At a White House virtual global summit, President Joe Biden declared that the United States would cut its carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030. “It’s a moral imperative,” he said. His commitment was lauded worldwide, but is it a good idea? Is it a realistic goal?
On the surface, Biden’s plan does not seem impossible. It starts with the U.S. emissions in 2005 as its standard of measurement. Back then, the nation emitted 6,000 Megatons (MT) of carbon dioxide. Since then, due to the natural gas revolution, America has become energy-independent and reduced emissions to 4,900 MT. Only an additional 1,900 MT reduction is needed to reach the goal. Seems doable, right?
Wrong. In order to replace that amount of fossil fuel energy with renewable sources, the U.S. would require intense construction of alternate power plants. Independent scientist Willis Eschenbach has calculated that this amounts to 4.5 Gigawatts (GW) worth of new electric power plants installed every week until 2030. This number includes peak power consumption and a 15% extra security margin for downtime and harsh winters like the recent one in Texas.
If this is to come from solar power, the goal can only be reached by filling an area the size of New York City with solar panels every six weeks. It means that more than seven square miles of solar panels need to be constructed every day for nearly nine years. Such a task is not even in the ballpark of realism.
China First Policy
Even if the U.S., by some miracle, could reach Biden’s goal, China is building coal power plants at nearly the same pace as America is shutting them down. The solar panels cannot be created in America because China is the leading manufacturer and has gained crucial rare earth metal reserves worldwide.
Therefore, Biden’s plan would have to be completed using Chinese solar power built with coal plants in China. In practice, it amounts to a China First policy where America sacrifices its energy independence so that China can make more coal power.
The only realistic alternative to oil and gas would be nuclear power, which the Biden administration has not emphasized or prioritized. Becoming a world leader in nuclear power wouldn’t be a bad idea since anyone who wishes to conquer space will need it in spades.
Nevertheless, building several Gigawatt-sized power plants every week is near impossible, and one big question still looms. Why should America sacrifice its people’s well-being and economic strength to help China become an even greater consumer of coal?
Dr. Bjørn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Institute has gathered the assistance of experts worldwide to assess laudable projects for public investments. Even if you accept all the claims of catastrophic global warming, there are still far more important and better things in which to invest than reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
And perhaps more importantly: The alternatives would not involve aiding and abetting foreign adversaries while making life harder for the average American. Biden’s plan makes zero sense for anyone who wants to fix real problems without harming the American public.
Read more from Caroline Adana.