…and reusable shopping bags, generally. These are supposedly better for our environment than nominally single-use plastic or paper bags (though both, until they wear out, can serve other purposes than holding food or other goods—usually two or three reuses until they’re truly ready for the trash or the recycling bin).
The serious questions, though, and ones that have been missed until the current COVID-19 situation has exposed them empirically, are:
For whose environment, exactly, are reusable shopping bags better?
That’s what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) wants Government to subsidize. He’s proposing Government spend $462 billion to pay Americans trading in our gasoline-powered cars for electric ones. He wants to drop $17 billion on subsidies for auto manufacturers to “help” them build more electric cars along with batteries and associated parts, and $45 billion on charging stations and associated “infrastructure.”
In addition to ignoring where this money is supposed to come from, he’s also misleading on the “clean” electric car bit. He knows, after all, where the electricity must come from to charge those batteries, whether at home or at his charging stations.
…on the matter of helping protect freedom of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and, presumably, up into the Arabian Gulf.
Great Britain, in an effort that parallels the US’ efforts, is proposing a European naval mission to the region to protect European oil tankers. Germany isn’t sure. On the one hand, Norbert Röttgen, Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman, says
Our prosperity lives on free shipping. And we have to make clear that we stand alongside our British friends, partners and allies who are affected. There must be joint European action.
Iran, as I write this (Monday), has rejected efforts to defuse the situation in the Arabian Gulf, a situation it has created with its piracy of and extended threats toward oil shipping in the Gulf and transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Indeed, in response to a planned British redeployment of a couple of small combat ships to the Gulf to add to the protection of British tankers, Iran had this:
But Mr [Ali, Iranian government spokesman] Rabie warned Sunday that a European military deployment in the Gulf would be viewed as an escalation of the crisis. “Such moves under the current conditions are provocative,” he said, according to IRNA.
Germany is moving decisively to eliminate coal-fired plants as a source for its economy’s energy.
Germany has already banned nuclear power, which was a singularly stupid thing to do—that source of energy already had no CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, the destruction of that industry already is ongoingly expensive.
Merkel’s decision in 2011 to dump nuclear energy by 2022 and to accelerate the build-out of renewable sources such as wind and solar power is already costing them €27 billion [$31.8 billion] each year in the form of a renewable-energy tax.
Over the weekend, Russia has decided to block Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea; it’s placed a cargo ship under the Kerch Strait Bridge, which Russia completed earlier this year to give it direct land access from Russia to Russian-occupied Crimea, and Russia has military helicopters orbiting above the bridge. The Kerch Strait is a bit under 2,000 feet wide where the bridge sits.
Exxon Mobil Corp is throwing $1 million at the move to produce a national carbon tax.
Exxon’s move is an attempt to manage what it sees as the risk of a similar movement in the US, in ways that it hopes will simplify requirements on its industry….
Exxon sees a carbon tax as an alternative to patchwork regulations, putting one cost on all carbon emitters nationwide, eliminating regulatory uncertainty….
On the contrary, Exxon is looking for short-term competitive political advantage at the expense of long-term economic—real—advantage. That’s unfortunate.
The Federal government is continuing its ethanol mandates in its misguided effort to clean up the fuel our cars burn as we get about our business. In an op-ed earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal rightly decried the artificial, government-created and -propped up market in RINs, which oil refineries can trade around in order to get credit for ethanol that they’re unable to obtain and blend into the fuel they produce. As the WSJnoted, one of several outcomes of this artificial market is this.
The core problem is that the federal government has distorted the energy market by using subsidies and mandates to support biofuels.
The Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management is moving to rescind and replace an Obama administration regulation that would drastically limit methane gas emissions by companies drilling for hydrocarbons on Federal land.
While the move is salutary—the Obama regulation would have imposed too much cost, would have stunted energy innovation, and would have limited energy supply with resulting higher prices to us consumers—there’s one tidbit in the Wall Street Journalarticle carrying that news that needs emphasis.
Environmentalists rejected that claim [of impeding energy development] and decried the decision, pointing out that several companies had already moved on their own to start cutting methane emissions.