Detroit – It’s been a tough summer for the Green Church of the Apocalypse. High Priestess and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (accompanied by EPA official Susan Hedman) scheduled an August 5 bus tour of Michigan shilling for President Obama’s “I Will Act on Climate” campaign. But the chilly temperatures (Michigan has been 5-10 degrees colder than normal this month) made for sparse crowds. At a similar rally on August 13 in chilly Washington, D.C., organized by Organizing for Action, no one showed.
What to do when folks are more concerned with chronic unemployment than saving polar bears? Spin that global warming regulation will create jobs.
That’s what Gina McCarthy told the Harvard Law School this week in her first speech as new EPA administrator. What the regulation-choked U.S. economic recovery needs, she said, is more toxic regulation.
“Climate change isn’t an environmental issue. It is a fundamental economic challenge for us,” said the Boston native, arguing that green regulations will spur unprecedented economic growth.
And pigs will fly.
EPA regs under the Obama administration have already costs thousands of Appalachian coal jobs, hundreds of incandescent light-bulb jobs (as the anticipated bulb ban sent jobs to China to make more expensive CFLs), and stymied an estimated 20,000 new jobs as the president held up the Keystone Pipeline to appease his environmentalist supporters. As governor of Michigan last decade, Granholm oversaw the bankruptcies of government-supported Fisher Coachworks and RASCO long before Solyndra became a household name. Joint Granholm/Obama investments like A123 Systems and Evergreen Solar have also gone belly-up. Granholm’s model? Spain, which invested millions in green tech yet today sports a 26 percent unemployment rate.
Despite global warming polling dead last in a Pew Research survey of 21 American priorities, McCarthy insisted that it’s her administration’s highest priority. “We have no choice,” she told Harvard. “That’s what the president said. He’s my boss; you’re going to have to live with it.”
In perhaps her most breathtaking exaggeration, she claimed the EPA’s 52 mpg-by-2025 mandate — crammed down the industry’s throat while two of its members were in federally controlled bankruptcy — was responsible for Detroit’s post-recession rebound. No respectable auto analyst would agree with that fairy tale (sales growth has been driven by the pent-up demand of buyers who put off purchases during the Great Recession). Indeed, EPA’s mpg edict — estimated cost to the industry by 2015: $47 billion — has surely deterred new sales by helping boost the average new car cost to $31,800, a record.
The truth is that green regulation is a Washington priority because it grows Washington. Government mandates and their accompanying subsidies turn pols into power brokers who distribute money and get campaign contributions in return.
It’s a neat business model — unless the public catches on to the con. It’s hard to miss those taxpayer losses — or the fact that temperatures haven’t warmed this August or in the 14 years before.