Greenhouse Crisis: No New Science, No Progress. Where Is The Science in Biden Climate Project? 


More than 174 billion dollars for electric cars does not impact the climate crisis. Yet it’s what the Biden genius is proposing. If anything, massive subsidies in electric vehicles make the ecological crisis worse: we would have to dig the entire planet for lithium all over, and it will not make a dent on overall CO2 production: digging requires CO2 production, oh Biden genius! (Instead, helping create a hydrogen infrastructure would be useful, all the more as much of the natural gas infrastructure can be repurposed that way; that was done in France in the distant past, for decades; 20% hydrogen mixed with CH4 works very well). 

The USA, as it does periodically, is displaying its future virtues in the matter of climate, giving the entire planet lessons. By now, everybody educated enough, and smart enough, and honest enough, should be able to understand that these US administration lessons are lessons in hypocrisy. Altogether, the US emitted more GreenHouses Gases, than all the jurisdictions which ever existed… Although China is now taking the lead, with one new coal plant a week or so; China installed 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity into operation in 2020; that’s roughly 30 large nuclear reactors equivalent in coal plants, in just one year: long live the Paris climate accord (for China to pollute as much as possible). 

This US virtue signalling is not just dishonest, but doubly dishonest, as usual: the emission of GreenHouse Gases (GHG) per capita has gone up in recent years in the US, from 16 tons up to a probable 18 tons in 2022. None of what Biden proposes will reduce this, as he refuses carbon taxes and carbon pricing, on a matter of principle. Not just this, but Biden proposes to cut the only leg carbon reduction rested on, innovation (by discouraging investments in new technology, by proposing the world’s highest capital gain taxes… Yes, the world’s highest… Above 55% in leading states…)

As it is right now, roughly 40% of emissions of CO2 are caused by 10% of humanity (Europe and North America). If there was a proverbial “equity”, worldwide, then CO2 emissions should be multiplied by ten (China is acting on this, and India rushing to follow… as is their right). Instead of wasting 174 billions on electric car, genius Biden should spend 174 billion dollars on (research in) thermonuclear fusion… That would enable to build a fusion production plant within a decade… Or then invest in 4th generation nuclear… or invest in an hydrogen economy. So why 174 billion on useless, polluting electric cars? Hey so that Biden friends can make money… This already happened under Obama. Friends, as early privileged private investors… Maybe AOC is on it? She liked those designer clothes… Surely Pelosi, that, we know for a fact is invested in the right stuff before companies go “public”…

By comparison, to the prospective emission of 18 tons of CO2 per person in the USA, France makes do with 5 (five) tons per capita. However, France paid a hefty price, in decreased GDP, lots of regressive taxation, and a chronic revolt (“Gilets Jaunes”, now discreetly cancelled by Facebook, the arbitrator of Thought on Earth). 

One can argue that the colossal increase of relative advantage in GDP per capita of the US relative to Europe has been caused by the advantage that enormous fracking brought to the US: the graphs are parallel

What else? Basically, the US gets its energy for free, while the Europeans have to perform like monkeys in a circus to get fuel (be nice to Saudis, be nice to Putin, be nice to the Americans, be nice to Chavez/Maduro, etc.) 

Biden scoffs all the way to the bank: fracking over 12 years of Obama-Trump has put the US ahead. Biden is ready to cash out. So Biden claims he will do great things about the climate… But without carbon tax nor carbon pricing, nor innovation. There will be giant subsidies for electric cars… One may as well subsidize lawn mowers. 

And where does the Lithium and other Rare Earths come from for all these batteries? China (see the one coal plant per week Xi climate plan, above). The Trump administration’s authorization of one lithium mine in Nevada (with approval of the local Native American government), brought three lawsuits: too much acid, too much water, to extract all this lithium. Better let the Chinese do it among Uighurs, in the Tarim Basin, we don’t want to pollute Nevada. And where does the electricity for electric cars come from? Fossil fuels, mostly. 

In super green California, sun and wind provided only 22% of the electric generation energy in 2019 (latest year). Notice the two words “electric generation”, they are crucial, each in its own way: exploring what they exactly mean will expose the gross lie: it’s mostly all smoke. Yet, California has made enormous efforts, and is basically the most energy efficient US state.

Coal is dying for reasons which have nothing to do with renewable energy, and that’s why coal died in Europe, well before the impact of wind and sun. Why are the US at 18 tons of CO2 per year per capita, and only 5 (five) tons in France?Because of the absence of major carbon taxes in the USA.

Digging a bit in the numbers of renewable energy is not readily done, because headline propaganda is very active, and people have little patience for the truth, which is rather catastrophic, and the opposite of headlines. 

If one looks at the total energy usage in California one realizes that electricity is just 15% of California energy consumption. Moreover, that electricity divides into 9% from electricity generated IN California, and 6%, imported from outside (a one million volt direct current line comes down from the states of Oregon and Washington, directly into Los Angeles. A similar line comes from the Hoover dam on the Colorado river in Nevada). 

California sun and wind is 22% of these 9% of total California energy made in California, as electricity. In other words, not even 2% of California total energy consumption is from renewable sun and wind! So much for the renewability of it all. Hot wind and smoke, all of it! In the same general mood of brazen fakery, private school addict governor Newsom of California announced today that the state regulators should evaluate phasing out all offensive rock oil production in the state by 2045 (California is one of the world top fossil fuel producing states).

As it is, even augmenting considerably renewables in say the South-West of the USA, which has plenty of sun and wind, changes nothing much to the GreenHouse Gases contribution: an enormous fossil fuel infrastructure has to be kept as a backup, for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, as happened in California last summer. If one built it, one will use it, this fossil fuel infrastructure, and as it is, it has to be used; there is not enough storage for the pitiful “renewable” production, especially with empty dams. 

To cut emissions of GHG seriously one has to replace fossil fuels by nuclear, fission or fusion (to reach places the sun doesn’t much, and there are many of those). Also, one has to do as Europe does, and institute huge carbon taxes. Ultimately, though, one has to have no illusion: the GHG crisis will require the mass deployment of new energy, nuclear and hydrogen (or hydrogen derived). One cannot pave the ground with solar panels, tear the landscape with transmission lines, and operate giant washing machines in the sky all over (windmills; the newest of which are taller than most skyscrapers). Only fundamental research in basic science will solve the planetary crisis of GreenHouse Gases. Innovation is key. 

Such misleading virtue signalling on the part of government is counterproductive, because it enables public opinion, its makers, and leaders to feel comfortable and think of other things. It reminds us of Catholic missions sent to better exterminate the Natives. But counterproduction is often what is exactly intended (I hope Machiavel covered that one).

Much of the “infrastructure program” of Biden targets “human infrastructure”, a laudable goal. But, once again, is it what is really intended? 

One should start with schools. The USA’s top schools used to be public (say in 1950). But now such schools are “defunded” (like the police) in the guise of “equality”. 

An indirect proof of that is the sight of politicians (including Biden and Obama, those loud “democrats”) getting their children in the most expensive private schools. In the same spirit of hypocrisy, public union teachers literally refuse to teach, while admonishing us for “accountability”. Some public teachers’ union leaders joined the fray by getting their children in… private schools [1]. 

What causes a dissonant cognitive mess in climate and infrastructure? Uncritical admission of irrealism in too much of the influential population. Biden talks the talk, but he walks in the opposite direction, while insisting he is going the right way. Media carefully don’t notice

Biden got the most votes than a US president ever got… followed by Trump. The difference in the number of votes was six millions… And of these six millions, 5.5 millions came from… California, this temple of hydrocarbons and plutocratic hypocrisy (where yours truly is located, in full view of San Francisco…) So basically, Biden is California, at this point: talking the talk, walking the other way. None of this is coincidental. The temple of hypocrisy voted for the great master of hypocrisy and dissonance…

Patrice Ayme

***

[1] The head of a California teachers union has been blasted as a hypocrite after he was caught dropping off his 2-year-old daughter at her private preschool, since Spring 2020 — despite saying it was unsafe for children to be back in classrooms. “Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers’ union. He’s been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school,” a group known as Guerilla Momz said on Twitter.

Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has fought for what he called the “gold standard” for the educators — saying the schools should only reopen to in-person learning when the teachers are vaccinated, among other criteria, KQED reported… Similar hypocrisy was demonstrated by the governor of California, who, while keeping public schools closed, sent his four children to private school. Hey, he can afford it; he owns eleven (11) companies, including a winery and a resort at the major olympic resort of Squaw Valley (soon not to be called “Squaw” because it reminds us that the natives were exterminated…)

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17 Responses to “Greenhouse Crisis: No New Science, No Progress. Where Is The Science in Biden Climate Project? ”

  1. ianmillerblog Says:

    My guess as to why France has less than 1/3 the emissions per capita is that France has invested heavily in nuclear power, and to some extent has better electrically powered public transport. There could be a message in that for many.

    I agree on the electric cars, although if they adopted fuel cells you won’t need the batteries.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed, yet it is not just this: there are, de facto, several carbon taxes. Gasoline price is twice the US, and the difference is all taxes. Then there is the VAT. Also Europe has a carbon pricing scheme, which brings down the carbon emissions of 500 million persons Europe down to 7.5 ton…

      Fuel cell cars would need only small batteries, or better, a battery-capacitor mix…

      Like

  2. Reuben Says:

    Reuben
    Australia April 23
    @Patrice Ayme Excellent. You write as a voice of reason, which sadly is in stark contrast to not only most politicians who are publicly advocating the goal of net zero Carbon emissions, but also the academic orthodoxy of the subject: that is, such politicians and academics are consistent, almost without exception, in not only claiming that this unrealistic goal can be achieved, but also claiming that it can be achieved entirely via renewables, like solar and wind; whereas in truth, the only viable method of significantly reducing Carbon emissions without causing a massive economy catastrophe for humanity is via the methods that you advocate, ‘by nuclear, fission or fusion.’ It is extremely frustrating that neither politicians nor academics are willing to acknowledge that this is the case, and instead voices of reason like yours are reduced to being a lone voice in the wilderness.

    Like

  3. Robert Out West Says:

    Robert
    Out West
    This is complete nonsense. For openers, EIA says that California generated five percent of its energy from solar alone, and up to half from renewables including hydropower.

    And just so’s you’re told (but not that you’ll care), CA generates more electricity than any other state.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      So let me get that straight: according to the numbers you present, you believe that a couple of major dams, in a megadrought state like California, produce nearly half the energy of the state? Just when we have been told dam production will soon just be a trickle?

      Are you sure you are reading the numbers correctly? Are you sure you are not confusing TOTAL energy consumed in California, and ELECTRIC energy USED by California? Have you considered that two giant million volt Direct Current power lines feed into Los Angeles one from (the dams of) Washington State, through Oregon and Nevada, and the other from the Hoover dam on the Colorado river?

      The end result for total California energy is 9%-6%-85%. 9% is how much energy is from electricity produced in California (of which 22% is wind and solar, in the average). 6%is from imported electricity… and 85% is mostly fossil fuels. Doing the math, this gives only 2% from sun and wind… Yet the disruptions have been severe.

      Make no mistake: I am totally against fossil fuels. But that’s what we have, now. The 174 billion dollars for electric cars have nearly no climate impact. But they will pollute, mostly in China. Biden, should he care about the climate, would have financed “green hydrogen”… which can be used all over, even replacing electricity and for storage. As amoniac, it’s very civilized. If we want to get out of this climate crisis, we will have to have energy storage and transportable energy, and mostly find out what reality really is.

      Like

  4. secularrum Says:

    In the graph should the “EU” label be “UK”? Otherwise “Europe minus EU” doesn’t make sense.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Secularrum!
      OK, thanks for asking. The graph refers to two notions: Europe minus E28. That’s Russia + its former satellites (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, etc.).
      E28 refers to the present EU + the UK (which are not really separated in more ways than one, so E28 stays a reality, Brexit or no Brexit).

      Like

  5. Ian Miller Says:

    ianmillerblog
    on April 25, 2021 at 2:15 am said:
    Hi Patrice,

    Yes, I have seen Biden’s efforts. I agree the emphasis on battery-powered electric cars is silly because, as I blogged previously, not only are the extractives industries very polluting in nature, but at present there are insufficient reserves. We cannot meet the target. Besides putting money into research from thermonuclear fusion, I think more effort should be put into molten salt fission power, of the sort that burns its own nasties. I also think more money should be put into biofuels research (admittedly I am biased here, but much of the fuel can be made from stuff that otherwise simply rots and puts methane into the atmosphere) because (a) we have heritage vehicles, (b) hydrocarbons are still the best way to power aircraft, (c) We still have to power ships, and (d) there are many projects in more remote regions where diesel motors are preferable to anything else through the ease of refuelling.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed Ian. The (enormous) natural gas infrastructure can be easily adapted to 20% hydrogen (no modifications necessary). Beyond this, only small modifications. The hydrogen could be produced by renewable means. That would enable us to co-opt the existing fossil fuel infrastructure. That’s what Biden should be doing. Instead he is throwing a bone to financial speculators by financing electric cars (which cost twice the CO2 to make relative to ICE). Pathetic.

      As it is California runs ONLY on 2% sun-wind renewables. Fumes…

      Like

  6. ianmillerblog Says:

    One more comment: lithium is not the worst problem; the most difficult to obtain is cobalt, which currently is obtained as a byproduct from copper mining in the Congo, mining carried out under appalling conditions for the Congolese doing it, and at the same time making an environmental nightmare. But even if you fixed that, you won’t get enough cobalt. Now, if you try to substitute for cobalt you have a problem. Cobalt seems to be the only element that has a convenient change in oxidation (necessary for the other half of the electricity generation) at constant volume. If you substitute, the volume changes that arise cause distortions in the matrix, which breaks down and the batteries have much shorter lives. If you have to change your batteries every four or five years, think of the cost, and think of the wastes.

    Like

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed. That electric cars are most CO2 friendly is more than debatable. As it is, not the case, since the electricity is fossil fueled. It takes twice the CO2 to make an electric car vs a ICE car.

      After decades of planning, China now dominates the world’s production of new generation batteries that are used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics such as cell phones and laptops. Most of cars will be built with Chinese lithium ion batteries. The United States will be dependent on Chinese supply chains to produce the batteries. That will be particularly true if Joe Biden is able to implement his “clean energy” and climate plans that will transform the US energy system into battery paradise.

      In 2019, Chinese chemical companies accounted for 80 percent of the world’s total output of raw materials for advanced batteries. China controls the processing of all the critical minerals–rare earth, lithium, cobalt, and graphite. Of the 136 lithium-ion battery plants in the pipeline to 2029, 101 are based in China. The largest manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries with a 27.9 percent market share is China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) founded in 2011. It developed a power pack that lasts for more than a million miles.

      The Battery Supply Chain:

      In addition to rare earths, the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries depends on key materials like graphite, cobalt, manganese and nickel. In 2019, China produced 64 percent of the world’s graphite, with 24 percent of the world’s reserves.

      China has only 1 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves, but it dominates in the processing of raw cobalt. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the source of over two-thirds of global cobalt production, but China has over 80 percent control of the cobalt refining industry, where raw material is turned into commercial-grade cobalt metal. Moreover, China owns eight of the 14 largest cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for about half of the country’s output. An American company once owned the largest DRC mine, but sold it in 2016 to China Molybdenum.

      Like

  7. D'Ambiallet Says:

    Really surprised by how little renewable energy contribute to California

    Like

  8. SDM Says:

    What is it about electric cars that it costs “twice the CO2to produce”? Is it because of battery manufacturing processes? I wish you would explain how that is in your essay and comments as it would be a more compelling argument.

    Like

    • Gmax Says:

      Trump authorized a lithium mine in Nevada at Barker Pass. It requires a flow of sulfuric acid truck and humongous quantities of water so ecologists oppose it. Batteries are produced in China because they can do all sort of shit there, and ecologist get reeducated.

      Nevada is my state and I am all for lithium, but it costs

      Like

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Thanks, I think I mentioned that Nevada mine. See what I said to SDM….
        Processing of Lithium Ore

        The lithium extraction process uses a lot of water—approximately 500,000 gallons per metric ton of lithium. That’s TWO THOUSAND TONS OF WATER PER TON OF LITHIUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        So 24,000 tons, TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND TONS OF WATER FOR ONE TESLA MODEL S, version 2018 (more recent ones use MORE lithium!)

        To extract lithium for SALARS (half the world’s reserves), miners drill a hole in salt flats and pump salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface. After several months the water evaporates, leaving a mixture of manganese, potassium, borax and lithium salts which is then filtered and placed into another evaporation pool. After between 12 and 18 months of this process, the mixture is filtered sufficiently that lithium carbonate can be extracted.

        South America’s Lithium Triangle, which covers parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, holds more than half the world’s supply of the metal beneath its salt flats. But it is also one of the driest places on earth. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, mining activities consumed 65 percent of the region’s water, which is having a large impact on local farmers to the point that some communities have to get water elsewhere.

        As in Tibet, there is the potential for toxic chemicals to leak from the evaporation pools into the water supply including hydrochloric acid, which is used in the processing of lithium, and waste products that are filtered out of the brine. In Australia and North America, lithium is mined from rock using chemicals to extract it into a useful form. In Nevada, researchers found impacts on fish as far as 150 miles downstream from a lithium processing operation.

        Lithium extraction harms the soil and causes air contamination. In Argentina’s Salar de Hombre Muerto, residents believe that lithium operations contaminated streams used by humans and livestock and for crop irrigation. In Chile, the landscape is marred by mountains of discarded salt and canals filled with contaminated water with an unnatural blue hue. According to Guillermo Gonzalez, a lithium battery expert from the University of Chile, “This isn’t a green solution – it’s not a solution at all.”

        Sulphuric acid is used massively:

        https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/metals%20and%20mining/our%20insights/lithium%20and%20cobalt%20a%20tale%20of%20two%20commodities/lithium-and-cobalt-a-tale-of-two-commodities.ashx

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      It’s complicated. It depends upon the size of the cars. European agencies looked at small electric cars. I looked at a lawyer I know all too well, wealthy even more than usual, from the stimulus. He bought a Tesla (not a small car) for his wife… and then an Audi e-tron electric SUV, for himself, a gigantic vehicule. The CO2 cost of the latter vehicle for construction ALONE is well above 20 tons of CO2, mainly the battery. That’s more than twice the CO2 construction cost of average ICE car. Average ICE cars have a lifetime CO2 of 45 tons…
      Moreover, lots of the pollution is hidden in China at this point…
      And then, final disaster, California’s renewable TOTAL energy contribution is, as I said only 2%… Double that and more by arguing all sorts of disingenuous lies, one is still around 5%.
      Make no mistake: I would like all to have electric cars. Also supersonic first class flying at low cost around the planet. But it’s no way to improve the ecology.

      Like

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