The “Blue Wave” never really reached shore, the U.S. Senate is still in Republican hands, the House of Representatives flipped to Democratic control, Trump era deregulation and fossil fuel production efforts continue, several governorships and state houses went from red to blue – and almost all state renewable energy and carbon tax ballot initiatives went down in flames.
On the global stage, despite Herculean efforts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and activist groups to redefine “climate change” and conjure up scary hobgoblins, the obsession over global warming, “green” energy and the Paris climate treaty has hit the rocky shoals of reality.
What does it all mean for U.S. energy and climate policy? This brief analysis might assist a divided Congress, governors and state legislators, an often confused or misled electorate, and people around the world … in making better, more informed decisions on climate and energy pathways forward.
Despite well over $150 million spent by billionaires Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and multiple environmentalist groups, hard-green voter propositions were resoundingly defeated:
A Colorado initiative would have made nearly the entire state off limits to drilling and fracking. A Washington measure would have imposed a heavy tax on carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide emissions. An Arizona amendment would have required that half of all electricity be generated by 2050 via “renewable energy” (but not new nuclear or hydroelectric), “regardless of the cost” to consumers. Anti-oil-and-mining initiatives in Alaska and Montana also got massacred. Nevadans approved a “50% renewable energy by 2030” bill, but it must be reapproved in 2020 before it can take effect.
Voters also threw half of the Republican members of the House “Climate Solutions Caucus” out of office.
Some Democrat governors and legislatures have hinted that they may follow California’s example – and simply impose the wind, solar and carbon tax laws that recalcitrant citizens just rejected, regardless of what that would do to energy prices, jobs and low income families. That won’t go over well.
Perhaps voters understand what more ideologically motivated legislators, regulators and activists may not:
Climate and renewable energy concerns lag way behind economic, employment, healthcare, immigration, national security and a host of other worries. Fossil fuels are still 80% of our energy. Real-world evidence for “manmade climate chaos” is sorely lacking. And despite repeated assurances to the contrary, few countries are doing anything to reduce their oil, gas or coal use, or their greenhouse gas emissions.
Voters certainly know functioning economies, factories, hospitals, offices, internets and families must have affordable energy when it is needed – not energy when it’s available, at prices that kill budgets and jobs.
According to a report profiled by European media platform Euractiv, of the 197 nations that so excitedly signed onto the 2015 Paris climate treaty, “only 16 have defined national climate action plans ambitious enough to meet their pledges.” Even that is a stretch. Canada is still a fossil fuel superpower, and Ontario’s new premier has pledged to scrap its Green Energy Act and wind and solar projects – while Japan is building a dozen new coal-fired power plants to replace its nuclear facilities.
That leaves 14 “economic powerhouses” with sufficient national climate action plans: Algeria, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Samoa, Singapore and Tonga. Whether any of them is actually doing anything is questionable. And all signed onto Paris because they didn’t have to reduce fossil fuel use and wanted to share in trillions of dollars of “climate adaptation and reparation” money that industrialized wealthy nations simply won’t pay.
Moreover, in Asia at-large, some 2,000 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants are already operating or under construction – and many of them burn fuel very inefficiently and emit prodigious amounts of CO2.
Australia and Japan have both rejected IPCC demands that they phase out all coal use by 2050. The UK has begun extracting shale gas. Germany is bulldozing ancient towns and forests to mine lignite for its new coal-fired power plants. Poland is burning more coal and preparing to import U.S. shale gas.
President Trump exited Paris – and new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to do likewise.
The USA is now the world’s biggest oil producer and a major oil exporter. In fact, oil production keeps climbing in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and other U.S. shale oil areas. Experts say total US oil production will reach 15 million barrels per day by 2025 at $55 per barrel, 18 MBPD at $65 and 20 MBPD at $75. America’s natural gas production is also soaring. All that will create or sustain tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in state and federal revenue. We should give all this up?