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The Green New Deal, What it Means to You- An Engineer’s View

The Green New Deal, What it Means to You- An Engineer’s View        

By Greg Kozera

Politics and personalities have divided our country. In Washington, DC it looks like we forgot how to have different opinions and still respect the individuals holding them. We can’t ever forget that we are all on the “American” Team. For the last few months I have been a guest on radio programs across the country. People want to know about the Green New Deal (GND) and what it could mean to them. Local people have the same questions based on presentations like I did this week in Charleston.   

Engineers must always deal with facts, good science and sound engineering principals. People’s best interests and safety are always top priority. Politics and personalities like Trump, AOC, Republicans and Democrats must be separated from engineering. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. They are NOT entitled to their own facts. Looking at what the GND document SAYS and then applying facts and sound engineering hopefully will help understanding.

My top priority is my family’s well-being. They need clean air and clean water. They need good jobs. They need electricity 24/7. They need food, clothing and shelter. They need national security and police protection. They want the unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. They should be able to go to the beach or Disney if they choose.

The GND has a lot of parts. Here we will only focus on the centerpiece of the GND. The actual wording in the GND is in italics and quotes. My comments follow.

“The centerpiece of the Green New Deal is a commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030. The transition to clean energy is not only a visionary plan for a better world, it’s absolutely necessary to ensure we have a world at all.”    

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), USA CO2 levels peaked in 2000. Since then they are DOWN 14%, the largest decrease of any country! Increased use of natural gas, cleaner coal, lower auto emissions and modern farming methods have all contributed to the decrease. Global CO2 levels are UP 43% since 2000. Greatest CO2 increase is in Asia. As a leadership expert, if global CO2 really is a serious problem why isn’t the rest of the World following our lead instead of trying to force the USA to do what Europe is doing. Europe will soon be buying two 48 inch pipelines full of Russian fracked gas at Russia’s prices. We don’t want to do that.   

“Going to 100% clean energy by 2030 means reducing energy demand as much as possible.  This will require energy conservation and efficiency; replacing non-essential individual means of transport with high-quality and modern mass transit; and eliminating the use of fossil-based fertilizers and pesticides. Along with these steps it will be necessary to electrify everything else, including transport, heating, etc.”

Reducing energy demand won’t be a problem. After dark, we won’t have any electricity. My friends at The Ohio State University Agricultural Engineering Department told me, eliminating fossil fuel based fertilizers and pesticides means we won’t be able to feed the USA, much less the world.

“Studies have shown that there are no technological or logistical barriers to a clean-energy transition by 2030. A British think tank recently put out a study saying that all fossil fuels could be eliminated in 10 years. The Jacobson plan – which, while only one potential approach, is currently the most detailed and well-known – would be met with 30.9% onshore wind, 19.1% offshore wind, 30.7% utility-scale photovoltaics (PV), 7.2% rooftop PV, 7.3% concentrated solar power (CSP) with storage, 1.25% geothermal power, .37% wave power, 0.14% tidal power, and 3.01% hydroelectric power.”

The “think tank” or the people who proposed the GND don’t understand that in the Jacobson Plan only geothermal, wave, tidal and hydroelectric can be depended on 24/7. That is only 5% of our electricity. The other 95% depends on the sun shining and wind blowing which is not guaranteed 24/7. What will that mean for you? Schools will be going back to chalk boards and hard books. Computers and the internet will be history. The Jacobson plan has no fossil fuels. What happens after sunset? We have an average of 12 hours of darkness. Imagine a cold winter night with no electricity or natural gas. We can burn wood. People in big cities don’t have that option. It you have health issues and need electricity you will be out of luck under GND.

The manufacture of windmills and solar panels requires fossil fuels. Oil and gas wells that need fracked are required to produce the petrochemicals needed. Electric cars require plastics. I discussed all of the products and medical equipment requiring plastic from fossil fuels last week. Windmills and solar panels require rare earth metals that come from China. Their mining and processing is a dirty process that creates radioactive lakes in China according to MIT. It is difficult for me to see clean green energy without wondering how many Chinese died to manufacture it.

Engineers need more than a “study” before implementing a new process or product. A pilot test is done to see if it really works. If 100% renewables work, we need to know where it has been done and what the result was. We know that California and New England are nowhere near 100% renewables. Californians are paying $.25/ KWH and are already having brown outs. New Englanders are paying $.20/KWH compared to $.11/KWH in WV.

The USA is the Worlds #1 producer of oil and natural gas. Russia is #2. If GND is implemented and we quit producing oil and gas, Russia will continue to drill and frack. With US oil and natural gas off the world market, global oil and natural gas prices will sky rocket and Russia will make billions of dollars.

The more we understand the better decisions we can make. The GND has the potential to kill millions from starvation or lack of modern medicine. It will drive down our standard of living and destroy high wage manufacturing jobs forcing millions into poverty. We can’t remain silent. Our children’s and grandchildren’s future is at stake. Thoughts to ponder.

© 2019 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.