The Insanity of the Net Zero CO2 Target By James Reed
PM Albo, and his carbon unit buddy, Joe Biden have embraced with gusto and fervour, a new climate change religion, the net zero carbon target. Next to vaxxing everyone with experimental Covid vaxxes forever and a day, attacking the new public enemy, carbon, is hot on the menu. It means limiting fossil fuels, at a time when there is no room for wild experimentation, given the global crisis, and the threat of war with China. How would such a war be fought, using solar panels? Wind powered tanks? What has guru Elon Musk got to offer here? The idea of a complete decarbonisation of the economy is only likely to come from complete destruction of the economy, which is probably the Great Reset depopulation agenda anyway. Read on, that is not just my view.
“The truth is the science of climate change is very clear,” Anthony Albanese said after his meeting with Joe Biden in Tokyo last month.
The new Australian government and the Biden administration are now brothers in arms in a risky strategy to slash CO2 emissions in their respective nations.
If containing China is their biggest foreign policy challenge, meeting their new ambitious climate change promises is their largest domestic one.
Labor has promised to legislate a 43 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2030 (from 2005 levels), a big rise from the Coalition’s promised (without legislation) 28 per cent.
A year ago, the Biden administration promised a 50 per cent cut by 2030, on which it has made no meaningful progress as it awkwardly seeks additional oil supplies from the Middle East and Venezuela to counter the global fuel shortage – and price spike – wrought by sanctions on Russia.
Even if the science of climate change is very clear, how advanced nations, let alone the world, achieves net zero by 2050 is very much not. The energy put into opposing emissions targets is a waste: they are simply not going to be met.
Science and economics will trump politics. “Complete decarbonisation of the global economy by 2050 is now conceivable only at the cost of unthinkable global economic retreat or as a result of extraordinarily rapid transformations relying on near-miraculous technical advances,” writes Vaclav Smil in his new book How The World Really Works, on the reality of energy production and demand.
Bill Gates’ favourite author – a Canadian-Czech academic with more than 40 books to his name on energy-related topics – explains how solar and wind energy cannot fulfil anything but a tokenistic share of total energy demand for the foreseeable future.
“This fundamental reality (our dependence on fossil fuels) is commonly ignored by those who do not understand how the world really works and who are now predicting rapid decarbonisation,” he writes, laying out the critical role of fossil fuels in food production, transport and industry.
Battery storage cannot make up for the inherent unreliability of the wind and sun, let alone do so in an economically viable way. The technical superiority of uranium and fossil fuels in generating energy is overwhelming: in terms of energy density and their ability to be stored and transported.
“The world has collectively deployed more than $US2 trillion for alternative energy over the past decade, and the share of the world’s energy coming from hydrocarbons has declined about 2 percentage points from 86 per cent to 84 per cent,” Mark Mills, an energy analyst at the Manhattan Institute, noted in late 2020.
The so-called transition has been glacial when it should have been easiest, yet many believe that in fewer than 28 years we’re going to reach net zero.
Labor has promised to cut power bills by $275 a year by 2025, perhaps without looking at what’s happened to energy prices in Germany, the large nation furthest along the path to net zero. After 20 years of its energy-transition policy, almost half of Germany’s electricity is generated by renewable energy, and its power prices are more than double those in the US, and 50 per cent more than in Australia. Yet Germany has had to keep – and maintain – most of its gas and coal power stations because solar panels in cloudy Germany produce energy only about 12 per cent of the time, Smil says.
The transition could peter out even sooner in transport, which produces as much CO2 emissions as electricity generation. Demand for electric cars is growing rapidly, but they still make up less than 1 per cent of world’s car fleet.
“A single EV battery weighs in at about 1000 pounds (450kg). Its fabrication requires digging up roughly 500,000 pounds of materials somewhere,” Mills also pointed out.
As activist Michael Moore argues in his recent documentary Planet of the Humans, the impact on the natural environment, which the Green movement ostensibly wants to protect, of flipping the other 99 per cent to electric would be devastating.
It won’t even get to that point: already the price of lithium, a critical mineral in the manufacture of batteries, has soared over 600 per cent in the past 12 months. Battery prices are rising already.
And the shift to renewable energy will undermine US and Australian security to the extent their economies become dependent on critical minerals, which are found in large quantities in China or Russia. The corrupt central African nation of Congo supplies two thirds of the world’s cobalt, also critical for batteries.
At the same time, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has injected a giant dose of energy realism into the world. A heightened risk of war, which could last years, isn’t the time to be risking blackouts and political unrest from massive power price hikes, especially when the US and Australia already have plentiful fossil fuels.
When the reality of the push for a 100 per cent renewable future dawns, the popularity of the enterprise will wane. Ultimately, governments care mainly about voter sentiment. It will become clear that severe restrictions on travel and meat consumption, for instance, even “climate lockdowns”, will be necessary to reach net-zero targets.
Even if the advanced nations could somehow get there, the rest of the world, where the bulk of people live, would not.
“When the world’s four billion poor people increase energy use to just one-third of Europe’s per capita level, global demand rises by an amount equal to twice America’s total consumption,” Mills added.
Africa’s and India’s growth won’t be fuelled by solar and wind power, but by coal, oil and gas.
Without a significant increase in nuclear power, vigorously opposed by Australia’s Greens and Labor, the world’s emissions targets don’t have a hope. At least the Biden administration, unlike the Labor government, recognises that obvious fact.”