Rutgers professor Dr. David McDermott Hughes just wrote a most fascinating piece for the Boston Review that speaks volumes about where we are heading as a society via the Green New Deal’s (not to mention Gov. Gavin Newsom’s own version of the same) pedal-to-the-metal efforts to decarbonize our society — that is, the premature ban on fossil fuels.
Dr. Hughes was truthful about what it will take to decarbonize our society. Namely, regular occurring blackouts will become the new normal as electricity will have to be rationed, and delivery will become intermittent, for a multitude of reasons as we make the transition to an all-renewable energy portfolio.
My favorite part of his column? References to the energy-starved “dream states” of Zimbabwe and Puerto Rico as examples to follow! He uses these two reference points to prove that Americans can learn to live without power for hours, or, even days at a time!
Moreover, he scolds us for wanting to have electricity on demand. That is, we must be willing to sacrifice, in order to save lives arising from the threats of climate change, by agreeing to have our power turned off on a fairly routine basis!
I actually appreciate the fact that the professor was at least honest enough to admit that our society is nowhere near the point of transitioning successfully to an all-renewable energy portfolio due to a myriad of challenges.
These challenges include what he describes as “the intermittency problem” associated with the “daytime feast” of solar energy production versus the “nocturnal famine” of the same after the sun goes down. That is, renewable energy supplies plummet as demand peaks. This is due to the fact that because solar can’t be stored, there is no power after 4!
Our ability to store power from solar is far too challenging with the technology we have today, so his solution is for us to learn to live without power.
He also admits that lithium-ion batteries create problems of their own including toxins produced by way of mining the same. For the record, he also admitted that wind power is completely unreliable as a base load source, because unlike the sun, we don’t have wind each and every day.
Dr. Hughes believes that learning to live without power, even if it means eating a cold dinner here and there is not too much to ask, nor is President Jimmy Carter’s infamous plea to wear a sweater in your home.
Dr. Hughes also admits that none of the good people in either Zimbabwe or Puerto Rico actually volunteered to live with intermittent supplies and rationing of power, as they had no choice in the matter. Albeit he doesn’t admit that neither will Americans volunteer if the Green New Deal becomes the law of the land.
The one thing none of these academics or activists are willing to admit, including Dr. Hughes, is that most of America can’t rely on solar in the winter when the solar panels will be buried in snow and ice!
Neither will they admit that energy is only one of the benefits of fossil fuels.
The other indispensable product of the same is plastic, along with 6,000 other byproducts that we can’t live without. Fifty percent of every barrel of oil is used to produce these byproducts. If we ban the production and use of fossil fuels, where will we get these other products, including most every lifesaving device we find in hospitals?
Moreover, 50% of an automobile is manufactured from fossil fuel byproducts as are the asphalt roads we drive on!
Finally, you can’t produce solar panels or wind turbines without fossil fuels. That is, fossil fuels are the chicken, and most everything else we use is the egg!
Now that is an inconvenient truth if I ever heard one.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of The Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on News-Press Radio AM 1290.