Clean Energy and China’s Sleight of Hand

Clean Energy and China’s Sleight of Hand

By Dr. Harold A. Black

There may be a force that could lead to a breaking up of the United States that is not due to a constitutional crisis provoked by the Federal government (see my article on HR 1). That would be the mandating of renewables to power electric vehicles. Somehow, the governor of California was able to unilaterally impose via executive order banning the sale of all new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. I presume this applies to motorcycles and trucks. Given present technology, this would severely damage long haul trucking and the RV industry. There is considerable doubt as to whether the California power grid with its rolling blackouts will be able to provide the energy necessary for 100 percent electric cars using 100 percent “renewable” energy. Given the resistance that exists against windmills and acres of solar panels, it will be interesting to see whether the power companies will have to resort to nuclear and even coal-fired plants.

I also wonder if the greenie weenies have thought through the impact on travel given the short range of electric vehicles and the time it takes to charge them. Then there is the cost of putting charging stations into homes and the cost of replacing the car’s battery bank when it dies. Lastly there is the environmental problem of lithium battery disposal.

Imagine what would happen if electric vehicles were mandated by the Federal government along with the phasing out of fossil fuels. The energy-producing states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alaska, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Wyoming would be immediately impoverished. Also, states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Dakota with significant fracking operations would either lobby for succession or move toward partitioning themselves. And what about the ethanol producers like Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois? Certainly, they would resist calls to get rid of gas powered vehicles. Indiana, also a top ethanol producer, is the home of the RV industry and would be devastated by an electric vehicle mandate.

Although General Motors and several European car companies have announced phasing out gas cars by 2035, I would guess that other car companies would continue to manufacture gas cars. Also, it is likely that we would see the rise of an anti-Elon Musk – an innovator producing highly efficient gas or natural gas-powered vehicles.

I realize that the relentless lobbying about global warming has fueled enormous pressures on the automobile companies to go electric. Likewise, the public utilities and energy companies are moving toward renewables. I am not going to discuss the evidence presented for or against global warming.

However, if one wishes to address fossil fuel emissions, then one must realize that China, the world’s largest polluter, is not on board. Yes, China is at the forefront of electric vehicle production and sales but I think that the reason is that it wants to lessen the terrible pollution in its cities and shift the pollution to its rural areas. China is powering its electric vehicles by building more coal fired plants.

In 2020, China brought online three times the gigawatts of new coal-fired energy than the rest of the world with even more in development. Not surprisingly, China’s generation of carbon dioxide is increasing and is now 15 percent per year above 2015 levels.

Clearly, China’s economic engine is more important to it than carbon emissions. The way it addresses the pollution in its cities is to build electric cars powered by coal-fired plants located away from its population centers. Lastly, a cynic might postulate that China is seeking to continue to grow using cheap energy while making the appropriate clucking sounds to the Greenies in the West.

The result will be a comparative advantage for the Chinese as the Western economies become dependent upon more costly, inefficient and unreliable renewables.

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