Last weekend, a cold snap spread across Germany as hundreds of thousands found their heating shut off due to an inability to pay staggeringly high (and rising) energy bills. Gas prices have risen 15 percent in the past two years, and are poised to rise even higher, leaving a large number of Germans in the cold.
While there are certainly a number of factors behind the increase, the influence of Europe’s strong green movement is detectable here. Stringent environmental regulations from Brussels and the imposition of carbon taxes in many European countries have increased the price of energy for businesses around the continent, which in turn pass these costs on to consumers. Green proposals like a union-wide carbon-trading scheme would send these prices higher still.
In case it wasn’t obvious, this is why Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s comments that American energy prices should be as high as Europe’s are such a political loser. High energy prices may make alternative fuels relatively more economical, but at high and wide-ranging cost: Those of modest means would have to cut back on life essentials like heating, cooling, and transportation. Advocates of European-style energy should imagine spending winter in Minnesota without heat or summer in Florida without air conditioning. This position is one of the craziest and most tone-deaf ideas to come from the left in some time, and it will serve the Democrats poorly come November.