Until now, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) could be read without concern over the veracity of its articles.
That is changing.
Today, it’s necessary to verify the facts and content of WSJ articles.
On September 14, the WSJ included a special section, Innovations in Energy.
The centerpiece of this special section was The Coming Price on Carbon, a full page article, proposing that a price on carbon was necessary, in part, at least, because Moody’s, and others, considered uncertainty over carbon a financial risk.
It went further to say, not only was it necessary, but that industry favored it, that the COP 21 agreement committed the United States to cutting CO2 emissions, and that a carbon tax would not put the United States at a disadvantage to China and others, because they are pursuing actions to cut CO2 emissions by using cap-and-trade.
Interestingly, the article said, “U.S. trading partners have priced carbon, and so Americans already pay for carbon in goods from those countries, which include European Union countries, Japan and South Korea.”
The fact we are already paying more, doesn’t seem like a good reason to inflict additional economic pain on Americans. It hardly seems rational to add a carbon tax to the goods we produce, just because some other country adds one to the goods they produce.
In so far as industry support for a carbon tax is concerned, much of that comes from companies, like Total, BP and Shell, based in Europe where there already is a carbon tax in the form of cap-and-trade. It’s true that Exxon has also said they favor a carbon tax, but as producers of natural gas they would benefit when competing with coal, while also fending off environmental extremists who want the government to prosecute Exxon for supposedly committing fraud.
The WSJ allowed this article to be printed, even though there were factual errors and misleading information contained in the article.
Here are three examples of inaccurate or misleading statements from the WSJ article, The Coming Price on Carbon.
- The article claims that the cost of solar has fallen and “put the price of power in parity with natural gas in some markets.” I know of no such instance, and in fact, even the Energy Information Administration (EIA) admits that the levelized cost (LCOE) of solar is significantly higher than from natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants and from coal-fired power plants.
- The article claims that the price of batteries for backing up solar has come down 50%, but, while this may be true, the cost of battery storage is still far greater than the cost of building an NGCC power plant and generating electricity. The cost of battery storage is at least $2,000 per KW, which is twice the cost of building an NGCC power plant. Battery storage is not economical.
- The article says that industry doesn’t want to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS), which is probably true. CCS is not only exorbitantly expensive, it won’t work. Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants cost 6 times as much as a natural gas power plant. Storing huge quantities of CO2 underground for centuries without leaking back into the atmosphere, quantities that are millions and millions of tons greater than have been tried thus far, is probably not possible, especially when there are examples of how gasses stored “securely” underground have leaked into the atmosphere. See, Kemper is No Keeper.
The article assumes that CO2 is the cause of global warming, and that a price must be put on carbon.
But that in itself is a false assumption, because CO2 may very possibly not be the cause of global warming.
The article completely ignores the possibility that the sun is the cause of global warming.
If the WSJ didn’t want to force the author to rewrite the article, it could have offered a rebuttal to all the false and misleading information contained in the article. The WSJ did publish an article, A Price on Carbon? Don’t Bet on It, that examined the political reasons why congress wouldn’t impose a price.
But, saying a carbon tax won’t happen because of politics, is vastly different from saying the original article was misleading and inaccurate.
It’s the accuracy and truthfulness that is missing from the WSJ special section.
Allowing misinformation to stand without questioning it, should be unacceptable.
It’s tragic, it’s no longer possible to read the WSJ and believe the information will be factually correct. Virtually the entire special section, Innovations in Energy, is an opinion piece that should have been in the editorial section.
This is the second time within a month that the WSJ has published misleading and inaccurate information, without providing an explanation. See, Wall Street Journal Drinks the Kool Aid.
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Nothing to Fear, Chapter 12, explains why carbon capture and sequestration will not work.
Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers, including the Heartland Institute.
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy
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