The environment is very important to us at Against Crony Capitalism. We believe in a cleaner planet, we are fans of trees, we like vast expanses of rain forest, we like environmentally friendly materials and energy. But in order for something to be considered truly sustainable it must be sustainable economically. Does the market want a material or form of energy at a cost which makes sense? If the answer is no, if a project is not economically sustainable, it should not be done. Pouring mounds of taxpayer dollars (which are taken from the productive part of the economy) into untested technologies and markets created by government fiat is just poor stewardship. It’s a bad use of money.
I would love to teleport myself all over the planet. If I convinced the president that teleportation technology was the direction the economy should go in maybe I could get every engineering firm in America a billion dollar grant to work on the project. “Jobs” would be created in the short term, which would make the politicians happy. But in the end I’ll bet that for all the money contributed to making my dream a reality, it would yield about as much as if one sought to squeeze blood from a turnip.
That’s basically what the President and his advisors sought to do with “green energy.” The had a Utopian vision and because the economy was vomiting on itself, the Keynesian economists advised that it was time to build pyramids. Why not green pyramids? We kill 5 birds with one stone. We employ a bunch of people. We create markets where before there weren’t any. We deal a major blow to the oil and gas industry which we don’t like. We look smart and forward thinking. And we can focus the make work jobs in electorally important states. Win, win, win, win, win.
But it didn’t work out that way. As was predicted by those who believe that top down economic planning tended pretty much always to end in disaster, the “green jobs initiative” has indeed proven a disaster. And with this report from the DOE this appears empirically true.
It is interesting that the most “sustainable” energy technology to come out of the past 5 years has been fracking, which was developed in spite of government efforts. Our carbon emissions are now on a sharp decline due to the ramp up of very economically viable and relatively clean, natural gas.
And for anyone keeping score, The Sierra Club was for natural gas for years before it was against it.