The Biden administration is being structured from top to bottom to place a priority on addressing problem of climate change. I think it will be wasting a great deal of money and will fail to achieve its objective because of a failure to grasp easily accessible scientific facts.
The scientific case for climate change is only a hypothesis, because it is impossible to conduct a controlled experiment on the global climate system. For purposes of this discussion, we will stipulate that the hypothesis is correct. It states that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by human activity creates a greenhouse effect that causes increased global temperature. The corollary is that such an increase will have catastrophic consequences for our species.
If CO2 is the problem, there are three obvious solutions: Put less carbon in the atmosphere; take some carbon out of the atmosphere; or (the most practical alternative) a combination of the two.
Unless we are to revert to the stone age, and unless we are willing to trap 2 billion human beings in a continued subsistence existence, we are going to use increasing amounts of energy. Using fossil fuels to create energy produces CO2. The Great & Good’s solution to the problem is to rely on electricity for energy use and to use solar panels and windmills to produce that electricity. The problem is that those sources are inefficient and unreliable. Batteries are supposed to solve the unreliability problem. Except for short periods of interruption, they won’t. And the mining/refining operations required to create a major battery infrastructure will be extremely unfriendly to the environment we are supposed to be preserving.
The obvious answer is nuclear power generation. It produces no CO2 and doesn’t stop generating electricity on calm or cloudy days. If the government provided some research, liability protection (so that generators could get insurance) and loan guarantees, we could have a disbursed system of small plants (to avoid the loss of energy due to long distance transmission) that could shut themselves down automatically in the case of malfunction, or be shut down remotely in the case of a terrorist attack. France has powered it’s economy with nuclear for decades without incident. The only three serious nuclear accidents we’ve ever endured had very obvious causes that are easily curable.
We know how to capture and bury CO2. The only question is one of scale. If we paid a generous price per ton for captured CO2, I have every reasonable expectation that entrepreneurs would find a way to scale up the technology and make money doing so.
The “Green New Deal” (and the lite version thereof being pushed by the Biden team) is not about climate change. It is about the Progressive agenda. If we want to address CO2, let’s address CO2. If we want to rush toward a Progressive paradise, that is an entirely different matter.