Reason Foundation science correspondent Ron Bailey has rankled the feathers of global warming skeptics with several columns arguing we face an imminent climate crisis. Bailey, however, published an article this morning pointing out the folly of relying on wind and solar power to reduce emissions. Bailey’s writings on the two topics illustrate the opportunity for common-ground energy policy that promotes affordable energy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
In his article this morning, Bailey highlighted an article published in The Australian illustrating the severe economic impacts of wind and solar power.
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“In an op/ed, “Green Madness: Australia Has Gone from Cheapest to Most Expensive Power,” in The Australian, Flinders University economist Judith Sloan details what has happened to electricity prices as the government has enacted its Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme,” wrote Bailey.
The Australian article documents how Australia has now joined renewable energy ‘success stories’ Denmark and Germany as nations with the most expensive electricity. These nations have electricity prices approximately triple those of the United States.
“The price of electricity is soaring in Australia largely because of mandated adoption of renewable power generation,” Bailey observed. “Yes, the price of renewable energy continues to fall, but mandating the installation of current wind and solar power technologies still boosts the price of electricity in countries pursuing decarbonization strategies as a way to mitigate climate change.”
Bailey makes the case for zero- or low-carbon power sources that are affordable and reliable. Nuclear power fits the bill, as does hydro power. Natural gas power, while still emitting some carbon dioxide, is also useful as it is the least expensive power source and is the primary reason why U.S. electricity emissions have declined by 27% since 2005.
“I have concluded that the balance of the evidence suggests that unmitigated man-made climate change could likely pose significant problems for humanity as the 21st century unfolds,” Bailey noted. “That said, activist happy talk asserting that mandating the adoption of current versions of renewable energy technologies as a way to transition from fossil fuels will be cheap is entirely specious. The trade-offs between using cheap fossil fuels now to spur economic growth and the risks of future climate change must be acknowledged.”
Those tradeoffs are largely unnecessary if conservatives and liberals, skeptics and warmists, acknowledge and promote energy sources that are affordable and that emit little or no carbon dioxide. Those energy sources are nuclear power, hydro power, and natural gas.