In my latest reading of No Apology: Believe in America, Mitt Romney talked about energy and climate change. In my opinion, Romney was all over the place in this chapter, as he went into different angles of the issue. But my impression is that he's for reducing dependency on oil, for our oil supplies will not last forever, and our dependence on foreign oil leads us into compromising situations internationally. Romney thinks that we can drill safely in offshore areas and in ANWR, but he talks a lot about the need to reduce our dependency on oil, and he supports nuclear energy, coal (whose carbon can be removed and stored, he said), and natural gas.
wants to incentivize fuel-efficient cars through the tax system, and
he's open to working on a proposal to impose a gas or carbon tax while
balancing that off with some sort of tax cut----such as a reduction of
the payroll tax. Romney states that "The higher energy prices
would encourage energy efficiency across the full array of American
businesses and citizens." Romney acknowledges that such a proposal
could hurt people on fixed incomes, people who have to travel over
sizeable distances, and people "in certain energy-intensive industries"
(page 262), and so that's why he believes that the plan needs work.
This discussion stood out to me because I remembered Rush Limbaugh
criticizing President Obama's energy secretary for reportedly saying
that high gas prices are okay (see here). Apparently, Romney and the conservatives who devised the plan see an upside to high energy prices.
prefers alternative energy and incentivizing fuel-efficient cars to
cap-and-trade and the government spending a lot of money to counter
climate change. According to Romney, cap-and-trade and government
spending cost a lot of money that can be used for other things. There
are businesses that use a lot of carbon, and having to buy credits to do
that would cost them a lot, and so they'd either pass on the cost to
the consumers or locate to a country that does not have as many
restrictions on carbon. (Romney believes that cap-and-trade for other
pollutants has been more workable and effective, yet he sees downsides
to that as well, such as the unstable price of credits.) And there are
foreign regions that prefer to prioritize tackling other problems over
climate change because it costs a lot to address climate change, and
they feel that money can be better spent on other necessary causes.
Moreover, Romney does not believe that spending a lot of money to
reverse climate change even succeeds in attaining its goal, at least not
at the level that would justify the cost.
I did some online
reading to see where we stand now on climate change. Cap-and-trade was
defeated. The White House's current policy on climate-change did not
strike me as overly rigorous, for it appeared to focus on reducing
carbon emissions by the government while not discussing the private
sector so much (see here). The
White House's web site does talk about clean energy, but I hope that
we're actually going somewhere with that, rather than merely investing
in companies that fail. The web site says here, though, that renewable energy generation has doubled in the U.S. since 2008.
And, according to this article,
U.S. carbon emissions are at a 20-year low, due to such factors as "a
mild winter, reduced gasoline demand, and the scaling back of coal-fired
power in favour of new gas capacity", and those who support the gas
industry contend that "America's shale gas boom has delivered
environmental benefits by replacing more carbon-intensive coal-fired
power" (the article's words). But the article goes on to say
that "climate scientists and green groups remain deeply concerned that
while the switch to gas will deliver reductions in overall emissions it
will fail to deliver the deep cuts necessary to curb climate change
risks, arguing that new investment in gas infrastructure will lock the
US into high levels of emissions for decades to come."
Mitt Romney has a history of supporting fuel-efficient automobiles, I
tend to trust Barack Obama to be more committed to the issue of
combating climate change, since Romney seeks to appease the right-wing.
But, to be honest, I'm not sure if enough can be done to combat it,
especially in the current political climate----where so many people have
to be appeased and radical measures are dismissed because they may have
an adverse effect on the economy. But, hopefully, something can be
done----to reduce emissions and to prepare for the consequences of