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Progressives Are In Complete Denial About Climate Change

china pollution

I’m going to start an ongoing series of posts on the subject of the refusal of progressives to deal with the world as it actually exists.

The post a couple of days ago covered the futility of attempting to meet racial goals in hiring for top jobs in professions like lawyers, doctors, corporate executives, and computer engineers.

Today, let’s consider something just as futile: trying to affect world temperatures by having one or more developed countries — even a country as large as the United States — reduce “carbon emissions” through the expansion of “renewable energy.”

You will immediately recognize that this goal — emissions reduction by the U.S. sufficient to affect world temperature — is a principal promise of the incoming Biden administration.

Tilak Doshi at Forbes on December 5 summarizes the grand ambitions of our new progressive leaders:

If we are slated for a Biden presidency, we will get the most climate change-conscious administrations in US history. The climate agenda has been elevated to a “whole of government” approach, straddling the key portfolios of national security, foreign policy, and economy and finance.

From January 20, 2021, “fighting global warming” will be elevated to a primary concern of the vast US government bureaucracies ranging from the EPA and the Federal Reserve to the Pentagon and the State Department.

Is there any flaw in the thinking here? To give you a clue, Doshi titles his piece “Biden’s Coming China Headache.”

The simple fact is that China is four times the size of the U.S. by population, and they aren’t going along with the “emissions reduction” thing even a little.

Instead, China is in the process of increasing its own emissions by far more than any modest reductions the U.S. or for that matter Europe may ever be able to achieve.

Start with the Paris Agreement, from which Trump extricated the U.S., but which Biden intends to rejoin:

The celebrated Paris Agreement was only so much smoke and mirrors as far as China’s practitioners of strategic statecraft were concerned. For Obama’s end of the bargain, his administration unleashed such punitive measures on the US’s own economic interests as the Clean Power Plan and the Waters Of

The US Rule by Executive Orders (since the Paris Agreement was conveniently not a “treaty” requiring an impossible Senate approval). At Xi’s end, China promised [only] to peak its emissions by 2030 at a level and a rate of subsequent decline that was not specified.

And meanwhile, what is China doing with its own energy development? Doshi refers us to the Global Energy Monitor for June 2020. A few statistics:

After years of putting the brakes on the number of coal plants newly proposed and permitted for construction, China is again stepping on the gas…

China currently has 249.6 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity under development (97.8 GW under construction and 151.8 GW in planning), a 21% increase over end-2019 (205.9 GW).

The amount of capacity under development (249.6 GW) is larger than the [entire] coal fleets of the United States (246.2 GW) or India (229.0 GW).

Emphasis mine. We could shut all of our coal plants down, and within a couple of years, China will have built enough to replace them and more, so that overall world emissions will not go down by even a drop.

Doshi points out (in language more delicate than I would have used) that China is being completely cynical in taking advantage of the stupid U.S. green religion to hobble the U.S. economy even as China develops fossil fuel resources at full tilt:

China’s state planners are likely to have a keener appreciation for the laws of physics and economics in their assessments of decarbonization than their counterparts in the West who are busy pursuing a quixotic Green Industrial Revolution.

Here in America, we’re progressives, so we don’t need to pay any attention to the laws of physics and economics.

If you are looking for some even more ridiculous reality-denial, Real Clear Energy links to an entire series of articles today on big oil companies engaging in doublespeak to fool environmental activists into believing that the whole industry is about to go “low carbon.”

For example, there is this Bloomberg-sourced piece from World Oil, the headline “Chevron’s CEO says ‘action over pledges’ will deliver higher returns, lower carbon.”

Excerpt:

Fresh from overtaking Exxon Mobil as North America’s biggest oil company, Chevron Corp. has a “simple promise” to investors: higher returns and lower carbon… “We’ve been able to remain very steady as others have had to change strategy, change dividend, change financial priorities,” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “For us, it’s been a pretty simple promise of higher returns, lower carbon and you can count on us.”

So how do you do “lower carbon” when fundamentally you are in the oil business? Answer:

Chevron’s carbon goals are linked to reducing methane leaks and so-called emissions intensity, which means less pollution per barrel of oil produced. That leaves the company wiggle room to increase overall emissions in the future as crude output grows.

I wonder how long they can keep anybody fooled with something that transparent.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Financial Post reports that, over at Shell, the CEO is pledging to waste oodles of shareholder money heading toward a “net-zero” emissions situation:

European oil companies are under pressure from investors and environmentalists, forcing several – including Shell – to announce net-zero emissions pledges… Ben van Beurden, the chief executive, has said investment into lower-carbon businesses such as biofuels and solar power “needs to accelerate.” However, he has also said that oil will continue to be a huge cash generator…

And while we’re all in the crazy world of make-believe, let’s check in on the IMF. From Real Clear Energy December 6, “The IMF’s Net-Zero Fairy Tale,” by Rupert Darwall:

With Britain, France, the European Union, and now America (soon to be under Joe Biden’s leadership) piling onto the net-zero bandwagon, you’d think that some objectivity about the economic costs and consequences of such absolutist carbon-emission policies would be in order.

Traditionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be relied upon as a source of sound economic advice. No longer. Under its previous managing director, Christine Lagarde, and now its current one, Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF has traded economic integrity for green wokery – thus giving governments license to push radical green policies in the false belief that there are few or no downsides.

That’s OK, everything is a fairy tale now.

Read more at Manhattan Contrarian

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