Demolishing the Myth of Renewable Energy Pt 3

It’s no coincidence that Greens voters tend to be the wealthiest, most urbanised in Australia. Environmentalism is the ultimate First World Problem. Only rich people can afford to fret about whether their almond milk is sustainably-sourced, organic and carbon-neutral, or whether to put expensive solar panels on their roofs. Poor people are too preoccupied with being able to eat and keep warm.

China and India, not to mention other developing nations, are a long way from being wealthy and electrified enough to give a toss about carbon emissions. Even working-class and rural Westerners pay little more than lip-service to climate-fussing. That stuff is the preserve of the comfortable, well-off, well-fed greens of the inner cities.

But climate policy is non-existent or failing even more markedly in the rest of the world for a very simple reason: more energy means more income, longer lives, less disease and more education. Typically, the cheapest way to achieve this is through coal.

The International Energy Agency’s newest report finds that when adjusting for the unreliability of solar and wind, existing coal will be cheaper than new solar and wind everywhere at least until 2040, and dramatically so in the EU. This simple fact is the reason we do not yet have a solution to global warming: green energy mostly can’t yet compete globally with fossil fuels.

The climate divide was starkly demonstrated in the recent Australian election. Labor and the Greens proposed big-spending, grandiose climate policies, but the bulk of the country voted with their feet. Labor’s great, big climate policies like electric cars were a massive electoral dud.

Promises to populate the world with electric cars have failed just as spectacularly, despite unpreced­ented subsidies. Today, fewer than 0.3 per cent of all cars are electric, and even if we could reach 200 million electric cars in 2040, the IEA estimates this would ­reduce emissions by less than 1 per cent.

Twenty years ago, the green-left tried to crucify John Howard for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty. History showed that he was right.

The promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in the Kyoto Treaty in 1997 fell apart. A new study of the promises made under the Paris Agreement finds that of almost 200 signatories, only 17…are living up to them, and these are succeeding mostly because they promised so little…

Every election fought on climate policy has been a failure. Kevin Rudd’s “great moral challenge of our time” won plaudits from the media elite but failed to sway Australians when push came to vote. The Carbon Tax did more than anything to kill support for Julia Gillard. Bill Shorten’s climate-centric election campaign lost him the un-losable election.

Still, they keep coming back.

Failure has not made politicians more careful. If anything, they have doubled down on making nice-sounding promises, even ones that are objectively ludicrous with zero chance of happening.

Enter the queen of ludicrous, reality-defying policies.

…After New Zealand made its 2050 zero emissions promise, the government commissioned a report on the costs. This found that achieving this goal in the most cost-effective manner (which strains credulity because policy seldom if ever manages to be cost efficient) would cost more than last year’s entire national budget on social security, welfare, health, education, police, courts, defence, environment and every other part of government combined. Each and every year.

Is it any wonder that China and India are giving the finger to the climate brigade and burning coal as fast as they can get their hands on it?

China has gone a long way to connecting its citizens to the grid, and India is working hard on catching up. Cheap, reliable energy is fuelling the economic revolution of both nations. The more than one billion people still without electricity in the developing world want their share, too.

If anything, the climate alarmists’ obsession with unreliable, expensive and ineffective “renewables” is diverting attention and money from finding real solutions.

The belief that we already have the solutions is a delusion on a planetary scale. It may be comforting to tell ourselves that global warming is effectively solved. It’s dangerous because it leads to us taking at face value promises and vows that have no chance of being enacted. And it is reckless because it stops us from focusing on what we need to do instead.