…Don’t Waste the COVID-19 Crisis…
On cue, environmental groups are proposing recovery packages that are, “Climate friendly”.
Here is a quick look at one such proposal from Oxford University’s, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
“Getting the world to net zero emissions and achieving sustainable development”
Their four quadrant chart, i.e., Figure 1, defines their strategy.
Figure 1 is from their published report:
Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?
In other words: All decisions are based on whether they help to cut CO2 emissions.
Figure 1 prioritizes investments that are the best and worst for recovering from COVID-19. Note that E, Air Line Bailouts, is the worst possible.
Investments in the upper right quadrant of Figure 1 are the best.
- Y: Clean R&D spending
- T: Clean Energy Infrastructure Investment (Renewables, storage, etc.)
- S: Connectivity Infrastructure Investment
Next best are those in the upper left quadrant.
- U: Building Energy Efficiency Upgrades (Insulation)
- V: Green space and natural infrastructure Investment (Ecosystem resilience and restoration of carbon rich habitats and climate friendly agriculture.)
Among the worst, in the lower left quadrant, are those that would support businesses and business development because these investments, while they would increase jobs and GDP, would also result in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This can be described as to heck with business development and jobs, so we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The worst investments, according to this matrix, include:
- E: Airline Bailouts
- I: Business tax deferrals
- C: Liquidity support for large corporations (To prevent bankruptcies)
- H: Income tax cuts
Noteworthy is the desire to limit investment in aviation, and rely on less business travel with work from home and technologies such as ZOOM.
Working from home is possible for some service businesses, but not manufacturing. And, other than software related industries, it’s manufacturing that creates wealth.
While, extraction industries provide the materials and energy for manufacturing.
Referring to proposal C: Large corporations provide jobs for thousands of people. Denying corporations liquidity is an effective way to destroy jobs.
Two specific other proposals are worth examining.
- Investing in renewables merely exacerbates the over supply of electricity, since there already is a surplus of power generation power plants.
- In fact, it would force the retirement of power plants that generate the least expensive and most reliable electricity.
- Retrofits are supposed to achieve improved efficiencies in the use of electricity, and heating and cooling.
- The best way to improve the use of electricity is to replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs. This is worth doing, but a very large percentage of this type of improvement has already occurred because the free market system automatically resulted in LEDs replacing incandescent lighting.
- Replacing appliances, such as dishwashers, and driers, when it takes years to recover the investment through improved efficiencies is a waste of money.
- Adding insulation is usually low-cost and beneficial, except the manufacture of fiberglass insulation releases CO2.
- Replacing windows with e-rated ones is also a waste of money. Here’s what DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) said about triple pane windows it has used in its studies.“It would take 23 to 55 years to save enough on a utility bill to cover the higher cost of the windows, based on national electricity costs.”
- These proposals to cut GHG emissions are really job killers that hurt people.
- They reduce economic growth by wasting money on, what are inherently, uneconomic investments.
- And, with unreliable renewables, they increase the risk of dangerous blackouts.
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