CLIMATE WATCH - Like a bolt of lightning flashing across a black sky, that number - $50 trillion caught my eye. $50 trillion is what climate catastrophists claimed at a recent Senate hearing will cost to make the USA carbon neutral. That’s a lot of green money. This figure gives new meaning to Senator Everett Dirksen’s quote: “A billion trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. “Under questioning by Senator Kennedy of Louisiana, Dr. Holtz-Eakin and Dr. Robert Litterman admitted $50,000,000,000,000 might not bring the temperature down even 1-degree centigrade.
A couple of weeks later, Senator Kennedy asked David Turk, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, this same question. Mr. Turk, unprepared for the question, did his best to dodge it. But he admitted the USA is only 13% of the world’s total carbon emissions, so if we go to Net-Zero, the effect assuming it’s all about anthropogenic warming would be almost nil. All expert witnesses admit any impact we get from going to Net-Zero would depend on what the rest of the world does. We will only affect CO2 emissions with the help of India and China, which are building coal plants at a record pace. China and India want nothing to do with unreliable, variable “renewable energy.” Even Germany is returning to coal and imported over 44 million tons of dirty old coal, mainly from Russia last year. Therefore, we could bankrupt the country without affecting the climate.
Our view of our ability to affect climate is a megalomaniacal and narcissistic view of humanity’s position on the Earth and the solar system. This view reminds me of the Earth being the center of the universe popularized by Claudius Ptolemy (about 100 CE), which reigned supreme for 1400 years before Copernicus, Galileo, and Isaac Newton overturned it. The current theory especially coming from the so-called mainstream scientific community, which is paid to derive specific outcomes, is that anthropogenic warming has been the cause of climate change for the last 250 years. So much of this “data” relies on when we start measuring the temperature. Two hundred fifty years ago, it was a lot colder than it is now. So, of course, it looks like the temperature is going up. If you build a computer model and you program it to show temperature going up with emissions, what do you get? Depending on the programmer’s skill or lack of skill, you get catastrophic global warming and presumably a fat check. These views of humans as solely responsible for climate change suppose that natural processes going on Earth and the solar system do not affect Earth’s temperature or sea levels.
Of course, when you switch definitions from global warming to climate change, any politician can blame any unsuitable weather on climate change. Bouts of drought, too much rain, too much snow, and unseasonably warm or cold are all the fault of humans using too many hydrocarbons. This is an argument no climate realist can win, and it is designed that way despite evidence that hurricanes aren’t increasing in frequency and that deaths from natural disasters are at their lowest point in 120 years.
Earth gets its primary energy from the sun. The sun does not sit in the sky like a 100-Watt bulb constantly giving off the same amount of energy. Throughout all recorded history and before, the sun has gone through periods of maximum and minimum output, significantly affecting the climate here on Earth as we've gone through tropical periods and ice ages lasting for hundreds of thousands of years. The Earth's relative position, whether it's closer or farther away from the sun, also affects climate materially.
Greenpeace Co-founder Doctor Patrick Moore asks what the main product of climate research is. His answer is fear. The IPCC has everybody thinking it's a top science institution, but it's not. It's a political institution, and they used science to create perpetual funding for themselves. Doctor Moore said, "Their mandate is only to look at human effects on the climate, not the natural effects that have been changing the climate for millions of years."
Bank of America believes achieving Net Zero will cost 150 trillion in the next 30 years. This is twice the combined gross domestic product of every country on the planet, with an annual cost of 5 trillion. Of course, this estimate is based on all countries doing their part. But India, which is rapidly building as many coal plants as it can, stated it won't move to net zero unless they are paid $1 trillion by 2030. Something that most likely won't ever happen. Additionally, BofA sees net zero policies turbocharging green inflation, adding another 3% to the cost of living. An article by Nature in August 2021 shows that net zero will cost each American over $11,000 by 2050.
Analyst David Wojick says Net-zero is impossible because it would cost too much: "(Electricity) storage at the scale needed to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar is impossibly expensive. Even assuming fantastic price reductions, analysis shows the cost of the required battery storage still nearly equals the $23 trillion the amount of America's gross domestic product. The likely cost would be many times GDP." If green energy is so good, the government would not have to subsidize wind farms, solar, and electric vehicles by $430 Billion. If green energy sources were cheap, no subsidies would be needed, and everybody would readily adopt them. This $430 Billion is planned in the Inflation Reduction Act, which just passed Congress. According to a California Public Utilities Commission report, California has spent $43.3 billion subsidizing green energy since 2000. Between the E.U., which has similar subsidies as the USA, we have spent a Trillion Dollars on renewable energies without any noticeable or sustainable effect on climate. Penn Warton's new estimate of the inflation reduction act based on additional details that just came out is $1045 Billion over the next 10 years.
Spending 50 trillion to eliminate Carbon Dioxide, which is the essential trace gas for sustaining life on Earth, will escalate over time to $100 Trillion or more. Transitioning from reliable energy to highly variable energy sources while adding greater loads on the electric grid while decommissioning natural gas plants, nuclear plants, and coal plants ensure a poorer, less healthy future as we regress hundreds of years of progress. Ken Gregory a professional engineer determined that grid backup battery costs could reach $290 trillion (12.6 times the USA's 2021 GDP) which he is based on actual 2019 and 2020 electrical generation from fossil fuels, and computing the amount of needed backup battery cost. The financial hurdles will be insurmountable. We have a $31.4 trillion deficit which is growing by the second. We have at least $163 trillion in unfunded Social Security and Medicare promises. On top of these exorbitant, unpayable debts, we have a banking crisis and a currency crisis that puts future funding of our obligations from Europe, China, and Japan in doubt. Let's face it the rest of the world knows we're deadbeats and that we will never ever be able to pay this money back. The Net-zero scam will come crashing down under the weight of all these unfunded liabilities, let alone the cost and the unobtainable minerals needed for the transition. The Federal Government is basically bankrupt, but it serves everybody to keep kicking the can down the road for as long as possible.
So, we Americans, especially Californians and New Yorkers, must accept the most radical set of environmental policies with scant provable science and no guarantees that the goal can be achieved. If any of the benefits come to pass, it relies on the kindness of stranger’s way beyond U.S. control. It does not consider forces so primal and powerful that it is not even within the realm of imagining we could control them. While being told by radical politicians on the Local, State, and National levels, they know best.
Net-zero is unaffordable. The technology to continue our current lifestyle under extreme de-carbonization does not exist, like sufficient battery storage to store electricity from highly variable energy inputs. The minerals needed for such a fool's errand probably do not exist in sufficient quantity. To mine, such minerals are highly environmentally damaging. New mines in the USA can take up to 20 years to eventuate if they will even be permitted. Net zero proponents demand eliminating all fossil fuels, which means doing away with nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, leaving half or more of the world's population without enough food. Many will starve.
The climate change agenda is about control. What you drive, how far you go. What you eat, what you cook, how you heat your water, and how much energy you use. As our unelected global president Charles Schwab's World Economic Forum, says, "You'll own nothing, and you will be happy."
(Eliot Cohen Is a climate realist, a homeowner's association president and serves on advisory committees for the City of Los Angeles.)