by James Delingpole 2 Jun 2014, 9:26 AM PDT
"Feeding the masses on unicorn ribs". That was how Walter Russell Mead once poured scorn on Obama's misbegotten attempts to revive the US economy by creating five million "green jobs."
Mead was quite right, of course. And there was plenty of evidence to back him up, such as the 2009 report by a Madrid university professor Gabriel Calzada Alvarez that for every expensive "green job" created by government subsidy, 2.2 jobs were destroyed in the real economy.
The Obama administration responded as only the Obama administration knows how: by calling in its left-wing attack dogs. Friendly organisations including George Soros's Center for American Progress and various well-funded wind industry lobbyists were recruited to monster this unhelpful evidence, which was dismissed for its "lack of rigor."
It's in this context we need to view the Environmental Protection Agency's dispiriting announcement of its latest swingeing assault on US industry - disingenuously billed as a "commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants."
The pain will be felt most acutely, of course, in the coal-producing states. But the damage will extend right across America for at least one very simple reason which was perfectly evident five years ago when Obama launched his "green jobs" scheme and is even clearer now: the expensive, unreliable, intermittent renewable energy which Obama and the EPA are trying to promote is no substitute for the cheap, abundant, reliable fossil fuel energy which Obama and the EPA are trying to kill.
Not only are renewables environmentally damaging (as witness the damage done to the world's avian fauna by bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes) but they are also the most unconscionable drain on the taxpayer and the broader economy.
Again, all we need for proof of this is to go to Spain, whose green energy travails represent a hideous warning of the fate that now awaits America. (H/T Global Warming Policy Foundation)
Spain was one of the first countries to buy heavily into the "clean energy" chimera and - from the mid-90s attracted billions of dollars' worth of local and foreign "investment" from rent-seekers attracted by the guaranteed 14 per cent per annum rate of return offered on solar park projects and the similarly huge subsidies for wind farms.
But there was a problem. As should have been obvious from the start "clean energy" is - and almost certainly always will be - unviable in a free market. The limited energy it produces is next to worthless because it is only available when the wind blows or the sun shines - which is not necessarily when it is actually needed. Hence the need for all those government subsidies, without which not a single one of those renewable energy projects exist.
By the time the Spanish government woke up to the problem, the damage was done. Green energy projects have cost it a staggering 200 billion Euros in subsidies, 56 billion Euros of which it has paid out, another 143 billion Euros it still owes but which its hard-pressed coffers cannot possibly spare. Successive administrations have tried to reduce the cost by drastically reducing subsidies - causing a wave of bankruptcies among local businesses foolish enough to have leapt aboard the green bandwagon. But this has only exposed the Spanish government to costly lawsuits by the various foreign investors which piled in to take advantage of the green energy scam.
As Die Welt reports:
This week, U.S. energy company Nextera Energy has summoned Spain before the International Centre for Settlement for Investment Disputes (ICSID) to demand redress. The U.S. company regards the new rules as a retroactive change to the original guarantees. Nextera Energy has invested heavily in the Spanish solar power plant Termosol .
Other large investors, such as a Deutsche Bank investment fund, involved in the Andalusian power plant Andasol, and French bank BNP have asked ICSID, a World Bank organization, for arbitration. Another group of foreign investors issued first lawsuits in 2011, based on the European Energy Charter which promises investment protection and prohibits expropriation.
Spain may be a very different place from America but where renewable energy is concerned, the rules are exactly the same: the more "clean energy" you develop, the more scum-sucking corporatist parasites you attract, the more eagles you slice and dice, and the greater the burden you place on both the taxpayer and the economy - all to no discernible practical purpose whatsoever.
Welcome to Obama's bright green future. The Spanish (and the Danish, and the Portugese, and the Germans...) have already seen it and it doesn't work.