Did you hear the latest?
Massachusetts Senator Liz Warren is going into the private sector!
During a visit to New Hampshire, she told a group of excited onlookers that she was going to drop government and taxes and mandates, and start a company that makes cars and buildings – and even provides energy – without carbon emissions!
Thrilling! What an inventive woman. Her creative capacity goes far beyond questionable claims about her heritage or protecting “the little guy.” Captured on video as she spoke over an electric amplifying system and wandered around on a riser built through the use of fossil fuels, before a backdrop of a U.S. Flag that likely was not “carbon neutral” in its creation, wearing clothes that were made, packaged, and transported through the use of fossil fuels and energy, this voluntary business entrepreneur said:
By 2028, we’re not gonna do any more buildings and houses that have any carbon emissions. By 2030, no more cars with carbon emissions; and by 2035, no more production of electricity that has carbon emissions.
And how cool is that?! Clearly speaking for herself and her voluntary businesses associates in the private sector, she told the audience that they were going to achieve these vaunted goals. And we, the free-to-choose consumers, could decide if we thought their offerings were helpful to our lives.
Or… Hold on. When she said, “WE,” did she mean that all-inclusive, political “we”? That pronoun politicians use, along with the plural-possessive “our,” to forcibly include YOU in their plans, whether you choose to be included or not?
Could it be that Liz Warren wants the federal government by 2028 to forbid supposedly free people from building houses if those houses use carbon-based fuel for heat? Does she want to mandate through federal diktat that no new cars can be sold by 2030 unless they emit zero carbon?
Pardon me for my error.
For some almost unfathomable reason, Warren's bold threats to command the economy for cars make my mind jump in a crazy direction. I see black and white pictures of Third Reich Germany. There was something in that history...something about Der Fuhrer telling a man named Porsche to build 'The People's Car'...a centralized plan for automotive transport from a megalomaniacal political figure.
Must just be me and my over-active imagination.
After all, who could protest being told what to make, sell, buy, drive, live in, or use to light and heat one’s house, especially if the government authority figure uses the term “we,” which really, really sounds cozy and nice?
But if Warren wants cars and homes powered without any carbon emissions, and isn’t willing to voluntarily offer these things for us to accept or deny voluntarily, if she wants to mandate these things on us, doesn’t that mean the power will be electric? Right now, the majority of electric power comes from coal plants, so all those hipster social justice Climate Change Cultists out there who buy electric cars are actually driving coal-powered vehicles. Is that why Warren, in her infinite wisdom, has been so darned ingenious to be sure the feds mandate that by 2035 all electricity emits zero carbon?
Gosh, she sure is smart. We need that in the top-down compulsion paradigm of “The Land of the Free.”
But, turning away from the principle of the matter and away from the fact that the U.S. Constitution (didn’t she swear an oath to “protect and defend” that sometime?) doesn’t grant her the power to command any of this, the possible sources of power she implies could replace carbon-based oil and coal aren’t very efficient, and numerous researchers have noted how energy-intensive they are.
For example, solar voltaic panels are useful for small energy needs, such as a lamp or flashlight, but panel technology requires vast amounts of land to supply anything near the wattage that coal supplies, the output fluctuates, most panel tech requires water-cooling, and the very processes of panel construction and delivery require vast amounts of energy, in other words, the solar technology releases CO2. On a practical level, it seems that Ms. Warren’s dream of carbon-less energy is way off, because solar tech cannot even supply the power needed to handle the demands of urban, suburban, or even rural areas. Yan Qin, a “senior modelling analyst at Thompson Reuters Point Carbon” (an energy market consulting firm) told The Guardian in 2016:
You have a very strong seasonality in solar production. That is a problem at higher latitudes. If you would connect all the countries around the world then always somewhere the sun would shine and problem solved. But we are still quite far from that situation.
Karl Mathieson, who interviewed Qin for the piece noted:
Like other renewables that rely on weather, solar is held back by its “capacity factor”, essentially how often it is producing electricity. A coal power station runs at 70-80% capacity. In northern Europe, solar panel capacity factor is just 15%.
Even the left-leaning environmentalist site GreenFuture notes some of the obvious drawbacks about wind turbines. Writes Heidi Redlitz:
Wind turbines are an eyesore. They take up a lot of space. They can hurt wildlife. They aren't suitable for densely populated areas, which means they're mostly located in rural regions — far from the cities that are most in need of their power.
And that’s just the surface.
As GWPF notes:
Evidence from around the world shows that windfarms are killing birds. Larger bird species seem particularly vulnerable, but many smaller and more common species are also threatened.
Indeed, the Associated Press has noted that windfarms kill 573,000 birds each year. And, as shocking as it might seem, they also burst bat lungs. The turbines themselves require vast amounts of carbon-using energy to construct, including concrete, steel, and fiberglass blades that, in total, weigh between 800 and 900 tons – per turbine. All of this requires energy, to mine the ore, transport the raw materials, make, and transport and build on site. And the sites require vast access roads that destroy wildlife habitats, not to mention the bizarre health effects people cite when living near the infrasound created by mills, and the energy-intensive process of re-blading and refurbishing needed every 20 years.
Oh, and a message to Liz: the poured concrete at the base of every mill… emits CO2.
But these practical pins that might burst Warren’s carbon-free balloon really are beside the two central points, which are that she has no enumerated constitutional power to do any of this, and that what she proposes is totalitarian and morally unacceptable.
What’s astounding is that she and her ilk do not recognize that the free market has built-in incentives to decrease energy usage and be more and more efficient. Since energy costs money, and people like to save money, they continually look for cheaper ways to do things like heat and light their homes. Markets also allow people the savings to devote spare resources on environmental cleanup and research.
What Warren desires is precisely the wrong thing – environmentally, constitutionally, and ethically.
Let her form her own company, as first imagined, and see how she fares. Then, if she can offer great energy at low costs to people and property, she will, without doubt, attract voluntary investment.
Until then, she ought to stop tilting at windmills.
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)