Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm has joined the Pew Charitable Trusts as a senior adviser on energy. Perhaps her job title should read: Advocate for Government Subsidies and Mandates. According to a report in The Detroit News, Granholm says: “I’m not going to talk about cap-and-trade. I’m not going to talk about global warming,” Instead she said she will focus on green jobs.
It is not surprising the former Michigan governor is avoiding global warming and cap-and-trade discussions. Both of these issues have become politically toxic as the public has become increasingly skeptical regarding man-made global warming claims. Higher energy bills have also not escaped the attention of most American households. Global warming alarmist groups have found it necessary to change their message from curbing global warming to creating green jobs.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu optimistically claims that wind and solar energy can be competitive without government subsidies by 2020 to 2030. Where have we heard this claim before? Ethanol subsidies come to mind. The fact is wind and solar power is more expensive and less reliable than conventional sources of fuel that are used to generate electricity.
The green jobs promise is a false one. Countries in Europe have invested heavily in green energy and their economic performance is anything but stellar. A study of Spain’s green energy sector found that for every green job created 2.2 other jobs were lost.
Michigan policymakers should take their lead from North Dakota, which is economically outperforming most of the country by developing its oil and gas resources. The best way to encourage the creation of more energy-related jobs in Michigan is to encourage natural gas and oil development, not by implementing policies that unduly restrict access to those resources. Legislators should also repeal the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard.
In the alternative we could continue to subsidize renewable energy with tax-payer funded subsides and hope for the best while household energy budgets continue to increase and jobs go elsewhere.