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The basic position of the climate “environmentalists” (CEs) on energy has long been that CO2 emissions should be drastically reduced (which, they claim, would reduce global temperatures). They are trying to achieve this while being anti-nuclear, anti-fracking, and anti-fossil fuels. They instead favor “renewables” except hydro power. They favor government intervention to achieve these energy policy objectives, and oppose leaving energy source decisions to the economic marketplace.
Now the most alarmist CEs are advocating net zero emissions of CO2 by various arbitrary dates that happen to be divisible by ten, such as 2030, 2040, or 2050. These “net zero” goals and plans are even less likely to be achieved than previous objectives.
The CEs have little hope of achieving their former CO2 objectives as a result of the policies they advocate, even assuming full implementation of the Paris “Treaty,” which is extremely unlikely.
In 2018 global emissions rose, not fell, in large part because of a rapid rise in emissions by China, India, and other less developed nations. These increases are expected to continue for the indefinite future, and need to if these nations are to provide a better life for their citizens. Readily available energy to supplement human manual labor is the best if not the only approach to providing an improved life for those living in less developed countries. As Professor Richard Muller has stated: “the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor should it have any intention of doing so. The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual Western Nation.” This has not prevented the CEs from proposing evermore draconian objectives and plans for achieving them.
The Unusual US Exception
One of the interesting things that is happening is that the “best performing” country according to the CE’s climate objectives is the US, the developed country with probably the least effective CE movement. Emissions have decreased even though population and the economy have increased. And what are the US’s objectives: Increased role for the market, approval of most fracking, continued use of coal, and energy independence and dominance. No other country has done as well according to the CEs criteria. By allowing extensive fracking, use of the now cheap and plentiful natural gas has greatly increased. This reduces the CO2 emissions of fossil fuels since natural gas emits much less than coal per unit of output. As a result, the US has greatly increased its dominance in world energy markets. Energy prices have slowly increased but much less than in many European countries. These markets have become more dependent on other countries for energy (particularly Russia) which may prove to be a national security problem for them in the future.
There is increasing political opposition to CE dictates and increasing reluctance to make the huge economic sacrifices that would be needed to achieve anything according to their view of what should be done. France, Australia, the US, and maybe Canada are all either in revolt or seriously considering it. China and India are paying very little attention to the CEs. There is increasing debate as to the wisdom of the CEs approaches in many countries. Clearly the world, particularly India and China, are unwilling to give up the huge advantages of using inexpensive energy to improve peoples’ lives for the alleged advantages of reducing temperatures by an unmeasurable amount many years in the future.
Nothing in this blog entry is intended to imply that the objectives of CEs have any scientific basis whatever. In fact, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that CE is nothing more than a scientific scam which fools all too many people. So the less progress towards reducing CO2 emissions and lowering CO2 in the atmosphere, the better. The reductions long advocated by the CEs have no basis in science in the first place. And the even more draconian measures recently advocated by the CEs will never be achieved using their current approach.
[Originally Published at Carlin Economics and Science]