Green Watch

Forced Electrification: Environmentalists’ War on Consumers


Forced Electrification: The Next Stage in Environmentalists’ War on Consumers (full series)
Environmentalists’ War on Consumers | Stealth War on Your Dishwasher
What’s Wrong with Natural Gas? | “Net-Zero Carbon” | Grassroots Rising

 

Home heating bills may rise as much as 54 percent this winter. Gas prices are at a seven-year high. This year crude oil shortages drove the price per barrel over $80 for the first time since 2014, causing the U.S. to import the largest amount of Russian crude in a decade. This follows after President Joseph Biden cancelled expansion of the existing Keystone pipeline within hours of taking his oath of office.

The average American may drive 13,000 miles per year, but that didn’t stop Senate Republicans and Democrats from hiking the federal gas tax by 191 percent to 53.3 cents and creating a pilot program for a per-mile 8-cent driving tax as part of the Biden infrastructure bill.

In California, “green” policies are shuttering the state’s last nuclear power plant even as out-of-control wildfires force it to bypass power plant pollution restrictions just to keep the lights on. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his fellow Democrats followed up by banning gasoline-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers.

Canadians, as always, are one step ahead of the U.S. with a plan to phase out Ontario’s natural gas plants in just nine years in favor of renewables—a feel-good measure that seems set to cause rolling blackouts in the capital of the world’s ninth-largest economy.

Across the pond, Canada’s hara-kiri is only matched by the U.K. government’s determination to see how much it can punish Brits with soaring electricity bills while bragging about making the kingdom “the Saudi Arabia of wind power.”

It’s looking like a dark winter for the once energy-rich Germans, some of whom may freeze to death like their medieval energy-indigent ancestors in a crisis entirely of their own making. Credit: DW News. License: https://bit.ly/3jnoRxo.

Germany might finally live to see its island rival bludgeoned into obscurity. . . or not. It’s looking like a dark winter for the once energy-rich Germans, some of whom may freeze to death like their medieval energy-indigent ancestors in a crisis entirely of their own making. Across the rest of Europe, natural gas prices are spiking amid a supply crunch as countries vie to fill up depleted stockpiles. Things aren’t looking good.

If you think it can’t happen here, guess again.

Eco-activists are already lobbying for net-zero carbon bans on natural gas in the name of climate change, starting (as always) in California. In 2019, Berkeley banned natural gas hookups in new buildings. San Francisco and Oakland followed a year later. As of September 2021, at least 50 jurisdictions across the Golden State had banned gas or forced use of certain electric appliances in new constructions.

New York City’s exiting mayor, Bill de Blasio, has announced a citywide ban on gas hookups for new buildings starting in 2030. Multiple Massachusetts municipalities and formerly Bernie Sanders–run Burlington, Vermont, are following suit, seeking to “rapidly decarbonize.”

Consumers will pay the steep price for this war on natural gas. It won’t stop with California. This is America’s gloomy future, as envisioned by the Left—and it starts in Americans’ homes.

Environmentalism as Therapy

It’s hard to believe that the United States entered 2021 as an energy independent country and the world’s third-largest energy exporter, thanks to aggressive deregulation and the fracking revolution that made natural gas cheap and abundant. That doesn’t just mean inexpensive gasoline and lower household electricity bills, but better prices for food and essentials, affordable travel, fewer deaths from cold weather, and more foreign policy options for U.S. leaders when dealing with hostile the volatile Middle East, Venezuela, Russia, and other oil-producing states.

No one wants to surrender these benefits. So environmental extremists sell their plans as virtually cost-free—if you like your standard of living, you can keep it and save the planet.

To hear the activists, building low-emission wind turbines and solar panels is chicken noodle soup for the carbon-troubled soul. Surely everyone can sleep better knowing we’re doing our part to slow rising sea levels!

Regardless of one’s stance on the causes and consequences of climate change, the reality is that people tend to support climate policies most when times are good and they feel generous. The environmental movement has shrewdly used decades of economic growth (broken only by the odd recession) to push the country and the Democratic Party further leftward: from supporting energy independence through oil in the 1980s to discarding oil in favor of natural gas in the 1990s and 2000s (enter Enron) to banning the fracking of natural gas in the 2010s to even abolishing natural gas altogether.

Why is that extreme?

Twenty years ago 51 percent of the nation’s electricity was generated from coal. Today it’s just 19 percent, while 40 percent comes from natural gas. When burned, gas emits just 75 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that oil does and half that of coal. This vast, market-driven switch from coal to gas has made the U.S. number one in CO2 reductions, bar none. To most folks, that’s a win for the consumer and the environment.

Professional climate warriors, however, have an agenda that uses CO2 emissions to justify a radical transformation of the American economy and way of life. It’s always been about making energy prohibitively expensive to the average person.

Chants like “keep it in the ground” aren’t rational or grounded in science. They reveal a hatred of fossil fuels that won’t cease until those resources are gone. That will come as no shock to anyone who understands the broader Left, which spawned modern environmentalism. From Lenin to Mao to Alinsky, “progressives” never truly compromise because every small victory moves them further on the long march toward socialism. Next stop: your home.

 

In the next installment, the push for “electrification” is leading to shoddier and less efficient household appliances.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is a Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is also a columnist at the Washington Free Beacon and writes regularly for the American Conservative. Ludwig is…
+ More by Hayden Ludwig

Support Capital Research Center's award-winning journalism

Donate today to assist in promoting the principles of individual liberty in America.

Read Next