Arizona State University President Michael Crow believes we are in such danger that we should amend the US Constitution to empower the government to deal more expansively with climate change. Dr. Crow’s view that constitutional protections of our liberties should be eliminated when they become inconvenient wouldn’t square with the founders’, but his estimate of the dangers and required remedies for our changing climate are quite mainstream.
“Net-zero by 2050” has become an article of faith among our corporate and academic elites, no longer requiring proof or intellectual defense. The notion that we must eliminate all carbon emissions by mid-century if we want to save the planet is the organizing principle for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing. In 2022, it was mentioned more than 6,000 times in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC has helpfully proposed climate disclosure rules to help investors “evaluate the progress in meeting net-zero emissions and assessing any associated risk“. Skeptics are sidelined as “climate deniers”.
But mounting scientific evidence suggests that net zero is wildly impractical and probably not even achievable. In September, the Electric Power Research Institute, the research arm of the US electric power industry (which would seem to be naturally inclined to support proposals that increase reliance on electricity), released a sober report on the practicality of net zero.
Their study concluded that “clean electricity plus direct electrification and efficiency…are not sufficient by themselves to achieve net-zero economy-wide emissions”. Translation: it can’t be done. No amount of wind turbines, solar panels, battery power, fossil fuel, or other available technologies will achieve net zero by 2050.
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