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  • Green Delusions & America’s “New” Energy Crisis

    As Bloomberg has reported, President Joe Biden pledged that the U.S. will have a completely carbon-free power grid by 2035 and the country will produce net-zero emissions by 2050. Many Democrats are pushing for even more aggressive actions.

    But now, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could present a doomsday scenario for radical environmentalists and their Green New Deal. Why? The war has exposed just how weak “going green” has made Europe, forcing its leaders to choose between economic disaster, and subsidizing Putin’s barbaric war.

    On our side of the Atlantic, Democrats should be paying attention to the lessons of linking one’s national security to the environmental cooperation of despots, but they are apparently choosing to sit back and confidently drink their “green Kool-Aid.”

    The truth about the environmental movement’s inconsistent and contradictory worldview is finally being exposed for the general public to see. Contrary to Biden’s recent claims that his administration is “pulling out all the stops” to alleviate America’s inflation woes, new memos show that the administration fostered policies that are hostile to domestic energy production, fueling price hikes at the gas pump long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Because of these policies, the U.S. is now producing approximately one million fewer barrels of oil a day than it did just prior to the pandemic, in 2019. Even then, despite the fact that we were essentially energy independent and a net exporter of oil, we imported about 530,000 barrels a day from Russia because the West Coast lacked pipeline infrastructure.

    By 2021, those imports grew to 700,000 barrels a day and were recently banned as part of the sanctions response to the Ukraine invasion. So, rather than being able to profitably fill the global gap caused by this geopolitical crisis, we’re suffering right along with the other oil importing nations. The result is even more inflationary pressure on top of that already created by the government’s other bad decisions.

    Now, as inflation goes through the roof and his poll numbers crash to the floor, Biden is suddenly left to desperately beg OPEC to produce more petroleum rather than simply unleashing U.S. production. And notably, the administration shows no signs of changing course on its disastrous energy strategy.

    This short-term crisis is merely a foreshadowing of the ultimate down-side associated with “green thinking.” Carried to its logical conclusion, this ideology will inevitably lead to a reduced standard of living for Americans, as well as death, poverty and environmental degradation for much of the rest of the world.

    Worst of all, these resulting policies are not based on rigorous cost-benefit trade-offs and statistical forecasts, which can be back-tested. Therefore, when they fail, the perpetrators will claim success, arguing that things would have been even worse without those policies.

    As explained previously in Trends, these policies are based on junk science, headline-grabbing scare stories, and computer climate models that create far-fetched “scenarios” claiming fossil fuel use will cause Earth to warm by 4 degrees C (or 7 degrees F) over the next 80 years, while a warming Arctic will bring colder winters.

    Those dire predictions are, in turn, used to justify more taxpayer-funded “research,” like a recent Columbia University “mortality cost of carbon” study that says 83 million people (which is equivalent to the population of Germany) “could be killed” this century by those rising planetary temperatures.
    These messages demand that we take “immediate action” to “transform” our energy and economic systems, and replace oil, gas and coal with (millions of) wind turbines combined with (billions of) solar panels and backup batteries. 

    Doing so would require mineral extraction on a scale unprecedented in human history, with much of the work inevitably performed by slave and child laborers while using vast quantities of fossil fuels.

    As documented previously in Trends, this will cause massive habitat and wildlife losses, air and water pollution, and horrific human health and safety problems.

    But since most of the mining, ore processing and manufacturing will occur in developing countries, far from the USA and EU, politicians and climate zealots will claim that this so-called “renewable energy” is both clean and green.

    Even worse, the kinds of climate policies advocated by the Biden Administration will result in widespread “energy poverty.” That means energy prices will rise above the ability of a family to afford staying adequately warm (or cool), given their incomes. As a result, people will die!

    Modern housing, workplaces and energy systems enable people to adapt to and survive extreme heat and cold. However, adaptation and survival are much more difficult when government policies make it hard to heat or cool homes properly amid joblessness, inflation and soaring oil, natural gas, coal and electricity prices.

    Indeed, it is often on the coldest and hottest days and nights, when heating or cooling are most essential, that winds blow at inadequate speeds to turn turbine blades and the sun shines with inadequate intensity on solar panels, to generate electricity.

    This reality (as well as the general variability of wind and solar energy production) results in recurrent blackouts and necessitates expensive “backup” energy capacity based on coal, natural gas, diesel, hydroelectric or battery systems.

    The backup requirements significantly increase energy costs and worsen energy poverty, illness and death.

    Proposed Green New Deal policies advocated by the administration and most Democrats in Congress go even further in terms of raising energy costs. For instance, they mandate that still perfectly good natural gas furnaces, water heaters, ovens and stoves be replaced with expensive heat pumps and electric appliances, powered by expensive, unreliable, weather-dependent wind and solar energy systems.
    The regulations also require installing charging stations for electric cars, upgrading home and neighborhood electrical systems to 220 volts, and adding so-called battery “power walls” for backup power during increasingly frequent blackouts. All this would cost trillions of dollars, with families and small businesses bearing the brunt.

    And notably, these “woke environmentalists” claim to love humanity so much in the abstract, that they must shut down their life-giving gas, coal, and oil supplies in the concrete. And they value humans so little that they don’t worry in the here and now that ensuing fuel shortages and exorbitant costs cause wars, spike inflation, and threaten people’s ability to travel or keep warm.

    The Biden Administration stopped all gas and oil production in the ANWR region of Alaska. It ended all new federal leases for drilling. It is canceling major new pipelines. It is leveraging lending agencies not to finance oil and gas drilling. And it helped force the cancellation of the East Mediterranean Pipeline that would have brought much-needed natural gas to southern Europe.

    Now with the Russian sanctions in place gasoline is heading to a national average of well over $5 a gallon. In over-regulated blue states, it will likely hit $7.

    And contrary to the global warming “hype,” far more people die in cold weather than in hot summers. In the United States and Canada, cold causes 45 times more deaths per year than heat: 113,000 from cold versus 2,500 from heat.

    Worldwide, with air conditioning far less available in already hot countries than in the United States, some 1,700,000 people die annually from cold versus 300,000 from heat.

    A 2014 report from the University College London Institute of Health Equity explains how “energy poverty” severely, disproportionately and inequitably affects poor, elderly, fixed-income and minority families, resulting in numerous illnesses, health problems and deaths.

    That report shows that cold homes cause or exacerbate risks of asthma, bronchitis, flu, cardiovascular disease and other adverse health conditions. Cold temperatures also increase depression, anxiety and other mental health problems, intensifying medical and physical issues.

    Young children, older people, those with preexisting health conditions and other vulnerable groups are especially susceptible to hypothermia, illness and death.

    The Institute of Health Equity calculated that one-tenth of all “excess winter deaths” in England and Wales are directly attributable to fuel poverty, and 21% of excess winter deaths are attributable to the coldest 25% of homes.

    Between 1990 and 2014, researchers estimated, 30,000 to 40,000 people died each year who would not have perished if their homes hadn’t been so cold. U.S. studies reach similar conclusions.

    Adjusting for population, but not for colder winter temperatures in much of the USA (versus England and Wales), this is equivalent to some 170,000 to 230,000 excess winter deaths per year in the United States.

    In 2019, 344,000 German families had their electricity cut off because they couldn’t pay their power bills.

    Still worse, coal, oil, natural gas, electricity and home heating costs have skyrocketed since those English and German reports were prepared. Yet, the UK, the EU and even the U.S. are now doubling-down on poorly conceived and misguided green policies.

    Global demand for gas and coal surged as the world recovered from Covid, but Britain and Europe banned fracking for gas in their enormous shale deposits, Germany continued shutting down its nuclear plants, Russia played politics with gas deliveries, and UK and EU wind turbines generated far less electricity than their supposed capacity in 2021 due to unfavorable wind conditions.

    No wonder 65% of United Kingdom renters are struggling this year to pay their energy bills, 25% of Scots live in energy poverty, and 400,000 more UK households were on the brink of losing their gas and electricity providers as of year-end 2021. And excess winter death tolls will likely set new records in 2022.

    Similar disasters could hammer Americans, as the Biden Administration stymies leasing, drilling, fracking and pipelines. Just consider how those energy policies could exacerbate health risks in hospitals.

    At the 2021 average U.S. business price of 13¢ per kilowatt-hour, a 650,000-square-foot hospital building would pay about $2.5 million annually for electricity. At Britain’s average rate of 27¢ per kWh the annual cost for the same building jumps to $5.2 million and at the average German rate of 39¢ per kWh, it climbs to $7.5 million!

    Those soaring costs associated with “green policies” would likely result in chillier conditions, employee layoffs, higher medical bills, reduced patient care, and more deaths.

    Consider too that six years ago, one-third of American families already had difficulty adequately heating and cooling their homes, and that one-fifth of U.S. households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay their energy bills.

    Furthermore, even before COVID, low-income, Black, Hispanic and Native American families were already spending a greater portion of their incomes on energy than average households.

    The impacts on hard-pressed working families and people on fixed incomes will also prove serious, harmful and disproportionate, because those households also spend a greater portion of their limited incomes on energy.

    What’s the bottom line?

    Paradoxically, anti-fossil-fuel policies mandated and imposed by the Biden administration in the name of fairness, equity and so-called “climate justice” are leading to job destruction, energy poverty, illness and death. As such, the green movement itself has come to represent the real climate crisis!

    The fact is, we now face climate changes that are mostly natural, weather events that are no more frequent or extreme than over the previous century, and manmade global warming that exists almost solely in computer models that rely on junk-science greenhouse-gas hypotheses.

    The real climate crisis is due to the policies that are being rammed through on the basis of false premises, fear-mongering and an intolerance for fossil fuels.

    Congress, courts, governors, state legislatures, journalists and voters need to fully, carefully and honestly consider the effects of proposed “green” energy policies on our economy, jobs, families, health and well-being, as well as the overall quality of the total human environment.

    Over the past year, those have become more transparent than ever as zealots have tried to seize their last opportunity to reshape the world based not on science but on their own beliefs about reality. Choosing that path or the alternative will make all the difference.
    The result is left-wing terror that the voters in the coming midterm election might rightly blame Democrats for hamstringing the American ability to travel, buy affordable food and keep warm in winter and cool in summer.

    Given this trend, we offer the following forecasts for your consideration.

    First, green energy policies will contribute significantly to the Democrat’s extraordinary electoral defeat in the 2022 mid-term elections.

    A March 2022 national survey by Rasmussen Reports found that sixty percent of voters believe energy policy will be very important in this year’s congressional elections.

    70% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the U.S. government should encourage increased oil and gas production to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and gas, while only 18% oppose a policy of encouraging increased U.S. energy independence.

    And notably, only thirty-three percent believe the Biden administration’s energy policy is better than the Trump administration’s energy policy. More importantly, majorities in every political category - 87% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats and 70% of voters not affiliated with either major party - believe the U.S. government should encourage increased oil and gas production to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and gas.

    Furthermore, majorities in every racial category ― 74% of whites, 55% of black voters and 67% of other minorities ― believe the U.S. government should encourage increased oil and gas production to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and gas.

    Second, American voters will be unwilling to fight climate change unless that fight is perceived to be “cost free.”

    To date, climate change mitigation has been sold as something that will cost the average person nothing because any costs are being borne by “someone else.”

    Polls over the past decade have consistently shown that while Americans generally accept the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is real, they are not willing to pay for climate change abatement or mitigation.

    A late 2021 poll by the Associated Press and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago showed that 75% of Americans think that human activities cause some climate change. However, when asked whether they would be tolerant of added energy costs needed to prevent global warming, respondents balked.

    Only 52% said they would be either somewhat or fully supportive of paying an extra $1 per month, according to the AP survey.

    And just 35% said they would be willing to pay an extra $10 per month. Faced with paying hundreds of dollars a month in added gasoline and electricity costs, in early 2022, the average voter is now seeing the real cost of alleged climate change mitigation policies. And,

    Three, the President and his party will not be able to distance themselves from this explosive issue.

    Members of the “Progressive Caucus” based in solidly left-wing districts are demanding that Biden declare a “climate emergency” which can be used as a pretext for executive orders hostile to energy independence.

    This will only make Democrats in districts which Democrats won in 2012 and subsequently, even more vulnerable as the election becomes a nationalized referendum on energy policy.

    Resource List
    1. The Washington Free Beacon. March 8, 2022. Joseph Simonson. How Dems Helped Spike Gas Prices.

    2. Townhall.com. March 17, 2022. Dennis Prager. This Invasion Is Brought to You by…Western Environmentalists.

    3. Townhall.com. March 10, 2022. Victor Davis Hanson. The Green Immoralists

    4. Townhall.com. December 10, 202. Paul Driessen. The Real Climate and Health Crisis.

    5. ThePostMillennial.com. March 14, 2022. Mia Cathell. House GOP demands investigation into alleged Russian influence in US environmental groups.

    6. The Daily Caller. October 26, 2021. Thomas Catennaci. Poll: Americans willing to pay for climate-change work – all the way up to $1.

    7. The Blaze. March 18, 2022. Carlos Garcia. Canadian energy official is ‘frustrated’ Biden is looking to Venezuela and Iran for oil: ‘We’re right next door! We’re here!’

    8. National Review. March 16, 2022. CAROLINE DOWNEY. Biden Administration Handicapped Domestic Energy Production on First Day in Office, Memos Reveal.

    9. The Daily Caller. March 18, 2022. Thomas Catennaci. Biden Administration’s Offshore Oil Leasing Policy Will Crush American Energy Security, Experts Say.

    10. FoxBusiness.com March 16, 2022. Phil Flynn. Biden’s oil blame game backfires.

    11. Fox.com. March 15, 2022. Andrew Miller. House Dems want Biden to declare national ‘climate emergency’ and ban oil drilling on federal lands.

    12.The Daily Caller. March 18, 2022. Thomas Catennaci. Democrats Up Pressure On Big Oil To Answer For Alleged Profiteering As Americans Blame Biden For Gas Prices.

    13. Townhall.com. Mar 12, 2022 Humberto Fontova. Putin Isn’t the One Who Banned U.S. Offshore Oil Drilling.

    14. Townhall.com. March 17, 2022. Bob Barr. Democrats’ ‘Green’ Kool-Aid Is Severely Damaging Our Country.

    15.The Daily Caller. March 16, 2022. Thomas Catennaci. Top Climate Democrat Says US Needs More Domestic Oil Production In ‘Short Term.’