Episode 204: “The Climate Change Industrial Complex: Trillion $$$ Promises That It Can’t Keep” with Myron Ebell
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In this episode I’m talking again with Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, one of our most effective advocates for Free Market Environmentalism. Myron led the successful decade-long fight to defeat cap-and-trade legislation and led the effort to convince President Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty. The list of those in the “climate industry” who fear Myron’s effectiveness is long. The radical head of the Sierra Club has said he is “one of the biggest threats our planet has ever faced.”
But when you actually listen to Myron, you conclude that nothing could be further from the truth.
Some Takeaway From Our Conversation:
Inflation and an economy heading south are far and away the biggest issues that concern American voters. Climate change barely makes the list.
But instead of easing inflation, the falsely named Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) pours climate change subsidies onto the inflation bonfire. Inflation is not a natural disaster. It is a politician-made disaster brought about by massive Federal spending and tax subsidies.
The Inflation Reduction Act lavished massive spending on green energy and climate change. Almost $400 billion in subsidies for wind power, solar power, carbon capture and storage, credits for buying electric vehicles and a myriad of yet to be proven technologies.
But as we all know, in Washington you need to follow the money. Who are the lobbyists? Who benefits? Who is getting this money?
One of the biggest recipients is what Myron Ebell calls the “Climate Change Industrial Complex.”
The climate change industrial complex is thrilled with the Inflation Reduction Act. “The climate economy is about to explode,” crows Robinson Meyer writing in The Atlantic. “Many of the IRA’s most important provisions are “uncapped” tax credits. That means that as long as you meet their terms, the government will award them and theIRA’s total spending is likely to be more than $800 billion, double what the Congressional Budget Office projects.”
These wind and solar subsidies benefit already wealthy investors who want to have a guaranteed return on their investment and the federal tax credit is necessary to assure that. The Manchin-Schumer Permitting Bill, which failed by only one vote in the Senate, contained even more massive tax subsidies for transmission lines and vastly expand the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) authority over the electric grid.
It’s scheme was to allow the FERC to put climate goals ahead of electric reliability and affordability.
According to Myron, “The total costs of transmitting intermittent and unreliable electricity from locations where the wind blows or the sun shines to the distant places where most Americans live in order to achieve “net zero emissions” have been estimated at trillions of dollars.”
Green energy mandates and subsidies reduce real wages and real GDP by shifting resources from high-productivity uses such as fossil-fuel extraction toward low-productivity and unreliable green energy projects with unproven technologies.
But isn’t it all worth it if we “save the planet?” Perhaps, if wind and solar green energy could actually deliver the goods. But it can’t.
“People have no idea how stuff is made,” explains another The Bill Walton Show guest Mark Mills. “Wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels use far more copper than the products they replace, and no one in the world has any kind of plan to meet this explosion in demand.”
“Want 100 megawatts of electricity?” asks Mark.
“You could build a natural gas turbine which fits inside the footprint of a residential house. From wind? You’ll need 40 Washington Monument sized, wind turbines spread out over a hundred square miles.”
If we were to try to provide all the energy America needs using just wind and solar, the physical land area would have to occupy close to half the continental United States.
Myron again: “Wind and solar are a dead end. They cannot provide the power we need unless we want to go back to living lives where most of the work is done by human beings manual labor and draft animals like horses and mules.”
Europe is now waking up to these energy realities. Led by Angela Merkel, who says she has no regrets, Europe’s energy system became so fragile as a result of their green energy policies that now with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sabotage of the gas pipelines, they are faced with a crisis of enormous proportions. It’s not just high energy prices. It’s people freezing to death and entire industries closing down because they don’t have enough energy to stay warm or to keep the plants operating.
German inflation, largely driven by skyrocketing energy prices, is running at 10.9%.
It gets worse. Europe now has to worry about food. “Modern agriculture, which is really machines plus energy plus fertilizer, and the fertilizer comes from natural gas and petroleum,” reminds Myron.
Faced with this, Germany is bringing coal-fired power stations back into use and dismantling a wind farm to make way for a coal mine.
“The climate change industry’s Green New Deal is a back-to-the-dark-ages manifesto.”
Has anyone asked the American voters whether they want to pay this price of lower wages and slower growth and their tax dollars going to subsidize wealthy “green investors?”
Climate considerations are being used to justify projects that cannot be justified on the grounds of increased reliability or lower electric rates.
The case has not been made that the trillions of dollars going into green energy is “settled science.”
The present era is one of the coolest and least carbon-intensive periods of the last 600 million years. The warming that we’ve had since 1880 is mild and its impacts so far have been modest and mostly positive.
“The greening effect, the indirect effect of carbon dioxide, has undoubtedly increased food production due to higher CO2 levels.”
Republicans need to make this a politically toxic issue for the Democrats and their elitist and rsqa globalism over American prosperity.
Reeling back the Climate Change Industrial Complex should be a kitchen table pocketbook visceral issue: even though it sounds nice to be green, it’s wrecking America.
“We were energy dominant and in 2020 and 2019, the United States was the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas combined.”
Wouldn’t this be a winning issue for Republicans in 2024?
“Yes. Well, of course,” reminds Myron, “that was the agenda pursued by Donald Trump when he ran for president and it’s the one that he implemented when he was elected.”