May 13, 2009
By Israel Ortega
Have you gone green?
If not, chances are you're in the minority. Celebrities and
companies alike are urging us all to go green by adopting "simple
steps" to reduce our "carbon footprint." And here in Washington,
D.C, a number of legislative proposals are circulating in the halls
of Congress to push our country to create a "green economy."
For far too many leaders, world hunger, human rights violations
and sexual trafficking appear to have taken a back seat to the
alleged "climate change" problem. Led by former Vice President Al
Gore and his allies in Hollywood, millions of dollars, euros and
yen have been spent to push climate change to the forefront of our
daily lives through a steady stream of advertisements.
Many argue we must reduce traditional energy consumption in
favor of non-traditional energy sources like wind or air. We can
reduce our carbon footprint, they argue, by being more aware of our
own energy consumption. We're encouraged, among many things, to buy
more environmentally-friendly automobiles and shop for more locally
For advocates, now is the perfect time to push the federal
government to support alternative energy development. For
sympathetic politicians, supporting green initiatives seems to make
perfect sense. They think they can: (a) help the environment and
(b) help the economy.
But not so fast, say some in Spain who have been living in a
"green economy" for the past few years. According to a recent study
by Dr. Gabriel Calzada of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in
Madrid, government subsidies for renewable energy create
increasingly large debt bubbles and artificially create a new
market that will eventually collapse without more government
These sobering words matter because Spain is the global leader
at enacting green-friendly ideas into practice. Unfortunately,
these policies come at a heavy price. According to Dr. Calzada,
Spain is currently spending close to $8 billion every year in
government subsidies. The country's higher energy costs have led to
2.2 job losses economy-wide for every "green" job created. Proof is
Spain's dismal unemployment rate, with some experts predicting that
it could reach 20 percent by next year.
Incredibly, some in our nation's capital, including President
Obama, are actually encouraging us to look to Spain as a model for
a "green economy." Allies in Congress are lobbying for more "cap
and trade" policies. That's simply a fancy way of taxing energy
Worse, these taxes would fall disproportionately on the poor. By
example, last year's Warner-Lieberman bill would have hit the
average American household with a tax hike of $1,100 in 2008. And
according to economists at The Heritage Foundation, had the
Warner-Lieberman Climate Change bill passed, the northeast region
of our country would have stood to lose 102,110 jobs and $26.54
To be sure, we all have an obligation to be good stewards of
this earth and our precious resources. We should all strive to
leave our children and grandchildren with a cleaner earth.And we
certainly should welcome the development of all alternative energy
sources - nuclear, wind, solar, or anything else. But the
successful alternatives should be chosen by those who have to buy
and produce the energy and not by politicians and lobbyists picking
winners and losers using the taxpayers' money. And at a time when
our economy continues to suffer, we must be keenly aware of the
costs included in any ambitious proposal to create "green jobs"
through government subsidies. As our friends in Spain are
discovering, being green comes at a price.
Israel Ortega is a Senior Media Services
Associate at The Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in El Diario La Prensa (NYC)
Have you gone green? If not, chances are you're in the minority. Celebrities and companies alike are urging us all to go green by adopting "simple steps" to reduce our "carbon footprint."
Energy & Environment Initiative of the Leadership for America Campaign
Strategic Initiatives Manager
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