Math is hard, but ‘net zero’ emissions math is harder – It can’t be done by 2050

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As was noted, we could get closer with nuclear, but not by 2050, and no one’s declaring a state of emergency to build any nuke plants — not that we’d get there from here if we started today.

The following commentary by Steve MacDonald has been republished with permission from GraniteGrok.

There are few, if any, facets of the Climate Cult mythology we’ve not debunked. It’s fun and easy, but one of the latest lies is that the government can get us to Net Zero carbon emissions. We’ve covered some of that too, but what I’m about to share should end all debate. It can’t be done, even if we needed it.

Willis Eschenbach has a must-read post with updates at Watts Up With That that is worth your time. It is titled “Bright Green Impossibilities,” and it’s all about the math.

I got to thinking about how impossible it will be for us to do what so many people are demanding that we do. This is to go to zero CO2 emissions by 2050 by getting off of fossil fuels. So let’s take a look at the size of the problem. People generally have little idea just how much energy we get from fossil fuels.

Willis calculates our energy bottom line and then tries to determine how much of any or all the other alternatives we’d need to keep up.

So if we are going to zero emissions by 2050, we will need to replace about 193 petawatt-hours (1015 watt-hours) of fossil fuel energy per year. Since there are 8,766 hours in a year, we need to build and install about 193 PWhrs/year divided by 8766 hrs/year ≈ 22 terawatts (TW, or 1012 watts) of energy generating capacity.

You can take the entire walk with him if you’d like, but after pouring out some frighteningly impossible numbers and responding to commenter input, the bill comes due.

To summarize: to get the world to zero emissions by 2050, our options are to build, commission, and bring online either:

• One 2.1 gigawatt (GW, 109 watts) nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050, OR

• 4000 two-megawatt (MW, 106 watts) wind turbines each and every day until 2050 plus a 2.1 GW nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050, assuming there’s not one turbine failure for any reason, OR

• 100 square miles (250 square kilometres) of solar panels each and every day until 2050 plus a 2.1 GW nuclear power plant each and every day until 2050, assuming not one of the panels fails or is destroyed by hail or wind.

It can’t be done. It’s a lie, and anyone connected to the energy industry (green or reliable) who tells you otherwise is lying. As was noted, we could get closer with nuclear, but not by 2050, and no one’s declaring a state of emergency to build any nuke plants — not that we’d get there from here if we started today instead of two years ago when Willis did the initial math (and those things aren’t cheap either).

There also isn’t enough landmass for wind or solar to achieve those numbers, and no one wants to build nuke plants to back them up.

And we’ve not even touched on the cost. The Global Climate Cult has already wasted trillions if the goal is lowering CO2 emissions to go backward. If that’s not proof that they are the least qualified for the job, if it was even one that needed doing, then this should be:

“Top consulting firm McKinsey has calculated that the net-zero emissions targets set by global governments and championed by the United Nations would cost the public a staggering $275 trillion by 2050, or around $30 billion per day for the next 25 years.”

That is probably a lowball number, especially without inflationary forces and supply and demand price pressures which would be enormous.

And then there’s that other emissions elephant in the room. The actual carbon cost of all the things that need doing to make all the things that are supposed to get us to Net Zero. You can’t make any of those things without coal. There aren’t enough rare earth metals to do it or, even based on the most forgiving estimates, replace the first round of batteries when they inevitably fail ten years later (or less).

None of this works without batteries.

Then there’s the energy or carbon cost of disposing of all those bits, little or none of which is recyclable. And none of this math attempts to find electricity to do those things, so there’s that problem as well.

The solution to the problem of Net Zero is admitting they made it up, we don’t need it, and even if we did, it can’t be done. It’s a lie. When you encounter it out in the wild, show them Willis’ math.

It’s a long shot, but maybe they’ll begin to wonder about other possible lies.

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7 thoughts on “Math is hard, but ‘net zero’ emissions math is harder – It can’t be done by 2050

  1. The demoprogs in the legislature are more interested in innuendo and wishful thinking than anything grounded in reality or the laws of physics. They “declared” and codified many years ago that Vermont would be 90% renewable in heating and transportation by 2020…
    Just like with recognizing 75 genders…if you believe it with all your heart, it must be true.

  2. Math is hard ??, not really…….

    The problem is that these ” world crusaders ” refuse to see the facts, the real facts,
    not all the ” smoke & mirrors ” and won’t believe reality. It’s all about an agenda, just
    follow the money or all the “Jet Fumes ” from their lear jets …….. hypocrites, do as I
    say, not as I do !!

    But as we see in Vermont, state legislators are drinking the same ” cool aid ” and they
    are convinced that buying an EV, will save the world, as they charge their vehicles from
    the power from a coal or fuel generating station……………… fools !!

    Food for thought Vermont, ” Sunny California ” with all its ” Zero emission ” programs for
    wind, solar, and EVs can only support their citizen’s power demand ” 40% ” of the time, now
    let’s see how Vermont works in the winter months……..Fools are in charge, for an agenda !!

    So 100% renewable in Vermont by 2050, when we don’t even have cable or satellite in for
    entire state …………….. the circus came to town, and the clown bus is in Montpelier !!

    Another cart before the horse scenario……….

    • Great link. I did an analysis of Vermont’s requirements, but I could only allude to the issue of storage:

      Those estimates in your link look realistic. There are hydrogen storage facilities going in, but the largest one planned to date (being built in Texas) will cost $4 billion (at least). That storage plant would be able to handle less than 1/10th (less than 10%) of Vermont’s projected peak demand load.

      The real path forward will involve a nuclear plant powering a synthetic fuel generation facility that will produce carbon-based liquid fuel similar to gasoline. It behooves us to invest in a new nuke plant sooner than later, although the next generation after that might be fusion based if we’re lucky, as others have pointed out. It can take 20 to 30 years to bring a new nuclear plant online from design to startup. Planning our future is key.

  3. Good Op-Ed in the WSJ today. Union auto workers all being fired at a Jeep plant…the owner is forced to come up with BILLIONS of $ they don’t have to meet forced Gov’t mandates for EV’s. This is not playing well with the UAW Union whose ALL politcal Democrat donations $$$$ just saw these same Dems force a plant closure on their members:

    “President Biden sold the Inflation Reduction Act as a giant climate jobs program, but then how does he explain what happened Friday at the StellantisJeep Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois? Some 1,350 workers are losing their jobs so the auto maker can finance its government-mandated and subsidized electric-vehicle expansion.

    Stellantis broke the news to workers on Friday that it will idle the Cherokee plant in February, citing “the increasing cost related to the electrification.”
    Stellantis, needs to come up with money to finance the more than $35 billion that it plans to invest in EVs over the next few years. Government industrial policy doesn’t give the company much of a choice.

    Liberals pretend that the transition to EVs won’t come at a cost to workers or businesses. But taxpayers won’t foot the entire bill, which could cost hundreds of billions of dollars industry wide. Workers at Stellantis’s Cherokee plant are the collateral damage of this government-forced reallocation of capital.”

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