They Are Coming After My Whopper Again

On Saturday The Western Journal posted a commentary about President Biden’s energy proposals. I am not exactly sure who is running the country right now, but in my mind they have absolutely crossed the Rubicon with this proposal.

The article reports:

President Joe Biden kicked off his virtual Earth Day climate summit on Thursday by announcing his administration’s very ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and enable the U.S. to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Sacrifice on the part of every American will be necessary in order to achieve these goals. It will change our diets, force us to purchase electric cars and dictate the way we heat our homes.

The Daily Mail published a report on what adjustments will be required of us.

…The plan “would require Americans to only consume about four pounds of red meat per year, or 0.18 ounces per day” which “equates to consuming roughly one average sized burger per month.”

…Electric cars account for approximately two percent of annual new car purchases in the U.S., according to the report. Biden’s plan reportedly calls for that figure to rise to 65 percent by 2030. Additionally, “10 percent of new truck sales would need to be electric.”

The Mail estimated the average price of a new electric car at $55,000.

…The Mail pointed out that “[n]early 25 percent of homes would need to be heated by electricity, rather than natural gas or oil, to help reach Biden’s emissions goal by 2030. The average cost to install an electric heat pump, which an all-in-one heating and cooling unit, is about $5,613, according to figures home HomeAdvisor.”

Some things to note here. Where does the electricity to heat the homes come from? Has anyone considered the labor conditions and environmental impact in mining the lithium needed for the batteries to run electric cars? Also, seriously, what impact on the American economy would cutting red meat consumption to 4 pounds a year per American? How would that impact the cattle industry, the farmers, etc.?

In November 2020, The Institute for Energy Research reported the following:

During the Obama-Biden administration, hydraulic fracturing was accused of causing a number of environmental problems—faucets on fire, contamination of drinking water, etc.—but the administration’s own Environmental Protection Agency could not validate those accusations.  Now Biden is planning to transition the transportation sector to electric vehicles that are powered by lithium batteries and require other critical metals where China dominates the market. Mining and processing of lithium, however, turns out to be far more environmentally harmful than what turned out to be the unfounded issues with fracking.

In May 2016, dead fish were found in the waters of the Liqi River, where a toxic chemical leaked from the Ganzizhou Rongda Lithium mine. Cow and yak carcasses were also found floating downstream, dead from drinking contaminated water. It was the third incident in seven years due to a sharp increase in mining activity, including operations run by China’s BYD, one of the world’ biggest supplier of lithium-ion batteries. After the second incident in 2013, officials closed the mine, but fish started dying again when it reopened in April 2016.

…Environmentalists expressed unfounded concerns about fracking, but they need to be worried about replacing fossil fuels in the transportation and electric generating sector with electric vehicles and renewable energy where lithium, cobalt and other critical metals are needed to produce these technologies. Mining, processing, and disposing of these metals can contaminate the drinking water, land and environment if done improperly as seen from several examples. And, since China dominates the global market, it just switches what once was U.S. reliance on the Middle East to U.S. reliance on the People’s Republic.

We might want to rethink this.

 

Has Anyone Actually Thought This Through?

On January 30, 2021, a website called Deseret News posted an article about the ‘solar waste’ involved in green energy.

The article notes:

Although countries are feverishly looking to install wind and solar farms to wean themselves off carbon-based, or so-called “dirty” energy, few countries, operators and the industry itself have yet to fully tackle the long-term consequences of how to dispose of these systems, which have their own environmental hazards like toxic metals, oil, fiberglass and other material.

A briefing paper released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts these startling global numbers for countries by 2050 just for solar waste:

    • United States, 10 million tons.
    • Germany, 3 million tons.
    • China, 20 million tons.
    • Japan, 7.5 million tons.
    • India, 7.5 million tons.

Solar arrays have a life cycle of about 30 years, but the rapid adoption of solar in the United States and elsewhere has the problem of disposal creeping up in the rearview mirror — faster rather than later.

The article also notes the problem with wind power:

Wind power also is taking off as a clean energy resource, but the EPA notes that windmills are the least energy producing and most physically difficult renewable energy waste stream to address.

The sheer size of the windmills and the difficulty of disposing of them at recycling stations led the agency to conclude that each new wind farm is a “towering promise of future wreckage.”

While there is a market for second-hand windmills in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, the tactic of shifting used windmill components to other countries simply delays the waste disposal problem and puts it on the shoulders of countries less equipped to deal with the challenge, it noted.

Like coal mining or other natural resource extraction, certain entities in Utah and elsewhere have addressed the afterlife issues of wind and solar farms by requiring environmental remediation or the posting of a reclamation bond to ensure proper cleanup and disposal.

The article concludes:

There is some innovation playing out, however, with Japan’s Nissan repurposing batteries to power streetlights. In the United States, General Motors is backing up its data center in Michigan with used Chevy Volt batteries.

The EPA notes, however, that these sort of “adaptive reuses” still only delay the time for final disposal of the batteries and the need to deal with materials in the batteries that can cause fires or leach hazardous chemicals.

On the wind power front, GE announced last year it had reached a multiyear agreement with Veolia North America to launch the United States’ first wind blade recycling program, according to an article in Utility Dive.

Nearly 90 % of the blade material, consisting of fiberglass, would be repurposed for cement production, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from that source by 27%.

With the release of its paper, the EPA is calling on researchers, states, industry and other federal agencies to ensure green waste is sustainable from end to end and that gaps in renewable energy waste management are addressed.

“While consumers may purchase renewable energy or renewable energy-based products with good intentions, that does not prevent the unintended adverse environmental consequences of these products,” it said.

It seems that we have not yet solved the problems of green energy. Those problems will be solved in the future, but as of yet green energy is not quite ready for prime time.

Policies Proposed By The Biden Campaign

Issues & Insights posted an article today about one of the proposals of the Biden campaign. All of us understand that politicians often do not keep their campaign promises, but in this case that might actually be a good thing.

The article reports:

Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate change plan, released this week, was described by one liberal outlet as “the Green New Deal, minus the crazy.” We beg to differ. Just look at Biden’s plan to eliminate the internal combustion engine.

Biden says that on his first day in office, he will develop “rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions.”

…Aside from fuel economy mandates, Biden also wants to extend and expand the EV tax credit, pump federal money into charging stations, and create a new “cash for clunkers” program for those who trade in a gasoline-powered car for a plug-in.

The cost of all this? Who knows. Aside from the $2 trillion price tag that Biden put on his entire Green New Deal plan, he hasn’t broken down his EV mandate scheme. But Sen. Chuck Schumer has already proposed a cash-for-clunkers plan, which would cost $454 billion over a decade.

The article continues:

And for all this, the electric car mandate will have a negligible impact on CO2 emissions and zero impact on the climate.

For one thing, the CO2 advantage of electric cars is vastly oversold. These are not “zero emissions” vehicles. They simply change the source of the emissions from the car to power plants — most of them powered by coal and natural gas.

A study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that when you factor in CO2 emissions from electricity production, the average plug-in produces as much CO2 over its lifetime as a gas-powered car that gets 55 miles per gallon.

The CO2 advantage of electric cars diminishes even more when you consider the entire lifecycle of the vehicle, including the environmental impact of mining required to manufacture the batteries. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that CO2 emissions from manufacturing electric cars was 68% higher than gas-powered cars.

We already did cash-for-clunkers in 2009. The cars turned in had to be disabled or scrapped. The ultimate result of the program was that it artificially inflated the cost of used cars, hurting the people who couldn’t afford to buy new cars.

Wikipedia (not always a reliable source, but in this case cited sources) reported:

The Economists’ Voice reported in 2009 that for each vehicle trade, the program had a net cost of approximately $2,000, with total costs outweighing all benefits by $1.4 billion. Edmunds reported that Cash for Clunkers cost US taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold, that nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold, and that only 125,000 of vehicle sales were incremental. Edmunds CEO concluded that without Cash for Clunkers, auto sales would have been even better.

I think we need to learn from our mistakes.

Is This A Winning Issue?

Andrew Yang is running for President in the Democrat primary. He is currently polling at about 3 percent. He has some interesting ideas on changing the American culture.

Hot Air posted an article today about some of those ideas.

The article reports:

MSNBC held their latest “climate crisis” event for 2020 Democratic hopefuls yesterday and when Andrew Yang took the stage he brought up one possibility that all the candidates should weigh in on. When asked by the host what the world would look like in 2050 after the everyone began dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, he suggested that the end of private car ownership was probably on the horizon.

…Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said the United States may have to eliminate private car ownership to combat climate change during MSNBC’s climate forum at Georgetown University Thursday morning.

He told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that “we might not own our own cars” by 2050 to wean the United States economy off of fossil fuels, describing private car ownership as “really inefficient and bad for the environment.” Privately owned cars would be replaced by a “constant roving fleet of electric cars.”

Somehow I don’t see this happening.

The article concludes:

There are two sides to this proposal, consisting of the practical and the political. Being as we are in the midst of a presidential race, the political may be more important in the short term. The fact is that the Democrats seem to keep coming up with ideas that may look good on paper at liberal cocktail parties but are not at all popular with the voters at large. Eliminating private car ownership is just such a proposal.

People love their cars. Nearly everyone realizes that they are expensive luxuries and account for too much pollution, but we still live in a car culture. It’s a status symbol and a totem of our freedom of movement. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, if you come along and say the government needs to take away all your cars, the public is going to be up on their hind legs. This is the way you lose elections.

On the practical side, I will grudgingly admit that Yang is probably at least partially correct about this. If he was saying there would be nothing but mass transit, that would be nuts. Mass transit simply isn’t practical for most of the country unless you live in a densely populated urban area. But he’s also picturing fleets of electric, driverless vehicles that anyone can summon when they need to go somewhere. Uber and Lyft are working on just such a plan right now and sooner or later it may become our new reality.

But having said that, electric vehicles still need to be powered. Until you answer the question of where you’re going to come up with all of the electricity needed to replace the power currently being generated by gasoline, you’re not going to be doing much for the climate. As I mentioned yesterday when talking about efforts in California to eliminate natural gas usage, the state derives roughly half of their electricity from natural gas plants. If all of the cars are suddenly running on electricity, they’re going to be burning a massively larger amount of natural gas to meet the demand.

Yet again, we’re seeing the Church of Climate Change forcing Democrats to toss out expensive, impractical ideas that most people will rebel against. And they can’t seem to help themselves.

There is a lot more to the relationship between Americans and their cars than transportation. Somehow I can’t see taking away our private cars as a winning idea. We also need to consider that American carbon emissions are only a part of the world’s carbon emissions. We are a small percentage of carbon pollution. Unless the countries that are not concerned about the environment cut their emissions, nothing we do will have much of an impact. Keep in mind that China and India, the world;s biggest polluters, we essentially exempt from the climate treaty for a number of years. Maybe the treaty wasn’t really about climate.

This Isn’t Good News For Those Pushing Electric Cars

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about emissions testing done on the Tesla Model 3.

The article reports:

A Tesla Model 3 is touted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators, but it actually results in more carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel-powered car, according to a recent study.

When the CO2 emissions from battery production is included, electric cars, like Teslas, are “in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” reads a release from the German think tank IFO.

…Driving a Tesla Model 3 in Germany, for example, is responsible for 156 to 181 grams of CO2 per kilometer, compared to just 141 grams per kilometer for a diesel-powered Mercedes C220d — that includes emissions from producing diesel fuel.

IFO looked at electric car production in Germany, which is heavily reliant on coal power. Electric car emissions in other countries depend on their energy mix, but Germany is the world’s third-largest electric car maker.

…Federal subsidies for Teslas are set to be phased out since the company, founded by Elon Musk, hit the 200,000-vehicle production cap. However, Congress is debating whether or not to extend electric car subsidies.

It’s not just battery production, but charging vehicles that emit lots of CO2. Germany gets 35 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, so charging a Tesla in, say, Bavaria results in 83 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven.

The article concludes:

IFO isn’t the first research group to conclude electric cars might not reduce carbon dioxide emissions as promised.

A study released in 2018 also found driving electric cars might come with higher emissions than diesel vehicles, largely because of lithium-ion battery production.

Likewise, a Manhattan Institute study from 2018 also found putting more electric cars on the road would likely increase emissions compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.

We may eventually have a clean form of energy powering our cars. However, it is a pretty safe bet that the invention of that clean form of energy will come through the free market–not through government subsidies. Any time the government interferes in the free market, they slow down innovation. If the people who have the knowledge and curiosity to invent the next generation of cars are allowed to reap the rewards of their inventions, we will see those inventions. If the free market is allowed to flourish, innovation will follow.