Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Green New Deal: Blueprint for Destruction
Dreaming the impossible dream: What the 'Green New Deal' and the end of fossil fuels would mean
A number of Democrats are proposing a " Green New Deal" to address climate change, and, if Democrats take the Senate and the White House in 2020, we almost certainly will see a version of it passed and implemented.
Although the "Green New Deal" has a number of secondary components, such as jobs programs, its primary aim is to end all use of fossil fuels in the United States in 10 years. Here’s what that means:
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Elimination of fossil fuels would have drastic effects on transportation. Nearly all cars and trucks now on the road will be outlawed or unusable. Electric cars will still be usable, if they are charged by electricity from non-fossil sources.
This would eliminate air transportation as well. There is research into “drop-in” alternative fuels that could be substituted into current existing aircraft, but currently there’s no alternative to aviation fuel.
Space travel will likewise be reduced or eliminated. This means ending the maintenance and upgrading of the GPS systems, satellite communications, television, broadband, remote sensing systems, and weather monitoring systems that power our modern world.
Water transport, across oceans and the Great Lakes, and on rivers and canals, will be greatly curtailed. Nuclear-powered naval vessels and sailing ships will operate, but for most vessels, there are no good alternatives to diesel, fuel oil, and nautical fossil fuels.
In short, movement of goods will become difficult and expensive. Travel for business and pleasure will be rare. Communities will become more isolated.
The "Green New Deal" would also have a major impact on our energy sources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels generate more than 62 percent of our electricity, 30 percent by coal, and 32 percent by natural gas. The remaining third is powered by wind, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and geothermal sources, with a small fraction from oil. This means, in essence, that the "Green New Deal" will eliminate nearly two-thirds of America’s energy sources over 10 years.
Greatly expanding hydro, nuclear, and geothermal power within 10 years is virtually impossible. That means we would have to install, in 10 years, wind and solar infrastructure capable of generating more than nine times as much energy as that installed in the previous 10 years, all while simultaneously dismantling the fossil fuel system that provides the energy needed to build new wind and solar infrastructure. Not possible.
Even worse, conversion to 100 percent wind and solar also requires technology that does not currently exist. Wind and solar energy are intermittent, and there is no technology to store this energy. Wind and solar cannot possibly replace current fossil fuel electricity sources in 10 years.
Under the "Green New Deal," we will have less electricity than we do now, and it will be unreliable and more expensive. The use of electric cars will be next to impossible; we will not have energy to build them, much less to power them.
Most agriculture is highly mechanized and energy intensive, using diesel- and gasoline-powered equipment, and there are no non-fossil alternatives on the horizon for powering farm equipment. Similarly, there are no reasonable alternatives for the natural gas that is the primary feedstock for making commercial fertilizers and pesticide production. Eliminating agricultural chemicals will unquestionably reduce crop yields.
Some advocates tout biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels, even though they often have the same or greater carbon footprint as fossil fuels. They might have a place in the "Green New Deal," but it will not be possible to greatly expand their production while eliminating fossil fuels from farming.
The unpleasant reality is that even these massive changes will do little to avert global warming, even if they are implemented in the U.S. and Western Europe. Average warming would be reduced by less than 0.5 degrees Celsius, even using optimistic forecasts, according to a version of the MAGICC climate modeling tool developed by the EPA and others. Most growth in greenhouse gas emissions is expected to come from China, India, and the rest of the developing world, not the U.S.
The "Green New Deal" is not the grand undertaking, like the Apollo, that its proponents claim. Realistically, it will move us backwards. It will kill people. It takes reliable power, and lots of it, to do a coronary bypass, or to run a neonatal unit for premature infants; to protect people from heat and cold, and to light the streets at night.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned with global warming. But the "Green New Deal" is costly, ineffective, and extremely dangerous, and could well be passed in a few years. We must approach this proposal without illusions and think carefully before we take this next step.
Charles N. Steele is the Herman and Suzanne Dettwiler Chair in Economics at [DiLorenzo Rule Redaction].
Photo: cheap, clean energy -- natural gas.
If clean means a safer, more hygenic environment, then fossil fuels and/or nuclear make the most sense to me.
Even worse, enviros tend to love biofuels, which are "good" because they are "natural." In reality, biofuels are very likely worse than fossil fuels (which are also biological and thus natural, but somehow "bad" and "unnatural") in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. They are "renewable" and that's "good" because "natural," "good," and "renewable" are treated as equivalents.
To top it off, remember that in the name of "green" policy Germany abolished all of its nuclear power operations, and to help make up the resulting gap, began importing wood pellets from the United States to burn. Wood is "renewable" you see, and requires the growing of trees, which are "natural" and thus "good" in every way. Our German friends neglected to count emissions from burning gasoline to cut and transport the wood, coal-fired electricity used in processing, fuel oil burned in ships to cross the ocean, diesel for trucking to the power plants from the wharves.
It's the mythology of a weird anti-human religion. ("Man-made" is "unnatural" and thus "bad.")