The administration’s “green” energy proposals, like those that have been adopted in Europe, are leading this country toward an economic, social and strategic disaster. It is hard to think of any set of policies, adopted by any government at any moment in history, that rival our “green” mania for sheer destructiveness. Although, that said, Sri Lanka’s brief commitment to “sustainability” comes to mind.
Speaking of sustainability, this piece by Stuart Gottlieb in today’s Wall Street Journal, titled “Biden’s Climate Plans Are Unsustainable,” makes some great points.
[T]he greatest threat to [environmental] progress—particularly in the critical realm of climate—comes not from such emerging mega-emitters as China and India, although they certainly play a role. It comes from the energy and climate initiatives promoted by the Biden White House, which are themselves unsustainable—so aggressive and unduly optimistic that they risk a backlash that would set back the cause of environmental sustainability for generations.
This is true for at least three reasons.
To begin with, the agenda is economically unsustainable. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, global demand for energy will rise nearly 50% by 2050, with fossil fuels still accounting for roughly 75% of world supply. Though many Democrats insist this simply proves the urgency of making the transition, there are no economic models showing how that could occur without causing massive harm to the underlying economy. A McKinsey & Co. report shows that achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 would require nearly $6 trillion in new spending globally every year for the next 30 years—roughly equal to one-third of all tax receipts by every government in the world.
My experience with energy-related studies by companies like McKinsey causes me to think that this estimate is probably low by a factor of several times, if not orders of magnitude. But McKinsey’s numbers are bad enough. It simply isn’t going to happen.
The current agenda is also geostrategically unsustainable. It is increasingly clear that both Russia and China view aggressive Western climate commitments as an opportunity to increase their power and influence. We have already witnessed what Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas has wrought: unacceptable dependence on one of the world’s vilest governments.
Meanwhile, China is seeking to dominate Western markets for renewables (wind turbines, solar panels, lithium batteries) while enjoying its own right as a developing country, conferred by international conventions, to keep burning cheap fossil fuels as it powers its rise toward passing the U.S. as the world’s largest economy.
Is the Biden administration deliberately trying to sell us out? Is Joe Biden a paid agent of the Communist Chinese, or perhaps of the Putin regime? I have always assumed that the answer is no, but the troubling question is, if Biden were a Chinese agent, what, exactly, would he be doing differently? The answer: nothing.
And the current agenda is politically unsustainable. Without committed action by the Group of Seven nations—the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K.—there is little hope for real climate progress in coming decades. Yet these are also the world’s leading democracies, accountable to their publics. There is a real danger that voters in these countries will rebel against climate policies that ramp up energy prices, hinder economic growth and even lead to rationing and blackouts.
I should hope so! Blackouts are coming soon, likely to a neighborhood near you. I would say that the certainty that voters will rebel against blackouts is not a “danger,” but rather the salvation of our civilization.
If the Democrats continue with their mad “green” dreams, the inevitable result is that the day will come when we flip our light switches and nothing happens. Understand: if the Left gets its way on energy, the question is not “whether.” The question is “when.” When that day comes, and it will, there will be Hell to pay.
One last thing: some climate hysterics are even more extreme than the Biden administration. Check out this account from an admiring left-wing source of “climate activists” who roam city streets, letting the air out of vehicles’ tires:
One of the group kneels down, unscrews the tire valve cap, stuffs a lentil inside, and puts the cap back on. The tire immediately lets out a startled “pfft” noise, a leaflet is slapped onto the windshield and the group melts back into the night.
The Tyre Extinguishers movement started in the UK, spread to a clutch of other countries, and has now landed in the US. Since June, dozens of SUV and pickup truck owners in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago have discovered their vehicles with flat tires along with a note on the windshield declaring: “Your gas guzzler kills.”
As angry as normals will be when their lights don’t go on or they can’t heat their homes, they might be even more irate if they find that “environmentalists” have disabled their SUVs. And, by the way, where I live two-thirds of all vehicles sold are SUVs.
On energy, as on a number of other issues, the Democratic Party is on a collision course with reality. Call me an optimist, but throughout human history when ideology meets reality, reality generally wins.