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Rhonda Holman’s Kansas Energy Policy: Not Good for Kansas

Wichita Eagle editorialist Rhonda Holman writes “[Kansas Governor Kathleen] Sebelius gets it. Too bad the Kansas Chamber does not.”

This is the end of her lead editorial from today titled Kansas Chamber protecting past. In it, she claims that the Kansas Chamber of Commerce is out of touch with the reality of global warming, and by extension, that our governor isn’t.

Ms. Holman cites a study showing that green investment in Kansas could add many jobs to our economy. That’s no doubt true. But these jobs have all the characteristics of public works jobs, meaning that for each job created, one is lost somewhere else. That’s because these jobs don’t add to the wealth of Kansas, as we already are producing electricity. These new jobs simply shift Kansas to using a different form of power generation, one that Ms. Holman prefers.

Now if this shift was necessary to save our planet, that might be one thing. But the consensus behind man-made global warming is not as strong as Ms. Holman claims. And even if true, it might be best to learn to deal with the changing climate rather than try to stop the change.

Even if global warming is due to man’s activity, there’s very little we in Kansas can do to stop it. As illustrated in the article KEEP’s Goal is Predetermined and Ineffectual, Kansas is just a tiny speck on the Earth. Other countries overwhelm anything we can do in Kansas:

So even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions. This doesn’t take into account the huge emissions China already produces, or the rapid growth in other countries.

That’s right. Even if we stopped all carbon emissions in Kansas, the growth of emissions in China would very quickly negate our extreme sacrifice.

That’s the reality of the arithmetic of carbon emissions. But Ms. Holman thinks this is okay.

One of the comments left in response to Ms. Holman’s editorial argued in favor of solar and wind power and stated “Zero energy cost forever and zero drawdown of the Ogallala [sic] aquifer — what’s not to like?” This comment writer might want to take notice of impending expiration of the wind production tax credit, which gives money to subsidize the production of these two types of power. Without this subsidy, supporters of wind and solar power concede that investment in these forms of energy will likely cease. Furthermore, our local electric utility is asking for a rate increase, in part due to the expensive cost of wind power. See Tax incentive for wind energy producers set to expire and Kansas Electric Rates Increase Because of Wind Power Generation.

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