In an interview on Fox News, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen, said that the United States has reduced its carbon emissions faster than the European Union has. Thiessen said that America’s carbon emissions dropped to 1992 levels ever since Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol. This was accomplished, he said, through a free market approach, as well as technologies such as hydraulic fracking and clean goal.
He said, moreover, that energy prices are now at half the level found in Europe.
Back in 2014, the federal Energy Information Agency found that European residential electricity prices were rising faster than in the US. According to the EIA, European residential electricity prices have historically exceeded U.S. prices, and that gap has widened in recent years. “In 2013, average residential electricity rates in European Union (EU) countries were more than double rates in the United States. Regulatory structures—including taxes and other user fees, investment in renewable energy technologies, and the mix and cost of fuels—all influence electricity prices.”
In 2013, according to the EIA, average EU residential prices were 0.20 euro per kilowatthour (euro/kWh), which translates to about 26.57 cents per kilowatthour (cents/kWh), a 43% increase from the average 2006 price of 18.80 cents/kWh. In that same time, U.S. prices increased only 17%, from 10.40 cents/kWh to 12.12 cents/kWh. The highest rates were found in Denmark (39.42 cents/kWh), while the lowest were in Bulgaria (11.99 cents/kWh). Bulgaria was the only country in the EU-28 with residential prices lower than the U.S. average in 2013.
At that time, the range of electricity prices was wide. However, the average in 2013 for residential electricity prices was 12.12 cents/kWh, with a range in the Lower 48 states of 8.67 cents/kWh (Washington) to 18.84 cents/kWh (New York). At 36.99 cents/kWh, Hawaii had the highest residential electricity prices in the United States because of the high cost of transporting generation fuel to the islands.
A study released by the Heritage Foundation in April outlined the possible effects of the Paris Agreement, which was negotiated by the Obama administration. “Restricting the use of conventional energy sources as laid out by the Obama Administration’s INDC will significantly harm the U.S. economy. Americans feel the pain of higher energy prices directly, but also indirectly through almost all of the goods and services they buy, because energy is a necessary component of production and service. Higher energy prices will disproportionately hurt the poorest Americans, who spend the highest percentage of their budget on energy bills.”
Adhering to the Paris Agreement, said the study, would mean that companies would pass costs on to consumers and also cause a drop in employment. “As prices rise, consumers buy less, and companies will drop employees, close entirely, or move to other countries where the cost of doing business is lower. The result is fewer opportunities for American workers, lower incomes, less economic growth, and higher unemployment.”
President Trump announced this week that he will drop out of the Paris Agreement. He was met with criticism, not only from Democrats, but from politicians in Europe, as well.