This article originally appeared on heartland.org.
Is President Obama’s pledge to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by the year 2050 feasible? Energy expert Donn Dears has written an outstanding analysis showing no such reductions are possible, regardless of cost, without severe reductions and restrictions on Americans’ access to electricity.
In “An Analysis of the War on Fossil Fuels,” Dears presents data on current and projected U.S. electricity generation. To reduce emissions 80 percent, Dears shows, would require shutting down all coal power plants and preventing the construction of any new natural gas power plants.
“Current CO2 emissions from natural gas power plants, including the recent switch from coal to natural gas, already exceeds the amount allowed in 2050,” writes Dears.
Shutting down all coal power plants and blocking the construction of any new natural gas power plants would create an enormous shortfall between electricity production and electricity demand. There is no way wind and solar power could fill this gap, even if we made the environmentally fatal decision to turn most of America’s scenic and ecologically vital undeveloped lands into industrial wind and solar projects.
A dramatic increase in nuclear power could bridge a portion of the gap, but even a small increase in nuclear power production is a political non-starter.
So where does that leave us? Politicians today garner media accolades for appearing to care about the planet while they sentence future Americans to a future of energy rationing and environmental degradation.
Donn Dears’ full column is available here.