CEI Today: The EU's Nobel Peace Prize, solar panel and biofuel snafus, and California's scheme for GE food labeling
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE - IAIN MURRAY
On October 12, it was announced that the European Union had won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The announcement was greeted with warmth in Brussels and distinct coolness elsewhere — including throughout Europe. The award is notably odd because the EU’s policies are currently helping to destabilize the continent. Indeed, because of the euro, it may not survive another year without a secession crisis, or worse. Only a reversal of course on the EU project itself can restore hope and guarantee peace.
NEW TARIFF ON SOLAR PANELS - WILLIAM YEATMAN
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department levied tariffs from 18 percent to 240 percent on solar panels imported from China. At best, this silly policy will increase the price of electricity in America; at worst, it could be the first salvo in a harmful trade war.
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are expensive and unreliable, so they cannot compete with conventional energy sources in the electricity market. Instead, demand for green energy is established by Soviet-style production quotas, known as renewable energy standards. More than 30 states have enacted such standards, which force consumers to use increasing amounts of green energy.
BIOFUELS VS FOOD
U.S. biofuel expansion has cost developing countries $6.6 billion in higher food costs, estimates Tufts University economist Timothy A. Wise in Fueling the Food Crisis, a report published by ActionAid. A 10-minute video interview with Wise about his research is available here.
The 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), established by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), exerts long-term upward pressure on grain prices by diverting an ever-growing quantity of corn from food and feed to auto fuel. This is great for corn farmers but not good for U.S. consumers and harmful to millions of people in developing countries, many of whom live in extreme poverty.
CALIF. PROP 37 FOOD LABELING - GREGORY CONKO & HENRY MILLER
California's initiative process – which allows "propositions" to be placed on the ballot quite easily – can lead to laws that are muddled, intentionally misleading to voters, and bad public policy. One of these is Proposition 37, which would require labeling of "genetically engineered" foods.
Labeling advocates claim that GE foods are somehow "unnatural" and might be unsafe. And what could be wrong with letting consumers know what's in their food and letting them decide what to buy?