The Major Unsolved Climate Alarmist Political ProblemAlan Carlin | September 24, 2015
Climate alarmism is a fantasy, nothing more. As discussed in my new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, available from the book website, there is simply no scientific or economic justification for remaking the world’s energy generation and delivery systems to reduce CO2 emissions. Everyone, particularly the world’s poor, will end up paying large bills and receiving little or no benefits. Various members of what I call the Climate-Industrial Complex (CIC) nevertheless continue to back it despite extensive efforts to enlighten them by climate skeptics. The far left of the Democratic Party generally favors the arbitrary so-called 80 by 50 goal–80 percent CO2 reductions by 2050–in the US and presumably elsewhere.
The Very High Cost of the Fantasy
80-50 is not just a fantasy, it is an unbelievably expensive fantasy. One recent back of the envelope estimate of the cost is $5 trillion dollars, or about $40,000 for every US household, presumably just for the capital costs. But since no one can explain exactly how 80-50 could actually be achieved other than pushing energy use and the economy back to the years just following the Civil War (so no motor vehicles, air conditioning, or electricity, let alone airplanes), no exact estimate is possible.
The USEPA’s first step towards 80-50 is their so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), which I call their Skyrocketing Rates Power Plan or SRPP. But even before this would actually ever be achieved it is now clear what would come next–80-50. As discussed in my book, various outlandish claims have been made as to the benefits of all this, but they are all far in the future, impossible to clearly document, and highly improbable, like everything else in the alarmist energy fantasy.
Our best guide to the real cost of SRPP is the ever expanding disastrous experience in Western Europe, which so far has gone much further than the US has in this direction. As noted in an earlier post, this suggests that US electricity rates would end up between three and four times current levels as a result of SRPP. This would be a catastrophe for anyone living on a low fixed income: $100 per month would become $350 per month in now current dollars for electricity alone.
The Importance of the California Setback
The CIC suffered an unexpected but readily understandable setback a few weeks ago when the California Assembly turned down a bill to make 80-50 state law. Most of the Democratic Party (which controls the legislature and holds the governorship) votes against it came from middle or low income legislative districts. Apparently at least these legislators understood what was being proposed, and realized that their constituents would be the victims. This is the ultimate unsolved problem of the CIC. The generally higher income “environmentalists” and wind and solar industries are married to the extreme left of the Democratic Party, which draws much of its support from minority and less well-to-do groups, who will lose heavily from reducing CO2 emissions, particularly from such an absurd goal as 80-50.
What needs to happen is for non-Californians to realize what is going on and tell their elected representatives to back off the climate alarmist fantasy so that they will not get hurt more than they already have. The EPA SRPP is now a final Federal regulation, and will be implemented as written unless Congress or the courts intervene. Each added day that this is not done results in added costs to electricity ratepayers, which cannot be recovered. but will make residents much worse off economically for unmeasurable or more likely non-existent benefits.
Those assertions not linked in this post are discussed in more detail in my book along with extensive references.