Monday, August 28, 2023

"Net Zero in practice is a war on the poor."

The Chemical Brothers - Skipping Like A Stone ft. Beck

Where is the "clean energy revolution"?

Just to be clear:

More coal was burned last year than ever before. Not just more fossil fuels - more coal

More carbon was put into the atmosphere in 2022 than ever before. (Also: As of the end of last year, China has 366 GW of extra coal capacity either planned or under construction. That’s enough to power about 305 million homes.)

Loads more tough info on this edition of The Ezra Klein Show. E.g.

That really fantastic and sobering example of India underscores the point that this transition is not just about solar and wind and renewables*, that the world is not going to get to the place it’s trying to go simply with renewables. That there are requirements for many other sources of energy, some of which are more contentious, like nuclear energy. And there’s going to need to be a role for carbon capture, for new energy sources like hydrogen. That, essentially, in order to close the gap that Jason described, it can’t be all done with renewable energy.

Maybe consider this when attacking nuclear, carbon capture and storage, and Biden. Attacking solutions and allies leaves Saudi Arabia, Koch Industries, and Vladimir Putin laughing all the way to the bank (and into Ukraine).

Don't take my word (last one with excerpts):

Hannah Ritchie on building nuclear.

Is nuclear power too slow?

"Nuclear power is too safe"

"For some, environmentalism functions as a religion replacement, a source of a moral pattern in their lives, a reason to believe they are working for good."

Replacing fossil fuel: Finding the balance between global warming and destitution excerpt: 

We picked the wrong tool. In an attempt to get rid of fossil fuels, the species has made an enormous bet on wind and solar. Despite gargantuan resources expended on wind/solar, fossil fuel usage is as high as it has ever been. Wind and solar represent just 3.3% of energy production.

As the penetration of intermittents increase, performance goes down and costs go up. Things get a lot worse from here on in. And we have not even started talking about electrifying markets that are currently off the grid.

To make matters still worse, CO2 represents only about 60% of all manmade greenhouse gases. CO2 emissons are running about 38 gigatons(GT) per year. Equivalent methane emissions are about 10 GT, nitrous oxide about 4, and hydrofluorocarbons about 2. All three non-CO2 emissions are growing; the last quite rapidly.

Finally, in a particularly ugly twist, not only is attempting Net Zero reducing the size of the pie, it is providing the wealthy with a larger share of the smaller pie. Investment tax credits, production tax credits, electric vehicle tax credits, are blatant in your face transfers from the poor to the rich. Net Zero in practice is a war on the poor. When super rich people fly to global warming conferences in private jets, we can shake our heads at the hypocrisy. When Germans refuse to fund African coal plants while reactivating their own, it is something closer to the holocaust.

* Don't say that solar and wind are the cheapest sources of electricity. That is only on the margins (i.e., the next KW added to an existing project). For a new project, all the infrastructure has to be built, including high-voltage lines to take the power to the main trunk lines.

Also, you can't build a secure society on intermittent energy. You need to build a lot more and add in very expensive storage. And, of course, these projects take immense tracts of land, which is why many "pro-renewable" environmentalists oppose actual solar and wind projects. (More.)

We could, of course, strongly support the best actual political option, and install small modular reactors such that they could be plugged right into the grid. That would slow climate change and help those in poverty. 

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