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Will The US Climate Bill Make Any Real Difference?

August 13, 2022
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By Paul Homewood

 

There has been a lot of hopelessly wishful thinking over the effects of the newly passed climate legislation in the US;

 

 

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The US Senate has approved a sweeping $700bn (£577bn) economic package that includes major legislation on healthcare, tax and climate change.

The bill seeks to lower the cost of some medicines, increase corporate taxes and reduce carbon emissions.

The passing of the bill – a flagship part of President Joe Biden’s agenda – is a boost ahead of mid-term elections.

But it is a significantly scaled-back version of the $3.5tn package that was first proposed by his administration.

The bill also includes $369bn for climate action – the largest investment in the issue in US history.

Some households could receive up to $7,500 in tax credits to buy an electric car, or $4,000 for a used car. Billions will also be spent in an effort to speed up the production of clean technology such as solar panels and wind turbines.

There will also be $60bn given to communities that have suffered the most from fossil fuel pollution.

The authors of the bill say it will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-62457386?at_campaign=KARANGA&at_medium=RSS

First, a few basic observations:

  1. This bill has been massively slimmed down since the original proposals last year. The $368bn is spread over ten years, works out at less than 0.2% of GDP – in UK terms, that equates to about £2bn a year. This is chicken feed, given that we are already spending £12bn a year on renewable subsidies, on top of the billions more spent on EV and heat pump subsidies, grid upgrades, EV charging points and the rest of the green boondoggle – yet we are still nowhere near the emission cuts targeted.
  2. US federal expenditure is notorious for pork barrelling. The scope of this bill is extremely wide, and it is inevitable that tens of billons will be diverted, spent on bureaucracy or simply enrich green lobbyists.
  3. The BBC say “it will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030”, but the 40% is a cut to 2005 levels, not today’s. Currently CO2 emissions are already 20% below 2005’s, in large part because of the switch from coal to gas. Just to print such nonsense shows the BBC’s total delusion over decarbonisation – they clearly believe that it is something that is very easy and cheap to do.
  4. The bill focuses mainly on decarbonising the power sector and the roll out of EVs. However, in both cases it merely extends existing subsidy programmes, which have had limited effect. For instance, the $7500 EV subsidy is the same as already paid.
  5. What is done can be undone. It is highly likely that a future President and Congress will ratchet back on a lot of this stuff.

Now to the nitty gritty.

It is in the interest of the green lobby and Democrats to overstate cuts in emissions, as it diverts attention away from the true, horrifying costs of Net Zero. Historically, by far the most source of analysis of climate policies has been the Climate Action Tracker (CAT); they are not a sceptical group by any means, and are devoted to the green agenda.

They have not yet evaluated the new bill, but according to them, based on the “policies and actions” already in place prior to this bill, emissions are projected to decline only very slowly up to 2030, by about 5% from today’s levels. Bear in mind that these policies include all of Obama’s as well as Biden’s prior to this new bill. The 40% objective takes emissions down to 4461 MtCO2e, close to that Domestic Target, which means a cut of 30% from 2021 levels. It is wise to ask how Biden’s will achieve such a big reduction, when Obama’s own tenure managed so little in comparison:

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 https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/usa/

According to CAT, this is how US emissions break down:

 

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https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/usa/policies-action/

Power Sector

Despite the billions already shovelled into renewables, wind and solar still only supply 12% of US electricity. It must be remembered that even if wind and solar are cheaper per se than fossil fuels, regional grids simply cannot forget about their imperative to have security of supply.

Let’s suppose then that this figure could double by 2030, an extremely optimistic view, emissions from the power sector may drop by about 200 MtCO2e, which is 3% of total US emissions.

EVs

Currently less than 1% of the 250 million cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks on the road in the United States are electric, with plug ins accounting for about 3% of annual sales of 17 million.

As we know in the UK, EVs are utterly unsuitable for most drivers. And a subsidy of $7500 is pretty irrelevant when the purchase price is $20000 higher than petrol. It is difficult to see why EV sales are suddenly going to take off.

Let us suppose though that the annual sales double to 1 million a year, emissions from transport might only drop by 10% at most; probably a lot less as the sector also includes HGVs etc. That would work out at a cut of 170 MtCO2e.

Biden, by the way, thinks that half of all car sales will be electric by 2030! Delusionists like him need to ask themselves why the UK is banning all conventional cars, an action that would hardly be necessary if EVs were so popular.

And the rest?

I think you can already see the problem. So far we have only got savings of 370 MtCO2e, a cut of 6% from current levels. Not the 30% targeted by this bill.

And there is very little scope for substantial savings in the other sectors.

The bill budgets for heat pump subsidies, for instance. But, again, the lesson in the UK is that houseowners are simply not interested in heat pumps, even with subsidies of £5000 on offer.

Industry too has no financial incentive to decarbonise, and the farm lobby will resist any such impositions.

Climate Action Tracker project that current policies will reduce 2030 emissions by 5% from today’s levels. This new bill might increase that cut to 10%.

Finally I want to return to the comment I made earlier.

The BBC consistently underplay the costs of Net Zero. To them, it is really simple – wind and solar power are now “dirt cheap”, the public are eager to embrace “clean energy”, eat less meat and give up their SUVs. It is only the government which is holding us all back.

In the BBC’s world, the government has a bottomless purse to pay for all this.

In part, I believe, this is based on the naive green ideology, which most of the BBC are signed up members of.

In part too, it is a deliberate attempt to divert the public’s attention away from the truly terrifying costs involved, not to mention the whole pointlessness of it all.

21 Comments
  1. Curious George permalink
    August 13, 2022 4:51 pm

    I assume you are referring to the “The Inflation Reduction Act”, which does no such thing.

    • Gamecock permalink
      August 15, 2022 3:03 pm

      Yep. They are going to print up $750,000,000,000 . . . to fight inflation.

  2. Art Krugler permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:08 pm

    The really, really sad part is – Global Warming was not caused by CO2!
    In a few weeks I will self-publish a book explaining what caused that blip.
    After last winter, sea ice surrounded Greenland and froze along shores of Nova Scotia; 1/2 the distance to the equator! The Great Lakes also had more ice than normal and are 1/2 the way to the equator! Yes, there will be a lot of creative people benefiting from the cash but few, if any, benefitting from results.

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:23 pm

    Unless the BBC recognises the extent of prejudice and bias it brings to these issues the licence fee entitlement and status must be forfeit.

  4. Robert Christopher permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:30 pm

    “In part, I believe, this is based on the naive green ideology, which most of the BBC are signed up members of.”

    This is such an own goal, to have the near monopoly news channels denying reality and misleading the public, so they hinder their own future.

    I have just had an email to invite support against a successful oil company, in spite of government’s sabotaging Climate Change Act. This is the email, with bold type between the ‘**’s:
    “Robert – Last week Shell announced it was giving its staff an 8% bonus after the oil company reported **record profits of 9 billion pounds**.

    Lauren is campaigning to get the UK Government to reverse its approval for Shell’s new Jackdaw gasfield in the North Sea. She says **“Their profits rise, our bills rise, we lose. Not anymore”.**

    Lauren is calling on the Government to stop approving new oil and gas fields, raise tax on oil companies and support the switch to sustainable energy. **Will you sign her petition?”**

    Obviously, I am not going to sign it!

    At least the Government has permitted the Jackdaw Field to go ahead. 🙂

    But the proposer is complaining of high oil company profits, (because demand is so much higher than supply, as the government has restricted supply), even though their profits are now taxed at 65%. And they are asking for them to switch to sustainable energy, which will exacerbate the situation, as has been shown in Germany.

    Unfortunately, for them, and for us, Oil & Gas is more sustainable in the short to medium term than anything Green.

    Any sensible ideas that are being proposed now are not new, they have been proposed over the last several decades, and have been rejected with an air of arrogance, or even worse.

    But will they believe that?

  5. Broadlands permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:34 pm

    What this bill will actually do is to hasten the amounts of CO2 being added to the atmosphere. We cannot simply hasten and increase subsidies for the transition to renewables and electric transportation without realizing that conventional vehicles will be required to do the transportation. That means more and more fossil fuels will be needed…gasoline, diesel and biofuels. There is no viable substitute. Unintended consequences have consequences. If global climate is the “crisis” this bill will make it worse.

  6. GeoffB permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:37 pm

    Mid term elections in November, expect more impossible promises from Biden, to sweeten the Democrat voters. While we, on this site, can see the futility of Carbon reductions, it remains a fact that the majority of people believe in global warming, however they do not have any idea of the science and the costs and sacrifices that going green entail. Roll on northern hemisphere winter, I am sure we will win the argument next year, in the meantime make sure the generator is running and you have plenty of petrol…..at least you can run the gas boiler, there is no way they can turn domestic gas off…..BOOM.

  7. eastdevonoldie permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:38 pm

    Unfortunately, it is all too little too alte, the Bill was neee 100 years ago:

    Does this sound familiar?

    “The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard‐of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.” —

    from an Associated Press report published in The Washington Post on Nov. 2, 1922.

    Oops… sorry it did not happen – The Global Warming Apocalypses That Didn’t Happen

  8. that man permalink
    August 13, 2022 5:43 pm

    “But it is a significantly scaled-back version of the $3.5tn package that was first proposed by his administration.”
    $3.5 trillion, that is! $3,500,000,000,000.🥴
    Well, that’s a bit of a relief. But do you remember when a $million was a lot of money?

    • Andrew Wilkins permalink
      August 14, 2022 1:32 pm

      When I talk to kids in the maths classes I teach, to get their head around how a big a trillion is, I tell them that 1 billion seconds is the equivalent of 30 years.
      I tell them that £1 trillion is the equivalent of someone putting £1000 in their pocket every second 24/7 for 30 years.
      At the end of the 45 minute lesson I tell them they would be leaving the classroom as multi-millionaires The kids are blown away.

  9. Up2snuff permalink
    August 13, 2022 6:13 pm

    Wow, my friends in LA will be grateful to get their share of that $60bn for those who have ‘suffered the most from fossil fuel pollution’. As will their children. And grandchildren. I have an uneasy feeling that it will not happen like that and Beijing Pollution Biden will be buying votes for the Mid-terms and 2024.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 13, 2022 7:09 pm

    Cui bono? Biden Inc. Twas ever thus.
    And it’s no good being a communist – they’re worse!

  11. August 13, 2022 9:40 pm

    ‘The bill also includes $369bn for climate action – the largest investment in the issue in US history.’

    Buy-a-climate nonsense again.

    • Curious George permalink
      August 13, 2022 10:38 pm

      Climate is going to be very rich.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 14, 2022 7:13 am

        Climate scammers are getting very rich. Then buying coastal mansions and private jets….

  12. Vernon E permalink
    August 14, 2022 11:19 am

    O/T but of concern. The British Geological Society issued its report on shale gas (fracking) to the government in early July but, as far as I can determine, there has not been a single release of it to the public. What don’t they want us to see? Our money paid for this report. How does one go about submitting a Freedom of Information Request?

  13. Susan Ewens permalink
    August 14, 2022 12:04 pm

    I sent this message to BEIS newsdesk on 24th July:

    BGS says:

    “Following independent external peer review, a report has been submitted today, 5 July 2022, to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for consideration. The outcome of the report and any further communication regarding the report or its publication, will be handled by BEIS: newsdesk@beis.gov.uk. “

    When will we know the Government’s decision, please?

    Thank you.

    Susan Ewens

    ——————-

    Still no reply, of course. You would think there could be some public spirited bod in BGS who could have leaked the recommendations of their report, wouldn’t you ???

    • Vernon E permalink
      August 14, 2022 6:49 pm

      Susan: Yes, but that should not be the way of things. This is getting more and more sinister. Meanwhile Ms Truss is promising to solve all the problems by lifting the ban on fracking. You couldn’t make it up.

  14. Andrew Wilkins permalink
    August 14, 2022 1:36 pm

    I notice at the end of the BBC article, sorry, propaganda, that idiot Rowlatt is wheeled on to write his usual guff.
    His piece is particularly stupid as he suggests that America crippling themselves financially will set an example that China and India will then feel obliged to follow. Someone needs to tell the idiot Rowlatt that the Chinese and Indians are laughing at the US and have no intention of doing the same.
    Rowlatt is poison.

  15. Matt Dalby permalink
    August 16, 2022 11:33 pm

    You’ve actually done the sums wrong Paul.
    If the amount of renewables doubles and there is a massive increase in the number of E.V.s then most of the new renewable capacity will be needed to charge E.V.s rather than replacing existing fossil fuel generation. Therefore there might be a 10% drop in emissions from transport, but there will be very little drop in emissions from power generation, so the overall drop will be a lot less than the 6% you calculated, probably more like 3-4%.

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