Answer: a failed presidency.
President Joe Biden has spent the past few weeks talking up the need for the United States and the world to embrace a range of draconian policies in an effort to address climate change.
If Biden really wants future generations to judge his presidency by how effectively he tackled climate change—and apparently he does—he will be judged a failure. A well-intended failure perhaps, but a failure none the less.
Here are four reasons.
First, at his virtual climate summit, Biden committed the U.S to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Many of the other participating countries pledged similarly ambitious, if not greater, cuts.
Just to get a sense of the challenge in reaching that goal, the International Energy Agency just released its report claiming that carbon emissions declined only 5.8 percent in 2020 as major economies locked down, but are set to rise 4.8 percent this year.
Second, Biden is pledging to reach his goal in nine years. He won’t even be in the White House by then—and may have been out of office for five years. The only way he could make his promise stick is by passing it through Congress, which will be its own challenge.
Indeed, it is likely that the House of Representatives will flip to Republican in the 2022 election, leaving any further Green New Deal efforts dead in the water.
Third, even with congressional buy-in, reaching Biden’s goal is almost impossible. Currently, 60 percent of U.S. electricity generation comes from fossil fuels. Another 20 percent comes from nuclear power, which environmentalists don’t like either.
Only 20 percent comes from renewable energy sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Wind and solar power—the environmentalists’ favored options—only account for about 8.4 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, of total electricity generation.
There are currently about 67,000 wind turbines operating in 44 states. If we were to replace all fossil fuel electricity generation with wind power, we would have to install roughly seven times the number of turbines currently operating—thus, some 470,000 more turbines.
Where would we put them all? Biden is talking about placing many of them offshore, but those proposals often face public opposition.
Fourth: There’s no controlling some countries’ practices. The IEA reports, “Coal demand is on course to rise 4.5% in 2021, with more than 80% of the growth concentrated in Asia. China alone is projected to account for over 50% of global growth.”
Even if Biden were to succeed in dramatically cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, he will have very little influence over two of the other major carbon emitting countries: China and Russia, neither of which will hurt their economies to please environmentalists.
Given all of these challenges, it is virtually impossible for Biden to achieve his environmental goals. It will be the most expensive presidential failure in history.
April 27, 2021
What Does Biden's Green Dream Scheme Mean?
Answer: a failed presidency.