Green Energy Follies

 

The major assumption of the news, entertainment, and academic communities in the USA and most of the industrialized world is that a transition to what is described as clean or green energy is absolutely necessary and that by an arbitrary date certain such as 2035 and 2050 the US can indeed achieve the goal of a carbon-neutral or carbonless energy environment. However, as former Secretary of State Kerry acknowledged just recently, even should the US and all of Europe achieve a net-zero production of greenhouse gases, nothing will have been accomplished if India and China continue their current paths toward greater utilization of coal-fired energy production.

The numbers are roughly as follows: the world’s GHG production is around 52 billion tons. The US produces 5 billion tons annually, down from 6 billion tons. China at 13 billion tons and India at 3.5 billion tons, by comparison, are projected to reach 30 billion tons by 2035, while the US might reduce its emissions to 4-4.5 billion tons by that deadline.

The world’s overall GHG emission load would thus, at best, be 65+ billion tons (a 25% jump), assuming the rest of the world remains static. In Africa, where 50 percent of the population has no regular access to electricity, the need for grid energy is huge; without it, Africa cannot achieve any kind of prosperity and economic freedom. The GHG production in Africa and elsewhere would have to be factored into the equation to get the most likely GHG impact. (One good thing about natural gas production and use in Africa is that the traditional use of wood and agricultural waste as a source of fuel could markedly decline, and with it, serious airborne pollution and the resulting respiratory illnesses.)

Whatever the GHG number, one critical key to the future is natural gas production. It is the only way India and China can grow their energy demand while also cutting GHG emissions, and the only reasonable path forward for Africa and the rest of the world. But there is no international financial mechanism to provide the capital for such production, as the UN and World Bank system are being captured by a woke bureaucracy that wants to go from the current energy state to a non-fossil fuel capability directly, as opposed to adopting a transition where natural gas and other fuel sources are in the mix. (Assuming such a transition is necessary, which I don’t).

One often hears that nuclear power is the answer. But financing nuclear power is a tough hurdle for most investors, and without the ability to use spent fuel as a reactor fuel—as France does—the decision by former President Carter to prevent such technology from going forward flipped the nuclear power industry into the red. That needs to change for nuclear energy power to be viable. Nuclear power production also takes time to build, and while we know how to store nuclear waste, that is also a serious problem because of those in society whose idea of energy policy is a banana—build (b) absolutely (a) nothing (n) anywhere (a) near (n) anybody (a)!

Furthermore, the idea that electric vehicles, let alone electric planes and trucks, will soon be forthcoming to replace internal combustion engines, is an assumption that is not adequately thought through. Electric vehicle batteries and their production have very serious environmental side effects, and don’t necessarily operate well in various climates.

There is however some other elements of a non-fossil fuel energy future that requires better analysis. A recent Swiss analysis explains that of all the sunlight landing on the surface of solar panels or wind passing through wind farms, only 15-20% on average can be captured, and those numbers require optimum conditions. Then there is a further issue of what percent of the captured sunlight and wind can be utilized by the grid, and that is around 15-20% as well. Weather conditions are key, of course, especially when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, but other elements about energy efficiency also come into play.

Then there is the issue of the intermittent nature of renewable energies. Drought affects hydropower as we now are funding out with western USA sources of energy. An energy grid requires continuous energy production and thus renewables need a back-up source of energy, and that at this time is coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, with a small contribution from liquid fuels.

There is one possible bright spot in the future, but it will take considerable time to get there: to develop space-based solar power. Collecting the power in space is doable, but then you have to bring that power to a terrestrial-based grid, and that will take considerable investment and time, and we are not quickly going in that direction, although the Chinese are. And while space solar power helps with the grid, it doesn’t at this time replace liquid transportation fuels for trains, trucks, and planes except on the margins where EVs are being used.

However, even with a source of energy identified, the pursuit of an assumed green future is also costly, upwards of $100 trillion for the US alone over the next seven decades. Steve Forbes says the US has budgeted over $500 billion over the next decade just in US government funding for EV and related technology, which as Secretary Kerry has now told us, will all be for naught if China and India don’t change their ways, which the two nations with 2.8 billion people are showing no signs of doing.

I think much of the GHG analysis is not valid nor based on science, as I have written previously. But even if the rhetorical goals set by Kyoto or Paris are a good idea, which they are not, you cannot get there from here, and it makes no sense to waste trillions in investments that won’t get you to where you want to go in the first place. When every weather event is weaponized to disparage the fossil fuel industry, which provides us with over 60% of our electricity and close to 100% of our transportation fuel, we are headed toward energy poverty and routine shortages and outages.

On top of this, transportation still largely requires liquid fuels, and the related petrochemical industry provides the US and the industrial world an extraordinary range of benefits. In a lot of the poorer agricultural centers of the world, transportation is by draft animal as it is the literal horsepower on farms, and if shutdown by Bill Gates because he doesn’t like cow farts or meat eating, (and the methane GHG produced), there is no readily available alternative energy to substitute for draft animals.

Where is this leading?

To sharply reduce fuel use, which is where the US is headed, automobiles in the US have technology that allows the government to monitor vehicle use. In California, an attempt was made to allow the state to regulate the use of household appliances, which a coalition of left and right liberty supporters prevented from being implemented.

But like the CCP social score index used in China, the totalitarians are keen on providing everyone with a carbon score index (CSI) which would monitor your daily or monthly carbon footprint and not allow you or your household or business to exceed your allotted use.

For example, drivers would be told they have only a certain number of miles to drive before the car is automatically stopped. So don’t stray too far from home. Your dishwasher, television, furnace, and other household appliances would be similarly regulated, shut off by bureaucrats monitoring your carbon output.

Of course, the amount of your allowed GHG license would be totally arbitrary and it is certainly conceivable the oppressed classes would get more per capita usage than the class of oppressors. And just for fun, the regulators are also thinking of allowing some additional carbon footprint allowance but only if you are taxed for that amount automatically, with your bank account in real-time regularly feeding the US Treasury as you drive your electric vehicle to the grocery store or watch your television. Talk about a perpetual money machine!! And if your bank doesn’t have the right funds, well no more energy use for you!

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    The entire global warming/climate change/climate crisis subject is maddening. Like everything pushed by the progressives, it is a big lie. One can examine the geologic record to see the stupidity of it all. CO2 is vital to life on earth and is a trace gas in the atmosphere: 400ppm. The clowns like Kerry, Obama, Biden, Buttigieg, etc., etc. who lecture us on this and want to force their ridiculous policies on us are totally disconnected from reality. There are not enough minerals and elements in the world to build all the batteries these idiots think we need. John Hinderaker at powerlineblog.com does a good job of covering this lunacy. I also enjoy reading this guy:

    • #1
  2. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Like reading you scientists. To me looks like U.S. will ban gas cars and gas stoves so China can burn more coal. Perfect. 

    • #2
  3. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    From everything I’ve read, I’ve concluded that nearly all the arguments used in the debate over the effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are based on unscientific reasoning.

    I don’t engage in the debate however, even though I am pretty sure that I’m right about that.

    If I ever did read what I thought was a valid argument based on the logical and specifically the scientific method, I would Like it, and (I hope) remember that person’s username in case we scientific thinkers ever needed to be able to find each other on Ricochet.

    I might even Comment, “Huzzah!”

    • #3
  4. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    A few things…

    1. None of this analysis matters.  The whole point of carbon neutrality is to provide a believable excuse to drain the treasury, pocket a percentage, and appear virtuous.
    2. (Which makes for an effective strategy against enemy nations.)
    3. Minimizing pollution is a laudable goal.  But these people and these approaches are clearly incapable of doing anything remotely like that.
    4. Environmental regulatory operations are an enormous opportunity and incentive for graft, waste, corruption, mismanagement, and fraud.
    5. The US has had an Environmental Protection Agency for 52 years.  Annual budget $10 billion.  It should have kept this from happening, right?  No?   Instead, their strict regulations drove minimally polluting industries offshore, where there are no environmental controls or incentives, thus increasing global pollutants.
    6. Historically, the most consistently effective way to reduce pollutants has always been through regular technological development.  If they really cared…
    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    The most environmentally efficient solution is to bomb Chinese factories morning noon and night.

    • #5
  6. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    BDB (View Comment):

    The most environmentally efficient solution is to bomb Chinese factories morning noon and night.

    Far as I know, they aren’t even teaching this option to majors in Environmental Science any more.

    • #6
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Labeling CO2 a pollutant (Obama, in case anyone forgot) was an outrageous lie. CO2 is plant food as any gardener knows. And as Scott says, it’s a trace gas. 

    The whole “green” movement is a giant power grab.

    • #7
  8. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    • #8
  9. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    As Gov Newsom tweeted during the California fires a few years ago, “Climate. Change. Is. Real.”  I think the illiterate periods indicates (among stupid people) that debate is over.  I’m expecting the same tweet in response to California flooding. 

    • #9
  10. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Labeling CO2 a pollutant (Obama, in case anyone forgot) was an outrageous lie. CO2 is plant food as any gardener knows. And as Scott says, it’s a trace gas.

    The whole “green” movement is a giant power grab.

    Thanks, John Roberts!     CAGW is a scam.   Heck, every word of “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” is a separate commie lie. 

    • #10
  11. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    The most environmentally efficient solution is to bomb Chinese factories morning noon and night.

    Far as I know, they aren’t even teaching this option to majors in Environmental Science any more.

    Laziness.

    • #11
  12. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):

    As Gov Newsom tweeted during the California fires a few years ago, “Climate. Change. Is. Real.” I think the illiterate periods indicates (among stupid people) that debate is over. I’m expecting the same tweet in response to California flooding.

    Wait until it shows up with clapping hands between each word.

    I swear, these people are as annoying as possible, and they teach it in their schools.

    I used to try to out-douche the d-bags here on Ricochet once in a while pre-2017, but I was simply outclassed.  They were better at it.  I saw a video a couple of days ago with some awful young woman on public transport (with an awful zero-class British accent) giving an Oscar worthy performance aggravating and provoking people.  She was verbally abusing an older (older than she was, that is) woman and doing a heck of a job.  Nobody made her shut up, unfortunately, for that is what would have happened in a civilization which defends itself.  I recall wondering how they get so good at it.  It takes a lifetime of practice, however old you are.

    I’ll see if I can dig up the Tweet (God save me).

    • #12
  13. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Labeling CO2 a pollutant. was an outrageous lie. CO2 is plant food as any gardener knows. And as Scott says, it’s a trace gas.

    As I mentioned, I don’t engage in this debate.

    If I pointed out the violations of the scientific method in the arguments of the Climate Change hysterics, the proggies, it would have no effect on them.

    • Many proggies didn’t learn the scientific method, and are confident beyond any possibility of education or reasoning that they did learn it.
    • The rest of the proggies, who do know the scientific method, are determined not to appeal to it in their actions nor their arguments, because it is only useful for the purpose of discovering the truth; they are determined that the common people believe their lies.

    I don’t argue with the anti-proggies either, who are opposed to the totalitarian Climate Change agenda.

    • I am on their side.  It is the right side: they are resisting the evil ends of the smart proggies (and the innocent methods of the stupid ones).
    • They are my friends and without their friendship I would suffer much.

    If I were to find an ally (an anti-proggy) who

    • is ignorant of the scientific method and is unknowingly presenting invalid arguments against the Climate Hysteria campaign (like the proggies, but for the opposite conclusion), and
    • has such an intense interest in the truth as to be willing to learn that his arguments, while they have a correct conclusion, are irrational and based on false version of the scientific method

    then I would be happy to try to teach him how to detect scientific reading, thinking, and writing errors like his, so as to avoid making them again.

    But outside of that, like Kate’s and my hero, Dr. John Campbell, the covid hysteria critic,

    • I must be careful what I say on a given platform, for fear of being cancelled
    • sometimes say what I think by what I don’t say, in a given context.
    • #13
  14. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    As I mentioned, I don’t engage in this debate.

    If I pointed out the violations of the scientific method in the arguments of the Climate Change hysterics, the proggies, it would have no effect on them.

    It’s the wrong debate to engage in.  It doesn’t get you anything.

    First agree with them.  Pollutants are bad, m’kay.  

    Then out-virtue them.

    “Here’s the problem… these programs you endorse are chock full of corporate and political corruption, and they are actually making the problem worse.   Notice how there’s no “report card”.  If you really cared about the planet, and I believe you do, you’d demand that these programs be audited to make sure they are having the intended effect.  And if they’re not, shut them down immediately.”

    • #14
  15. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    It’s the wrong debate to engage in.  It doesn’t get you anything.

    Speaking of which …

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    The most environmentally efficient solution is to bomb Chinese factories morning noon and night.

    Far as I know, they aren’t even teaching this option to majors in Environmental Science any more.

    That’s just because of the leftists’ communist fear of atmospheric radiation, as if that’s really a worry.

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke.  But I keep suspecting there are downsides.   Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    • #17
  18. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Like reading you scientists. To me looks like U.S. will ban gas cars and gas stoves so China can burn more coal. Perfect.

    And we are the ones who will get smoked if this keeps up.

    • #18
  19. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    We’re hosed regardless because sea level will rise 1 ft by 2050.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    We’re hosed regardless because sea level will rise 1 ft by 2050.

    That’s still almost 4,000 ft below me-level.

    • #20
  21. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke. But I keep suspecting there are downsides. Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    Yeah, then there´s air traffic control… hospitals….traffic lights….

    • #21
  22. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke. But I keep suspecting there are downsides. Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    Yeah, then there´s air traffic control… hospitals….traffic lights….

    Timely price signals travel electronically.  Everything would collapse.  What functioned for a while would be boom-and-busted to oblivion.  That’s *without* militaries, roving bands, and defensible locations helpfully adjusting various populations (each other) downward.

    • #22
  23. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke. But I keep suspecting there are downsides. Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    Yeah, then there´s air traffic control… hospitals….traffic lights….

    I don’t like hospitals, don’t watch traffic lights, and they are already working on shutting down air traffic control.

    I guess you know the FAA shut down all domestic fights in the US today.  Apparently a corrupted file and corrupted backup file in the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system.  But fortunately it wasn’t because of hacking.

    • #23
  24. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke. But I keep suspecting there are downsides. Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    Yeah, then there´s air traffic control… hospitals….traffic lights….

    I don’t like hospitals, don’t watch traffic lights, and they are already working on shutting down air traffic control.

    I guess you know the FAA shut down all domestic fights in the US today. Apparently a corrupted file and corrupted backup file in the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system. But fortunately it wasn’t because of hacking.

    Oh, heavens, no. Certainly could not possibly have been the case…..

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Lord, send us a new Carrington Event before the Greens can put the worst of their entirely bad ideas into effect. Sure, it´ll cause massive, world-wide destruction and displacement, but a crisis of that magnitude might just cause enough of the less fanatical among the eco-Crusaders to think “maybe the benefits of a high-energy civilization are worth the trade-offs.” Not the Paul Ehrlich crowd, of course, but there´s tar and feathering for them.

    I’ve wanted this if just to stop the booming stereos of passing cars, and neighbors blasting karaoke. But I keep suspecting there are downsides. Like controls for water and sewage pumps not working in major cities and towns.

    Yeah, then there´s air traffic control… hospitals….traffic lights….

    I don’t like hospitals, don’t watch traffic lights, and they are already working on shutting down air traffic control.

    I guess you know the FAA shut down all domestic fights in the US today. Apparently a corrupted file and corrupted backup file in the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system. But fortunately it wasn’t because of hacking.

    Oh, heavens, no. Certainly could not possibly have been the case…..

    Well, CNBS reports that it was likely the result of archaic IT programming.  So we can hope it’s just that.  I guess.

    • #25
  26. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    We have a PhD physicist at work who told a very brief history of the Carrington Event as part of the Q&A at an engineer’s lunchtime talk. I did NOT know until then that telegraph stations caught on fire, so intense was the electro-magnetic effect. It would be way worse than we can imagine if another such event were to occur, such is our dependence on electronics. Way worse. People in 1859 knew how to grow food and drive horses.

    There would be orders of magnitude more energy involved than an EMP device would put out. Unimaginable. 

    Anyone paying attention to the recent spate of solar flares?

    • #26
  27. Derek Tyburczyk Lincoln
    Derek Tyburczyk
    @Derek Tyburczyk

    People and their beliefs! There is no reasoning with entrenched beliefs. Why bother with facts and observations, when you can cloak your denial in a shroud of certainty.

    Believe in catastrophic climate change, or don’t. It doesn’t matter! 

    You want people to be concerned about the environment? Then they need to prosper! Energy austerity, leads to economic austerity. False virtue, and tribal mentality is fanning the flames of economic collapse.

    How much more money can be thrown at a fantastical bogey man? We can’t change the weather. 

    • #27
  28. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    We have a PhD physicist at work who told a very brief history of the Carrington Event as part of the Q&A at an engineer’s lunchtime talk. I did NOT know until then that telegraph stations caught on fire, so intense was the electro-magnetic effect. It would be way worse than we can imagine if another such event were to occur, such is our dependence on electronics. Way worse. People in 1859 knew how to grow food and drive horses.

    There would be orders of magnitude more energy involved than an EMP device would put out. Unimaginable.

    Anyone paying attention to the recent spate of solar flares?

    Good source:  https://spaceweather.com/

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Derek Tyburczyk (View Comment):

    People and their beliefs! There is no reasoning with entrenched beliefs. Why bother with facts and observations, when you can cloak your denial in a shroud of certainty.

    Believe in catastrophic climate change, or don’t. It doesn’t matter!

    You want people to be concerned about the environment? Then they need to prosper! Energy austerity, leads to economic austerity. False virtue, and tribal mentality is fanning the flames of economic collapse.

    How much more money can be thrown at a fantastical bogey man? We can’t change the weather.

    What gets me is how quickly the media went full throat on this, with no actual evidence or even discussion.

    • #29
  30. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    We’re hosed regardless because sea level will rise 1 ft by 2050.

    Based on the recent historical average, we should expect about 2 inches by 2050. 

    • #30
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