Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Despite the poor initial reception, politicians and pundits are rallying around green socialism, they are still looking for a way to make the green new deal seem acceptable to the general public.
Fighting climate change may be easier than we think
By Geoffrey Heal
Updated 0253 GMT (1053 HKT) February 13, 2019
The Green New Deal, spearheaded by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, has garnered attention for its ambitious goal of completely shifting to renewable and zero-emission energy over a decade.
Take the United States as an example. Wind and solar power are now on average the least expensive ways of generating electricity. In some locations, wind and solar energy prices are as little as one-third the cost of coal. Even without including the contribution of coal to global warming, it is simply no longer a cost-effective energy source. Wind and solar are now economically sounder investments.
The United States is working on that, too. Power from windy or sunny days can now be stored in batteries, which has been a tremendous contributing factor to the reduction in the price of renewable energy sources. In addition, there is hydropower, which is renewable, and nuclear energy, which is carbon-free. Both sources are not intermittent, meaning they can be relied upon for constant power, and can complement battery storage and provide backup to renewables. As the Green New Deal gains steam, there is also further hope for an even more concerted economic transition to clean energy jobs and infrastructure.
I estimate it would take a gross investment in renewable power plants, extra grid capacity, and storage capacity of about $3.3 trillion over the next 20-30 years (US GDP is about $20 trillion). But the cost is not really all chargeable to the transition to renewables. All our coal plants are old and will have to be replaced well before 2050. This is also true of many of our gas and nuclear plants, regardless of the movement to go carbon-free. That would offset the cost associated with transitioning by about $1 trillion.
3.3 Trillion dollars is a lot of money.
If you spent a million dollars every day since the birth of Christ until today, you would still be nowhere near to spending 3.3 Trillion dollars.
In the 1950s US scientists who developed the first atomic bomb calculated the cost of launching a manned starship mission at 3% of the speed of light to Alpha Centauri using known technology at 10% of US GDP, $2 trillion in today’s money.
The sheer waste, the money already spent, the money being demanded by climate action advocates – future historians will wonder how we could have been so stupid.