Greetings, energy enthusiasts! Yet again, I bring news from the international front. England’s conservative minister of climate change, Greg Barker, is stepping down from his position. The Financial Times reported the story, saying the departure is viewed as a “vivid symbol of the Conservative party’s changing priorities” because the former conservative push for green energy is weakening. Prime Minister David Cameron was initially in support of Mr. Barker’s ambition to make England the “Saudi Arabia of green energy.” Last year, however, Cameron was quoted saying he wanted to “cut” their “green” policies, which caused energy bills to skyrocket. In addition to Cameron’s lost climate sentiment, England’s chancellor, George Osborne, refused to “save the planet by putting [the] country out of business.” With this shift in ideology, and their leader in climate change abandoning his cause, England appears to be reassessing its attempt to replace fossil fuels with less abundant, more expensive sources of energy.
This type of reluctance to embrace strict energy policies – and in Germany’s case regret for implementing those policies – has been a common theme in my research this summer. In each case, although the situations differ, the essential issue is the same –people and businesses bear the brunt of the consequences of overly aggressive rulemakings. My mind goes to China where abundant, affordable coal is powering their economic growth. I think of the families in Germany who struggled to pay their daunting power bill during their government’s quest to be the shining example of energy transformation. There was even a new report released that demonstrates the financial struggle of rising energy bills.
As my mind jumps around the globe, however, there is one family that is always top of mind – my own in Kentucky. I think of my father and his partner John, proud owners of K&R Rebuild, depending on coal to provide for their families and power their business. They need coal just like families in South Dakota, electric cooperatives in Arkansas, small businesses in Indiana, and the millions of other working Americans who depend on affordable energy to power their everyday lives.
Next week is my final week at ACCCE, and as I reflect on my time here, I have ultimately learned how the concerns I expressed in my first blog post are shared across the globe. While the Obama Administration distracts America with misleading rhetoric, and EPA touts the feigned flexibility of its new plan, voices like mine need to unite and call for a true “all of the above” energy policy. Rather than demonize a particular fuel source, the government should embrace all forms of energy – coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables. We need all of these sources to power our growing energy needs. With coal providing nearly 40 percent of our nation’s electricity, it is clearly an essential portion of our energy portfolio. All fifty states should be permitted to complement each other’s energy strengths so that we can reach environmental goals without sacrificing jobs, our overall competitiveness and the hard-earned income of working Americans.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s lust for climate legacy keeps him from embracing reasonable and achievable energy policy. My hope for our future is that the dismal outcomes which will result from EPA’s proposed carbon regulations will be fully examined and prevented. Until then, I will be advocating for America’s Power, even after my time with ACCCE ends. So for now energy enthusiasts, I bid you adieu. I encourage you to continue to raise your voice about these ludicrous policies, so America can be reliably and affordably powered for years to come.