MSNBC's Chris Hayes Claims Energy Prices 'Too Low,' Preventing 'Sane Climate Policy'

Given the current sad state of the economy, when the price of something goes down, that's a good thing because you can buy more of it without breaking the bank, right?

That's not what the host of the MSNBC program Up With Chris Hayes said on Saturday, when he claimed that “the price of energy is too low” and “the massive, extractive energy boom happening in America right now” is getting in the way of promoting renewable power sources.

Hayes stated that the price of fuel, “coming down as sharply as it is right now” because of “a massive amount of supply” that is available “thanks largely to natural gas,” has created “a lot of problematic stuff” in terms of incentives for efficiency and “a sane energy policy.”

Dan Dicker, a correspondent with the CNBC financial news network, agreed with the host's assertion, claiming:

You would want the prices to go up a lot because it would drive the next stage towards renewables, and make that at least cost-effective.

The panelist then turned his attention to algae fuel, which costs “about eight and a half to nine dollars a gallon compared to gasoline."

“You want the prices to go up to make these [alternative fuels] a little more cost effective,” Dicker noted. “Drive the technology into them. Unfortunately, it’s actually doing quite the opposite.”

He stated that while “overseas demand is dropping,” in America “we've done better in terms of efficiencies, and our demands are starting to drop,” leading the analyst to predict that during the next several years, “oil prices will in fact go lower.”

While many people would consider that a good thing, Dicker did not.

“We have to drive the renewable argument some other way, because price doesn’t look like it’s going to do it,” he added.

That led Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council to claim that “the only thing that’s going to change that is if we finally put a price on carbon.”

“The externals of all the fossil fuel development are not incorporated in the current price, so the environmental effects, the health effects, the consequences to communities, none of that is factored in,” she asserted.

We have to change that, get a price on carbon, drive it up so that we can promote renewables and efficiencies first and foremost.

Over at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw makes the following observation:

These groups of self-described liberal, effete intellectuals who appear to have no connection to real people, real science or reality in general are out there with a powerful set of microphones.

Shaw noted that “these preening packs of self-appointed saviors of humanity -- who have probably never even come within sight of an actual oil rig unless their cruise ship happened to pass one by -- have long since figured out the answers to all of your “problems” when it comes to energy, and it’s based on taxing you into submission regardless of how much energy we manage to produce."

The blogger asserted that Hayes admitted that the recent surge in natural gas usage has driven carbon-based emissions to their lowest level in decades.

“But is that enough?” Shaw asked. “No. It is not. Because somebody, somewhere is still burning hydrocarbon-based fuels. And that’s got to be stopped, no matter the cost to the country.”

It's telling that no one on the panel expressed concern for the average American who would have to bear the burden of implementing such strategies. When it came to that aspect of the discussion, the panelists were definitely “out of gas.”

Randy Hall
Randy Hall