Two weeks ago, Sarah Palin took her thoughts on energy to the American people via the editorial page of the Washington Post. In her guest editorial, "The 'Cap And Tax' Dead End," Palin assured us that our energy problems would disappear if we only "tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil." Strangely, Palin's editorial skipped over climate change all together. Now in the same pages of the Washington Post, Sens. Kerry and Boxer have answered Palin with their own energy and climate op-ed.Kerry and Boxer took on several of Palin's arguments and offered their view. Here are a few excerpts.
Palin: "the answer doesn't lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive!"
Kerry and Boxer: "The truth is, clean energy legislation doesn't make energy scarcer or more expensive; it works to find alternative solutions to our costly dependence on foreign oil and provides powerful incentives to pursue cutting-edge clean energy technologies."
Palin: Job losses are "certain."
Kerry and Boxer: The federal stimulus package and the climate legislation before Congress now "will create significant employment opportunities across the country in a broad array of sectors linked to the clean energy economy. Studies at the federal level and by states have demonstrated clean energy job creation. A report by the Center for American Progress calculated that $150 billion in clean energy investments would create more than 1.7 million domestic and community-based jobs that can't be shipped overseas."
Palin: We have the resources here now if we "tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil."
Kerry and Boxer: "She ignores the fact that the United States has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, while we are responsible for 25 percent of the world's oil consumption."
Palin: "The president's cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy."
Kerry and Boxer: "Take the acid rain program established in the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990. The naysayers said it would cost consumers billions in higher electricity rates, but electricity rates declined an average of 19 percent from 1990 to 2006. Naysayers said the cost to business would be more than $50 billion a year, but health and other benefits outweighed the costs 40 to 1. Naysayers predicted it would cost the economy millions of jobs. In fact, the United States added 20 million jobs from 1993 to 2000, as the U.S. economy grew 64 percent."
What to Make of Palin v. Boxer/Kerry
Whatever your thoughts on Sarah Palin, it's difficult to argue that her op-ed was anything other than an attempt to pander to a crowd more interesting in maintaining the status quo than in creating change. Her arguments about energy independence are not grounded in reality because they do not reflect the true levels of our non-renewable energy resources underfoot. More puzzling is why Palin, in a long editorial, didn't get around to mentioning climate change once. There is no arguing that climate and energy are inexorably linked and that any energy plan must deal with both--for our own security and for that of the world.
While it's true that the acid rain program heled to solve the problem, it's a stretch to say that changing our entire energy economy will be as successful if we employ a cap-and-trade system. The current bill before them, ACES, is a 1,400 page bill full of corporate giveaways and other concessions to special interests. Only time will tell who is on the right side of history.
More on Sarah Palin and Energy:
It’s Still a Dirty Business: McCain v. Obama on Clean Coal
Sarah Palin’s Record On the Environment: A Closer Look