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Biden’s ‘social cost of carbon’ delusion

By Craig Rucker

The Biden Administration is foolishly determined to eradicate carbon-based fuels from America’s energy mix.

They claim the nation can easily go from one that gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels today to one that is 80% “carbon-free” by 2030 – or 100% by 2050.

To facilitate their lofty ambitions, they’ve concocted a “Social Cost of Carbon” scheme, one which attaches an arbitrary price tag to every ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when oil, natural gas or coal is burned. Originally set at $22/ton in 2010, it jumped to $36, then $40, then $51 – but could easily rocket to $100 or even $200 under a Green New Deal-styled arrangement.

The Social Cost of Carbon is a bureaucratic, slight-of-hand illusion. It is designed to make continued fossil fuel use appear – not in reality but on paper – so costly that we have no choice but to abandon it and move toward politically-correct wind and solar power. The entire SCC concept is not merely erroneous; it is delusional and deliberately deceptive.

The SCC allows federal agencies to attach any price they wish to every conceivable, alleged cost of using fossil fuels. They can tie it to hotter and colder temperatures, wetter or drier weather, more hurricanes and tornadoes, drops or increases in agricultural output, numbers of wildfires, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, flooded coastal cities, and more. By also tossing in other nebulous factors like “environmental justice,” “intergenerational equity” and the views of “stakeholders” like Greenpeace, liberal bureaucrats can pretty much boost carbon costs to whatever they want.

SCC guidelines also let agencies ignore the enormous benefits of using fossil fuels: far more people surviving devastating storms, affordable air conditioning in summer and heating in winter, improved forest and crop growth thanks to more CO2 in the air, and enjoying modern jobs, mobility, living standards, health and healthcare.

By employing the SCC, so-called government “experts” can use their slick computer models to calculate alleged worldwide damages 300 years in the future, supposedly caused by today’s U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. If this were truly possible, even Nostradamus would likely be amazed.  Of course, their crystal ball likely gets a little fuzzier when it looks at emissions from China, India and other emerging economies and their thousands of coal-fired power plants.

In reality, eliminating carbon-based energy will inflict enormous human and ecological costs, while its replacement energy, so-called renewables, imposes even more damages.

Replacing coal, oil, natural gas and internal combustion vehicles would require millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of battery modules, on millions of acres.

Manufacturing them will require billions of tons of steel, aluminum, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, concrete, plastics and other materials – which will require digging up and processing hundreds of billions of tons of ores and minerals, mostly overseas, with fossil fuels, often with forced, near-slave and child labor, and almost always with few or no workplace safety, air and water pollution, toxic substance, endangered species or other rules.