Sunday, March 4, 2012

More, Please -- Information, That Is

by Leslie S. Lebl

Okay, I'm in fantasy-land - but it is an election year, and I'm being bombarded by all kinds of promises and assertions. So I'm dreaming of two things.

The first would be a list, prepared by the Obama administration, a neutral non-partisan think-tank, or in fact just about anybody, of those green energy 'investments' subsidized by the U.S. government that have been successful.

My criteria for success aren't too rigorous: the company in question (1) should not have since gone bankrupt; (2) should not have laid off a large percentage of its employees; (3) should not have made a major investment abroad after receiving the subsidy. And, to make my fantasy complete, I'd like to see the percentage of total expenditures on green technologies that went to these successful companies.

Skeptics, please note I'm not even asking that the companies on the list show substantial sales or a profit. Nor am I restricting the data to certain years; green technologies have been subsidized by Republican as well as Democratic administrations.
The second thing I'd like is data showing whether high European gas prices have stimulated the development of significant alternative energy sources there. Such data would, of course, take into account the extensive state subsidies of various European countries.

I realize it's completely unrealistic to expect to conduct a public debate on alternative energy based on data, but I can dream, can't I?

A retired Foreign Service Officer, Leslie S. Lebl is a writer, consultant and lecturer. In the Foreign Service, Ms. Lebl served as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels. Prior to that, she was Political Advisor to the Commander of Stabilization Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, first in the American sector in Tuzla and then at SFOR headquarters in Sarajevo. Other assignments included Russia, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, Bolivia, Germany and Poland, as well as a year as diplomat-in-residence at Yale University. She speaks French, German, Russian, Polish and Spanish. She is currently at work on a book about radical Islam and the European Union.

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