$50 Trillion of Futility

One of the climate alarmists’ most intractable problems is the disproportion between the problems their models forecast and the solutions they propose. That is, if you believe the models, there is no remotely plausible course of action we can follow that makes a perceptible difference. So our impoverishment is pointless.

The hero of the Senate, John Kennedy, made this point while questioning Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk. The exchange occurred in May, but I just saw it today. It doesn’t matter: the point is evergreen.

Actually, I am pretty sure Turk does “know” the answer to that question. That is, he almost certainly knows how much making the U.S. carbon neutral would reduce global temperatures, according to the Obama administration’s formula. The problem, from his perspective, is that the answer is unacceptably small.

My organization’s energy team did this calculation for the “green energy” bill that has now been enacted into law in Minnesota. The bill calls for all electricity to come from wind and solar energy by 2040. In their report they found that, using the Obama administration’s formula, which grossly overestimates the impact of CO2, the all-green by 2040 plan would avert 0.00096 of one degree of warming. That law relates to the power sector, which accounts for around one-third of all CO2 emissions, in one state of almost exactly average size. But it doesn’t matter: Even using the Obama administration’s inflated formula, you can’t get to an order of magnitude that makes a difference.

It is also worth noting that this is a gross calculation, not net. It doesn’t consider the vast amounts of CO2 that would be emitted in the course of mining, processing, transporting, manufacturing and installing the almost unimaginable quantity of raw materials necessary to supply the untold numbers of low-intensity, intermittent solar panels and wind turbines that the greenies contemplate–a project that would rival the Industrial Revolution.

Fifty trillion dollars, meanwhile, represents around $156,250 for every man, woman and child in the U.S., or $625,000 for a family of four. The money would come partly from taxpayers, i.e, mostly upper-income Americans, but primarily from consumers of electricity, gasoline, and products and services that use electricity or energy in any form–that is to say, everyone. And those would be after-tax dollars, too.

Glenn Reynolds has been suggesting for a while that the Left–the Biden administration–may be deliberately trying to destroy the middle class. At first I thought that idea was too extreme, but I am coming around to the view that there may be no other plausible explanation for the policies the administration is pursuing.

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