- - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The White House looked in its crystal ball Tuesday and saw a grim future of tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and spring showers wreaking havoc across the nation. “Climate conditions are changing,” the U.S. Global Change Research Program proclaimed, “and are projected to continue to change.” This is presumably what President Obama meant when he campaigned on “change we can believe in.”

The change the administration has in mind is a tax on carbon dioxide. It sounds modern and fashionable to support “green” alternative energy, but in practice it plays out like every other political game for the benefit of cronies.

Germany made that change, to boost renewable energy sources, almost 15 years ago and concedes now that it made a serious mistake. At the turn of the millennium, the German government pointed with pride as it implemented an “energy transformation” plan that would speed the nation’s conversion to politically correct energy sources. The costs of wind and solar were astronomical, since the sun sets in the evening and the wind, unlike a politician, doesn’t always blow. Nevertheless, the government deemed the cause worthy of great subsidy.

Conventional energy sources were heavily taxed, and $33 billion in wealth was transferred from the consumers of affordable energy sources to the owners of wind and solar projects in the past year.

Private residencies last year paid $9.6 billion in additional fees to subsidize renewables. Electricity prices are three times higher in Germany than in the United States. More than 800,000 Germans have had their electricity cut off because they couldn’t pay the light bill.

Germany’s industrial sector, a quarter of the economy, paid $10 billion in taxes last year to finance green energy. The Federation of German Industries is worried that manufacturers will lose a competitive edge internationally as a result.

Spain had its own fling with wind and solar, a scheme abandoned after the near-bankrupt government blew $41 billion that it didn’t have on wind and solar subsidies. The United Kingdom “hopes” to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, and it will raise power and light bills of consumers by about $200 each every year.

Mr. Obama copies European fashions, but his energy policies are already out of style. Since 2006, the U.S. government transferred nearly $100 billion from taxpayers to slick schemers who fly the green flag.

The U.S. Department of Energy just announced that it will restart the loan program that awarded the bankrupt solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra $535 million in government funds. Now comes $4 billion for bigger and bolder scams.

California has implemented a state cap-and-trade scheme to cool the planet, and drivers are feeling the result at the pump. Californians pay the nation’s highest gasoline prices, an average of 55 cents more for every gallon but Leonardo DiCaprio enjoys a generous state tax credit when he buys still another six-figure electric sports car.

The Boston Consulting Group found that after factoring in the state’s low carbon-dioxide fuel standard, gasoline prices could jump an additional $1.83 per gallon by 2020. That’s the sort of change Mr. Obama promises Americans, and it’s change we can’t afford.