Following on from my recent editions looking at renewable energy sources, let’s look at geothermal and hydroelectric. Geothermal has its uses in certain locations, but it is the most expensive form of renewable energy generation. Given the locational limitations and high costs, it will not be a major contributor to the elimination of carbon-based energy.
Geothermal and hydroelectric power
Hydroelectric energy output is well-established, efficient, and has long been in use. The Hoover Dam in Nevada and the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state are not only engineering marvels but are substantial contributors to the energy requirements of their regions. Quebec, Canada, has among the largest and best-developed hydroelectric generating capacity in the world. Unlike wind and solar sources, hydroelectric is reliable and can be increased or decreased as needed by managing spillways and reservoir capacity.
We don’t have space in this issue to do a deep dive on electric vehicles (EVs), but they don’t appear to be an efficient solution to carbon emissions either. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the EVs need to be charged and the electricity comes from the grid, which is still powered by oil, natural gas, and coal.
In fact, China has the largest potential market for EVs and over 50% of China’s domestic energy comes from coal-fired plants. China is adding to their coal-burning capacity continually. So the ‘clean’ EV is really just a battery-powered intermediary for coal-generated electricity.
The other problem with EVs is the same problem we have encountered with solar power and wind turbines — batteries. Unless you are feeding the grid (on an intermittent and unreliable basis), wind and solar depend on batteries.
EVs are powered by batteries charged from the grid. This limits range and introduces long battery charging cycles. An EV can be thought of as a glorified golf cart. It is not a substitute to the internal combustion engine when it comes to long trips and ease of refuelling.
If neither the renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal) nor the EV are complete answers to the issue of carbon emissions, why do global elites insist on a radical overhaul of the existing energy system? This mystery is unravelled below.
The true elite agenda
What accounts for the climate hysteria of the political and media elites despite the lack of scientific evidence for human-caused global warming?
As we see from the analysis above, the hysteria is not driven by scientific evidence. If one were to stick closely to the evidence, climate change would be an area for more research and experimentation, not a cause for overblown alarmism.
Some of those repeating outrageous claims are doing just that — repeating things they’ve heard from other media or political leaders without independent inquiry or investigation. Unfortunately, the public relies on media elites and political leaders for their information. So you end up with an echo chamber of misinformed leaders and lazy journalists repeating unfounded scare stories that are believed by the public and repeated ad nauseum.
The climate alarm narrative
As the decades roll by and nothing happens, and as the scare stories are discredited time and again, hopefully public scepticism will rise, and the alarmists will lose all credibility. The danger is that the alarmists may pass legislation, limit choices, and impose costs in the name of ‘climate change’ before the general public catches onto the scam. At that point, the economic damage becomes semi-permanent even as the alarmism fades.
Other elites are only in it for the money or career advancement. Scientists who espouse alarmist positions on climate change are in line for large research grants from activist foundations and NGOs. Executives who take alarmist positions may find their stock prices boosted by institutions making ESG-style investments (for Environment, Social and Governance criteria). Wealth advisors who promote ESG funds profit from management fees and performance fees as the money rolls into those investment schemes.
Academics who caution that the climate threat is overblown may be denied tenure or publication and be subject to cancel culture disparagement. Media anchors who promote climate alarmism can improve ratings. Websites that feature climate catastrophe stories get clicks. Politicians can get votes by appearing to ‘do something’ about a supposed existential threat.
Central bankers want to claim that climate is a threat because it’s a basis for garnering even more power. Central bankers are also regulators who can comb through a bank’s books to see if they are lending to ‘bad’ industries such as oil and gas or to ‘good’ industries such as solar panel manufacturers. At that point, the bankers themselves will fall into line in order to appease their regulators.
In short, the echo of academics, wealth managers, bankers, regulators, media celebrities, politicians, and CEOs who find it beneficial to talk up climate threats is extremely powerful. They create feedback loops wherein the media attention justifies the bank regulation, which supports the ESG investing, which supports the research grants, and so on, until the whole world is thoroughly convinced that the climate catastrophe is real.
It’s not real
As we have seen above, no real science supports such dire outcomes. Still, only a few brave scientists are willing to say that publicly because they face career destruction if they do.
It’s also important to realise that not all of the climate alarmism comes from scientific ignorance or career self-interest. Some figures understand perfectly that there is no climate threat, but they find it helpful to promote the threat narrative anyway. These figures have hidden agendas including world taxation, world governance, and ultimately the demise of democracy and individual autonomy.
Stay tuned for my next DR edition.
Strategist, The Daily Reckoning Australia
This content was originally published by Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence Australia, a financial advisory newsletter designed to help you protect your wealth and potentially profit from unseen world events. Learn more here.