A group of revelers gathered in New Orleans on Tuesday to share their semi-coherent thoughts on the state of the world, struggle with big words, complain about feeling slighted, and brag about how successful they are.
While this was surely also happening with the partiers on Bourbon street, we’re referring specifically to Heartland’s sparsely attended second annual energy conference, which gathered some of the brightest minds in the climate denial world to discuss such important topics as crawfish getting “more big” and make such intelligent arguments as “a carbon tax is Obamacare on heroin.”
Other highlights of these very serious discussions, per E&E’s Scott Waldman, include Louisiana Republican representative Clay Higgins calling clean energy sources “rainbow dust and unicorn milk.” Then there’s Kathleen Hartnett-White, who Waldman reminds us “had to withdraw as Trump's pick to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality after stumbling over questions of basic climate science.” Apparently, stumbling over basics is a personality trait: during her comments at the conference, Harnett said she found it “amusing to imagine” we can move off fossil fuels while admitting that “it's kind of hard to say the word decarbonize.”
In her defense, any word with more than three syllables is probably a hoax anyway.
Despite having their very intelligent brothers-in-arms basically running the federal government, according to InsideClimate News’ Marianne Lavelle, the Heartland crew “ found plenty of reasons for dread.” That cities and states are ramping up climate action while the Endangerment Finding remains standing are two of the biggest factors that dampened the mood.
This conference held by Heartland, an educational non-profit with a mission that claims to be all about promoting the free-market, seemed to feature some hostility towards that market now that it’s moving beyond fossil fuels. Heartland Senior Fellow Frederick Palmer, who per Lavelle “wasn't the only one to suggest that conservatives may have to scrap laissez-faire principles to keep fossil fuel energy flowing,” complained at the conference about utilities moving forward with emission reduction plans, “as if Donald Trump wasn't elected.”
Continuing, Palmer called on the government to issue a moratorium on retiring coal plants.
Isn’t the idea that utilities are shedding outdated and expensive fuel sources a sign that the free market is free from the whims of government, like Heartland wants? And isn’t a government decree that companies keep a product alive despite its economic failure exactly the opposite of the free market they otherwise trumpet?
If we didn’t know any better, this stuff would make it look like Heartland’s free market focus is merely cover for the group being little more than a promotional vehicle for the industries that give it money...
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