President Obama’s new solution to the alleged catastrophic global warming problem is a phony as the “problem” itself.
Obama announced the U.S. Government would participate with a group of billionaires in a public-private partnership called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The ostensible purpose of the Coalition is speed up development of “clean” and “renewable” energy via a doubling of investment into research.
But first, there is the little matter of this thing called Congress. Government spending must be initiated and approved by Congress. There is no indication that the GOP-controlled Congress is in any mood to help Obama, especially on climate, or to spend even more taxpayer money chasing CO2-free energy fantasies.
Next, there is the little matter of reality. U.S. taxpayers have already spent about $200 billion over the last 20 or so years chasing the CO2-free energy fantasy. The only result has been the stark realization that, with the exception of hydropower, CO2-free energies simply cannot compete on an affordable and reliable basis with coal, oil and natural gas. “Renewable” energy is only as renewable as the government mandates and heavy taxpayer subsidies on which they rely.
Finally, there is the roster of scoundrels participating in the Coalition.
Not only is George Soros a major funder of radical left wing political causes, including global warming hysteria, he has cynically started investing in coal companies, as reported last summer in this column. Needless to say, coal is hardly a “breakthrough” form of energy.
Tom Steyer is not only a major Democrat donor, but a major funder of global warming hysteria. Steyer infamously committed to spending $100 million to campaign against Republicans on climate during the 2014 elections. I’m sure the GOP-controlled Congress will be very happy to provide taxpayer dollars so that the billionaire Steyer can make even more money. Let’s also keep in mind that the hypocrite Steyer made a lot of his fortune investing in Indonesian coal projects.
Less well known, but no less a scoundrel, is Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, a key player in the cellulosic ethanol taxpayer disaster. As exposed by the Wall Street Journal, Khosla backed ventures vacuumed up $160 million in taxpayer subsides, which along with a like sum from private sources, produced a pathetic 4 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol – a fuel already being produced via mandates and subsidies to corn farmers.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition also includes John Doerr (Al Gore’s investment partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield and Byers), Richard Branson (billionaire green hypocrite and owner of CO2 spewing Virgin Airways), the government of Saudi Arabia (national wealth depends on oil and gas), Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook, enough said), and Bill Gates (whose once brilliant business acumen expired long ago and has been replaced with the naïve and egoistic belief that simply throwing Gates Foundation money at problems is always the solution).
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition exercise is silly. If utility scale CO2-free energy is desired, we already have nuclear power. But not only do environmentalists oppose nuclear power, President Obama himself made sure nuclear power would have no future in the U.S. when he killed development of the spent fuel storage facility at Yucca Mountain in 2009. And for the foreseeable future, nuclear fission remains a pipe dream.
Meanwhile, real energy needs across the world are being met by the old technology of coal. More than 1,000 new coal plants are on the drawing boards in Asia. As coal is cheap and readily available, those plants will go up and will operate for a long time. New and practically never-ending supplies of oil and natural gas have also been made available by hydrofracturing and other new technologies.
While it’s always possible that some other magical energy source will be discovered, it’s difficult to believe that the dubious Breakthrough Energy coalition would discover it. Indeed, the Coalition will be lucky itself to get off the ground. At best, the Coalition may only most likely serve as a vehicle for crony capitalism, the left-wing political agenda, and feel-good public relations.
Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com (Twitter @JunkScience).