Cultural motivations for wind and solar renewables deployment

Posted on November 19, 2020 by curryja 

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

by Andy West

“For me the question now is, now that we know that renewables can’t save the planet, are we going to keep letting them destroy it?”. – Michael Schellenberger


There have been many technical analyses of Wind and Solar energy, covering a raft of issues from energy density and efficiency, through subsidies and land usage, to maintenance, grid impacts, intermittency and more. The angle examined here is in no way intended to replace such necessary views, whether they lean to the pessimistic or the optimistic or anywhere in-between. Rather, a complementary view is provided regarding an aspect that such technical analyses cannot address, albeit it often features in the conclusions and questions these analyses raise at the end. Right here at Climate Etc, the first of the excellent analyses by ‘Planning Engineer’ (on his retirement revealed to be Russ Schussler, ex-VP of Transmission Planning at Georgia Transmission Corporations), laudably highlighted the limitation of technical analyses with his very first line: “Power System Planners do not have the expertise or knowledge to say whether or not the benefits of reducing carbon emissions are worth the costs. However they should be respected as experts for obtaining a better understanding of what the implications and costs of such programs are.

So, who does have this critical knowledge and expertise regarding ultimate cost / benefit? The answer is highly likely to be no one at all, because not only is this issue deeply disputed, it is culturally (as well as technically) disputed. Indeed, to the extent that the overwhelming public and authority narrative about climate change contradicts mainstream science let alone any skeptical science, which also means that, especially in some nations such as the US, there are cultural counter-narratives too. Hence debates about policy, including renewables deployment, aren’t legitimately resolved, because the potent cultural angle corrupts or polarizes or simply overrides any such debate.

Schussler acknowledges this cultural dispute, saying in the line following the above quote: “Unfortunately many non-experts, driven by fear of AGW, have done much to cloud, distort and ignore critical issues around the cost and capabilities of renewable energy and the realities relating to the provision of electrical power.” He also returns to this theme at the very end of his post: “…I believe most planners and utilities recognize that the overall impacts to society (unless needed to aver environmental disaster) would be extremely harmful in the net analysis. I hope that the voices of concerned utility experts are not drowned out by the noise of ‘true believers’ or disbelieved because of false accusations of self-interest.” For sure ‘true belief’ is a cultural feature and may often prompt ‘false accusations’. Plus that caveat of ‘unless needed’, or more subtly ‘how much needed’, is a major issue within the dispute above. An apparent need, could be partly or wholly the result of emotive belief, of which ‘fear of [C]AGW’ is a major component.

Schussler’s title, ‘Myths and realities of renewable energy’, emphasis mine, is inclusive of the element that technical analysis cannot ultimately probe regarding character and impact, because myths are cultural phenomena. Others cite myth as Renewables motivation, and David Archibald goes further in directly framing this element as ‘religious’ in nature (religions being just one brand of cultural entities). In a recent article on renewables (and focusing on hydrogen) at Jo Nova’s, he employs religiously orientated terms such as ‘believers’ and ‘government encyclicals’:

Briefly, the only reason solar and wind get a look-in is because solar panels and wind turbines are made using energy from coal at $0.04 per kWh and turn out power at $0.20 per kWh… …You can’t use solar and wind power to make solar and wind power equipment; as such they are neither renewable nor sustainable. And they certainly won’t be replacing fossil fuels when the fossil fuels run out.

            Even some lefties are figuring this out and thus the documentary Planet of the Humans. So the global warming clerisy, headed by Alan Finkel in this country [Australia], needs to keep coming up with new content to satisfy their simple-minded believers… …Vast sums are to be spent on hydrogen. The language of the Government encyclicals suggests that hydrogen is a new source of energy that just has to be tapped to guarantee a wonderful future.

Needless to say, Archibald views this ‘religious’ influence as overwhelmingly negative, adding as part of his conclusion: “Global warming doesn’t build orphanages or hospitals. As a religion it doesn’t do any good at all.” And others claim a cultish / ‘religious’ motivation too. Yet whether viewing culture as only a clouding / distorting influence, or as an overwhelmingly negative force, technical analyses critical of renewables inevitably falter or get speculative when it comes demonstrating cultural sway (for example, across nations invested in renewables). An alternate approach is needed to progress this.

There are less critical / more optimistic analyses of Solar or Wind ‘renewables’, which nevertheless tend to justify some amount of pain in achieving rosier end-scenarios, upon the premise that this is needed to avoid an otherwise inevitable and imminent global catastrophe (apart from the most wildly optimistic, in which all changes are apparently painless). Yet mainstream science says such a justification is unfounded (notwithstanding the cultural dispute above).

Meanwhile the implementation of Solar and Wind is surging ahead, and has done so for decades in some countries. So, is this global implementation largely due to pragmatic considerations that are consistent with mainstream science? After all, these things do actually produce power. Or instead, largely due to cultural motivation that spreads solar-panels and wind-turbines as merely icons for the ‘secular religion’ of certain and catastrophic climate change? And no matter the costs, fiscal or environmental. This question is resolvable, as hard social data on the cultural attitudes of many nations to climate-change, allows national motivations to be mapped to Renewables deployment.

Cultural attitudes to climate-change across national publics

Prior posts here, show that supportive attitudes to climate-change (CC) across national publics, have a dual and systemic strong relationship with religiosity. CC supportive public responses to unconstrained climate survey questions correlate with national religiosity, while oppositely, CC supportive responses to reality-constrained questions anti-correlate with national religiosity. [Reality-constrained questions force survey participants to consider and compare other reality issues in relation to climate change, typically by asking them to nominate the X ‘most important’ from a larger list of Y issues, of which one represents a climate-change issue, or literally just ‘climate-change’. Unconstrained questions don’t force such a comparative choice]. Using some data-series from the prior posts, Chart 1 below summarizes this dual relationship. For many nations and plotted against national religiosity, it shows the CC supportive public responses measured (and for the dashed lines, intuited) for different strengths of both unconstrained and reality-constrained survey questions.

Strength for the unconstrained questions (blue lines) reflects how aligned these are to the emotive and existential values of catastrophic climate change culture (CCCC), plus how much this is targeted at the personal. Another way of thinking about this strength, is how biased the questions are towards CCCC, emotive content being a feature of bias and not of rationality. Strength for reality-constrained questions (orange lines) reflects the tightness of the constraint. Picking the ‘most important’ single issue of 12, for example, is a stronger reality-constraint, a stronger clash with the other issues, than say picking the top 3 of 12, which is stronger in turn than the top 5 of 12. Table 1 at the end of this post, shows which actual climate-change survey questions generated the data-series each line represents (each is depicted as just the stand-alone trendline), along with the related r/r2/p values.

The most important conclusion to draw from these trends is that, as revealed by their strong relationships with religiosity (an entirely cultural phenomenon), attitudes to climate-change across nations are likewise cultural. In fact, they’re the net result of interaction between 2 cultures, i.e. CCCC and religion. So, this means they are not due to rationality (cultural attitudes are emotively driven), or anything physical such as the characteristics of the climate-system, or indeed the particular climates or climate exposures of nations, or likewise any views on same as expressed by mainstream (or any) climate science.

With the exception of one historical coincidence (annual sunshine duration – see later) no matters encompassed by these categories would exhibit a systemic relationship with religiosity. And for sure none can exhibit both correlation and anti-correlation simultaneously, depending only upon the type of question asked; yet such is certainly possible for cultural responses. This duality raises apparent contradictions. For instance, maximum climate concerns (RH ends of blue trends in Chart 1) occur in the same nations as minimum support for climate action / priority (RH ends of orange trends). But such apparent contradictions aren’t unusual for cultural causation. From the prior series here at Climate Etc, see : Apparent Paradoxes in the relationship of Climate ‘Concerns, Skepticism, Activism, and Priority’ explained by Religiosity.

In fact, the full situation is more complex than depicted by Chart 1. See the Summary File linked below (and especially Chart 2 in there, not in the main post) for more explanation, visualized via more series plus features added to the above Chart 1. However, the conclusion remains that climate-change attitudes across nations are mainly cultural, so not from either rationality or physical factors. [Note: the attached summary is more distilled and easier going than the 3 prior posts linked above. Regarding the US, see the note at the very end of this post].

Probing motivations for Renewables Commitment

If a particular domain is dominated by cultural attitudes, spending and policy support within the domain should ultimately be rooted in those attitudes. Hence, armed with the above cultural attitudes to climate-change, we now need to explore the relationship across nations, between these and actual Renewables deployment. It isn’t that mass publics rush out and purchase Wind Turbines with their credit cards, in proportion to their national attitudes. The actual commitment works via elites who enact policy. Yet the limits on such policy should still be in proportion to the national public attitudes (which doesn’t mean alignment in an absolute sense).

Culture works to this end whether or not a nation is a democracy, or in the latter case whether or not democratic processes are actually involved (e.g. in the UK, ‘net-zero by 2050’ was nodded through without a parliamentary vote, and with essentially no costing or scrutiny or meaningful opposition). As per the Introduction above, the primary justification for Renewables is indeed climate-change. So, if culture does rule the roost for this particular policy area, Renewables deployment per nation should be governed by its (cultural) attitudes to climate-change. In which case, we must see a very strong correlation between these two aspects.

But which of the above attitudes to climate-change are relevant, when comparing on a national basis with renewables commitment? As there is at least some reality-constraint on deploying renewables (because all nations have budgets and competition for same), if indeed the expression of renewables policy is mainly cultural, this ought to align with a reality-constrained (orange) trend, not an unconstrained (blue) trend. Plus, because public and also elite / authority knowledge about renewables is likely very poor on average, this makes the constraint weak at best (if the downsides of deployment were better understood, then the constraint would be stronger).

So, we should be looking at a comparison with the attitude data from the ‘WC’ series in Chart 1. This comes from an enormous UN survey on policy priorities in many nations, the vote share for ‘action on climate-change’ forming the series Y-values. Nations can be matched from this series to those with major Solar deployment (40 nations), Wind turbine deployment (also 40, with 5 nations different to the Solar list), plus a common set (of 35) deploying both.

Looking at the combined commitment for Wind and Solar should produce a more reliable result, as each may have technology / policy idiosyncrasies that could buck the trend in some way, but which are more likely to average out over the combination of both (though we can start by examining each type in turn). In practice, there’s highly unlikely to be zero or full correlation. Policy decisions are very rarely 100% free of cultural factors, yet they’d rarely be wholly cultural either. So, we can set reasonable thresholds for the test. If ‘r’ for the correlation of renewables commitment with weakly-constrained climate attitudes is say ~0.33 or less, then we can say culture (per above inherent in those attitudes) doesn’t dominate. But if r~0.66 or above, then we can say that cultural motivation does dominate renewables commitment. If the value lands in-between, I guess we’d have to see where and think more about dual modes.

Commitment for Wind Turbines across 40 nations

Preamble: 1] Due to various impacts on very long-term social development, it is well-known that with some exceptions (which aren’t an issue here) GDP-per-capita across nations strongly negatively correlates with religiosity (see Chart F1 in Xcel datafile). 2] Hence if above this, deploying Wind Turbine capacity is indeed motivated by a ‘WC’ type climate-attitude, which itself negatively correlates with religiosity (see Chart 1), then national religiosity plotted against each nation’s Wind Turbine capacity per-capita, should yield a power type function. It does (see Chart F2 in Xcel datafile). 3] Power functions are more difficult to deal with or apply our test thresholds for ‘r’ to (based on linear).

So, normalizing the Wind Turbine capacity per-capita wrt to GDP per-capita (I used Spain’s GDP as the arbitrary standard), will remove the long-term effect of religiosity upon societies and any unequal fulfillment of motivation (the same motivation, so ~fraction of GDP, will purchase more Wind Turbines if the GDP is bigger). So, this resets our expectation back to a linear function…

The plot: Across the 40 nations, UN vote share for ‘action on climate change’ (from ‘WC’ data), versus GDP-per-Capita-normalised Wind Turbine Capacity / Population (to 2018), shows a +ve correlation. This suggests that Wind Turbines are significantly motivated by a ‘WC’ type cultural climate-change attitude:

An ‘r’ of 0.64 just misses our test threshold for dominance; but this is only half the story so far. And it looks like there are idiosyncrasies regarding individual national policies for Wind deployment. E.g. the Czech Republic has very little despite a high vote for ‘action on climate-change’. And with a vote share that is a little lower, Portugal nevertheless seems to have a huge Wind capacity. In summary it seems that as motivation rises towards the right, especially beyond the green line, the range of expression in Wind Turbines, grows. This likely reflects larger and more targeted Renewable Energy policies, which hence spread from gung-ho for Wind Turbines right down to minimal deployment, because other Renewables are or aren’t more prioritized instead (e.g. Solar, Biomass, etc). So, to better insulate against the effects of targeted policies, we can add into the mix the identical analysis for Solar deployment.

Commitment for Solar Power across 40 nations

Preamble: 1] The equivalent charts for F1 and F2 in the Wind Turbine case, are F3 and F4 (see the Excel datafile). 2] However, there’s an extra issue for Solar Power, which is that we need to adjust the MW that each nation has deployed, according to its annual sunshine hours. Otherwise the same spend (where spend corresponds to motivation), hence the label MW, will produce different actual power per year in different nations. So in Chart 4, Solar Capacity deployed is normalized (to Spain) for Annual-Sunshine-DurationP1.

The plot: Across the 40 nations (5 different to the Wind Turbine set) UN vote share for ‘action on climate change’ (from ‘WC’ data), versus GDP-per-Capita-normalised Annual-Sunshine-Adjusted Solar Capacity / Population (to 2018), shows a +ve correlation. See Chart F7 in the Excel datafile. This chart is very similar to Chart 2 above, with a greater range of expression in Solar Power to the right of the green line. However, different nations than for Chart 2 are either high and low within this expression, because the idiosyncrasies associated with Solar Power are different to those for Wind Turbines.

An ‘r’ of 0.48 is somewhat lower than the case for Wind Turbines alone; much of the reduction appears to stem from Japan going nuts on Solar despite only middling climate concerns, while Sweden has very modest Solar despite very high climate concerns. But this is only half the story too. Combining the results for both the technologies, will give us a more robust picture for Renewables motivation overall.

Commitment for combined Wind / Solar Renewables across 35 (common) nations

Across 35 nations, Chart 3 below shows UN vote share for ‘action on climate change’ (from ‘WC’ data), versus GDP-per-Capita-normalised Combined Renewables Commitment / Population (to 2018). The +ve correlation has improved. Surpassing the upper test threshold with some to spare, ‘r’ is now at 0.73.

The greater range of spread of nations at the RHS has considerably reduced (excepting for Germany), this being consistent with expected total renewables motivation, which nevertheless may express much more in Wind Turbines than Solar for any particular single nation, or vice versa. The lens we used to see in the first place that attitudes to climate-change are cultural, i.e. the religiosity of nations, is color-coded onto Chart 3. This falls from left to right, albeit fuzzily because aside from some random noise, there’s a minor secondary variable at play which impacts religiosity as seen in this view (see Postscript 2).


Notwithstanding some utility, the main motivation for Wind and Solar Renewables is cultural. Thus, their installations are more akin to churches than to power-stations. This also means that, just like the cultural attitude it is rooted in, Renewables deployment per nation directly anti-correlates with religiosity; see Postscript 2.

While it seems highly intuitive that national attitudes for action on climate-change would align with the corresponding renewables deployments, going straight for the jugular might not result in understanding exactly how to compare (or at least, there’d be more chance of making a mistake in so doing), or indeed what the result actually means. For instance, without the benefit of the big picture in Chart 1 and what this is about in cultural terms, we wouldn’t have known that those attitudes are not due to rationality. Plus, we may have ended up comparing the attitudes from an unconstrained climate survey question, and still be wondering why more Renewables correlates with dramatically less concern about climate-change. And the steps in the above preambles, usefully confirm the roles of GDP-per-capita and sunshine duration.

Note: widespread public knowledge of Renewables issues would increase constraints on policy, likely collapsing motivation from the ‘WC’ line in Chart1, to the ‘FC’ line. Note: This post says nothing about actual physical climate change, nor about the mainstream science of same (which the CCCC narratives contradict). It’s only about public attitudes and their expression in Renewables policy.

Michael Shellenberger, the environmentalist who tirelessly advocates for Nuclear Power as a solution to our energy needs, says this of Renewables (and he’s talking largely about Solar and Wind deployments): “For me the question now is, now that we know that renewables can’t save the planet, are we going to keep letting them destroy it?” An insight consistent with the fact that the ‘purpose’ of cultural narratives is to gain emotive commitment, in turn only to hold the cultural group together; it’s irrelevant to this actual purpose that the resulting actions may undermine or even reverse their stated purpose; this happens.

In the blurb for his book ‘Apocalypse Never’ Shellenberger also speaks about the character of modern environmentalism, the motivation beneath it, which along with much else drives Renewables deployment (and also a net resistance to Nuclear Power as a ‘solution’): “What’s really behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? There are powerful financial interests. There are desires for status and power. But most of all there is a desire among supposedly secular people for transcendence. This spiritual impulse can be natural and healthy. But in preaching fear without love, and guilt without redemption, the new religion is failing to satisfy our deepest psychological and existential needs.” Emphasis mine.

Shellenberger rightly identifies the overall motivation as cultural. He uses the term ‘religion’, as indeed do many others, simply because this is the most familiar example of a bounded cultural entity that people tend to have. Regarding a ‘climate catastrophe’ generally, the social data completely agrees with him, as shown in Chart 1 (and more fully elsewhere, see the Summary File below). And as demonstrated above, this is exactly the case too for the specific motivation behind Renewables deployment.

However, I believe Shellenberger has one thing wrong. Catastrophic climate culture is so pervasive exactly because it does satisfy deep psychological needs, which needs stem from signaling in-group identification via emotive, and preferentially existential, narratives. These in turn activate deep mental mechanisms which bypass our rationality, be that the advice of Planning Engineer or any other mere reason, via whatever expertise, experience or analysis. Anyone or any group that contradicts or even questions in-group narratives, is automatically out-group, and so passionately resisted.

Postscript 1: Historical accident and irony regarding Solar Deployment

Via the historical accident of atheism spreading outwards from NW Europe, and hence from mostly very cloudy (annually averaged) countries towards typically sunnier climes, the annual sunshine duration of countries has a pretty decent linear correlation with national religiosity, albeit some major individual exceptions. See Chart F5 in the datafile, ‘r’ is 0.56. Note: annual sunshine duration per country is derived from the average measurements for between 2 cities (smaller countries) and 5 cities (larger countries, excepting 10 for Russia); see the Excel datafile for tables of same, plus original sources. So, if national sunshine hours are substituted as a proxy for national religiosity in Chart F4, this still shows a power type function, see Chart F6 in the datafile. Similarly to above, we can then normalize this wrt GDP-per-capita, thereby removing the simple effect of spending power (and too its long-term relationship to religiosity). This reveals the relative priority of Solar deployment (and so relative motivation) for each of the nations.

The result of this operation, shown in Chart 4 below, demonstrates a significant irony that stems from the cultural motivation behind Renewables. Which is that, as the annual sunshine hours experienced by nations reduces, then more nations choose to deploy more Solar MW per capita – i.e. within exactly those geographies it is least useful.

The increasing spread of nations right to left in the green triangle, represents the same increasing range of expression in Solar that is also seen in F7 (see datafile), and likewise for Wind Turbines in Chart 2 above, which in both cases is more obvious to the right of the green lines. That increasing range is due to an increasing cultural motivation for Renewables, coupled with targeted policies which for particular nations may preference other Renewables options over Solar, to some degree.

Postscript 2: Renewables Commitment versus Religiosity

Religiosity is used as a ‘lens’ in Chart 1, which allows us to ‘see’ that national climate-change attitudes are indeed cultural. The two strong cultures interact to produce the various trends, and in particular the correlation with religiosity of climate-change supportive answers to unconstrained questions, yet also anti-correlation with religiosity of climate-change supportive answers to reality-constrained questions, for sure is extremely hard to explain any other way. One wouldn’t expect this lens or proxy itself to have quite such a robust correlation with national Renewables Commitment as the ‘WC’ climate attitude, but it’s a useful ‘parity check’ to graph this and demonstrate that it should still be pretty strong. Chart F9 in the Excel datafile shows this. ‘r’ is ~0.65 against ranked Renewables Commitment (compresses some of the outliers a bit, especially Germany), and ~0.6 against actual values. In practice, there is more than just extra randomity via looking through this proxy.

The series of ‘weaker strengths’ in Chart 1 (so ‘WC’ and ‘WA’) have some systemic variability about trend, due to the GDP-per-Capita of each nation relative to its religio-regional group. This variability is faithfully reflected in Chart F9, and is color-coded onto the chart. See also Chart F10 and F11, which show the consistency of the religio-regional-GDP-per-Capita group averages between the ‘WC’ and Renewables Commitment series. See the Summary File for a full explanation, plus some ‘weaker strength’ climate attitude series as full-data visualizations, to better see the raw effect. For a version of ‘WC’ using the same 35 nations as in Chart 3, with hi / lo Renewables commitment and hi / lo GDP-per-religio-regional-group both encoded, see Chart F8 in the Datafile.

Note: Norway is excluded from above charts as policy bias to immense amounts of natural hydro-power available, denudes Solar and Wind Turbine motivations. This could be accommodated by the inclusion of a third renewables string across all nations for hydro-power, but there’d be little value for this extra effort.

  1. Climate Survey Data-source: International 2019 YouGov climate-change attitudes survey.
  2. Climate Survey Data-source: European Perceptions of Climate Change (EPCC) 2016 survey.
  3. Climate Survey Data-source: UK government 2015 public attitudes tracker.
  4. Climate Survey Data-source: YouGov ‘What the world thinks’ (2016), composite with ‘Special Eurobarometer 459’ (2017).
  5. Climate Survey Data-source: The huge 2015 UN ‘My World’ poll with ~10 million participants across many nations.
  6. Climate Survey Data-source: Climate questions in the Reuters / University of Oxford ‘Digital News Report 2020’ survey.
  7. Original Excel chart: ‘3xy’ here (24 nations, x/y reversed, raw X scale, delete US & Vietnam rows).
  8. Original Excel chart: ‘1yx’ here (22 nations, debiased X scale), ‘2xy’ here (24 nations, x/y reversed, raw X scale, delete US & Vietnam rows).
  9. Original Excel chart: ‘F1yx’ here (22 nations, debiased X scale), ‘4xy’ here (24 nations, x/y reversed, raw X scale, delete US & Vietnam rows).
  10. Original Excel chart: See ‘3yx’ here (red crosses, and just left of chart, column G and J for data).
  11. Original Excel chart: See ‘F6’ here (and superimposed on other series, chart 3yx just to the left).
  12. Original Excel chart: See ‘4yx’ and ‘5yx’ here (4yx faith color-coded, 5yx religio-regional color-coded).
  13. Original Excel chart: Not on the Internet yet, see Footnote 9 in the attached Summary File below.

Link to Summary File regarding the generic relationship between national religiosities and attitudes to climate change: [SUMMARY Religiosity Predicts CC Beliefs 2]

Note: the above file includes a short separate section on the situation in the US, where there is a 4-way cultural dance (the extra dancers being Rep / Con and Dem / Lib cultures). See Footnote 14 in the file. In the other 59 nations covered, there is a simpler 2-way cultural dance (i.e. religious faith and catastrophic climate-change culture). The same basic principles apply, however, which allows the framework derived from the 59 nations to produce some insight on the US situation. I may expand on this in a future post. Outside of the US, religiosity as a predictor of national climate-change attitudes dwarfs any net political considerations. (And incidentally within nations on this issue, polarization due to political affiliation is much less than in the US; various literature cites the US situation as exceptional).

Link to Excel Datafile: [Wind and Solar motivations Data]

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 25, 2020 6:26 am

“You can’t use solar and wind power to make solar and wind power equipment; as such they are neither renewable nor sustainable.” That’s a key point.

Throw in the fact that end of life solar panel and wind turbine wastes can hardly be recycled, and in some cases pollute the environment with toxic metals, makes then even less sustainable, if such a thing can be.

Reply to  Scissor
November 25, 2020 7:50 am


Waste silicon from PV cells easily recycles to the steel-making industry. Toss it into the melt, and Voilá… silicon steel, the core material for making electrical transformers.

Same for decommissioned wind turbines. Massive (valuable) amounts of copper. At least as much, far less valuable, but still ‘nice’ iron from those generator cores. A whole lot of fiberglass, which when chopped and mixed with bitumen and gravel, becomes roadway asphalt. Only the concrete-and-rebar base structures have a hard-to-repurpose path. Mechanically hard. However, given the number of humungous concrete-and-rebar structures that I’ve watched chiseled down then ground into great mounds of ready-to-mix concrete rubble (and recycle-able rebar), those too have a repurposing.

All the wire … recycleable.
All the plastics … mostly recycleable.

Even the PV, when sent to purpose-built recycling plants turns out to be even more recycleable than ‘just the silicon’. There is a lot of fairly decent ‘ores’ that the panels can be reduced to. Tin, copper, lead, silicon, mono-content plastics, silicones.

Just saying… don’t throw out the recycling elephant for a bit of mouse tûrd mixed in.

⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

Clay Sanborn
November 25, 2020 8:04 am

Please tell these guys they can recycle those worn out turbine blades:comment image
And it takes mucho energy to “recycle” all the recyclables – concrete/rebar, etc.

Reply to  Clay Sanborn
November 29, 2020 10:22 am

They are also trying to burying them in old coal mines. In keeping with the “environmentalists can do whatever the heck they want”, all rules about topsoil, original contours, blah, blah, blah out the window as we turn coal mines in dump sites. Wind people hate the environment with all their soul.

Trying to Play Nice
November 25, 2020 10:00 am

We don’t even recycle the waste we collect for recycling now. Since the Chinese won’t take it in large quantities any more it sits. There are too many real world considerations and the cost to actually recycle is much higher than the green simpletons would have you believe. Sure, it’s theoretically possible to recycle all those materials, but at what cost? There are many great ideas that don’t make it into production because the real world is a much tougher environment than your imagination.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
November 25, 2020 2:49 pm

When a second society no longer depends on, needs, or even wants to utilize the trash of a distinct first society to make their lives better, the first society needs to recognize that their is a significant change in the status quo.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
November 25, 2020 8:17 pm

A way to recycle everything, no exceptions, was worked out decades ago, without any pre-sorting: turn everything, the entire mass of garbage, into plasma, then separate out the pure elements with mass spectrometer like equipment.

The difficulty is that it is highly energy intensive and the facilities and equipment are extremely expensive. How much are you willing to pay for your next cell phone?

Krishna Gans
November 25, 2020 10:47 am

It’s always a question of money. For recycling blades and other parts, you need a lot of money first…..

Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 25, 2020 11:59 am

Yes. I can make you a wind turbine blade recycling millionaire. First, you start with 2 million dollars.

paul courtney
Reply to  Scissor
November 25, 2020 12:37 pm

Scissor: Yes, that is a great start. With that, you could apply for a grant from Biden Admin, say, $500 mil. Spend a few thousand on a pamphlet about recycling fiberglass (Mr. Lynch above has it started), put the rest in your pocket and you won’t even miss the seed money.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Scissor
November 25, 2020 6:02 pm

And after you get the “loan” from Biden paul courtney mentioned, You could call the company “Windlyndra”!

November 25, 2020 11:07 am

RJL, of course, materials that can be readily recycled within existing streams, like copper and other metals, are not an issue, and some materials can be tossed about for other uses as you say. However, fiber glass, composites and especially toxic substances are not easily dealt with, other than as hazardous wastes.

In addition, the full brunt of this problem lies ahead as end of life for these “renewables” approaches. Even Michael Moore recognizes these problems.

As an example, when Abound Solar (a DOE loan guarantee grantee of $400 million) filed for bankruptcy, it left a toxic mess that eventually required the State of Colorado to spend millions to clean up the site. Very little of the materials could be recycled. They ended up in hazardous waste dumps.

Reply to  Scissor
November 25, 2020 12:24 pm

Lots of toxic materials in solar panels.., leaching in to the environment.

And they are very difficult to recycle, especially economically

paul courtney
November 25, 2020 12:32 pm

Mr. Lynch: An article regarding hard facts about renewables draws a comment from a renewable-enthusiast whack-a-mole with soothing words about fiberglass in asphalt, and no downside mentioned. We are amused.
Is there anybody out there actually DOING the recycling of silicon & fiberglass that you suggest is so easily done? Why not you, you’ll certainly get rich building a machine that can crunch up a 200-foot long, 40-foot wide piece of fiberglass. Did I mention it must be able to go on site? Transporting used blades could get pricey. Anyway, this site does get it’s share of renewable dream-catchers in the comments. Just saying.

November 25, 2020 8:11 pm

Just throwing a lot of solar panels into your steel making furnace is not likely to produce desirable results. These things are considered non-recyclable not because their elements are not useful but because the cost of separating and purifying the components for other uses is very high, so high that the necessary selling price of that steel, for instance, would, of necessity, go way up. The separating and purifying also requires large amounts of energy which greatly reduces the net energy from the “renewables” deployment, possibly making the whole net energy consuming, a totally non-rational endeavor.

Eamon Butler
November 26, 2020 4:28 am

Sounds lovely. Reality however tells a different story. While all you mentioned may seem like great ideas and even possible to do, obviously there are other factors, such as costs, energy required, that come to play as well.
There may even be some of those things happening in places, but not on any kind of grand scale. Unless there is a $ to be made, the interest and the will ,soon disappear.
Bottom line is, the so called Renewables will be a headache for future generations (pun. sorry), the ones that are screaming out for it today, telling us we are destroying their future. They just don’t realise how right they are.

Gordon A. Dressler
November 25, 2020 6:48 am

Boy, oh boy . . . talk about over-analyzing a subject. After reading the above article, I feel a strange need to meet with a psychoanalyst.

As I understand the gist of the above article, it will be essentially impossible for any nation on Earth to “follow the science” regarding climate change™ due to “the generic relationship between national religiosities and attitudes to climate change.” (see third-to-last paragraph in above article)

BTW, love the use of the term “religiosities” . . . way to go, guy!

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
November 25, 2020 9:43 am

Religiosities ?

I;d never heard that word.
Had to look it up.
Still don’t know what it means.
Nevertheless, the article is wrong.

Religion is secondary.
The main factor concerning renewables, in my opinion, is whether or not you trust the government.
Those who most trust the government pronouncements on climate change, carbon dioxide and renewables, will have the most enthusiasm for renewable sources of energy.

I imagine people who are members of any conventional religion will trust the government less than people who are not. Other people much less likely to believe the government would be libertarians, even if they are atheists (me) and people who hate Brussel’s sprouts (me). That’s my theory. It has a 97% consensus, and the science is settled.

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 25, 2020 10:26 am

Andy West says that”Catastrophic climate culture is so pervasive exactly because it does satisfy deep psychological needs, which needs stem from signaling in-group identification via emotive, and preferentially existential, narratives. These in turn activate deep mental mechanisms which bypass our rationality, be that the advice of Planning Engineer or any other mere reason, via whatever expertise, experience or analysis.”

Could this be part of the post modernism idea pathology that frees people from the shackles of reality?

Reply to  Sommer
November 25, 2020 3:05 pm

I have no idea what those Andy West sentences mean, and I can only wonder if he does. Sounds like PhD baloney (aka malarkey) to me. I’m not even sure what your question means. As far as i am concerned, you should both go to the nearest nerd convention and have a good time. I do know what shackles are however — very painful I’ve heard.

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 25, 2020 8:25 pm

Trusting or not trusting government is a more or less religious attitude to begin with. Either it is accept the divine word from the church or the divine word from the ruler. The purely rational person is likely to be burned for heresy.

Perhaps in theory government could be just a mechanism to evenly and fairly protect the essential needs of its people but in practice that almost never, or never at all, happens.

November 25, 2020 7:03 am

It’s Cultural All The Way Down. I ain’t lyin’.


Jeff corbin
November 25, 2020 7:03 am

Home scaled commercialization of renewable/non-renewable electrical generators, (TEGS, Solar, Wind, natural gas powered microturbine driven generators et)..would be awesome. It would be the end of the totally wasteful and socialized utility grid, (17% efficiency, Car is 47% efficient burning gas). BUT no one has a battery or electrical storage system that will work in a home based format. Tesla keeps bantering it about but has not delivered. The only practical storage system for this off grid application would be Superconductive magnetic electric storage system, (98% efficient. instantaneous charge and discharge on demand with enormous energy storage capacity by weight and volume…saves summer sun generated electricity for winter)….but the cryogenic requirements makes it too expensive for decentralized home based use. Yet the internet is full of soft, cycling and almost useless reports about all temp SC breakthroughs… smells of misinformation and disinformation. Meanwhile, states like Florida have rushed to pass regulation to require that everyone pays into the utility grid whether need or want the electricity or not. Even more startling is the oil companies lobbying for a carbon tax. Oil companies want to be the cash cow for politicians in order to shape and protect their weak colluded markets from the commercialization of the tech that would enable a frenzy of off griders. The world doesn’t need to be saved….but local communities and economies need to be saved from vast centralization of all markets and be allowed to invest in real capital that truly empowers them…. like off grid tech. Great tech for off griding would be a huge boost to small manufacturing and farming …the rust belt would gleam again. The model of natural gas turbine to superconductive electoral generator (with turbine heat exhaust to TEG (Thermoelectrical generators heat exchange systems) to Superconductive magnetic storage system are well documented on the internet and are operating in various systems around the world… smart grid etc.

Peter W
Reply to  Jeff corbin
November 25, 2020 8:19 am

A couple of years ago some outfit was trying to sell my sister, who lives on a somewhat isolated farm in central New Hampshire, on a system for going off the grid with solar panels and batteries. I advised against it. Recently she called to thank me for that advice. Someone else had gone for it. After a spell of some six days of cloudy weather there was insufficient power available for them to shower, and this wasn’t even in the middle of winter, when days up there are down to about 8 hours of daylight, not all of that usable because the sun is so low in the sky.

Just wait until a solar minimum takes over, with even more cloudiness due to the substantial increase in cosmic rays at the higher latitudes. By the way, wind is not particularly reliable in New Hampshire, either. I know, I lived there most of my life and spent a lot of time sailboat racing on the inland lakes.

November 25, 2020 7:11 am

Superficial analysis.

Culture means millennia of development, and plenty of examples of exactly the same phenomena.
Take the Aztec sacrifices during a drought – parents brought seemingly willing teens to the pyramid in thousands.
Or Gilgamesh – Enlil’s unleashing of a pandemic to curb population.
Or Malloch , Lord Malloch-Brown’s, of Dominion Voting fame, namesake, which demanded child sacrifice. (Not known if modern eugenicist’s would get away with that). Prince Philip’s openly stated wish to be reincarnated as a virus is literally Babylonian.

All such “cultural” epochs have one thing in common – population reduction. Today called Malthusianism.
To beatify such evil as “culture” is rather amusing.

We have options richly available today that previous doomed civilizations did not yet have – space travel, fusion research, and biological research. We do not have to go the old ways, which explains the terror the modern Malthusians, Enlil’s, Malloch’s, Princes, billionaires have, that we are many and they are actually very few.
The statement from their Davos Club :
8 predictions for the world in 2030

show the utter insanity of the very few. Their choice of Hologram Biden looks like their last gasp.

Reply to  bonbon
November 25, 2020 8:30 am

Of the “predictions” from your above link, 6 (writes Lorna Solis, Founder and CEO of the NGO Blue Rose Compass, as climate change will have displaced 1 billion people.) and 8 (By the 2030s, we’ll be ready to move humans toward the Red Planet.) are laughably absurd.

OK, maybe 1 billion people will be displaced, but it will be directly from actions of people like those, not “climate change”.

Reply to  beng135
November 25, 2020 9:52 am

That’s a cats paw preparing for Dr. Schellnhuber, CBE, declared optimum population of 1 billion.
He is quite clear about that, the Great Decarbonizer.

So they have dipped their toes in the water.
A question for Davos is then when would they estimate 1 billon. The 7 billion “displaced” – a nice euphemism “displaced”, would not bother them any more.

Their Green Finance Initiative is based on a tolerable population.

Reply to  bonbon
November 25, 2020 8:39 pm

There number 7 point is on point. That change is death to individual freedom, which might not be the author’s concern, is certain relevant.

Reply to  bonbon
November 26, 2020 3:25 pm

Notice how every picture depicting people in “8-predictions-for-the-world-in-2030” are exclusively female or have females in prominence? That’s not by chance. It’s almost subliminal programming by woke companies, news outlets and organisations to prepare you for their version of the future.

November 25, 2020 7:11 am

Cultural marxists’ motivations for wind and solar renewables deployment

Amended/fixed title.

Kevin kilty
November 25, 2020 7:12 am

I agree with the main conclusion–that CCCC is, in essense, a new religion. However, this essay is difficult to follow, defers explanations to other sources, arbitrarily sets points of significance (an r of 0.66 means something concrete in the author’s mind), and so forth. Thus, the entire line of thinking begins to look like the sort of mumbo-jumbo one can find in a social science M.Sc. thesis.

Human beings are inherently superstitious. Religion is an expression of that, but it is hardly the only expression nor is it the most powerful expression. Superstition is functional as it provides easy explanations when such are needed; and despite efforts to stamp it out, it returns perpetually in new guise.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
November 25, 2020 8:43 pm

Religious beliefs and political beliefs differ only in the label applied, one of those distinctions without a difference.

November 25, 2020 7:23 am

One way to eliminate the common exaggeration in the renewables’ output would be to publish the Site Factor (SF) criterion. SF is a ratio akin to the Capacity Factor (CF), but whereas CF is the ratio of the plant’s actual output averaged over its whole life to its name plate power rating, the SF is the ratio of the plant’s input energy from all external sources to the output of that site. As each plant deteriorates with age and use, its CF is declining and the SF growing. Eventually, the CF and SF would get to the point where the site just powers itself. An operation at this point should list zero output and negative numbers beyond that. The EIA statisticians, however, receive from the utilities the gross output only. The energy needed to built, erect and tear-down and discard the plants should be also substracted.

November 25, 2020 7:25 am

So, shooting from the hip.

In America, the most religious areas are away from the northeast coast and California. The greatest support for renewable energy is at the northeast coast and California. The greatest scepticism is in the middle of the country.

Andrew Lale
Reply to  commieBob
November 25, 2020 8:14 am

In America, the most religious areas are the northeast coast and California. The greatest support for renewable energy is at the northeast coast and California. That’s the point of the article, dufus.

Reply to  Andrew Lale
November 25, 2020 9:30 am

Andrew Lake
I love it when someone insults another person on line.
It’s best when the insult word is spelled wrong.
It’s doofus, Lake, not dufus.
And I suspect the commie may be right too.
But who cares about that ?
The insults are most important.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Richard Greene
November 25, 2020 10:25 am

Both is right 😀
So, who is the doofus / dufus ? 😀

Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 25, 2020 3:16 pm

Hairy Krishna
Hairy Kyishna
Krishna Krishna

Okay it’s settled.
Andrew Lake is the doofus
YOU ARE the dufus
Hope you are having
a good time here
in the comments.
The article was tedious.
The author is a doofus too.
I fell asleep three times reading his article.
And that was during the first paragraph.

Richard Greene
Grand High Exalted Doofus
Doofus Society of America
and Executive Washroom Attendant
Even Numbered Stalls
… or maybe that was
Odd Numbered Stalls?
I forget, they all look the same

Reply to  Andrew Lale
November 25, 2020 9:37 am

In America, the most religious areas are the northeast coast and California

Only if you mean the religions of cultural marxism and identity politics.

Reply to  Andrew Lale
November 25, 2020 10:31 am

What I said:

In America, the most religious areas are away from the northeast coast and California.

What you said:

In America, the most religious areas are the northeast coast and California.

The evidence supports my statement.

Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2020 7:31 am

Let me be Griff: This is all very wrong. LINK (to Grauniad article).
There, now he doesn’t have to comment.
You’re welcome.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2020 3:24 pm

Bruce Clobb
“Let me be Griff” ???
Now that’s funny !

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2020 4:46 pm

“Let me be Griff:”

You will have to divide your IQ by 4 first

….. and start taking hallucinogenic substances.

On the outer Barcoo
November 25, 2020 7:43 am

Electricity grids in some major countries are pretty much on life-support, yet power is still delivered thanks to a bunch of canny engineers and support staff. But throw in a CME from our sun and there’s a better than even chance that there will be some angry questions from many customers.

Michael Nagy
November 25, 2020 8:21 am

Most of us have known how the greens feel about this for some time. My neighbor was at least honest about it when she said, “I don’t believe anything you say”, when talking about this subject. And have you ever tried to debate someone who believes in renewables? Like talking to a donkey.

Reply to  Michael Nagy
November 25, 2020 10:02 am

Woke is sure weird.
They have a glint in the eye, a sign of mesmerization. Hypnotic effect without the swinging watch.

There was a master mesmerizer at the Nuremberg Tribunal, Martin Heidegger. He got off, but a buddy, Carl Jaspers guaranteed he never got a job in a Uni again because of the danger he posed to 20-year old’s – mesmerization. His teaching method was well described. Remember this was Hi*tler’s ghostwriter.
Still, his mistress Hannah Arendt made sure all his works were taught across the Anglo world.
Another who practiced this was Leo Strauss, the Straussians in 3 US Admins are well known.

The unfortunates have been put through what the British Tavistock Institute noted as susceptibility programming. One must have some sympathy, even if hard.

Snapping out of such a trance is for them extremely disturbing – so keep some distance!

November 25, 2020 8:28 am

We still don’t understand the driving force behind wind and solar power. While we decry the cost, reliability, and practical aspects it’s performing exactly as expected. The goal isn’t to save the planet from fossil fuels. The goal is to kill Capitalism in the West. Once dead, I guarantee the Marxist ideologists will bring back fossil fuels because it’s the only energy source that can fuel their ambitions.

Reply to  markl
November 25, 2020 9:03 pm

As China did with its scientists, professionals and educated, once power was secured and the population was adequately ‘pacified’, after murdering and vilifying most of them during its Great Leap Forward (or whatever it was called).

November 25, 2020 8:33 am

One can easily calculate the cost of zero carbon, using existing nuclear and hydro supplemented by enough SMR molten salt nuclear to provide our country’s requirements. Levelized cost from a molten salt SMR: 4 cents per kWhr, Cost to build enough molten salt reactors to provide the missing 70% to be added to existing nuclear and hydro : slightly less than one trillion dollars.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  ColMosby
November 25, 2020 9:41 am

ColMosby, exactly how does one “easily” calculate the (future) cost of a molten salt SMR?

Got any historical LCOE data from MSRs to back-up your asserted $.04/kWh cost estimate, or is it just wishful thinking?

And please don’t offer up “Well, the models say . . .”. I’ve had quite enough of that, thank you.

Reply to  ColMosby
November 25, 2020 4:48 pm

In about 15-20 years time, hey.

Peta of Newark
November 25, 2020 9:16 am

Anybody Europe wise up to a bit of mischief these next few days…..

Clue #1

Consider that even through the very windy spell the UK has just been through, UK was still importing 3, 4 and 5GW from the continent.

But now here in UK, the wind has dropped…
(See where I’m headed…)

Make sure you’ve a decent torch then *burn all the leccy you can* during early evening, t’ween 5 and 7pm
Crash the grid

Let send Bozo Boris and Princess Nut Nuts a message they’ll not forget in a long time

Reply to  Peta of Newark
November 25, 2020 10:12 am

In most of the US, electrical meters have been replaced by “smart” meters, able to track usage by the hour.

The reason given for the replacement was that for cost savings when inputting monthly usage, no more meter readers.

The real reason was for when the government allows, or more likely directs, the utility to charge higher prices during the squeeze times, like between 5 and 7.

So if that is your plan, do it NOW. As soon as they figure that out they replace all of your meters with smart meters, then you will be shutting OFF your power usage at those prime times, unless you are independently wealthy.

Reply to  Drake
November 25, 2020 1:01 pm

The real value of smart meters is the remote control they provide. Cutting off power from individual premises is undertaken remotely.

In Victoria, is so so simple and quick to isolate premises that the government had to step up and require a formal process of notification and warning of impending isolation to artificially extend the time so the occupier could prevent the isolation by either paying overdue bills or seeking some form of relief.

Ron Long
November 25, 2020 9:20 am

“Modern Environmentalism” and “Cultural Groups” cling to renewables as a savoir of our planet, yet our flying friends are chopped up and/or cooked by the millions. What does this say about these people? They’re either stupid or don’t care (or some combination). Go Nuclear!

November 25, 2020 9:32 am

The solution to climate change has always been to deprogram a generation of people who have now been so indoctrinated that they cannot see the truth even when it stares them in the face. The gatekeepers of denying the population to this truth when this cult is threatened have successfully thwarted any attempts to interfere with their narrative as has been seen by the effective damage limitation of potentially dangerous leaks such as climate gate and Michael Moore’s film Planet of Humans. The ability to not only use indoctrination from a very young age to create a belief in a false god but they are able to reinforce this belief with fear. The use of celebrity and slight of hand and photo shopping, marketing etc is critical to sustaining belief in these pagan idols. Fear is easily created even if these fears are irrational.

The recent effectiveness of COVID fear is just another example of using an existential threat as a means to remove certain liberties from the general population and transfer power and wealth to certain individuals. The increasingly shrill responses to global warming/ climate change/ climate emergency is due to the fact that unless a greater fear is created the populations response becomes less and less compliant. You can only control the population if you create fears that interfere with a persons natural ability to act with common sense in being able to think of situations rationally.

It is so obvious that the whole climate alarmist narrative is total BS that it is perplexing for sceptics like myself and readers of this blog to understand how so many of the rest of the general population don’t see the truth about what is going on. When one looks at the narrative and response to extinction rebellion and the response to it a logically thinking person quickly realises that the whole narrative around climate emergency is a total crock and anyone who takes even a modicum of curiosity to look below the surface will quickly see that extinction rebellion and the climate change movement generally has used Climate change not to save the planet but to impose upon the world a systemic replacement of Capitalism with a global socialist system.
The proof to me lies in the fact that with 12 years to go before it’s too late the only solution offered is basically wind and solar when a nuclear solution stares them in the face. When the alternative is the destruction of the human race how can there possibly be any objection to nuclear energy? If you had a cure for your cancer guaranteed but had potential side effects that may have an impact on a fraction of your ongoing functions it’s an absolute no brainer that you would not hesitate to use nuclear to save yourself. When one looks at the economics of such a decision it is also a no brainer.

The fact that these Climate Change zealots refuse to accept that nuclear is a clear and obvious solution tells me that the climate change movement is not and has not ever been about EMMISSIONS but about SUBMISSIONS and no one can stand in the way of this brazen global grab for power being perpetrated by a select elite.

Reply to  Zigmaster
November 25, 2020 3:17 pm

Very good Zigmaster. Well said.

Pat from Kerbob
November 25, 2020 9:54 am

I think all this is stating is that blind belief in alarmist climate change and the ability of Wind and solar to fix it has replaced christianity for large parts of the west, basically.

I have always found it funny how so many on the left love to taunt conservatives as mindless right wing religious shills, yet it is clear this need to believe in something bigger in ourselves is common in all humans, and the ones who have jettisoned traditional religion, typically monotheism and mostly christian, have instead settled on climate catastrophism as the all purpose replacement.

I see it here every day with Griff.
Whenever there is a story on healthy polar bears he states that X (polar bears facing extinction) must be true because Y (reduced artic sea ice extent/duration) is occurring, even though all the data says the bears are doing fabulous, Griff insists they MUST be doing poorly somewhere.

Because belief, delusion, etc.

Wonder why Dawkins doesn’t write a book about that?
November 25, 2020 10:12 am
Krishna Gans
Reply to
November 25, 2020 10:34 am

When complete, it will produce enough energy to power nearly 300,000 American homes.

If sun is shining 😀
I saw no sun for over a week, beside in complete 2 hours the whole time.
For the same time, wind is at zero, no renewables at all.

BTW, it’s the situation, the German Greens tell us, doesn’t exist 😀

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 25, 2020 2:07 pm

” no renewables at all”
wood is a renewable and does just fine with no sun or wind-24/7

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 25, 2020 2:37 pm

I wrote about the renewables that are subject of the article, wind and solar, imagine 😀
Btw, you forgot water, but that wasn’t eeither subject of the article.

Woodburning private households is massivee air pollution with particulates and NO2.
And if wood burning is renewable is to question, at least in concern of CO2.
Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 25, 2020 4:51 pm

You can get a catalytic converter for a wood stove to make it burn clean.

Beta Blocker
November 25, 2020 10:15 am

The results of the election are in. Climate activist politicians who push wind and solar and the dangers of climate change are in the driver’s seat.

The voters were given a clear choice between climate activism and a more measured slow-go type of approach to climate policy. The voters went with the climate activists, the most prominent example being Pennsylvania. They went for Joe Biden even though he will put an end to fracking in their state.

But, more importantly as a bellweather indicator for the future of climate activism in America, the voters knowingly chose politicians who would continue and even expand the COVID-19 lockdowns which have destroyed millions of American jobs and which have devastated the economies of a number of states.

Earlier this week, I posted a comment on WUWT describing what I call the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP).

This plan uses the coercive power of the federal government to create and enforce an artificial shortage of fossil fuels. It directly raises the price of all carbon fuels while directly reducing their future supply and availability, doing so through a process of imposing increasingly severe restrictions on their extraction, import, production, and distribution.

In COVID-19 terms, the SSCECP can be accurately described as a fossil fuel lockdown lasting as long as thirty years. The stated goal of the plan is to achieve an 80% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2050, using 2005’s emissions as the baseline standard of comparison. It’s the same goal President Obama articulated in 2012. By the year 2050, every American would be consuming roughly half as much energy on a per-capita basis as we do today in the year 2020.

The Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan is completely legal and constitutional. Under current law, it can be implemented unilaterally by the Executive Branch using its existing environmental protection and national security authorities. Not another word of new legislation is needed from Congress either to enable the plan legally or to fund its operation.

But the obvious question here is this. Would imposing a highly coercive fast-track carbon reduction plan on the American people — one which demands that every American accept significant personal and economic sacrifice — would such a plan produce enough political blowback to endanger the careers of the professional politicians who created and enforced it?

The election of a climate activist president, and the success of those politicians who imposed and enforced the COVID-19 lockdowns, strongly suggest that the American public would in fact accept the sacrifices and the hardships which go with reaching an 80% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
November 25, 2020 10:28 am

Beta Flocker
Complete nonsense.
Climate change was not a top three factor for Democrats or Republicans for their voting decisions..

Reply to  Richard Greene
November 25, 2020 12:35 pm

agree, Richard. about 4th-5th on the list, on average.

Of course one could point out that “the Economy” encompasses consideration of (a) the millions of jobs that are being created by green technology (soon to include most auto companies), and (b) the trivial number of jobs remaining in carbon industries (e.g., coal: 55K when Trump was elected, 40K when he was defeated).

Add “health care”, etc.


Beta Blocker
Reply to  Richard Greene
November 25, 2020 6:12 pm

What was clearly evident to every Pennsylvania voter — regardless of what their opinion was about climate change as a larger issue — was that one candidate, Donald Trump, strongly supported fracking, while the other candidate, Joe Biden, strongly opposed it.

Biden got the majority of Pennsylvania’s vote. Or so he claims, anyway. But the news we hear late this afternoon is that Trump will not concede Pennsylvania and is pressuring the legislature in that state to certify him as the true winner.

That said, take a close look at the timeline of the plan. It allows approximately two years to formulate the regulations, publish them, and then sign the cooperative agreements with the states and the private corporations who would be managing the government’s carbon fuel rationing program.

If Joe Biden becomes president and then begins to pursue a plan like the SSCECP on the schedule called for, the initial impacts on the voting public would not occur until late in Biden’s first term. In fact, the plan is specifically designed to delay those impacts until late in the third year of a Biden presidency.

However, by the end of the seventh year of a two-term Biden presidency, the impacts on the economy and on the American personal lifestyle would be very substantial indeed.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
November 26, 2020 8:51 am

Beta Flocker
Biden was FOR fracking when he was in Pennsylvania !

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Richard Greene
November 26, 2020 10:26 am

Richard, I have a piece of advice for you. Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you actually see.

If and when Joe Biden becomes president, then he will face a strong test of his ethical and moral character. Will he, or will he not, do what most Democrats expect of him and ban fracking?

A plan like the SSCECP is perfectly legal and constitutional. It can quickly implement a fast track pathway to a low carbon America without another word of new legislation being needed from Congress.

So the question for Joe Biden becomes this. If he is installed as president on January 20th, 2021, will he, or will he not, use the powers already invested in the Executive Branch to become a true climate activist president?

Will he, or will he not, walk the talk of reducing America’s carbon emissions at a pace which the climate activists say is desperately necessary?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Scissor
November 26, 2020 7:32 am

Yes, Scissor, the fat lady is in the process of warming up. Time will tell if a Kate Smith level of loud election challenge singing bursts forth. In other words, it’s not 100% certain at this point that Joe Biden will become president come January 20th, 2021.

The Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP) is tailor made for a climate activist president who will use every lever of constitutionally legal power the Executive Branch now has in its hands to reduce America’s carbon emissions on a fast track schedule.

American elections run in cycles. Sooner or later, a climate activist Democrat will become president. If it doesn’t happen in 2021, it might happen in 2025. Or in 2029.

Let’s ask another question. Was Barack Obama a true climate activist president, the kind of president who wouldn’t hesitate to impose a plan like the SSCECP on the American people?

The answer is that no, he was not. Work on a plan similar to the SSCECP could have been started in 2012 after the court cases against the 2009 endangerment finding for carbon had been settled in the EPA’s favor.

A plan like the SSCECP could have been fully implemented by the end of 2016, albeit with the proviso that its most serious impacts would not have begun to be felt until roughly 2018 or 2020.

But President Obama didn’t do it. He instead pushed forward with his Clean Power Plan, a scheme almost certain to be defeated in the courts because while GHG emissions are ubiquitous throughout the American economy, the CPP was targeted at coal leaving other major emission sources largely untouched, especially natural gas.

In contrast, the SSCECP goes after all major carbon emission sources, not just coal, and it spreads the burden of compliance equally among all sectors of the economy and with equal force among all demographic groups.

What is most telling is that after the EPA’s victory in the courts upholding the endangerment finding, neither the major environmental organizations nor the green politicians ever called Barack Obama to account for not doing everything the law allowed him to do in quickly reducing America’s carbon emissions.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Beta Blocker
November 25, 2020 7:50 pm

People voted to get rid of trump
Otherwise they voted republican down the ticket

I recommend Bill Maher’s new rule from 2 weeks ago for a realistic lefty description of why nov 3 was a disaster for democrats and on current trajectory they lose the house in 2 years as well

Last week the nice democratic lady from Atlantic monthly clearly stated there is no chance the democrats will win a senate run off seat

I know this will be unpopular here but Trump lost because of who and what he is.

Anyone else but Trump wins

If the democrats had selected anyone other that sleepy centrist joe, trump would have wiped Sanders or Warren across the floor.

Because crazy

Just watch

Reply to  Beta Blocker
November 26, 2020 7:05 am

You are assuming Biden legally won PA .no freaking way.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  John piccirilli
November 26, 2020 9:40 am

John Piccirilli, it is clear this morning, November 26th, that the 2020 election will be strongly contested by Donald Trump and his political allies. The final outcome is now in doubt.

The more general assumption made in the SSCECP — one that is implied in its structure, organization, and timeline — is that a climate activist Democrat will be inaugurated president at some point in the future, whether it happens in 2021, 2025, 2029, or whenever.

If Joe Biden isn’t installed as president in 2021, the SSCECP timeline phase dates would simply be adjusted accordingly to fit the election cycle in which a climate activist Democrat was elected president.

The plan is tailored for that kind of Chief Executive, whenever he or she assumes office. See my response to Scissor up above for further details.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
November 26, 2020 7:43 am

would such a plan produce enough political blowback to endanger the careers of the professional politicians who created and enforced it?

No. Most of the deep staters are appointed, not elected.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  beng135
November 26, 2020 10:05 am

beng135, the SSCECP is consciously intended to be the playground of regulatory and process control apparatchiks of every flavor and political stripe — even those employed in private enterprise. It’s a feature of the plan, not a bug.

Moreover, the SSCECP brings great financial rewards to the states and to the private corporations which choose to participate in directly managing the plan’s thirty-year transition into a low carbon United States.

The states enjoy an ever-larger revenue stream from the ever increasing carbon pollution fines, and the private oil & gas corporations enjoy the same or higher profits from the ever-decreasing production costs on ever lower volumes of production output.

The SSCECP is a dream come true for those who would benefit most from such a plan. And it’s all perfectly legal and constitutional under current environmental and national security law. Because it was designed from the ground up to be just that.

November 25, 2020 10:20 am

The religiousity of the catastrophic anthropogenic climate cooling… warming… change belief and intermittent, nonrenewable, Green energy converter solutions align with the Progressive Church’s Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, relativistic quasi-religion (e.g. ethics).

November 25, 2020 12:28 pm

The premise of this post is wrong. There is no Climate Change. The whole story is a fairy tale based on “Greenhouse Effect” – provably nonsense. Earth’s average surface temperature is a function of the distribution of water over the surface and the powerful negative feedbacks ice provides on the surface and in the atmosphere. SST cannot be lower than 271.3K due to ice insulation or higher than 305K due to cloud reflection. The average surface temperature is 288K, {(271.3+288)/2}, as a result of these powerful negative feedbacks.

At present, the benefit of weather dependent intermittent energy generation is limited to remote off-grid applications where fossil fuels have a high transport component or as perched water conservation in existing hydro schemes. The do not complement most existing grid supply; they are an alternative.

It appears difficult to wean civilisation off fossil fuels and it will take a long time and new technologies. Attempting to do it with WDGs, in their present form, is a fool’s errand. The cost of storage needs to be much less. Right now fission technology offers a path, maybe fusion in another decade (but that has been said before).

November 25, 2020 1:24 pm

This is a recent 5 minute version of the S&W idiocy from Prager and Shellenberger.
Entirely accurate and yet the Biden and Kerry donkeys are about to waste trillions $ on these dirty environmental disasters for a guaranteed ZERO return.
OH and repeat every 20 years after you clean up the toxic mess and no change in temp or co2 levels for thousands of years. When will these clueless, delusional fools wake up?

Smart Rock
November 25, 2020 3:59 pm

To this somewhat jaded observer, it’s glaringly obvious that the motivation for most proponents of “renewable” energy as a “solution” to perceived climate change, is cultural with religious overtones. Thanks to Andy for reaching the same conclusion from actual data.

The absence of rational, logical thought and analysis in the green mind-set is apparent from the fact that nuclear power is almost never mentioned, although it’s patently obvious that the nuclear option would be the most practical “solution” if human-caused CO2 emissions and global warming really were “problems”.

The “climate scientists” who generate endless streams of papers about looming climatic disasters in which conclusions are all foregone, and “worse than we thought” is the default position, certainly have the intellectual resources to see behind the facade. But they almost never do because, it they even hint at “denial” they will be faced with the certainty of no more research grants, and the strong possibility of losing their jobs. They are trapped in the system, and few have the courage to speak the truth.

The politicians who promote the green agenda are doing what politicians do: latching on to a “problem” and giving us a “solution”, thinking that it makes them look good. They are the most useful of the “useful idiots”. Calling them that tends to imply that there are leaders behind the politicians and climate scientists pulling the strings. But are there actual leaders behind the climate movement, or is it an organic movement without a figurehead? I think that the latter is more the case.

We can no longer assume that the “climate/green energy” is a single movement, with or without identifiable leaders. It’s becoming obvious that it’s just one front on a multi-front war, attacking what we could call “western civilization”, “liberal democracy” or “the enlightenment”. The other main prongs of the attack are:

♦ gender fluidity, which is intended to make straights (and most gays) feel insecure about their gender identity;
♦ statue removal and history rewriting (especially wrt slavery), designed to loosen any feelings of belonging to a long-lived and well established civilization;
♦ an important part of rewriting history is emphasis on “German guy with moustache was evil; Russian guy with moustache made a few mistakes”;
♦ BLM and its offshoots, designed to make people of European ethnicity ashamed of their European ethnicity;
♦ any aspect of “woke” culture not included in the above.

All of these have the effect of uncoupling individuals from their common civilization and their shared history, making them feel lost, and ready for the new Jerusalem.

The renewable energy movement, in a sense, is the actual arena where this multi-faceted attack is making physical changes – destroying the existing infrastructure and building a new “green” one.

We are under attack from all sides. We need to appreciate this and try to do what we can to repel the attack, where we can, without much hope but with whatever fortitude we can summon up.

Aux armes, citoyens! (to coin a phrase)

November 25, 2020 5:11 pm

One of the great “cultural motivators” for wind and solar, is that they are the cheapest power around, by a long way. Reverse auctions recently have come in at around 1.5 c per Kwh in the Middle East, and 3-4 cents elsewhere.

Even with firming via hydro, the levelised cost is still below that of coal, the nearest compteitor.

Quoting 20c per kwh for solar is about as accurate as the rest of the article. I come for the right wing rants and stay for the “Marxist agenda” conspiracy theories – so entertaining.

Reply to  Tony
November 25, 2020 9:32 pm

Please explain the very large increase of cost to the electricity user everywhere wind and solar are implemented in terms of your claims of “wind and solar” being the cheapest power around.

Reply to  AndyHce
November 26, 2020 2:51 am

Not everywhere: the early adopters of renewables paid out more… and the chosen incentive of paying those who installed them was a (then necessary) costly way of providing them. Denmark and Germany suffer from this.

Latest UK renewable deployments are subsidy free and they don’t require high pay outs to installers. If the US went full out renewable, the cost would be a fraction of what Germany was paying a decade ago.

Bill S
Reply to  griff
November 26, 2020 9:22 am


If that is so, then there is no need for mandates and subsidies. The market will drive towards a lower cost of energy. Yet, the Chinese with a command economy are building coal fired utility plants. If wind and solar are so much cheaper, why are they not installing 100% of new capacity in wind and solar?

The factor that you consistently ignore is the unreliability of wind and solar. The cost of grid scale backup is not included in the lcoe calculations. No grid size battery exists today that can power the grid for days at a time when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. To have an apples to apples cost comparison of solar and wind vs nuclear and ff the same 999.9% reliability must be included.

Reply to  griff
November 26, 2020 9:58 am

Latest UK renewable deployments are subsidy free

– oh yeah?


Reply to  griff
November 29, 2020 10:25 am

If the US went full renewable, we’d be freezing to death in the dark. Like Southern California over Thanksgiving when the governor turned off the electricity. They are getting a preview.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights