Has U.S. leadership gone awry? Senators Chris Coons and the honorable Dianne Feinstein recently announced they will introduce the Climate Action Rebate Act, which aims to generate $2.5 trillion in tax revenues over 10 years by slapping a fee on oil, natural gas and coal starting in 2020. This isn’t leadership. This is followship without the fairy tale ending.
Germany tried to step up as a leader on climate change by phasing out nuclear and pioneering a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in the manufacturing of those technologies.
Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up all for governments everywhere, has sparked America’s leadership to take a giant step in the same direction. Taking the road less travelled isn’t always a good idea.
Germany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low carbon sources, but Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. Even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems, Germany’s emissions miss/fail should be an eye-opener for any city, state or country seriously considering going green straight out of the gate. Such a major shift requires years, nay decades, of planning.
Like Germany, America’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. Emission reduction goals have increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels and may be contributing to America’s growing homelessness and poverty populations.
Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe – but many customers continue to support the switch to renewable energy sources regardless. Today, German households pay almost 50% more for electricity than they did in 2006. Much of that increase in electricity cost is the Renewable Surcharge that has increased over the same period by 770%.
Senators Coons and Feinstein, as well as many Americans who believe the Green New Deal is a good idea, apparently want to ignore the fact that 100 percent of the industries that use deep earth minerals/fuels to “move things and make thousands of products” that literally support the economies around the world, are increasing their demand and usage each year of those energy sources from deep earth minerals/fuels, not, as they would like you to believe, decreasing their demand for them.
Prosperity around the world from deep earth minerals/fuels is now being weaponized against the West since the oil, natural gas and particularly coal prosperity has led to reduced infant mortality, extended lifespans, and allowed the movement of goods and people anywhere in the world via the diesel engine and jet turbine.
Both diesel and turbine technologies have done more for the cause of globalization than anything else; and both get their fuels from oil. Without transportation – there is no commerce – since globalized road and air travel dominate most people’s lives in industrialized countries and emerging markets.
Whether its advocates admit it or not, truth is, intermittent electricity from wind, solar, or from the batteries and storage units made from exotic materials like cobalt and lithium CANNOT supply the thousands of products made from petroleum that are demanded by every infrastructure. These scores of petroleum-based products are, at present, the basis of everyone’s standard of living across the globe.
Wind and solar obsessed Germany, Australia, and Denmark fight it out for the honor of paying the world’s highest power prices. America is following them into known disastrous territory. Just like Germany, Australia, and Denmark, before trudging into the green morass, our leaders cannot “see’ the direct correlation between energy costs for electricity and fuels, and homelessness and poverty.
Getting-off-fossil fuels would reverse much of the progress society has made over the last few centuries. Until electricity storage technology can support intermittent electricity from wind and solar, the world will continue to have redundant fossil fuel backups for windless and cloudy days to provide electricity to the world’s economies around the clock.
Subsidizing investments in low-power density renewables of wind and solar to obtain intermittent electricity from their huge land mass requirements, are all resulting in higher costs of electricity and fuels to consumers. Like in California, Germany and Denmark, the unintended consequence is the climate goals costs put an undue strain on economically challenge individuals who already count every dollar they earn to make ends meet. This will not end well for them.
Hopefully, BEFORE committing to an all-electric world, we can meet the technical challenges of discovering an affordable green replacement to the “power” and conveniences currently provided to every known earth-based infrastructure by the thousands of products developed from fossil fuels. And, hopefully, society will accept the challenge of altering their lifestyles that will result from less services and more personal input to accommodate losing the advances fossil fuels have afforded them.
Ronald Stein is the Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure at PTS Advance headquartered in Irvine, California and a researcher and commentator on climate, energy, environment and public policy.