Downside of costly energy dawning on Europe. CA next?

May 24, 2013

By Chris Reed

ab32-banner-lmoreOne of the most befuddling things about being a public-policy watcher in California in recent years has been the durability of the argument that the higher energy costs forced by 2006’s passage of AB 32 won’t be a drag on the state economy. Instead, the claim goes, the innovation triggered by the mandate that California use cleaner-but-costlier types of energy will at the least make up for jobs lost because energy is much cheaper in rival states and nations.

Now I understand why religious greens would believe this. But allegedly rational, neutral journalists? Incredibly, it wasn’t until this March that The Los Angeles Times had a news story that operated from the straightforward premise that AB 32 carried huge risks for the state economy.

‘Rising energy prices a threat to competitiveness’: Duh

In Europe, however, the learning curve is a little farther along. This is from a Financial Times article headlined “High energy prices for industry occupy officials at EU summit”:

“[There is] a growing fear in Europe that rising energy prices now pose a threat to the industrial competitiveness of a region mired in recession. It has been driven home by a steady stream of announcements from European manufacturers about plans to build new production facilities in the US.”

And where are those European manufacturers planning to build new factories? Not in California. In states with access to cheap natural gas made available by fracking, such as Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania.

But then the California media have a little problem with reporting on fracking, too. They can never even bring themselves to admit the Obama administration supports it. Even when Obama’s secretary of the interior says it loudly and clearly.

A dead heat in the Reverse Pulitzers competition

SEJThis creates a dilemma for those on the Reverse Pulitzer jury. Who deserves the 2013 award?

1) The legions of California journos who idiotically argued that high energy prices will be good for or won’t hurt the economy, or …

2) The legions of California journos who dishonestly depict fracking as new and evil while never mentioning that the Obama administration backs fracking as just another heavy industry.

On the other hand, it’s no dilemma at all when you think about it. Everyone in Group 1 is in Group 2, and vice versa.

Reverse Pulitzers for the lot! My congratulations! Y’all are doing a hell of a job!



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