The other day I saw an article in which our local utility, Avista Utilities, expects to be climate neutral by the year 2045. That means no production of carbon dioxide. I talked to the man making the statement and he informed me that the Public Utilities Commission of Washington State was now requiring that all utilities be carbon neutral by 2045. I did not consider that another state could control what we do as a state. Could a later administration change this policy?
This is pure folly, and I hope that Idaho never accepts this position. Anyone who is not sure needs to get a copy of my short book on climate, Climate Change: A Convenient Truth, now in the second edition.
Looking ahead these so-called green energy policies are pure folly. Here are a few things to consider.
1. No one has ever demonstrated that carbon dioxide controls climate. The minute amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is used to grow every plant on earth.
2. Elimination of fossil fuels is totally unrealistic. Fossil fuels made America energy independent and prosperous. Democrats seem to have no understanding of fossil fuels. Beside gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, there are over 6,000 things made from fossil fuels. These are things we would have to live without if we eliminate fossil fuels. This includes things like: tires, pavement, paint and paint thinner, carpeting, vinyl fencing, vinyl siding, plastic wrap, multitudes of things made of plastic, toothbrushes, computers, electric wire insulation etc.
3. Most commercial fertilizer is made from natural gas (methane). This is the most energy powerful product with more hydrogen than any other substance. If methane is not used for fertilizer, food production will decrease greatly and many people could simply starve.
4. Wind and solar are not practical. There are times in which the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Right now during those times natural gas and coal make up the difference. These must be kept running on standby, and use almost as much energy as when they are fully loaded. These devices are mainly made in China, not in countries friendly to the United States. Much of what is required are rare earths, which are very rare, and some of them are even mined by children. You can store energy for times when the sun does not shine or the wind blow, but that could be several days and building batteries that large would be nearly impossible. You can use solar/wind energy to pump water to an elevated reservoir, but much energy is lost in pumping. Right now about 2% of our energy production is wind and solar. What will our beautiful landscape look like if we ever get to 100%?
5. California (along with New York, Washington and other blue states) has decreed that no new fuel fired vehicles will be sold by 2035. Electric vehicles seem nice since they do not pollute. However, much carbon dioxide is produced when these cars are made and they are anything but climate neutral. California has already said not to charge your electric cars during certain hours as there is not enough electricity from the grid. What will Californians do when they spend day after day in a cold, dark house? Will they learn to do without and be happy? Or will they wake up and elect climate savvy statesmen?
6. If you want to see where we are headed as a nation look at most of Europe, especially Germany, where the cost of electricity has gone out of sight. Germany has closed most of the very efficient nuclear power plants. Will they wake up before it is too late?
7. Some places have decreed that no new homes may be built which use natural gas. Natural gas is simply the most efficient energy source for our homes, as well as for electrical generation. Back about 1950 electric utilities advertised that electric kitchens were best. After natural gas became available in most places few people wanted electric kitchens. Natural gas cooks much faster than electric. Electric water heaters soon fill up with lime and short out the lower element. Natural gas is much more practical.
8. America was energy independent under the Trump Administration. The policies of the present administration make no sense to anyone. These include re-joining the Paris Climate Accord, stopping work on the Keystone XL Pipeline, stopping drilling on public lands, stopping exploration in ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge). Now we are begging our enemies to produce more energy, which makes no sense to anyone.
9. The result of all these policy initiatives means less domestic energy, and a clear road to government tyranny. Is that what we want? It is not too late to reverse these trends, but we are rapidly running out of time. Changing the energy climate begins with electing energy supporting candidates on November 8.
This Op-Ed was submitted by Jim Hollingsworth. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.