An experiment

For this week’s newsletter I am trying an experiment. Instead of the usual format, I’m sharing the messaging and strategy document I share with elected officials and staff. I am considering starting a new Energy Talking Points newsletter on Substack with this kind of content. (Most likely I’d offer it free of charge, but nothing is final.) Let me know what you like and don’t like, and whether you’d like to see more of this kind of content.

Quick summary (TLDR)

Here are the three biggest energy action issues this week, and my number one strategy and message for each.

Action issue 1: The massive, destructive, and deadly fuel and power shortages around the world.

  • Key strategy: Make something good come out of this preventable tragedy by 1) publicizing its terrible effects, 2) identifying its root cause of anti-fossil fuel policies, and 3) using it as ammunition against the horrific energy policies of the US “reconciliation” process and of the November UN climate summit.
  • Key message: As you see stories of fuel and power shortages around the world, keep one fact in mind: our knowledge of how to produce low-cost, plentiful fuel and power has never been greater. But our ability to act on that knowledge is strangled by anti-fossil fuel policies. It’s that simple. [Share this on Twitter]

Action issue 2: The ongoing attempt to impose catastrophic amounts of unreliable “green energy” via the “reconciliation” process.

  • Key strategy: Fight vigorously against this because 1) if passed it will be by far the most destructive energy policy in American history and 2) the collapse of “green energy” around the world means there’s a good chance that if we defeat green energy dictatorship now, it will be the last time we have to.
  • Key message: In one of the most dangerous and most Unconstitutional acts in US history, Congress and the President are abusing the budget reconciliation process to dictate, via a “Clean Electricity Performance Program,” that Americans use >42% unreliable solar+wind electricity by 2030. [Share this on Twitter]

Action issue 3: The UN Climate Change Conference from 11/1-11/12 in Glasgow, Scotland

  • Key strategy: Morally and scientifically discredit this conference and its terrible policies by pointing out its cruel policies and huge biases.
  • Key message: The upcoming UN climate conference seeking to get the world to rapidly eliminate fossil fuel use is a crime against humanity, especially the poor, and should be canceled. I encourage African nations in particular to boycott the event, as they are its greatest victims. [Share this on Twitter]

Deep Dive

Here’s an in-depth look at my top three energy action issues of the week, plus some other strategies and messages that I find helpful.

Action issue 1: The massive, destructive, and deadly fuel and power shortages around the world.

Strategy

Dictatorial green energy proposals like to position themselves as exciting, new ideas about the future. In fact, they are failed ideas and should be seen as such.

That’s why I have long been an advocate of discrediting today’s dictatorial green energy proposals by showing how these proposals are failing already around the world in diluted form—which means that the proposals will be a far bigger disaster than today’s green energy disasters.

For example, I do this in my messaging against the renewable energy mandates such as the “Clean Electricity Performance/Payment Program”:

  • Thanks to government mandates and subsidies, solar and wind–“unreliables”–provide about 10% of American electricity. This 10% has already caused big electricity price increases and huge reliability problems. Politicians should admit their failure, apologize, and reverse course.
  • Instead of admitting that the US’s 10% solar+wind electricity is causing huge cost and reliability problems, our government, led by the Senate, is quintupling down on this disaster by pushing a “Clean Electricity Payment Program” that would require >50% solar+wind in 8 years!!
  • Consider: Germans, to get 37% of their electricity from wind/solar, have doubled their prices–now 3X US prices. And they can only get away with 37% because they have neighbors to bail them out when solar/wind fall short. The US as a whole has no such neighbors.
  • In California, where I live, we get 24% of our electricity from wind and solar–and we have skyrocketing prices along with disastrous shortages and blackouts. And it would be far worse if we couldn’t didn’t import 30% of our electricity from neighbors.

The fuel and power shortages around the world, especially in Europe, are a perfect opportunity to show the utter failure of green energy policies–to help us defeat horrific policies in the US (see Action Issue 2) and internationally (see Action Issue 3). Below are some of the key messages.

Power Facts

  • “But just as Europe needs energy the most, the wind in the North Sea has stopped blowing, forcing regional energy markets to scramble for gas reserves to heat homes and power businesses.” — Fortune
  • “Heading into winter at a time when more energy is already needed to fuel economic recovery as the region emerges from the pandemic, European countries are setting aside quotas meant to cap carbon emissions and rethinking the shutdown of coal plants in order to fill the gap left by the missing wind.” — Fortune
  • “The mix of windless air and competition for the world’s gas supply has caused power prices to skyrocket—the price of natural gas in Europe is up more than 500% over the past year, setting fresh daily records—and that jump will almost inevitably be passed on to consumers.” — Fortune

Messages

On the causes of these shortages:

  • As you see stories of fuel and power shortages around the world, keep one fact in mind: our knowledge of how to produce low-cost, plentiful fuel and power has never been greater. But our ability to act on that knowledge is strangled by anti-fossil fuel policies. It’s that simple.

This simple, fundamental message is helpful in countering the pervasive argument that these shortages are “complex” (an argument that invariably involves the dominant cause: restrictions on fossil fuel development).

On holding the anti-fossil fuel movement accountable for the energy crisis–in this case, via asking them to “celebrate” Earth Winter.

  • As natural gas prices skyrocket, Americans, especially the poor, will have much more difficulty heating their homes this winter. I have a solution: “Earth Winter.” Everyone who has contributed to the price rises by opposing drilling and pipelines keeps their thermostat at 60°.

On holding the ESG divestment movement in particular accountable. (Here’s general messaging on the evil of the ESG divestment movement and here’s messaging on the positive alternative: Long-term Value Creation.)

  • From Jude Clemente on Twitter: Those of you demanding less investment in oil and gas supply are already responsible for rapidly rising prices….and it will only get worse. — Jude Clemente

Here’s a damning summary of the overall policy leading to this and other energy crisis:

  • The anti-nuclear Left’s anti-energy formula: mandate unreliable solar and wind, which depend 24/7 on flexible natural gas for life support. Then strangle natural gas. Then, when gas prices skyrocket, curse gas for being expensive and say we should just rely on the unreliables. [Share this on Twitter]

Action issue 2: The ongoing attempt to impose catastrophic amounts of unreliable “green energy” via the “reconciliation” process

Strategy

As green energy policies are causing energy crisis around the world, this Administration is pulling out all the stops to dictatorially impose an unprecedented amount of unreliable solar and wind in the US—in part to give us “credibility” in advocating at the upcoming UN conference (see Action Issue 3) for the world to follow this suicidal lead.

The effort is running into a lot of difficulties—most notably, Senator Joe Manchin saying he will not support a $3.5 trillion “reconciliation” package. Some say that one of the programs that will be first to go from the package is what I regard as by far the most evil part: the “Clean Electricity Performance/Payment Program” (see below).

I’m glad that the program is on the chopping block, but we cannot rest easy—especially because it’s mostly on the chopping blog because of its claimed $150 billion cost to the government, rather than the incalculable cost of destroying the US economic by destroying low-cost, reliable electricity.

So now is the time to fight—especially because, as I mentioned above, the world is getting more and more evidence of the evil of green energy policies.

The green energy movement tried to deny its failures in California—and then in Texas. But now price spikes and shortages are overtaking Europe and even China. Their denial is getting thin.

So if we can beat the anti-energy policies of the “reconciliation” progress now, it may be the last time we have to fight something this bad.

Messages

Congress is pricing the “Clean Electricity Performance Program”–its latest name for a mass solar/wind mandate–at $150 billion. But that’s only the money it will take from us directly. The cost of destroying our economy with unaffordable, unreliable energy is 10s of trillions of dollars.

Here’s an explanation of the evil of the “Clean Electricity Performance Program” referencing its name last week, the “Clean Electricity Payment Program.” The “new” CEPP pushes minimum 72% clean, 42%+ unreliable solar/wind, with the goal 80/50. So nothing essential has changed.

In one of the most dangerous and most Unconstitutional acts in US history, Congress and the President are abusing the budget reconciliation process to dictate, via a “Clean Electricity Payment Program,” that Americans use >50% unreliable solar+wind electricity by 2030.

  • Thanks to government mandates and subsidies, solar and wind–“unreliables”–provide about 10% of American electricity. This 10% has already caused big electricity price increases and huge reliability problems. Politicians should admit their failure, apologize, and reverse course.
  • Instead of admitting that the US’s 10% solar+wind electricity is causing huge cost and reliability problems, our government, led by the Senate, is quintupling down on this disaster by pushing a “Clean Electricity Payment Program” that would require >50% solar+wind in 8 years!!
  • The CEPP would mandate 80% “clean electricity” by 2030–but does nothing substantial to reverse the criminalization and defunding of nuclear. So nuclear will decrease from its 20% share today. Hydro, at <7% today, has little room for growth. That means >50% solar/wind!
  • Unreliable wind and solar cannot replace fossil fuels. Because they can always go near zero–as we saw recently in Texas–they don’t replace the cost of reliable power plants, they add to the cost of reliable power plants. That’s why more wind and solar = higher prices.
  • Consider: Germans, to get 37% of their electricity from wind/solar, have doubled their prices–now 3X US prices. And they can only get away with 37% because they have neighbors to bail them out when solar/wind fall short. The US as a whole has no such neighbors.
  • In California, where I live, we get 24% of our electricity from wind and solar–and we have skyrocketing prices along with disastrous shortages and blackouts. And it would be far worse if we couldn’t import 30% of our electricity from neighbors.
  • Contrary to media denial, government favoritism for solar and especially for wind were absolutely to blame for the Texas blackouts. TX defunded reliable power plant construction as well as resiliency measures (like weatherization) to pay for solar/wind.
  • During TX’s February cold spell, wind and solar disappeared when they were needed the most. Its expensive batteries, which could store a mere 40 seconds, didn’t help, either. What would they have done under the CEPP’s 50% solar and wind??!!
  • The facts are clear. 10% solar and wind in the US is disastrous. 50+% solar and wind would guarantee unaffordable prices, constant shortages, frequent blackouts–and the fleeing of industry and jobs, once companies realized the US no longer had low-cost, reliable electricity.
  • Historically, the Constitution protected us from terrible ideas like the CEPP–which would more accurately stand for Catastrophically Expensive Power Program. It was recognized that the Federal Government cannot dictate the electricity choices of all Americans.
  • Ominously, today the Constitution is so ignored that government and media consider it totally okay to grant the  Federal Government dictatorial control over all electricity *as part of a budget reconciliation process*. What country are we living in?
  • The budget reconciliation process is supposed to be about budgeting, not about giving government new powers. Yet shameless Senator Chuck Schumer has bragged that the CEPP and other “reconciliation” measures would constitute “the most significant climate action in our country’s history.”
  • Our government’s push for mandating 50+% unreliable solar and wind plays perfectly into the hands of China. China has a clear strategy of running its economy on 84% fossil fuels, while encouraging us to run on unreliable solar and wind—that is made using Chinese fossil fuels.
  • The claim that a “Clean Electricity Payment Program” will lower global CO2 emissions is a joke. As China illustrates, the world, especially the developing world, will overwhelmingly use fossil fuels because that is by far the lowest-cost way for them to get reliable energy.
  • Anyone who cares about CO2 emissions must recognize that the only non-carbon energy source that has a chance of outcompeting fossil fuels and lowering global emissions is nuclear energy. Nuclear is incredibly safe, incredibly reliable, and can be generated anywhere in the world.
  • Unfortunately, nuclear has become ultra-expensive in the US because politicians (mostly Dems) have demonized it and virtually criminalized it through endless unscientific regulations–along with wind/solar favors+subsidies, like the “PTC,” that defund reliable nuclear plants.
  • US policy is so anti-nuclear that virtually no one will attempt to build a nuclear plant in this country–and in 2021 utilities are planning to shut down a record amount of our existing low-carbon, low-cost, reliable nuclear power plants!
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46436
  • Any policy serious about CO2 emissions needs to recognize the severe deficiencies of wind/solar and *make nuclear decriminalization priorities number 1, 2, and 3*. Instead, our government wants to dictate catastrophic amounts of wind and solar using the “CEPP.”
  • The proper path forward for America is to fix our broken electricity system by ending all mandates and subsidies for unreliable solar and wind, liberating nuclear energy, and making sure to have enough low-cost, reliable power plants to handle every situation.
  • When we look at the decline of nations throughout history we wonder: How could they not have seen it coming? Today, we should clearly see it coming that a CEPP, destroying our grid with catastrophic amounts of unreliable solar+wind, produced by China, will mean our decline.

On the true cost of the Clean Electricity Performance Program:

  • Congress is pricing the “Clean Electricity Performance Program”–its latest name for a mass solar/wind mandate–at $150 billion. But that’s only the money it will take from us directly. The cost of destroying our economy with unaffordable, unreliable energy is 10s of trillions of dollars.

On mandatory and subsidized EVs, a major part of the “reconciliation” efforts:

The proper policy toward EVs, which are promising but not cost-effective for the vast majority of Americans, is 1) let them compete on a free market and 2) make sure we have plenty of low-cost, reliable electricity. This administration is doing the exact opposite.

  • Today’s EVs, despite promises that they would already surpass gasoline vehicles, are not cost-effective for the vast majority of Americans. That’s why despite huge government subsidies, only 2% of us buy EVs. Mandating EVs violates our rights and hurts the poor most of all.
  • EVs may become *even less cost-effective in the future* due to the rising electricity prices and growing electricity shortages that are occurring as reliable power plants are shut down in favor of unreliable solar and wind.
  • The proper policy toward battery EVs is to let them compete on the open market with gasoline vehicles, natural gas vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, etc. And if you want to increase the competitiveness of all EVs, then stop screwing up the grid by mandating unreliable solar and wind.
  • In the future, EVs could benefit Americans and significantly reduce emissions if 1) competition makes them genuinely superior for most people 2) we dramatically increase electricity production using a low-cost, reliable, scalable technology–most likely nuclear.
  • If the Biden Administration wants to facilitate cost-effective EVs, the number one thing it needs to do is publicly reject the dictatorial Clean Energy Standard that would absolutely destroy our grid for existing electricity needs, let alone huge EV needs.
  • The idea that mandating EVs is some magic way of rapidly reducing CO2 emissions is absurd, because 1) EVs are largely FFVs–fossil fueled vehicles, and 2) The world, especially China and India, is going to keep using fossil fuels to develop and prosper.
  • If you use an EV, it is powered with whatever sources of electricity are on your regional grid. Just as important, it was *produced* with whatever sources of energy power mining equipment, materials processing facilities, and factories. Most of those sources are fossil fuels.
  • Because there is no truly cost-effective, global-scale alternative to fossil fuels, today’s EVs are mostly fossil fueled–from the electricity powering them, to the coal used to manufacture them, to the oil used to mine for their raw materials.
  • Because today’s EVs are largely FFVs–fossil fuel vehicles–in most places replacing a gasoline vehicle with an EV yields at most minor emissions reductions. But as EVs are often bought as supplements to a longer-range gasoline vehicle, buying a new EV often increases emissions.
  • What is the *least* cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions? As far as I know, it’s to force Americans and automakers to pay Elon Musk to use fossil fuels to build a wealthy person a new second, third, or fourth car–powered by mostly fossil fuels.
  • The developing world overwhelmingly uses fossil fuels and plans to use more because that is by far the lowest-cost way for them to get reliable energy. Unreliable solar and wind can’t come close. That’s why China and India have hundreds of new coal plants under construction.
  • The only way to lower CO2 emissions and benefit America is to promote innovation that makes low-carbon energy truly reliable and low-cost. Are China and India going to stop using fossil fuels so long as they are the lowest-cost option? They won’t and they shouldn’t.
  • The only practical way to lower global CO2 emissions is to encourage innovation that could make low-carbon energy cheap for everyone. Policies like mandating EVs or mandating solar/wind won’t stop global emissions from rising–but they will ruin America.
    https://energytalkingpoints.com/co2-emissions/

Action issue 3: The UN Climate Change Conference from 11/1-11/12 in Glasgow, Scotland

Strategy

This year’s UN Climate Change Conference is possibly the most significant ever, definitely the most significant since Paris.

These conferences have a track record of getting big commitments with not much follow-through. But the US in particular is in danger of actually following through on horrific “net zero” commitments that are popular now.

It’s crucial to morally and scientifically discredit this conference and its terrible policies by pointing out its cruel policies and huge biases.

Below is messaging about this conference as well as about the IPCC and its reports, the alleged science basis for rapidly eliminating fossil fuels.

Messages

On the alleged need of countries to meet their NDCs—nationally defined contributions, i.e., emissions reductions:

We have heard that the world is endangered by the fact that nations are not meeting the greenhouse gas reduction targets (“NDCs”) they said they would to avoid 1.5 or 2° total warming since the 1800s. But these targets were deadly and impossible, so it’s good and unsurprising news. The real danger is that nations start meeting these deadly commitments.

  • A goal of limiting warming to 1.5° since the 1800s never had any scientific basis whatsoever. The 1800s were a very cold time (Little Ice Age) and the 1°C warming since then has coincided with the greatest improvement in human life in history—in large part due to fossil fuels.
  • When people talk about 1.5°C of warming as catastrophic, it’s even more absurd than it sounds because it’s not 1.5°C warming starting now, it’s 1.5°C total since the 1800s. Which means 0.5°C warmer than now–in a world where far more people die of cold than of heat.
  • A goal of slashing GHG emissions to the levels that the UN claims are necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C never had any chance of happening—because fossil fuels are by far the lowest-cost source of reliable energy for most of the world. Unreliable solar and wind can’t come close.
  • The main reason global GHG emissions are rising is because billions of people in the developing world are bringing themselves out of poverty by using fossil fuels to power factories, farms, vehicles, and appliances. This is a wonderful thing that we should not stop.
  • When you hear scary claims about a “climate crisis,” keep in mind that climate catastrophists have been claiming climate crisis for 40 years. For example, Obama science advisor John Holdren predicted in the 1980s that we’d have up to 1 billion climate deaths today.
  • After 40 years of “climate crisis” predictions by climate catastrophists, human beings are safer than ever from climate. The climate death rate has decreased by *98%* over the last century.
  • Fossil fuels were supposed to make climate far more dangerous in the last 40 years but they have actually made it far safer by providing low-cost power for the amazing machines that protect us against storms, protect us against extreme temperatures, and alleviate drought.
  • Fossil fuels’ CO2 emissions have contributed to the warming of the last 170 years, but that warming has been mild and manageable—1 degree Celsius, mostly in the colder parts of the world.
  • Fossil fuels’ CO2 emissions have not only contributed to mild and manageable warming, they have also caused the benefit of significant global greening. Thanks to fossil fuels the Earth is far greener than it was just 40 years ago.
  • If the world continues using fossil fuels to provide reliable, low-cost energy to billions of people, the result will not be a climate crisis but continued slow warming, significant greening, and a far better life for billions of people.
  • The head of the UN says “the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7° of heating.” But 1) that really means 1.7°, since we’ve already had 1°, 2) that specificity of prediction is impossible, and 3) it would occur mostly in cold places during a cold time in Earth’s history.
  • The actual catastrophe we face that will, to use the head of the UN’s words, “be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods” is not slightly warmer temperatures but the banning of the fossil fuels that alone can provide low-cost, reliable energy to billions of people.
  • The upcoming UN climate conference seeking to get the world to rapidly eliminate fossil fuel use is a crime against humanity, especially the poor, and should be canceled. I encourage African nations in particular to boycott the event, as they are its greatest victims.

Some good points from Bjorn Lomborg in his recent Wall Street Journal piece:

  • “In 2019, the latest complete year of data, 81% of the world’s energy supply came from fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. Even if all nations were to fulfill their current climate promises, the IEA estimates that fossil-fuel use would still make up 73% by 2040.”
  • “renewables produce mostly electricity, which is only 19% of all the energy the world consumes. The rest is used for things like heating, transportation and the production of goods like steel and fertilizer. Even if all electricity turned green, most of the world would still run on fossil fuels.”
  • “The European Union, which gets 17% of its electricity from solar and wind—the highest percentage in the world—also has some of the highest consumer electricity costs.”
  • “In fossil-fuel use, the greenest continent is Africa. Nearly half of its energy comes from renewables, mostly wood, dung, and cardboard burned for cooking and heating—which kills about 700,000 people a year in sub-Saharan Africa with indoor air pollution.”
  • “Economic development can move them out of this unenviable position, but it’ll also mean Africans will use significantly more fossil fuels than they do today. To give a sense of how much it could grow: California uses more electricity on its pools and hot tubs than all 44 million inhabitants of Uganda consume in total.”
  • “to fulfill the Paris climate accords completely, the United Nations says that global emissions would have to plunge even further every year for the rest of the decade. In 2021 emissions would have to drop by more than double the lockdown-induced decline. By the end of 2030, they’d have to have fallen by 11 times what they did in 2020. Not exactly realistic.”

Here’s messaging on the recent UN report.

Here’s messaging on the IPCC as such.



To Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Energy,


Alex