OK, I know that back in August (and repeated as recently as December 29) I said that “the whole idea of reducing carbon emissions as a supposed ‘solution’ to ‘climate change’ is over.” In those two posts and others, I have pointed to one country (or continent) after another giving up on so-called “renewables” and carbon taxes and even the whole idea of emissions reductions, and going instead for some good old reliable coal: China, India, Africa, Japan, Australia, even Canada and Germany. Now we have the gilets jaunes in France, still protesting after two months over a lousy 17 cents per gallon gasoline tax increase that definitely would never make enough of a difference in world “climate” that it could be measured, let alone noticed. And I haven’t even previously mentioned the new Energy Plan from Poland, presented at the close of 2018, which promises to scrap all wind turbines by 2035.
Does anybody other than a UN bureaucrat even care about this issue any more? Yes, at least if you go by what they say, plenty of people do. And we’re not talking about nobodies here.
For example, there is the new Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress. On Thursday January 3, we had new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi giving her acceptance speech upon taking office. What are going to be your priorities, Nancy? From her speech:
We must . . . face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis – a crisis manifested in natural disasters of epic proportions. The American people understand the urgency. The people are ahead of the Congress. The Congress must join them. That is why we have created the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The entire Congress must work to put an end to the inaction and denial of science that threaten the planet and the future.
It’s an “existential threat”! Does she even know what China, India, et al., are up to? Apparently not. And what exactly is this new committee on the “climate crisis” going to do? Pelosi hasn’t spoken to that yet, but we do have a detailed proposal from (of course) new “it” Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been named as a member of the new committee. According to this document, the fundamental mission of the committee will be to create the “Green New Deal.” And what will that consist of. Get ready:
The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:
Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources;
building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;
upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;
eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;
funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;
making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.
Greenhouse-gas-free electricity, greenhouse-gas-free airplanes, greenhouse-gas-free agriculture, greenhouse-gas-free manufacturing — and it all will happen in just ten years if only the federal government passes the right legislation and orders that it be so. Why didn’t anybody think of that before?
The likely thing, of course, is that none of this will go anywhere in a U.S. Congress where the Republicans control the Senate and the Presidency. Too bad. But the U.S. federal government isn’t the only game in the world. Won’t somebody start a serious “climate” emissions reduction program some time in 2019?
Get over the idea that the somebody might be somewhere in the developing world. China, India or Africa walking away from electrification? Russia or the Middle Eastern oil states leaving their only valuable assets in the ground? These ideas are beyond ridiculous. Latin America? Brazil has caught on to the scam. Somebody in Europe? Germany, France and Poland have given up the ship; who’s left to try to keep it afloat? No, If it’s going to be anybody, it will have to be some completely delusional U.S. state. Here are the best possibilities:
California. They talk a great game of reducing emissions, even as they drive around on their sixteen lane expressways. In mid-2018 California published final 2016 data claiming that it had met its 2020 emissions target four years early. Great! Oh, but that target was only to get emissions back to 1990 levels. When are you going to get around to the real reductions, guys? California has legislatively adopted a 2030 emissions-reduction goal of 40% below the 1990 level. What’s your next move?
If you think about this emissions-reduction thing for a while, you quickly realize that there is only one possible way for California to achieve such an ambitious goal, and that is massive adoption of nuclear power. So, if California is really serious, it should have a dozen or so nuclear plants under construction right now. What’s the status of that? Actually, California closed one of its two big nuclear plants a few years ago, and is in the process of forcing the closure of the other one. To be replaced with — what?
They have a new incoming governor, Gavin Newsom. Surely, he has a plan. Here he is quoted in the Huffington Post after his election back in November:
Newsom has promised to continue his predecessor’s legacy of fostering a “more aggressive relationship with the federal government,” which could include fighting Trump’s attempts to dismantle California’s vehicle emissions standards, roll back federal controls on power plant pollution and ease regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
Aha! We’ll bring a bunch of lawsuits and force the federal government to do the emissions reduction thing for us.
Or check out the so-called “Scoping Plan” of the California Air Resources Board. With the exception of one thing, it’s all little tweaks. Rooftop solar! Leak-resistant refrigerators! “More efficient” agricultural machinery! The one exception is a so-called “cap and trade” program, or in other words, arbitrarily forcing up the price of anything using energy (gasoline, electricity, etc.) until the people can’t afford it any more. We’ll see how far they go with that before the people squeal. My bet is, not very far.
Washington. Washington governor Jay Inslee is one of the most ambitious climate campaigners in the U.S. In the recent election, Inslee had a proposal on the ballot to impose a $15 per ton “carbon tax,” supposedly to fight climate change. It went down to defeat. Oh, and Washington has some four partially-built and abandoned nuclear power plants. Reason for the abandonments: concern about the environment. They are not remotely serious about reducing carbon emissions.
New York. I’m putting my home state on this list just to show that I’m not playing favorites. Our Governor Cuomo also talks a good game about reducing emissions. He is also in the process of shutting down the nuclear plant that produces about 25% of New York City’s electricity, and replacing it with some natural gas facilities. His other talk has been about massive building of off-shore wind turbines, otherwise known as the most expensive possible way of producing next-to-no electricity. In other words, nothing serious here either.
So the answer is, in 2019 absolutely nobody will start a serious emissions-reduction program at levels that could conceivably have any measurable or noticeable effect on the climate. The same goes for the next ten years. To me, Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez look like complete fools, but what do I know.