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Green transition will unleash monster price rises, and do nothing to save the planet

May 14, 2021

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Philip Bratby

 

Jeremy Warner finally wakes up to the economic consequences of Net Zero:

 

 

 

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It has become something of a cliche, but it also happens to be true. If you want to do your bit for the planet, forget Tesla and other super expensive electric vehicles; just carry on driving the same old gas-guzzling banger you’ve always had.

As much if not more carbon tends to be expended producing a new car as actually driving it. You are going to have to do an awful lot of miles in the old one before you match the carbon costs of buying a newer version.

It was a slightly different, but similar point that Carlos Tavares, chief executive of the world’s fifth-biggest car maker, Stellantis, was making this week when he said that “green inflation” could soon make owning a vehicle the preserve of the rich.

The prevailing narrative – both in the motor industry and among political leaders sold on the idea that the transition to an emission-free world can be accomplished without significant damage to lifestyles – is that as demand grows, the price of EVs will steadily come down until they are eventually accessible to all.

Not so, argues Tavares; the coming energy transition is going to be hugely resource intensive, driving up costs across the board.  He didn’t quite spell it out, though he hinted at it, so let me do so instead; it is entirely plausible that the monumental carbon costs of establishing the new infrastructure needed for a net zero world, nevermind its physical cost, could itself trigger the very same environmental catastrophe it is supposed to forestall.

Green lobbyists vehemently dispute such claims, pointing out that though the transition will burn a lot of carbon initially, this will progressively decrease, eventually disappearing entirely.

Yet whatever the modelling used, it is pretty much unarguable that going green will, to begin with, create a huge surge in global emissions. The transition will also result in myriad other forms of environmental and biodiversity destruction.

Reducing our emissions here in Britain isn’t going to be of much use if all we are in fact doing is exporting them. A large part of that reduction stems from the decline in old, energy intensive smokestack industries, priced out of the market in part by rising energy costs.

The solar panels that litter the landscape allow our own coal powered stations to be switched off, but are likely to have been manufactured in China using the very same as the main energy source. By reducing our own emissions, we are paradoxically only increasing them at a global level.

Ministers worry about how to save the sad remnants of Britain’s once mighty steel industry, but for PR purposes refuse to sanction a new mine in Cumbria that would provide the relatively low cost coking coal that might help, preferring instead a long winded public inquiry and in the meantime the much higher carbon footprint of importing the stuff from Russia and beyond.

Already the coming energy transition is driving a quite considerable jump in inflation. One of the big stories of the week has been a surge in US consumer price inflation to more than 4 per cent, the highest level in more than 10 years. The US Federal Reserve insists that the increase is only  temporary. Believe it if you will; not many people at the coal face of rising prices do.

Nor does Ivan Glasenberg, boss of one of the world’s largest mining finance houses, Glencore, who this week pointed out that the Chinese were progressively “tying up” great swathes of the world supply of cobalt, the metal needed for the lithium ion batteries used in longer range EVs.

In a report published last week, the International Energy Agency found that an energy transition such as the one planned by President Biden in the US, if applied globally, would cause demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals to explode, rising by 4,200 per cent, 2,500 per cent, 1,900 per cent and 700 per cent respectively by 2040.

As things stand, the capacity needed to bring about such a transformation simply doesn’t exist. Massive, emission inducing investment in new sources of supply is required to meet the likely demand.

“The mineral requirements of an energy system powered by clean energy technologies differ profoundly from one that runs on fossil fuels”, explains Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a similarly sized gas-fired power plant. The energy sector’s overall needs for critical minerals could increase by as much as six times by 2040 [on current plans for reducing emissions]”.

Another commodities super-cycle, similar to ones driven, first, by industrial renewal after the second world war and later by Chinese industrialisation beckons, powering a seminal shift into a new inflationary age. None of this to argue that we shouldn’t even be trying. It’s just that the politicians need to be a bit more honest about the consequences, as well as less starry eyed about the prospects of success.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/05/14/electric-cars-onwards-green-transition-will-unleash-monster/

14 Comments
  1. TinyCO2 permalink
    May 14, 2021 10:10 am

    Why does it take these people so long to think of this? I became a climate sceptic in the early noughties when I worked out the near impossibility of significantly cutting CO2. It was obviously going to be horrible and we’d better be very sure how much influence CO2 has before we inflicted the pain.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 14, 2021 1:13 pm

      TinyCO2. It doesn’t matter how much influence CO2 has (above a certain value). But, if by cutting CO2 you mean rapid reductions in fuel emissions, the pandemic travel lockdowns should have sent the message to politicians and policy makers that the economic devastation will continue if emission reductions are to increase after the travel lockdowns are over. There is no “electric” energy capacity to move people and the goods and services needed very far for very long without carbon fuels. The pain is already being inflicted. In the Eastern US a fuel pipeline cyberattack has done exactly that.

      • TinyCO2 permalink
        May 14, 2021 3:00 pm

        We know that,but why is it taking so long for the warmists to ask the same questions?

  2. May 14, 2021 10:17 am

    All unarguable, so why won’t/don’t the “great and the good” listen and act accordingly?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 14, 2021 11:18 am

      If by ‘the great and the good’ you mean people like Cameron, Davy, Deben and all the other green millionaires then you know the answer to your question.

  3. JimW permalink
    May 14, 2021 10:27 am

    ‘None of this to argue that we shouldn’t even be trying’ Is including these comments the only way these articles get published? Trying to do what exactly? Even the cynics have swallowed the story.

    • May 14, 2021 10:52 am

      If the prospects of success are zero (as implied in the article), why should we be trying? The lat paragraph must be there to get past the Telegraph sensors.

  4. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    May 14, 2021 12:46 pm

    On BBC radio 4 programme, You and Yours today it reported British Steel are not accepting new orders. Unpresentated in over 30 years.
    The programme wondered if this will have an impact on High Speed Rail 2 ?
    The programme went on to report building materials are increasing in price when they’re available.
    For example copper, timber, cement and of course steel. Then there’s a shortage of hand tools apparently.
    Now would be a good time for this government to promote independance in major industries if there are any left.

    • Devoncamel permalink
      May 14, 2021 6:24 pm

      Well you wouldn’t oppose a new UK mine supplying essential raw material for UK steel making would you?

  5. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 14, 2021 11:02 pm

    My very first job on leaving school was on a team commissioned by what was known as the Rothschild Think Tank to investigate some of the claims made by Limits to Growth with particular emphasis on key resources. We were able to show that the assumptions they made were unrealistic, and that a more viable future beckoned as being much more likely – and now almost 50 years on from Limits to Growth (published 1972) I think claim that we were proved right.

    That work gave me insight into how to evaluate resource and economic and energy issues on a global scale. I have to say that the headlong rush into an ill thought out net zero world has long set my internal alarm bells ringing. It’s as if, having failed with their predictions, the modern supporters of Forrester and Meadows are determined that this time they will be proved right for the wrong reasons, by imposing an economy that is destined to collapse in failure.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      May 18, 2021 11:38 am

      The Limits to Growth was a very instructive book but the obvious fallacy was that all growth was exponential, which often applies well to historical data: this lack of understanding of real-world future predictions is probably the basis for the modern belief in mathematical model predictions. The updated version of the book is little better: the Club of Rome has a lot to answer for.

      My early involvement in, much simpler, mathematical models than the climate made me very circumspect about using them, especially the problem of validating them. Ultimately, them more complex the problem, the more subjective is the input.

      • Sobaken permalink
        May 18, 2021 9:48 pm

        Modern day environmentalists regurgitate all the same 50 year old fallacies and advocate all the same policies to constrict growth. The elites of WEF think exactly the same same thoughts as those who congregated at the Club of Rome. It’s not that they don’t see that these ideas are wrong and their models are faulty, they must realize it all pretty clearly, it simply couldn’t be that history didn’t teach them anything in the last half a century. Rather, I think they simply don’t care if they are right, as long as these views align with their real goals, and as long as we the people buy into their fairy tales, they will continue to peddle their nonsense. Elites want global control over the economy, society, and politics, and a simple static system with no growth and disruption allows for unchallenged everlasting power over the world. And greens want to minimize human impact on nature, reducing civilization’s encroachment on the primordial state of the planet as much as possible, which necessitates economic and demographic shrinkage. Why would they ever abandon these ideas of catastrophic resource depletion and global warming when they suit them so well?

  6. Virgilius permalink
    May 15, 2021 11:02 am

    Follow the money and see where it ends up and then you will understand precisely why our so called leaders love this green nonsense.

  7. May 18, 2021 9:07 am

    Gigantic future costs and National Security concerns, regarding Radar Interference with surveillance systems from Windfarms.

    I imagine you subscribe to the email alerts from Gov.UK regarding Energy Security?

    Competition: Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence Phase 2

    Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence Phase 2: Competition Document

    Initially £3.6million available to research. Link to Documentation below:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-windfarm-mitigation-for-uk-air-defence-phase-2/windfarm-mitigation-for-uk-air-defence-phase-2-competition-document

    Extract.

    “A number of recent trials have demonstrated the adverse impact that this has on the UK’s air defence capability.
    The Doppler shift on ground radar returns mimics the signals of fast moving aircraft, curtailing the RAF’s ability to detect incoming, low flying, aircraft threats.”

    This was one of the (many) reasons that the 130 plus, gigantic 220 metre high turbine, Navitus Wind Farm off the Isle of Wight
    was cancelled, due to the Radar Interference with Bournemouth Airport.

    2.1 Background

    Extract

    “…..under the 2019 ‘Net Zero’ legislation, the Committee on Climate Change (HMG’s advisory body) has predicted a requirement for at least 75GW of electricity from offshore wind by 2050. This would require a ten-fold increase of current offshore windfarm generation capacity……..”

    Interesting reading.

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