The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Energy Crisis? What Energy Crisis?

If you've never heard British politician Daniel Hannan speak, you've never heard the art of the speech at its finest. I've been a follower of Mr. Hannan for three years now, ever since I heard what I consider to be the finest short speech since the Gettysburg Address. But since his realm is politics, and not directly relevant to my commentary on Go Wood, then I've never thought to introduce him to the Go Wood audience.

Now, however, he has given a one and a half-minute speech at the EU that is right in the spirit of our Go Wood energy policy posts. That is, he has addressed the issue of high energy taxes and economic growth, or lack of it, that they are currently experiencing in the EU.

Mr. Hannan makes specific reference to the difference in results between the EU's policy of fuel tax increases (which stifles economic growth) and the benefit we here in the states have received due to the boom in natural gas harvesting like that of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

The "carbon tax" enacted by the EU is a direct reason why European countries are leaders in biomass energy utilization. It has effectively doubled the price of fossil fuels, and the taxes collected have gone into development of renewable energy production, mostly of wood chips and pellets, wind energy, and biodiesel. And some there think that additional taxation of carbon is a better way to solving current economic problems than "austerity" measures in government budgets. But thinkers like Mr. Hannan have observed that the price for alternative fuels has been a tremendous burden on the economies of the EU, and are effectively preventing the EU from growing its way out of its current economic woes.

Fortunately for us, we're following in Europe's footsteps, and have the opportunity to avoid the problems they've encountered. That is, we can pursue the American way of free markets, instead of the European way of government-controlled markets through targeted taxation and regulations.

That is what we're doing, right?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it's that simple; using high tax suppport to enable expensive "conversions" like wood to liquid fuels and 35% efficient electric power is inefficient and ineffective.

But without a combination of leadership through education, regulation and financial incentives toward both efficiency and renewables, Europe would have been in far worse shape as the Russians cut off nat gas at the end of 2006, 2008 and again more recently. Industry does not move from status quo unless pushed; then when they get it and start making money it was their idea.
John Karakash

jayo said...

Free markets? What free markets?

alternative energy kent said...

Its not only one man show if Mr. Hannan has addressed the issue of high energy taxes and economic growth. No one knows how much time it will take to fulfil their promises.