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Green Smoke

You will see in Wednesday’s post that the best argument GM can give for why they get so much in subsidies to produce a Volt is because, “the damn Koreans and Japanese do it more than we do.” Aside from the economics of that, pause for a moment to reflect on how we run our “Save the Planet” programs here in the United States. Take the case of biofuels. Ignore for the time being that they are not really a great way to get us reliable and large amounts of clean energy, we have as a policy in our country mandated purchase requirements for fuel companies to add biofuels into our traditional petroleum based fuels, and at the same time we impose high tariffs on imported Brazilian sugar cane. This sugar cane, from a chemistry standpoint, is a much better feedstock for biofuel than corn, and so its widespread use would both reduce the environmental footprint of our biuofuels program (ncluding putting much less stress on American Water resources) and make gasoline cheaper.

Similarly, we have all kinds of programs that subsidize R&D and installation of solar equipment and all kinds of programs that help large scale industrial solar get off the ground. Yet at the same time the United States imposes high tariffs on solar products that come in from China and other parts of East Asia. Again, allowing these products in would both reduce the environmental footprint of solar and make that kind of energy cheaper for Americans.

As we have said here for a long time, Environmental Policy is not about the Environment. And should you engage someone on this topic, the best answer you are likely to get for why we do such things will not be one that admits that the Environmental Movement is the mother of all rent seeking movements, rather you’ll get some song and dance about it being complicated, or different, or some such thing. In other words, the “science crowd” is going to respond in a very anti-scientific matter. We’ll know the environmental movement is serious when these sorts of hypocrisies are ended.

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