Biden’s Green Spending Bill Will Make Little Difference

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By Paul Homewood

Greens are getting excited after Joe Manchin capitulated to pressure and agreed to vote for the Reconciliation Spending Bill, which includes $370bn of green spending:

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There are unreal expectations that it will lead to the US meeting its target of 40% emission cuts by 2030 (from 2005 levels). As Alex Epstein notes, however, it will likely make little difference at all, other than enrich fat cats:

The US energy consumption and CO2 emissions are about 14 times the UK’s. The spending package runs for ten years, so in UK terms, $370bn equates to about £2bn a year, which is chicken feed.

We know too that much Federal spending is simply pork barrelling, and much never gets spent on what it is intended for. This Bill, for instance, allocates $60bn for “environmental justice priorities to address disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change”, which not reduce emissions one iota.

In theory, the rest will go to subsidise renewable energy, electric cars, etc, but the latter are already subsidised, something this Bill merely continues. Currently, EV sales make up about 3% of the total in the US. As in this country, they are far too expensive for ordinary people to afford, even with taxpayer subsidy. It is unlikely that sales will suddenly rocket.

And in terms of electricity, throwing a few more subsidies at solar and wind farms, which again is already being done, will only affect things at the margin, given the tiny amount of subsidy on offer. Not least, of course, is the problem of integrating intermittent renewables into the grid, the cost of which will outweigh the subsidy many times over.

Biden had originally committed to a $2 trillion green spending spree, but this was thrown out by Congress last year.

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July 29, 2022 

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