Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day: Who has the Green Energy Edge Now?

Since August, when he offered no specific tax incentives for green energy, Obama has made a significant shift in his energy policy that makes him a bit more Green Tax Cut friendly that McCain: Obama now pledges a $7,000 tax credit for "advanced vehicles," which is more than the $5,000 in the McCain plan. He also wants to extend the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy for 5 years, which is a bit more specific that McCain's call to "rationalize" the system of tax credits for renewable energy.

This gives some hope that an Obama administration is warming to the idea of green energy tax cuts -- or at least realizes that tax incentives are the most effective and popular of the existing policies to promote green energy. Of course, I can't help noting that the information on the Obama website seems to change week to week, literally, with the plan being re-written continuously. Since this blog began in July, I have read perhaps five different versions of the Obama energy plan, with very significant changes. For instance, the current version of the plan does not mention the $25 billion a year Federal Venture Capital Fund for renewable energy that I criticized in August as a foray into Venture Socialism.

So far, the changes seem to be in the right direction. However, there is still much that is unhelpful and perhaps counterproductive in both the Obama and McCain plans. Ironically, McCain's notion that his administration will start construction of 45 nuclear power plants also rings of socialism -- these plants should only be build if private investment judges them commercially viable once all insurance, risk and waste transport and storage costs have been figured in.

Obama's plan retains $150 billion in renewable Federal renewable energy investment over 10 years, and a hidden carbon tax in his cap-and-trade plan -- both ideas are problematic and have been discussed in previous posts. There is much to be wary of here. According to reporting by Deroy Murdock, as early as last January, Obama made statements indicating that he would not mind bankrupting much of the American coal industry via his cap-and-trade plan. One can only hope Obama is moving away from such unhelpful thinking, as is indicated by recent shifts in his energy plan.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting on the interesting developments in the candidates' energy policies.
I believe that Obama is perfectly justified in putting the kibosh on new coal-fired electric plants that do not have some sort of carbon dioxide mitigation / carbon dioxide sequestration technology. Al Gore recently noted that such plants emit so much CO2, and thus pose such a great threat to the environment, that direct action is justified to prevent them from being built. This was a real eyebrow-raiser, coming from a moderate like Gore, however I am willing to credit him with knowing whereof he speaks.

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Rod Randolph Richardson said...

There is nothing wrong with guiding the USA away from dirty coal, but there are painful or painless ways to do it. Green Energy Tax Cuts can accomplish the same shift with an entrepreneurial boom, and without the pain of a carbon tax, and without sending the economy into a depression.

Rod Randolph Richardson said...
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Anonymous said...

Mr. Murdoch has bought into the McCain-Palin lies. Here are the facts from Debra Saunders, the SF Chronicle's resident conservative & Republican op-ed columnist: