Green subsidies aren’t working when CO2 is growing faster than energy consumption.
the climate problem is solved. At least if the new spending estimates under Joe
Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act are matched by similar expected declines in
estimated spending has tripled, to $1.2 trillion, so the estimated benefits
must have tripled too. Instead of a 40% drop, U.S. emissions will be down 120%.
We’ll be sucking CO2 out of the air.
joking, of course, but so were the original estimates by three private groups
touted last year by the White House. All three ignored the price effect: When
certain consumers are subsidized to use less fossil energy, others in the U.S.
and world will take advantage of lower prices to consume more.
outfit, the Rhodium Group, lamely said it was putting off consideration of such
“energy system outcomes” for a future “deeper dive.” Another,
EnergyInnovation.org, lost itself in the weeds of Mr. Biden’s domestic oil and
gas leasing policies.
dishonest was the Princeton University-connected REPEAT Project. It omitted the
effect of lower fuel prices on emissions but included them as a side benefit
for fossil-fuel consumers. (If the person reading over your shoulder is
cackling, she’s an economist.)
White House Office of Management and Budget couldn’t conceal a guilty conscience.
In trumpeting the private studies, it noted that “complicated economic
interactions” might affect “real-world” emissions.
Americans supposed to evaluate the policies of their government if even
supposedly independent private analysts enlist in the cause of propaganda? Good
a censorious report on National Public Radio, citing a poll, accuses Republican
voters of being content to “do nothing” about climate change. In fact, neither
party proposes to do anything about climate change. Democrats propose to spend
a lot more money doing nothing.
to be realistic about our energy economy, including the term “alternative”
energy. As much wood is burned in the U.S. today as in 1885, when coal
surpassed it to become our largest energy source. Wind and hydropower were in
use centuries before fossil fuels arrived and never stopped growing. Solar
voltaic has grown like topsy since its invention in the 1950s.
only “additional” energy and no upward limit on humanity’s willingness to
consume it except through the workings of price. If energy were cheap enough,
we’d have flying cars, supersonic airlines and space travel for the middle
class. You would open your windows in the winter to enjoy the benefit of fresh
air and heat at the same time. Energy is convenience. Energy is control over
our environment. Humans will consume all the energy it makes sense to consume
at the available price.
President Obama launched today’s worldwide gush of green-energy subsidies in
2009, his allies in Congress added financing for a National Academy of Sciences
study, which would later conclude, at a length of 198 pages, that such
subsidies were a “poor tool for reducing greenhouse gases and achieving
numbers bear this out. Worldwide investment in renewable energy, by some
dubious measures, has exceeded investment in fossil fuels in recent years, yet
this merely testifies to how inefficient such investments are in producing
energy output. Cut to the chase: global CO2 emissions actually grew 12% faster
in 2022 than energy consumption did.
deployments goosed by Obama-like handouts around the world, wind and solar
still accounted for less than 2.4% of humanity’s total energy consumption.
Their annual increase was still a small fraction of the annual increase in
fossil-fuel consumption. They remain functionally additive to humanity’s energy
budget, rather than displacing coal or oil on a global basis.
referred in the past to the problem of “sophisticated state failure.” Miracles
can’t be expected, but there’s no reason democratic societies can’t improve
their ability to address complex problems. Needed is a news media able to think
and communicate in multi-variable terms rather than single-variable terms (e.g.,
green energy = good).
absence of a carbon tax, green-energy subsidies mainly stimulate more energy
consumption overall. In the presence of a carbon tax, they’re redundant and
make carbon-saving decisions less efficient than they would otherwise be.
isn’t hard but it’s too hard for today’s media, and the output is Team Biden’s
Inflation Reduction Act.
one honest climate advocate works in the administration—whoever was responsible
for its recent endorsement of research into geoengineering. The idea here is to
inject particles into the atmosphere to slow warming even as our green
subsidies uselessly accumulate in the pockets of green-energy lobbyists like Al