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Team Biden’s Promises On Climate Change Badly Failing – ‘Emissions would have to fall…more than 40% lower than current emissions in eight years’

Team Biden’s Promises On Climate Change Badly Failing
Climate Change Dispatch
ev chargers califIf you blinked, you may have missed it, but as part of his climate summit in April, President Biden promised to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030.

This promise follows President Obama’s pledge to reduce emissions by 28% by 2025 (both from a 2005 baseline).

In 2019, net greenhouse gas emissions in the United States were about 5.769 billion tons. In 2005, they were 6.635 billion tons.

To meet Mr. Obama’s promise, U.S. emissions would need to fall to 4.777 billion tons — or about 15% in the next 42 months or so. It is possible, but not likely.

To meet Mr. Biden’s pledge, emissions would have to fall to about 3.3 billion tons, or more than 40% lower than current emissions in eight years. The pace of reductions would have to triple pretty much immediately.

Electric vehicles would need to jump from 2% of total U.S. auto sales to about 50% in 2030. That’s not likely.

For context, U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions fell about 13% from 2005 through 2019. For those keeping score, the U.S. has done better than pretty much any other nation during that time.

Despite the promises of both former presidents, the rate of reductions is unlikely to accelerate. Every day, consumers vote with their pocketbooks, and every couple of years voters vote in elections.

The message both send is that they are willing to do only very modest things to address climate change. They are not willing to upend their entire lives.

The simple reality is that about 90% of the reductions in greenhouse gases achieved by the U.S. since 2005 have been because of new precision drilling and well stimulation techniques.

Those techniques have led to very low natural gas prices, which have allowed power generators to switch out coal for cleaner natural gas. Score one for technology and innovation.

In addition to his fanciful pledge, the current president has announced a goal of the United States having net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Because of how long cars last nowadays, that can’t actually happen unless gasoline-powered cars are no longer produced or sold by 2035.

Consequently, it seems reasonable to assume that the administration will use existing federal programs – probably the fuel efficiency mandate — to forbid or prevent the widespread sale of internal combustion engines by 2050.

That may work. Or customers might resist paying the increased costs associated with electric vehicles.

Or at some point — perhaps in the wake of an invasion of Taiwan or a full-on blockade of Australia — reliance on China for 80% of the critical minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries may not seem wise.

It is difficult to imagine that Americans will accept reliance on a nation noted for slavery, murder, torture, international hooliganism, etc. when they have more appealing alternatives nearby. Think of the energy-producing states of Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, etc.

It may turn out that people just don’t want the government to tell them what to do. In a recent study, one in five purchasers of electric vehicles in California selected a gasoline-powered car for their next purchase.

What does the need to outlaw your competition say about your product?

As an example of the larger challenge, let’s think about electric vehicle chargers. Mr. Biden has proposed $174 billion for electric vehicles, part of which would be used to build 500,000 chargers.

California has estimated it alone will need 1.25 million chargers. Right now, there are 67,000 built or being built in the Golden State and another 50,000 in the planning stages.

Or, we could think about mining. The International Energy Agency just produced a report on what kinds of things we should think about with respect to mining and the energy transition.

The IEA concludes that in a world in which vehicles run on electricity, demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel, and rare-earth metals would skyrocket, rising by 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900%, and 700%, respectively, by 2040.

The IEA also noted that there are, at the moment, no plans to fund and build the necessary mines and refineries. The supply of the needed minerals is essentially non-existent, and increasing production will take time.

The IEA says: “It has taken on average over 16 years to move mining projects from discovery to first production.”

That could be why, despite pressure from Team Biden, none of the other countries participating in his summit made any announcements involving a material change in their previous commitments, except for China, which noted that it planned to keep building coal-fired power plants for another 10 years or so, then get serious about heading toward a net-zero economy.

That makes sense. Just this year, the greenhouse gas emissions from China exceeded the emissions from the 27 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations combined.

The United States is now a distant and fading second place for emissions, with less than six billion tons a year.

Finally — and stop me if you’ve heard this before — the problem here may be government. In the 24 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed, global emissions of greenhouse gases have increased from 35 billion tons a year to about 52 billion tons a year.

The lesson is always the same. If you’re looking to the government — any government — for salvation, you’re in the wrong place.

Read more at Washington Times