There have been two letters to the editor recently demanding reform of our energy policy in support of clean-energy transformation essential to reducing climate threats. Changes in the United States policy need to weigh the costs vs. the benefits.
Right now, the costs outweigh the potential benefits of a change to existing clean-energy sources in this country. The costs of a change in policy include massive unemployment of those currently working in the fossil fuel markets and higher costs of energy for everyone, resulting in a lower standard of living for everyone, as tight budgets are re-allocated to pay more for electric bills.
The best any developed country has been able to do currently in regard to limiting emissions per capita and per GDP has been France. France emits between half and 2/3 less carbon and methane than the U.S. does. This sounds great and sounds like a worthy goal for the U.S. until one realizes that the effect on the world after our sacrifices to achieve such a thing would be non existent. The U.S. emits roughly 16 percent of emissions attributed to global warming. If we matched France’s emissions, we would cut worldwide emissions by at most 10 percent.
Problem is, developing nations account for 2/3 of the global emissions, and they are increasing their emissions by 5 percent per year, which amounts to more than a 3 percent per year worldwide increase. Add to that a worldwide population increasing at 8 percent per year with accompanying emissions per person and in only one year, worldwide emission increases from other countries would vastly outweigh any savings our country could provide, yet cost us in unemployment and standard of living. We should be looking for ways to store energy produced but not needed until later.
But the costs of a worthless change in our energy policy now are too dear when there is no benefit to be achieved from such a change.
St. Simons Island