Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

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17 March 2019

Comments on Green Fantasy: The GND and Renewable Energy by Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute and Tom Harris of International Climate Science Coalition wrote an interesting article on the absolute absurdity of the Green New Deal (GND) program of the Democratic Socialists which is on-line at American Thinker, entitled Green Fantasy: The GND and Renewable Energy  It is well worth reading in its entirety, but I am going to note some of its interesting points here and make some comments of my own on GND.

As you should know, the Green New Deal aims to eliminate the use of hydrocarbon fuels removed from the ground over the next 12 years, because its advocates claim that once again the Earth will die along with all humans in that time-frame if we do not do so.  This sort of doomsday prediction is a common claim of religious people who are frustrated by a lack of attention.  Believe our religion or the world will end.  The Green Religion has already given us many the world-will-end deadlines, yet we have managed to survive them all to date.  There have not even been any close calls!

The GND also wants to rid us of nuclear power plants and as many hydroelectric dams as possible in 12 years as well.  For all fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, and lost hydropower we are to substitute solar, wind, and biofuel power.  The biofuel option is an odd one, since most of the argument against fossil fuels is based on the false claim that the carbon dioxide emissions their use entails will cause catastrophic global warming.  It is as though the Green Religion advocates are ignorant of the fact that the use of biofuels also results in carbon dioxide emissions directly upon their use.

Lehr and Harris make some particularly interesting comments on solar power limitations.  Solar power farms based on silicon photovoltaics produce a national average of 5 to 7 watts per square meter.  The U.S. Energy Administration says that making the photovoltaic material uses 3,370 kilowatt hours of energy per square meter of solar collector surface.  Lehr and Harris noted that solar collectors take up a little over 50% of the area of the land of a solar farm, so one can calculate that even at the 7 W per square meter high end of the solar farm efficiency range, it takes 27.5 years of solar farm operation simply to recover the energy input cost of making the solar collector material, assuming that the collector material covers half of the solar farm land area.  Note that Lehr and Harris say it takes more than 50 years, but they forgot that the collector material covers only a little over half of the area of the solar farm. This does not even count the energy that otherwise went into building the solar farm and operating it for those 27.5 years.  It has to be noted that many solar farms to date have not operated more than a small fraction of 27.5 years before they were abandoned as uneconomical to operate.  No one actually thinks that the average solar farm of the next decade is going to last 27.5 years either.

They also note that even in very sunny areas of the U.S., a 1,000 megawattt solar farm would take 51 square miles of land.  Note that the U.S. uses energy at about the rate of 1.3 x 1014 W, which requires about 13,000 of these 1,000 megawatt solar farms to replace.  This would require about 663,000 square miles of solar farms, assuming that all of them were in the sunniest parts of the USA.  This is almost exactly the size of Alaska, but Alaska is hardly suitable and even though it is the least inhabited of our states in terms of population density, the Green Religion would never allow its being turned into nothing but solar farms.  Much of southern California might be relatively suitable, but getting all of the Democrat Socialists who live there to move out and make way would meet with their resistance and only provide less than a tenth of the necessary land area.  Probably much less than a tenth given the interference of mountain ranges.  Building such solar farms will always meet with much local resistance.  Before a few hundred such solar farms could be built, the Green Religion would turn massively against them being built anywhere with claims that some subspecies of animal would be threatened or some scenic view ruined.

The Green New Deal is indeed a fantasy.  It is also a nightmare.  Many of its backers have given no thought to whether it is possible.  Many know it is not possible and only want it to be pursued because it will destroy the energy industries we all rely heavily upon. The GND will provide much more power to the government which the Democrat Socialists plan to use to exercise ever greater control over our individual lives.  Controlling our energy use and our healthcare with a government controlled single payer system will make the people nothing but slaves to the Democrat Socialist elite.  Raw and brutally exercised power is the real motivation for the GND and for single-payer healthcare.

Jay Lehr and Tom Harris say that much of their article is based on data and arguments by Bruce Bunker, Ph.D., in his 2018 book The Mythology of Global Warming, published by Moonshine Cove.

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