We are endlessly hectored by greenie leftists to change our sinful ways and adopt the harshest solutions to an imagined climate crisis regardless of the economic dislocation and hardship being imposed upon all of us, not to mention the most vulnerable of our populations.
I say “imagined” as I emphatically reject the assertion that whatever climate anomalies occur warrant description as a crisis requiring extreme measures to correct.
The first assumption of “fighting climate change” is that you can actually fight climate change. None of the proposed or mandated solutions, however extreme, will have any measurable effect whatsoever upon the climate. The Earth’s climate is an enormous heat engine driven by incomprehensibly powerful natural forces that easily overpower our most strenuous efforts, which are comparable to a mosquito attempting to slow the speed of a car on a freeway.
For instance, if America completely de-industrialized and reverted to an early 19th Century lifestyle devoid of fossil fuels, our climate temperature would not decline even a single degree over the next 100 years. However, the poverty, disease, and brutally short and nasty lifestyle for 99 percent of us would be quite real and long-lasting.
Elimination of fossil fuels would eliminate approximately 6000 products we normally depend upon and which are essential components of our civilization, not to mention being fully integrated into the manufacture of so-called alternative, renewable energy sources. In fact, without fossil fuels, no alternative energy source could be manufactured or operated, and the alternative sources still require back-up by fossil fuel, hydroelectric, or nuclear power plants to provide stability to the electrical grid, which alternative energy sources are incapable of producing.
Solar/Wind/Battery Storage energy systems heavily depend upon fossil fuels for component parts, operation and especially upon large-scale mining operations for essential minerals which are located in environmentally sensitive regions. They are also most abundant in nations with the worst human rights records and indifference to environmental destruction. An electric car today depends upon minerals obtained by heavy use of slave and child labor, massive destruction of landscapes, soil destabilization, and ground-water contamination by tyrannical regimes that couldn’t care less about western sensitivities or morals.
Proposed solar systems will take enormous amounts of land to produce the massive quantities of electrical power required to implement the “Green New Deal,” literally millions of acres, mostly in arid western lands, despoiling critical habitat and obliterating hundreds of endangered species. When the panels degrade and require replacement, the toxic components within pose a serious hazardous waste disposal problem equal to any chemical plant waste product.
Wind arrays already slaughter tens of thousands of raptors, especially eagles and hawks but without the same government concern that would manifest if an oil company was responsible for a fraction of bird deaths. A wind turbine blade can generate a vortex at the blade tip equal to a 270 mph wind which explains human complaints about noise and other disruptions. Wind turbine blades are not recyclable, contain extremely toxic components that leach into water tables after being cut up on-site, transported to landfills (by fossil-fueled trucks), and unceremoniously dumped. This problem will increase exponentially over time with no solution in sight.
Batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) will comprise 90 percent of the lithium-ion market within a few years. Producing these batteries is extremely energy-intensive, requiring massive use of fossil fuels and environmental degradation through mining operations for essential mineral components. The typical EV battery weighs 1000 lbs and normally contains 25 lbs of lithium, 30 lbs of cobalt, 60 lbs of nickel, 110 lbs of graphite, 90 lbs of copper, and 400 lbs of steel, aluminum, and plastic components (derived from oil). To acquire just five of the above elements requires mining 90,000 lbs of ore. To get the 90,000 lbs of ore requires excavation of between 200,000 and 1,500,000 lbs of earth or about 500,000 lbs per battery. Multiply that by the 10 million EVs projected for California and some idea materializes about the scale of destruction required to switch to EVs.
Extraction of lithium requires massive use of water in the driest places on earth. The South American “lithium triangle” (Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile) holds half the world’s supply of lithium in its salt flats. Miners bore holes in salt flats and “pump salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface.” It’s left to evaporate for months with a mix of manganese, potassium, borax, and lithium; filter it and evaporate it again. It takes up to 18 months to filter it sufficiently to produce extractable quantities of lithium carbonate. Cobalt, extremely toxic, also essential to EV batteries, is mined primarily by hand, with 50 percent of global supplies originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo using child labor. International child advocates report that most of these children suffer horrendous injuries and shortened lifespans to under 30 due to the dangerous and exploitive conditions under which they labor.
Imperialist Greens have established artificial political deadlines for a massive conversion of our economy to unreliable energy sources. They will impoverish most Americans while subsidizing virtue signaling for the wealthiest. It’s unconscionable!
Clean Energy Exploitations by Ronald Stein/Todd Royal, Archway Publishing, 2021.
Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death by Pual Driessen, Free Enterprise Press, 2004.
Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t and Why it Matters by Steven E. Koonin, (Former Undersecretary for Science, U.S. DOE, Obama Administration) BenBella Books, Inc. 2021.
To view all references for this column, visit atascaderonews.com.