Electric utility NRG Energy is apparently worried that global warming hysteria is threatening its global warming rent-seeking. In the Huffington Post on Tuesday, NRG published a piece entitled: “5 Green Myths You Probably Believe, Totally Busted.”
NRG CEO David Crane has long believed that the future of his company is in renewable energy technologies like solar and wind — and in the taxpayer subsidies that accompany them. The old economic model for electric utilities, “sell more electricity to make more money,” has been killed by the stifling nature of Obamanomics. So utilities have been forced to find ways to team up with government to make money.
Toward that end, Crane enlisted NRG in the big business-environmentalist lobbying group called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. They lobbied for the 2009 Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. Though that failed, NRG has remained a strong advocate of heavily subsidized solar and wind electricity generation.
While NRG is used to battling opponents of its rent-seeking and the global warming alarmism that underlies it, the company now perceives a new threat on the horizon: low morale, if not hopelessness, in the green movement. In order for solar and wind energy to be the solution to the “climate crisis,” greens must believe that the crisis is solvable. But with reports coming out of prestigious scientific journals like Science that produce headlines like “Scientists predict huge sea-level rise even if we limit climate change,” many greens are getting dispirited. Closer to NRG’s interests are the comments of prominent global warming hysteria James Hansen, who described Hillary Clinton’s plan to power America with solar energy as “just plain silly.”
So to combat the green morale problem, NRG has taken to cheerleading with articles like “5 Green Myths You Probably Believe, Totally Busted.”
The first “myth” in the article: “For a lot of environmental problems, it’s already too late.”
NRG tries to counter this “myth” by pointing to the Montreal Protocol, which supposedly is solving the ozone hole problem. Nothing can be farther from the truth, as it is not at all clear that there was a problem in the first place. Even Al Gore has admitted that the main value of the Montreal Protocol was not “fixing” the ozone layer, but was instead a demonstration that the United Nations could pull-off an international climate treaty.
Their second “myth”: “There are only a few good renewable energy options.”
NRG tries to counter by suggesting the future may be powered by wood pellets, ocean waves, and dramatically increased solar cell efficiency — the last of which, of course, is right up NRG’s subsidized alley. There certainly are many renewable energy options. However, none of them can compete on a large-scale with the affordability or availability of fossil fuel-generated power.
Their third “myth”: “Transitioning to a low-carbon economy will be economically painful.”
Here, NRG regales the low-carbon economy as a growth opportunity. Read this statement as: “more subsidies for NRG.”
Greens are supposed to take heart in the “3.4 million green jobs” created in the U.S. by 2011. But even the exceedingly green Washington Post and New York Times have trashed the notion of green jobs as “dubious” and “a pipe dream,” respectively.
The fourth “myth”: “We’d have to abandon every ‘dirty energy’ source right now to make a dent.”
NRG counters this with: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” They also cite so-called “carbon capture and storage” as an example of a promising technology. The reality is, however, that even if we captured all the carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. for the rest of this century and somehow stored it underground — at a cost of umpteen trillions of dollars — the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide would only change by a meaningless few percent.
NRG’s final “myth”: “Scientists think we are all screwed.”
NRG’s answer here is a non sequitur: “Wind and solar power are becoming more popular and more affordable.” So please keep those subsidies coming!
CEO Crane has cheered the Pope’s climate encyclical as a “spiritual awakening.” More practically, he has invested at least $1 million in the Clinton Foundation. Keeping hope alive among Huffington Post-reading greens is just another part of NRG’s equation of profitability via rent-seeking.