climate change. The question is, did the claptrap make the climate better?

Not if you heard President Obama's Georgetown University speech Tuesday or read his 21-page Climate Action Plan. He's back in 1993 with global doom propaganda, deceptive temperature claims, demonized fossil fuels and ridiculously ineffective climate fixes. In 2013 reality, did our 20 years of panicky billions buy a better climate?

Big Green doesn't want that question asked, much less answered. If the climate improved, their cash registers would fall silent and their followers snore loudly.

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told me, "The centerpiece of President Obama's climate plan is a declaration of all-out war on coal. The only affordable way to reduce emissions from existing coal-fired power plants - which now provide 40 percent of the nation's electricity - is to close them down."

Obama's plan has political implications as well, Ebell said. "Coal dominates the heartland states that tend to vote Republican. Major industries are located there because coal produces cheap electricity. If electric rates go up to California levels in the heartland, where will American manufacturing go?"

Ebell added that "Obama is pursuing his anti-energy agenda undemocratically through executive actions that bypass the people's elected representatives in Congress."

Autocrat Obama is also doing it without learning from the European Union's green energy experience: skyrocketing energy prices, a ruinous slide into fuel poverty, solar panel financial meltdown, wind power bankruptcies and the specter of EU disintegration. As a result, the EU suffered an outbreak of realism.

In May, Europe's heads of state and government at the EU Summit promoted shale gas and reduced energy prices. They would rather promote competition than stop global warming.

Obama just returned from Northern Ireland at the G8 meeting where he evidently didn't ask why the United Kingdom removed climate change from the agenda.

European carbon markets had collapsed with the price of carbon hitting record lows, wrecking the European Union's trading scheme for industrial CO2 emissions.

British Gas owner Centrica was buying up shale gas drilling rights in Lancashire for fracking operations. Green investors faced bankruptcy as Spain cut subsidies even further.

Large German companies such as Siemens and Bosch abandoned the solar industry, which had lost them billions, while investments in failed solar companies, including Q-Cells and SolarWorld, destroyed 21 billion euros of capital.

In response, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a June energy conference in Berlin to expect reduced government spending on energy like wind and solar power to keep Germany economically competitive. Europe's clean energy economy had become a black hole eating euros.

Last week, Merkel's government warned EU member states that German car makers would shut down production in their countries unless they support more affordable vehicle emissions rules.

At the same time, our oblivious president spoke at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, saying, "The United States will "do more," before it's "too late" to prevent "dangerous" global warming.

The tepid crowd of Berliners seemed to wonder what cave he'd been living in. The London Telegraph ran headlines saying, "Barack Obama bombs in Berlin: a weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president."

Now the president is pulling America into the same climate pit. Mr. President, stop acting like the Sierra Club's sock puppet.

RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

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