Biden Dangerously Misinformed About Energy, Climate, and Jobs

by | Feb 17, 2021 |

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It is total fantasy to think that flimsy, expensive, and unreliable wind and solar energy sources can fully power the U.S. electricity grid. We have tried to improve the economics and reliability of wind and solar for over 30 years with little progress. We are at the end of the line in that endeavor.

Mr. Biden should be taken aside and given a simple science lesson: carbon dioxide is the gas we exhale every minute of our lives and is the furthest thing possible from “carbon pollution.” It is an invisible, odorless, benign gas on which all life depends, Mr. President.

In part 1 and part 2 of this article, we discussed the first 13 of Biden’s biggest blunders in “Remarks by President Biden Before Signing Executive Actions on Tackling Climate Change, Creating Jobs, and Restoring Scientific Integrity.” Here we conclude with a final list of four major whoppers from Pinocchio-Joe.

Biden: “This is a case where dealing with this existential threat to the planet and increasing our economic growth and prosperity are one in the same. When I think of climate change, … I think of jobs.” 

Reality: When we think of climate change, we think of the billion U.S. dollars a day that is wasted around the world on climate finance, according to the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative. Every dollar we spend on climate change is a dollar that could be used to improve our nation in a more practical way. Instead, it is used to prop up the biggest delusion, fantasy, fraud; call it what you wish that the world has ever known. The real reality is that there is no ‘existential threat’ to the planet caused by our fossil fuel use. Indeed, mankind has no measurable impact on the Earth’s temperature.’

And of course, just as we explained in part one of our series describing the first of Joe’s many gaffs, jobs created in the so-called ‘green sector’ are done so at the expense of even more jobs lost in the rest of the economy since the price of energy rises so much. 

Biden: “… we can put millions of Americans to work modernizing our water systems, transportation, our energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme climate. We’ve already reached a point where we’re going to have to live with what it is now. That’s going to require a lot of work all by itself, without it getting any worse.”

Reality: We can always work to improve our water and energy infrastructure where needed without panicking people with exaggerated fears of climate change. This only leads to poorly thought-out policies that damage the lives of everyday Americans.

And, yes, Joe, we do “have to live with what it is now.” That is called ‘adaptation,’ the only climate policy that makes sense. Former ICSC Chief Science Advisor, the late Professor Bob Carter of Australia, summed up the situation well:

“Science has yet to provide unambiguous evidence that problematic, or even measurable, human-caused global warming is occurring. Governments need to recognize that the really dangerous climate hazards are those of natural change and to prepare more fully for them.”

At the UN COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, they advocated a 50:50 split between mitigation and adaptation funding. That was naïve. Useless mitigation projects generate huge profits for alternative energy corporations, carbon traders, and others. Simultaneously, the very useful ‘boots on the ground’ approach typical of adaptation initiatives are far less lucrative. So, not surprisingly, of the over one billion U.S. dollars being spent every day across the world on climate finance, only about 5% of it goes to adaptation. The rest is wasted trying to stop the planet’s climate from changing.

Biden: “Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to big oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies. And I’m going to be going to the Congress asking them to eliminate those subsidies.”

Reality: Wind and solar power subsidies dwarf oil subsidies. Assistance to oil companies is almost all in the form of investment tax credits for new equipment.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation shows in their report “The Siren Song that Never Ends – Federal Energy Subsidies and Support from 2010 to 2019” that, using its definitions, from 2010 to 2019, the oil and gas industry received $25 billion in “subsidies,” almost all of which were merely deductions and incentives that are longstanding or permanent parts of the tax code (i.e., deductions for investment) and are received in the same or similar forms by almost all industry. The “green” lobby has greatly exaggerated the level of subsidies to the oil and gas industry by including, among other non-subsidies, their estimate of the fictitious ‘shadow cost’ of climate damage. In some cases, the Greens even count as a subsidy to the oil industry the federal expenditures on wars in the Middle East, the idea being that the U.S. would not be in those wars were it not for the interests of the oil industry.

By comparison with the $25 billion in oil and gas subsidies, the solar industry received $34.4 billion and the wind industry $36.8 billion true subsidies during the same period, for a total renewable subsidy of $71.2 billion, only a small fraction of which are the sorts of write-offs enjoyed by most industries. The distorting effects of subsidies, incentives, tax breaks, and other special forms of aid given to the renewables industry are truly enormous. Contrary to the fossil fuel sector, the renewables industry pays almost no corporate income taxes to offset the subsidies.

Writing with Len Tesoro, oil and gas expert Allen Gilmer summed up the situation well, saying:

“To date, we have spent far more in real dollars in alt energy real subsidies (moving real dollars from productive use to “experimental” use) than the total of the lunar program, and what we have to show for it is a bunch of companies completely dependent on government subsidies that pay little if any taxes.”

Ottawa, Canada-based Robert Lyman, Economics/Policy Advisor to the recently incorporated (not-for-profit) International Climate Science Coalition – Canada clarifies that:

“the tax deductions and write-offs available to the petroleum industry are very similar to those that are available to the other resource industries, like mining or to manufacturing. The tax code treats resource industries and manufacturing differently, but in both cases, the incentives are based on the presumption that they will stimulate investments. The investments, in turn, support much increased economic activity and employment, thus producing government revenues that far exceed the value of the original incentives.”

Biden: “With everything I just mentioned, this will mean one million new jobs in the American automobile industry. One million. And we’ll do another thing: We’ll take steps towards my goal of achieving 100 percent carbon-pollution-free electric sector by 2035. Transforming the American electric sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be a tremendous spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century, not to mention the benefits to our health and our environment…. Already, 84 percent of all new electric capacity planned to come onto the electric grid this is year is clean energy. Clean energy. Why? Because it’s affordable; because it’s clean; because, in many cases, it’s cheaper.”

Reality: So, Joe, how much health and economic benefit did solar, and wind power give to the over four million Texans who froze in the dark without electricity during this week’s deep freeze? Their frozen wind turbines did not seem to be contributing much to the state’s electric grid.

James Taylor, President of The Arlington-based Heartland Institute, said, 

“Wind turbines have proven to be particularly susceptible to icy conditions. Climate activists have long championed wind power for its asserted reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Texas public officials have bought into wind power, with Texas now having more than triple the wind power capacity of any other state. Now people throughout Texas are forced to endure below freezing temperatures without any electricity.”

Myron Ebel, director of the Centre for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, explained: 

“Texas utility regulators have been trying to figure out how to avoid blackouts in the summer when demand is high, and the wind seldom blows. It is now apparent that they should also have been planning for the occasional blizzard when windmills freeze and natural gas plants shutdown. But the climate industrial complex keeps demanding more and more subsidies and mandates for wind and solar power, which undermined the reliability of the grid.”

Finally, as discussed previously in this article, an expansion of so-called green power leads to a net loss of jobs in the broader economy. Little change in employment occurs when workers move from the assembly line for the internal combustion engine to the electric car assembly line.

While in the past three weeks at America Out Loud, we have pointed out the egregious lies and distortions of reality expressed by our new President, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Almost every falsehood he has expressed will seriously affect the well-being of all American citizens, with the exception of the minority of us who are true leftists. As the President and his administration pile on obstacles to our economic well-being, by the next election cycle in 2022, we will have a clear opportunity to sweep his party out of power in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Image: Entergy

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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