From his sprawling new $9 million ocean-view villa in Montecito, California, with its high ceilings, wine cellar, terraces, six fireplaces, five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, pool and 6,500 square feet of living space, former Vice President Al Gore is asking a favor of the American people. He’d like you to tighten your belt and shell out big time for higher electric bills, all in the name of fighting global warming.
In a renewable electricity standard (RES) proposal now before Congress, those costs would be huge. A new Heritage Foundation study modeled the effects of a generic RES and found that the average family of four would lose $2,400 per year in national income, and their share of the national debt would increase by $11,000.
The Heritage analysis assumes an RES proposal that calls for 37.5% of the electricity we consume to be renewable energy by 2035; by contrast, Gore’s man-on-the-moon pipe dream calls for 100 percent renewable energy by 2018. Both would be incredibly costly to average Americans, which might be more palatable if you, like the former veep, can afford to add solar panels to the roof of one of your mansions. (Gore also owns a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Belle Meade, Tenn., where he has been depicted working in the soft glow of three 30-inch Apple cinema display monitors, which retail for a hefty $1,799 each.)
There are more costs to America, too. Heritage’s study also shows the renewable electricity standards would by 2035:
- Raise household electricity prices by 36 percent and increase electric bills for businesses by 60 percent.
- Slash the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product, by hundreds of billions of dollars a year — for a total loss of $5.2 trillion from 2012-2035.
- Destroy more than 1 million jobs, despite any “green” jobs created.
The RES idea, already passed out of a Senate committee, is likely to be part of any energy agenda this year. The Heritage study, conducted by the Center for Data Analysis, looks solely at onshore wind because it’s the cheapest, most practical renewable source.
You can count on Gore continuing to beat his drums, despite these costs. And he won’t be alone. Actor Harrison Ford is championing the Green Dream, too, all while flying one of his seven gas-guzzling airplanes. Don’t worry, he assures his critics that he only flies one at a time and that he will “start walking everywhere when they start walking everywhere.”
Then there’s Madonna, who calls for environmental action yet spends $120,000 per year on bottled water (which some greenies would like to ban) and whose charity invested in the very companies the environmental movement condemns.
For Al Gore and millionaire celebrities activists, the costs of environmental regulations aren’t even an afterthought; they can afford to live in solar-paneled mansions and throw stones. But for the rest of Americans, the costs will be all too real – in energy bills, jobs, and national debt.