Coal. Oil and Gas. Solar. Wind. Nuclear. Biomass. Hydroelectric. These are all effective energy sources, but some are called “natural” and “clean,” while the others are called “dirty energy,” or “dangerous,” or just ignored.
Hybrid cars. Battery-Electric cars. Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars. Internal combustion cars. There are now many options of vehicles, and all are clean vehicles, thanks to technology.
Worldwide, coal and then gas, is the largest source of electricity production. Of the lower-carbon sources, hydropower and nuclear make the largest contribution. Wind and solar bring up the rear, but are prioritized by the proponents of controlling climate change.
With the heat wave in the Western United States, California Gov, Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation last week to free up additional energy capacity, “in preparation for the extreme temperatures.” California already buys more than one-third of its energy from other states. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, California imports the most electricity from other states.
Newsom said “since last summer the state’s energy agencies have taken swift action to ensure grid reliability – both this summer and into the future – to build the state’s climate resilience.” Except that the state’s priority is only wind and solar energy, as nuclear power plants have been decommissioned, and hydropower has been taken offline. Currently, Lake Oroville has been drained so low it is predicted it will not be able to generate any hydro-power at all by August or September.
Climate change is real but isn’t the end of the world nor even our most important environmental problem, says Michael Shellenberg, author of the recent book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. Shellenberg is an environmental activist who supported the Obama administration’s $90 billion in spending on renewables as an economic stimulus. However, Shellenberg is intellectually honest and has also testified that cheap and abundant natural gas and nuclear, not industrial solar and wind, have been the big drivers of emissions reductions.
In 2020, Shellenberg testified before Congress, warning that Democrats are basing their climate agenda on California’s, and shouldn’t be. “California’s electricity rates since 2011 rose six times more than they did in the rest of the US, thanks mainly to the deployment of renewables and the infrastructure they require, such as transmission lines,” Shellenberg said.
In his testimony, Shellenberg addressed the change in electricity retail prices, calling it “California vs. Rest of US, 2011–2017:”
Democrats claimed that solar and wind projects were somehow part of the battle for environmental justice. In reality, I noted, solar and wind projects are imposed on poorer communities and successfully resisted by wealthier ones.
In fact, a major new report found nearly 200 cases of human rights violations when renewable energy projects were imposed on poor communities. In Hawaii and Nebraska, indigenous leaders are resisting wind energy projects that threaten native bird species, including the nene and whooping crane, whose number one cause of mortality is transmission lines.
Renewables also hurt working people by raising the cost of electricity for industries that offer good jobs with high pay. From 2011 to 2018, California’s industrial electricity prices rose 32 percent, while the average price in the other 49 states fell one percent.
Shellenberg laments that Democrats have worked to shut down nuclear plants and replace them with fossil fuels and a smattering of renewables, since the 1970s. “They created detailed reports for policymakers purporting to show that neither nuclear plants nor fossil fuels are needed to meet electricity demand, thanks to energy efficiency and renewables. And yet, almost everywhere nuclear plants are closed, or not built, fossil fuels are burned instead,” he said.
“In the end, the war on nuclear energy threatens more than political corruption and higher emissions,” Shellenberg said. “At a time when China is committing a potential genocide against its Muslim citizens, and Russia’s president is expanding his domestic and international powers, the US should not allow these two nations to dominate nuclear power plant construction.”
California’s push for electric cars ignores the raw materials used to produce electric car batteries: cobalt, lithium, manganese, copper, and graphite minerals. The toxic waste from those car batteries produce ecological degradation as well as human rights abuses, according to Thomas Williams, Ph.D. “The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that about 20 percent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, ‘where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income,’” Williams said in Breitbart.
Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, delves deeper. “Although electric cars are ‘branded as environmentally friendly,’ the fact is that ‘generating the electricity they require almost always involves burning fossil fuels,’” he said. “Moreover, producing energy-intensive batteries for these cars invariably generates significant CO2 emissions,” he wrote, so that electric cars have a huge carbon deficit when they hit the road, and ‘will start saving emissions only after being driven 60,000 kilometers.’”
As Shellenberg concludes in his testimony, “If the US keeps closing nuclear plants and fails to build new ones, we will cede our ability to compete with the Russians and Chinese in building new nuclear plants abroad, which will undermine national security, and good industrial jobs at home. The threat posed by America’s illiberal, nuclear-building rivals will, like the crisis facing renewables, continue to grow, regardless of whether Democrats succeed in shutting me up.”
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