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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Bloomberg Launches Alternative To Green New Deal

Michael Bloomberg will not run for president. That was the main outtake from the businessman and philanthropist’s op-ed for Bloomberg the other day. But the more important outtake was his announcement of a new climate change initiative: Beyond Carbon.

“I will launch a new, even more ambitious phase of the campaign — Beyond Carbon: a grassroots effort to begin moving America as quickly as possible away from oil and gas and toward a 100 percent clean energy economy,” Bloomberg said.

“At the heart of Beyond Carbon is the conviction that, as the science has made clear, every year matters. The idea of a Green New Deal — first suggested by the columnist Tom Friedman more than a decade ago — stands no chance of passage in the Senate over the next two years. But Mother Nature does not wait on our political calendar, and neither can we.”

Bloomberg certainly has an exemplary track record with the Beyond Coal initiative: 284 coal-fired plans retired and replaced with less polluting alternatives, removing 605 million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and US$3.5 billion saved in healthcare costs. Plans are to have all remaining coal-fired plants in the United States retired within the next 11 years, Bloomberg said in his op-ed.

Obviously, this sort of success would make one confident that if this is possible, then it would be possible to completely move the grid from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, Bloomberg steered clear of giving away any details or a deadline of any sort for this initiative. Given its magnitude, it was only reasonable to do so.

The goal of this initiative is the same as the ultimate goal on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ interpretation of the idea for a New Green Deal first suggested by Tom Friedman. In this interpretation, the 100-percent renewable power, zero carbon emission economy will be the result of efforts including investment in renewable power, boosting the grid’s energy efficiency, and building smart grids that distribute affordable power, and investing in things like sustainable farming and new, emission-free, transport. Related: Vietnam’s Energy Dilemma Is About To Become A Crisis

It’s clear enough that such a massive undertaking would involve a huge amount of money. No wonder, then, that Republicans in Congress blasted the New Green Deal as “wildly unrealistic” and called it “a radical environmental policy.”

Critics do have a point. The investments needed would be massive, but proponents of the deal argue that not doing anything about climate change would cost even more over the long term. Already, extreme weather and fires over the last decade have cost the federal government some US$350 billion and these will cost the U.S. economy another US$500 billion by 2100.

Yet, according to Republicans, the Green New Deal will cost a lot more than that. The American Action Forum, a center-right organization, put the price tag at US$93 trillion. Democrats have said the figure is way too inflated but the speardriver of the bill, Ocasio-Cortez has not argued about the fact it will be quite expensive to completely switch to renewables. She has, however, offered a way to foot the bill: by raising taxes for the very wealthy to 60-70 percent. That’s another thing many have called unrealistic as people are quick to migrate if their income is being threatened by higher taxes than they can stomach.

And now here comes Bloomberg with a net worth of US$55 billion and a long experience of phasing out fossil fuel power plants. Perhaps his plan, when detailed, would sound more realistic than the Green New Deal. Whether it will be more affordable, however, is doubtful.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Taylor Sealy on March 07 2019 said:
    A lot of climate scientists do not agree with the man-made global warming hypothesis but have been suppressed. The weather seems to be getting colder, not warmer, with each year. Recording setting cold temperatures are occurring in the northern hemisphere. Pro-global-warming scientists have been caught on numerous occasions faking the statistics or otherwise biasing the results. John Casey, ex NASA space shuttle engineer has proposed a better theory to account for the temperature variations on earth which is documented in his book Dark Winter (WND Books). He makes a good case that temperatures on earth are mostly from solar output variations arising from several overlapping cycles in the sun. He says that sunspots are related to solar output and sunspots have been recorded on earth since the time of Galileo. He has a graph in his book of sunspots over time and the periods of low or high sunspot activity do match known historic cold and hot periods very well, whereas carbon dioxide levels over time don't match at all. According to the sunspot theory, we have been through a period of high sunspot activity that peaked around 2000. We are now entering a period of lower sunspot activity and temperatures have been level since about 2000, and are maybe decreasing now. His cyclic calculations show us going into a period as cold as what was known as the Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s. Aside from the projected lower temperatures, some have pointed out that the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere is at such a low level that if it gets much lower, the plants won't have enough to produce food and then animal life on the planet would die also. The current carbon dioxide level is about 0.07 percent, or 0.007 part of the atmosphere. From that point of view, burning of fossil fuels could actually be beneficial for the planet, if it has any significant effect at all. There would seem to be a greater risk of too little carbon dioxide rather than too much at this point, in my opinion, and bankrupting the country in a vain attempt to control planetary temperatures seems like a really bad idea.
  • Taylor Sealy on March 07 2019 said:
    A lot of climate scientists do not agree with the man-made global warming hypothesis but have been suppressed. The weather seems to be getting colder, not warmer, with each year. Recording setting cold temperatures are occurring in the northern hemisphere. Pro-global-warming scientists have been caught on numerous occasions faking the statistics or otherwise biasing the results. John Casey, ex NASA space shuttle engineer has proposed a better theory to account for the temperature variations on earth which is documented in his book Dark Winter (WND Books). He makes a good case that temperatures on earth are mostly from solar output variations arising from several overlapping cycles in the sun. He says that sunspots are related to solar output and sunspots have been recorded on earth since the time of Galileo. He has a graph in his book of sunspots over time and the periods of low or high sunspot activity do match known historic cold and hot periods very well, whereas carbon dioxide levels over time don't match at all. According to the sunspot theory, we have been through a period of high sunspot activity that peaked around 2000. We are now entering a period of lower sunspot activity and temperatures have been level since about 2000, and are maybe decreasing now. His cyclic calculations show us going into a period as cold as what was known as the Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s. Aside from the projected lower temperatures, some have pointed out that the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere is at such a low level that if it gets much lower, the plants won't have enough to produce food and then animal life on the planet would die also. The current carbon dioxide level is about 0.07 percent, or 0.007 part of the atmosphere. From that point of view, burning of fossil fuels could actually be beneficial for the planet, if it has any significant effect at all. There would seem to be a greater risk of too little carbon dioxide rather than too much at this point, in my opinion, and bankrupting the country in a vain attempt to control planetary temperatures seems like a really bad idea.
  • Lee James on March 07 2019 said:
    The trend toward cleaning up energy supply is clear. The question now, that everyone is raising, is how fast to transition. Commonly accepted speed of transition seems to be increasing.

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