By: Mark Glennon*
A dizzying 93 programs now subsidize green energy programs in Illinois according to a database maintained by the Clean Energy Technology Center in North Carolina.
Yet the Illinois General Assembly is poised to go much further. In January, it will take up a state version of the infamous Green New Deal championed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Illinois version is called the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and its central goals are 100 percent carbon-free electricity production by 2030 and 100 percent renewable everything across the state by 2050.
Meanwhile, opposition to indiscriminate spending on costly efforts to cool the planet are expanding worldwide and in other states, even turning violent. The most publicized are by the “Yellow Vests” in France. Though they have other demands, the movement began over scheduled increases in fuel taxes, electricity prices, and stricter vehicle emissions controls.
President Emmanuel Macron claimed those increases were necessary to meet the France’s carbon dioxide emission commitments under the Paris climate agreement. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker committed to adhering to the same agreement, and he prioritized it by including the commitment in his inaugural speech.
France is not alone. American Thinker recently listed others. From their article:
•. Chile has seen violent demonstrations. The Washington Post notes that what finally drove the public to take to the streets was the government’s decision to curry favor with international agencies by pushing expensive energy restrictions to fight purported climate change.
As the Post states, “[T]he catalyst [behind the protests] was a proposal to raise public transport fares and energy bills. There is ample evidence from across the world that these will incite rebellion like nothing else — a point that those who hope to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions via a carbon tax should bear in mind.”
•. In progressive Washington State, voters in 2016 and again in 2018 directly rejected referenda that would have imposed taxes on carbon dioxide to fight climate change.
•. In Ontario in 2018 and in Alberta in 2019, voters replaced their premiers who had supported Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policies with global warming skeptics who announced they would rescind provincial carbon taxes and fight Trudeau’s federal carbon dioxide tax in court.
•. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to resign over carbon dioxide restrictions he’d planned to implement to meet the country’s Paris climate commitments. His successor announced that reducing energy prices and improving reliability, not fighting climate change, would be the government’s primary energy goals going forward.
•. In Finland, where climate policies were the dominant issue in the April 14 election, climate skepticism surged, with the Finns Party — the only party rejecting plans to raise energy prices and limit energy use — coming from way behind to win the second highest number of seats in Parliament.
Hardly a week passes in Illinois without another story on dubious subsidies for green energy. Already this week we have three:
- Crain’s reported how Commonwealth Edison bragged about a $17 million reduction in its delivery rates as requested by the utility. But ComEd didn’t tell the whole story. “Its net rates actually will climb by $33 million next year thanks to a move late last month to boost ComEd’s customer charge by $50 million for the energy-efficiency programs it administers,” Crain’s says.
- CIProud described how people in low-income houses can get subsidized solar power energy at a fraction of the cost.
- The Chicago Sun-Times reported on a luxury hotel on La Salle Street getting $21M in city-backed financing to save energy.
Far more is needed in Illinois, we’re told by many lawmakers. With extensive, bipartisan sponsorship, the Clean Energy Jobs Act’s goal of 100% renewable energy precludes even nuclear energy, which currently accounts for about half of Illinois’ electricity production. Tear out your natural gas oven and furnace, junk your gasoline-powered car and lawnmower and prepare to pay obscene energy bills. We’ve written about it before, here and in Crain’s.
What does all this cost? Nobody knows. You will never find any estimate of the consumer and taxpayer burden for either the 93 existing programs or the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Cost be damned. Green = Good.
Consumers and taxpayers elsewhere are waking up – maybe someday in Illinois, too. That American Thinker story had the right conclusion:
The public is tuning out the ever more shrill headlines proclaiming that the end of the world is near due to climate change, saying “enough is enough” to high energy prices that punish the most vulnerable, but do nothing to control the weather. As the riots and elections show, politicians who ignore this message do so at their own peril.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.