2016 Déjà vu: Voters Reject Out-of-Touch Elitists for ‘Everyday’ Guy

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Cartoonist Gary Varvel

To the dismay of political pundits and the mainstream media, Australians reelected incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his conservative coalition. In doing so, they rejected a year-long push by environmentalists to paint him as a “climate change denier” who is unfit to lead the Land Down Under.

Morrison, who branded himself as an “everyday” guy, defied most polls and emerged victorious. By promising to counter aggressive proposals from the opposition Labor Party aimed at battling global warming, Morrison won broad support from middle-class Australians.

The “Quiet Australians,” as Morrison dubbed his supporters, essentially vetoed Labor’s ambitious greenhouse gas-cutting agenda. The Labor Party’s misguided Climate Change Action Plan would mandate half of electricity generation come from solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources by 2030; require electric vehicles (EV) to make up 50 percent of new car sales in 10 years; and establish a cap-and-trade system for 250 companies considered the nation’s biggest polluters.

The conservative coalition used basic economics (and common sense) to argue against Labor’s outrageous climate change agenda. For example, it cited an economic study that estimated a 45 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would cost the Australian economy 167,000 jobs and $181 billion. Further, it’s important to note the EV target is totally unaffordable considering that the cheapest electric car costs $45,000.

On the other side of the globe, in America, overzealous climate change policies failed in efforts across the nation during the 2018 midterm elections. For instance, Arizonians rejected Proposition 127, which would have mandated 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030. Voters in Washington State defeated Initiative 1631, which would have levied a fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions beginning in 2020, with fee increases of $2 per ton, plus the rate of inflation, annually. This was the second failed carbon dioxide tax ballot initiative in Washington over the past five years.

Researchers at Arizona State University estimated the impact of Proposition 127 and found it would cause significant economic losses for the Grand Canyon State, beginning in 2025. By 2060, the state’s economy would lose $36.8 billion and 305,000 job years, including 280,000 job years in private, non-farm firms.

Similarly, researchers at the Washington Policy Center published a policy paper that found households, on average, would experience a $243 to $305 annual increase in their gas and electricity bills in the first year. That figure would increase to $672 to $877 after 10 years.

A new policy paper from the Institute for Energy Research, “The Case Against a Carbon Tax,” details how a tax on carbon dioxide emissions would make everything more expensive for working families in the United States, drive up costs for businesses, and have an insignificant effect on global carbon dioxide emissions. A 2019 Working Paper from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago shows renewable energy mandates are dramatically increasing retail electricity prices and barely reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Currently, renewable energy mandates exist in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Fortunately, no states currently have carbon dioxide taxes in place.

Lawmakers in every state should read Heartland’s Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels “Summary for Policymakers,” which provides a scientific and economic analysis of the benefits of fossil fuels.

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