This article appears in the February 5, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Why the Green Deal, the ‘Great Reset,’
Must Be Resisted, Stopped, Replaced
Jan. 28—Executive Intelligence Review and the Schiller Institute will release a White Paper in February, for mass circulation in several forms, including a popular pamphlet and Internet videos, to discredit and catalyze enough resistance to the “Green Deal” to stop its implementation, which will otherwise multiply the effects of the pandemic to cause many, many millions of unnecessary deaths. The White Paper will build on EIR’s Special Report of May 2020, titled in short, The World Needs 1.5 Billion New, Productive Jobs.
In the first crisis of the pandemic—with the UN’s International Labor Organization reporting that many hundreds of millions of “informal workers” worldwide had lost their work and faced very precarious circumstances—we already sought to counterpose an alternative to the constant “Green Deal” promises of “zero carbon dates of 2050,” or “zero net emissions by 2050,” etc., which were worse than useless in such a human crisis. We proposed real productive project employment of hundreds of millions of people in, first, medical care infrastructure creation in a two-year crash program, and great projects of productive infrastructure worldwide over the generation to 2045. The two bar graphs near the end of this article are from one section of that report, showing the impact on the United States labor force, and on that of the world.
The worst economic problem posed by the Green Deal is one of ideology and anti-Eurasia geopolitics; only secondary are the inferior and economically very dangerous throwback energy technologies it insists on subsidizing and installing.
The ideology proceeds from the British Royal Family. Princes Philip and Charles, with Philip’s aide Maurice Strong, organized the 1992 Rio Summit, the first of the “Earth summits” that we have seen ever since. The first “Green New Deal” organization in the world was a group not elected by anybody, launched in 2008 by Prince Charles and his long-time advisor and co-author Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth, in order to promote a Green agenda. This team wrote the UK Climate Change Act of 2008, which included a carbon tax. The UK government of Tony Blair already had a Secretary of Sustainable Development and a Financial Disclosure Project.
Prince Charles, as sponsor, and the City of London Corporation, as host, have been holding international “Green Horizon” meetings since at least 2005, whose aim was to persuade large funds—mutual and pension funds, for example—to exert their influence on corporations against fossil fuel investments and holdings. Mark Carney, the leader of all central bank “green finance” and “carbon disclosure” committees of the past decade, has been a close advisor and collaborator of Prince Charles since becoming Bank of England Governor in 2012: Carney is a member of the Royal Order of the Garter, quite a rarity for a non-Briton (he is Canadian).
This means that the underlying ideology of the Green Deal is that of the British Royal Family over the entire period since World War II, which is one of shrinking the human population. This has gone through many forms over that time, all of which have in common the removal from human productive use of either large amounts of the Earth’s area—nature parks, conservation abatements, etc.—or certain substances—DDT, chlorofluorocarbons, a constantly growing list of pesticides and fertilizers—or certain technologies in the area of energy production in particular. From Bertrand Russell to Richard Attenborough, one generation of British “leading scientists and intellectuals” after another has become famous and greatly celebrated in the UK for attacking the human species’ multiplication and use of the created universe, as degrading, toxic, tragic, and fatal to the planet.
Nor are these merely the origins of the Green Deal earlier in this century. The international conferences held since the 2015 Paris Climate Accord to round up powerful financial support for the strategy of starving fossil fuel and fertilizer producers of investment, have been the World Economic Forum (WEF) conferences and the “Green Horizon Summits.” More behind the scenes are the central bankers’ committees: The Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the Green Finance Institute, and the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System. The most powerful of these has been the TCFD, since it includes both major central banks and big private banks, 34 at last count.
The planning and direction of these conferences and committees are dominated by a group of “intellectual leaders”: Prince Charles; Mark Carney, who has held so many top central banking positions since 2008 that he has clearly been the world’s most influential central banker; Sir Michael Bloomberg, the Wall Street billionaire who lives in London and trades controlling “climate change” positions at the UN and in the banking world with Mark Carney; and Klaus Schwab, another close friend and collaborator of the Prince who runs the World Economic Forum events (the “Davos Conference”) and churns out books about the “zero carbon” goal and the advent of “year zero.”
In the last two years they have been joined in these “enforcement” operations by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde; and in the past year, by Wall Street’s biggest fund manager, BlackRock Inc., and by ministers of the Boris Johnson government in the UK.
For this January’s World Economic Forum, Prince Charles released a manifesto he called the “Terra Carta,” in other words a charter of rights of the Earth against the human race considered to be its despoiler. This is a fraud against the common man; it no more benefits him than did the original Magna Carta, very much a document of, by, and for the barons and princes, despite later fraudulent claims. This modern Prince makes clear that the common man, in all his numbers, is a problem for the Prince and his friend the Planet: “Humanity … has caused immense destruction to the planet that sustains us.”
Thus the speechwriters’ terms like “renewal,” “sustainability,” and “resilience” are window dressing. The ideology underlying the Green Deal is that motivating the British Royal Family for many decades: Reduce the “burden” of the human population upon the Earth. Reduce the technological power of the human species by lowering the energy-flux density of the technologies used for electricity, heating, transportation, chemistry. Reduce the human race itself.
Also important to note in this document, is that Prince Charles positively counts on the weakness of governments amidst the current crisis: The ability of private banks and funds to execute the Green Deal policy—by selectively assigning and withholding investment—is far more important, he says, than what governments do. What are needed from governments are big taxes on carbon, to raise the price of CO2 to $100/ton or more.
In the ongoing WEF conference, on January 27, BlackRock, Inc. Vice President Philipp Hildebrand spoke during the panel, “Financing the Zero Option.” He called for mobilizing “$3 to $6-7 trillion per year, for many, many years to come”; and added, “we desperately need the mobilization of private capital, and the way that can happen—and this has been mentioned by the commissioner—we need a global standard, that allows capital to respond to the public policy incentives and start mobilizing these enormous sums of money we will need to fund the transition to net zero.”
War on Asia
What’s more, the actions taken to shut down fossil fuel- and carbon-related investments and economic activities, since the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Paris, have been taken overwhelmingly by major central banks of Europe—now, after a long delay, joined by the U.S. Federal Reserve—and by the largest private banks and investment funds. Governments may make various pledges related to the Paris Accords targets for CO2 emissions, but big finance is applying the coercive force. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, elaborates on Charles’ above-cited comment in his just-published book, COVID-19: The Great Reset.
Schwab says the Green Deal masters are taking their cue from seeing governments overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus not interfering with what private finance and central bank regulation are doing. Schwab fears that governments may succeed in ending the pandemic sooner than expected, and reassert their powers regarding economic activity, thus setting back the “Great Reset.” (See a review of Schwab’s book by Andrea Andromidas, in EIR, January 29, 2021.)
What generated the term “Great Reset” for the same old Green Deal, is the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically the propaganda idea, that since so many European, North and South American, African, and some Eurasian governments have been unable to check the pandemic for several reasons, governments are now prostrate and their powers to regulate and spend can be taken over by central banks and private megabanks, which have been “successful” in maintaining the financial markets during the crisis.
Even more characteristic of the Green Deal is its feature as a war on Asia and Eurasia, by London and European finance. The World Economic Forum put out a promotional release for its conference this week, which claimed that a huge $30 trillion in capital funds around the world are committed to “green finance”; that is, to preventing investment in fossil fuels or nuclear power. These funds supposedly will only invest for environmental, social, and governance purposes.
But they admitted: Just 0.8% of this “green finance” capital was in Asia!
Capital in many Asian and Eurasian nations, and invested abroad from their banking systems—most notably that of China, but not at all uniquely—continues to be invested in new coal and oil projects and “clean coal” power; and essentially all additions to the world’s nuclear power fleet since 2016 are coming in Asia. We will see below that the world’s biggest fund manager, Wall Street’s BlackRock, Inc., has struck at Korea’s KEPCO and thereby at coal power projects in both Southeast Asia and Africa.
At the WEF Davos conference on January 27, the CEO of the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank, William Winters, followed BlackRock’s Hildebrand and complained that in this “$50 trillion opportunity,” Asia and the developing sector are not participating. Winters claimed Europe and U.S. institutions have committed 80% of the needed capital, the rest of the world less than 10% of what the “Green Deal” masters think necessary.
What It Means to Shut Down Coal
The incoming Biden Administration has a policy of prohibiting any new power production with coal. The new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, denounced coal-power plants during his confirmation testimony, while blaming their construction on China. “We are not going to allow foreign investment in dirty technologies,” Blinken told the U.S. Senate, specifically referring to China’s projects building coal-fired power plants in Belt and Road nations.
With shock, the South African government learned late in 2020 that its new coal-power projects are cancelled, and it is under pressure to close down, in this decade, many of the coal-power plants which provide the lion’s share of electric power to the entire country. The world’s biggest fund management company, Wall Street’s BlackRock, Inc., pressured South Korea’s leading power engineering company KEPCO, which was building the South African power complexes, to abandon them.
Following this shock, the new CEO of the South African national power utility ESKOM (Electricity Supply Commission), under the same pressure, announced that South Africa would close one-third to one-half of its coal-fired plants by 2030—15-20 Gigawatts. This is 30% or more of its total electric power capacity, in a nation that suffers chronic local and regional blackouts! During 2020, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy had discussed requesting proposals for up to 12.5 gigawatts (GW) capacity in small modular nuclear reactors; but this idea is nowhere near realization or financing. Pathetically, ESKOM is on record as proposing to replace the coal power with wind and solar.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink released a letter to corporate CEOs, timed with the World Economic Forum summit: “More and more people understand that climate risk is investment risk,” he wrote. “When finance really understands a problem, we take that future problem and bring it forward. That’s what we saw in 2020 …” In other words, what the public is told is the risk of future effects of climate change, is actually made by huge funds like BlackRock into the immediate risk of denial of investment.
Other projects in Indonesia and the Philippines came under the same threat of BlackRock, Inc. to KEPCO. A very large coal-power project in the Philippines was cancelled at the start of this year; as in South Africa, a government minister then announced plans to shut down some existing coal-fired electric capacity. In Kenya, financing disappeared for development of an oil reserve which is the key to a “northern corridor”—a new port and railroad crossing the north of the country and connecting it to its neighbors. The President of Ghana has come under intense pressure to drop plans for a nuclear complex which is meant to be the nation’s development centerpiece.
Returning to the example of South Africa, it is a nation twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas, and with a comparable population density, but only half the electric power generation capacity. Just as overpriced projects of giant wind farms in the windiest parts of West Texas, with new 750-mile transmission lines to bring the power to the Gulf Coast, have been abandoned more than once, so any similar idea for South Africa is an expensive folly and would leave a completely unreliable electric grid even if it could be done.
Worse, electricity use per capita in South Africa has been dropping since 2008 and is now (2019) 3,800 KWh/year, less than half of the European level and 1,000 KWh/year less than in 1997 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The country’s hospital systems are, in some regions, overwhelmed already by the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to electricity unreliability. If this drop is extended and worsened by attempting to cut down the overwhelmingly dominant electricity source, reduction of the population will be a fact.
Dr. Kelvin Kemm, CEO of Stratek CC and former Board Chairman of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, made clear in his presentation September 6, 2020 to a Schiller Institute webinar that nuclear plants must be built along South Africa’s Indian and Atlantic Ocean coasts and smaller, fourth-generation plants in the large interior and the more industrial north, so that both industrial and residential power is produced reasonably near where it is needed. Meanwhile, coal power must be kept operating and expanded, he said.
In London, the government and the Grantham Institute just last week arrogantly announced offers of $1 billion for all of Africa and India, as compensation for shutting down coal and oil power! The Institute’s head, Jeremy Grantham, is an avowed, extreme follower of Thomas Malthus’ discredited theories; but its seminar at the London School of Economics to promote what it calls the “Just Transition” for Africa and India, drew many other British quangos and think-tanks.
In the United States, half of all the coal-power plants have been closed in the last five years by BlackRock’s and Sir Michael Bloomberg’s “Beyond Coal” drive, in spite of President Donald Trump.
In Germany or the United States, the continued imposition of a “Green New Deal” means tremendous price increases for electric power, industrial chaos, blackouts…. But in Africa, India or any developing nation, it means population reduction by millions of unnecessary deaths.
It is very striking, then, that China plans for half of its electric power still to be coming from coal in 2050—with much of the other half nuclear—and that Chinese financial institutions are funding three-quarters of the coal-power projects still underway in developing countries.
As noted, half the coal-power plants in the United States have already been shut down in the past five years. While the larger and more modern ones remain on line, rated coal-electric generating capacity has fallen by half from about 2 million megawatts to about 1 million. Coal electric power generation fell by 25% in the United States in 2020 alone. This was not a function of lower economic activity under the pandemic. Wind and solar-power generation rose by 12% in the same time; natural gas turbine generation by 9%; while nuclear power generation fell by 2.5%. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that total electricity use in the United States in 2020 was approximately 7% less than two years earlier, and will remain at that depressed level in 2021. Since coal was slightly above 20% of electric power generation in 2020, the drop in coal power almost entirely accounted for the drop in power overall. The two will continue together.
Neither solar- and wind-power capacity, nor the cycling gas turbine generation capacity necessary to back it up, are being or can be put on line in the United States as rapidly as coal-power capacity is being taken off. Nuclear power capacity is slowly shrinking at the same time. According to the EIA, total electricity consumption in the United States dropped in seven of the thirteen years from 2007 to 2019, including 3% in 2019, and then the above-cited 7% drop in 2020. Per capita electricity generation and use has fallen since 2009 from 14 MWh to 11.5 MWh, a huge 17% drop, which was accelerating in 2019 and 2020. Industrial electricity use per capita has dropped by 25% during that decade-plus, from just under 4 MWh to just under 3 Mwh per year.
Thus despite some relatively small upward fluctuations in U.S. industrial employment in 2014-15 and 2018-19, an American industrial recovery has not occurred and is impossible under conditions of falling total, and sharply falling industrial electricity generation per capita and even in absolute terms.
Industry will be doomed in the attempt to carry out the Green Deal and the attempt will ruin electricity grids across the country. The Bernie Sanders wing of the U.S. Democratic party shamelessly called it the “Green New Deal” to try to evoke President Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal “Four Corners” hydro projects gave United States industry the electrical power to arm the world against fascism. The “Green New Deal” does the opposite.
Loss of Productivity
One way of expressing productivity in industrial processes would be the ability to use less energy, less work, to produce the same product, and therefore to produce more and better product with the same input of energy and work time. Technological progress is usually the source of this increase in productivity.
The Sanders/Markey/Ocasio-Cortez “Green New Deal,” as detailed by their staffs and others, proposed to replace both 100 million gasoline-powered motor vehicles with electric vehicles, and half of the coal and oil used in residential and commercial heating with electricity. This would require roughly 360 GW of new electric power capacity in the U.S. fleet of power plants. But since, at the same time the Green New Deal eliminates coal-fired power production in the provision of electric power for industry as well, and replaces it with “renewables,” about 485 GW of new electric power capacity would be needed.
But all electric power capacity is not by any means the same. A wind farm of, say, 1,000 MW rated capacity, actually takes 7-10 years to build and its “median performance”—that is, actual electricity generated—is half or less than half of a 1,000 MW coal-fired plant, which takes 2-3 years to build. (A solar farm generates one-quarter or less.) So, closer to 900 GW of new electric power would be required if in the form of wind power (much more than that, if solar); and it will take three to four times as long to add it, than if the new power were in the form of modern coal-fired power plants—which release virtually no particulate pollutants or toxic gases.
Leave aside for a moment the huge bill of materials of all these 200,000 or so large wind turbines, and the impossible/unavailable bill of materials for all the electric vehicles.
Since all these forms of power plants are produced by industrial processes, industry would be using far more energy and expending far more work time than the energy and work it is replacing.
This would seem to be central to the definition of lowering economic productivity.
In detail: That Green New Deal proposes to replace 100 million gasoline-burning motor vehicles (out of about 250 million personal motor vehicles and trucks on American roads) with electric vehicles (EVs). If they are to drive 50 miles/day, these 100 million electric vehicles will require 1.3 TWh of electric power per day, or 13% of total current American electricity use. And 60% of the vehicles on the road in America would still be using gasoline in internal combustion engines.
Keep that figure in mind to go on to consider the second “leg” of the Green New Deal, “electrification of all buildings.” The claim is constantly repeated, of replacing fossil fuel use with electricity in residential and commercial buildings, primarily for heating. Approximately 20% of the current 4,000 TWh-equivalent of U.S. residential and commercial energy use per year is currently not provided by either electricity or natural gas (which is, of course, a fossil fuel, but is given an opportunistic pass for decades to come by some Green New Dealers). Replacing that 20% with 800 TWh/year of electric power requires raising U.S. generation and use by another 20%.
But because of intermittence, the median output of a given capacity of wind power is half that of the same capacity powered by coal; for solar power, it is one-fourth that of coal power. So, at best, replacing that 20% of residential and commercial energy use with electricity produced by wind and solar will actually require 1,600 TWh/year or more of added power capacity. That means adding 440 GW of new capacity at the median output of wind, which is considerably better than that of solar; and the 100 million electric vehicles discussed above will require 280 GW new capacity at the median output of wind.
The total new capacity required for these so-called “sustainable” goals of the Green New Deal, 720 GW, is equal to two-thirds of the entire United States electric power fleet.
Thirdly, some 9% of the United States’ total energy use consists in industrial use of coal and oil for energy. If even half of this were supposed to be replaced by “renewable” sources—which, in the “green finance” taxonomy, don’t include nuclear electric power—that would require building wind and solar power equivalent to another 125 GW capacity—but actually more, namely 250 GW at the median output of wind turbines. So the Green New Deal would require adding, in total, the equivalent of nearly 90% of the United States current electric power fleet of 1.1TW capacity.
If all this were wind turbine power, by a very conservative rounding down of specifications given in the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Ultimate Fast Facts Guide to Nuclear Energy,” it would cover 6.5% of the United States’ land mass—250,000 square miles of wind farms, the size of Nevada, Arizona, and half of Colorado. If solar, it would devour the area of five such states. Also needed: conservatively, 150-200,000 miles of new long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines, even assuming that local distribution lines would be able to distribute all the additional power.
(Almost buried under this Green New Deal scheme would be the only sensible act suggested by it—electrifying rail passenger and freight transportation and raising it to higher speeds. This, by contrast, would require an addition to U.S. total electric power capacity of only about 1%, or 10-12 GW of new power; or 25-30 GW new power to include the additional construction of 10-12 new high-speed rail corridors. Unfortunately, in the Green New Deal, electrification of existing rail is not proposed; only the building of new high-speed rail corridors.)
Electricity Grid Nightmare
Comparisons of different power sources in terms of efficiencies and actual output is shown in Figure 1.
That electricity would become twice, perhaps three times as expensive as the current average 10-11 cents/kWh in America, can be assumed from the experience of Germany and Denmark, which are well embarked on this road, though not quite this far. This will cut capital investment and power use in industries of every type. In areas where concentrations of high-technology industry remain, such as the northern Midwest states, the South and Southwest, the attempt to use electricity grids largely supported by intermittent power technologies will cause damaging power interruptions—and the same is true regarding modern medical centers with complexes of hospitals and clinics.
But much more dangerous will be the condition of the now much larger, supposedly much “smarter” electric grid. If anything like the scheme described above could be carried out, it would require a U.S. electrical capacity of some 2,000 GW installed, nearly half of which would be wind and solar farms whose generated output fluctuates daily between zero and 40-50% of their rated power capacity. Since no electric grid obeying the laws of electrodynamics, no matter how “smart,” could cope with this constant huge fluctuation, the 1,000 GW of newly added power would consist of a mix of wind and solar farms, and large numbers of new natural gas-powered turbine plants which “back up” these “renewables”—better called “interruptibles.” The other half of the U.S. fleet would also continue to include a very large number of gas turbine plants, with declining numbers of nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams, and some biomass mini-plants.
A very large share of the natural gas and nuclear plants—while capable of relatively stable and reliable operation for the gas turbines, and extremely reliable operation for the nuclear plants—would instead be ramped up and down, shut down and restarted, according to the demands of the intermittent and fluctuating output levels of the “interruptibles.” The performance of the nuclear plants in particular would be degraded by this, and their operating lifetimes shortened closer to the very short lifetimes of the wind turbines and solar farms.
And the more wind and solar were added to the grid, the more unstable it would become, as amply shown by the German “energy transition” since 2011. More and more interventions by grid operators will be required to keep the power on—in Germany, now several thousand such interventions annually—until inevitably blackouts begin to occur—as nearly occurred across a large area of Europe on January 9 of this year.
Added to the prospect of a nationwide blackout due to existing but remote threats—a huge solar coronal mass ejection (CME) in the direction of the Earth, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack using nuclear weapons—we will have the increasingly grave threat of a nationwide blackout due to our own policy of returning to “throwback” energy technologies with low energy-flux densities.
Steel and Autos
The other crucial economic sectors in which the Green New Deal would do irreparable damage, are agriculture and livestock raising, and steel production.
A 2020 study, titled “The Paris Effect: How the Climate Agreement Is Reshaping the Global Economy,” by a think-tank for the OECD called SYSTEMIQ, Ltd., which was created under the Paris Accord to look for long-term arcs of change in various sectors under a Green Deal, made the shocking forecast that world steel production would decline by 23% between now and 2100 under what it called “the Paris Effect”! In the eyes of these neo-Malthusians, the global steel sector already “suffers from overcapacity.”
The Malthusian solution is revealed in the graph accompanying that chapter in which global steel production is assumed to decrease from 2,342 Mt per year to 1,786 Mt by the year 2100. Within this total, the segment of “primary production” further shrinks, by almost 50%, while the segment of “recycled” steel by electric-arc and similar processes more than doubles, comprising than half of all steelmaking by 2100. Recycled steel is inherently of a lower quality (strength) than high-carbon primary production product, and some special grades of steel cannot be reliably produced by recycling at all.
The sponsors of this SYSTEMIQ include Lord Nicholas Stern, another protégeé of Prince Charles, and Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, and the Green Finance Institute. The study was funded by The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
So it is not only difficult to see where all the materials for hundreds of millions of very large lithium batteries for electric vehicles will come from; it is hard to see even where the high-quality rolled steel products to make the vehicles themselves will be coming from. (Not to mention the special steels required for all the thousands of miles of rails for high-speed rail transport called for in Green New Deal plans.)
Last December 17, Toyota’s President, Akio Toyoda, speaking at a year-end news conference in his capacity as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, warned the political class about its stated intentions to fully convert to electric cars. He said Japan would run out of electricity in the summer if all cars were run on electric power. The infrastructure needed to support a fleet consisting entirely of EVs would cost Japan between ¥14 and ¥37 trillion, the equivalent of $135-$358 billion. “When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?” Toyoda asked. “The more EVs we build, the worse the carbon dioxide gets.”
The Example of California
California is as far ahead of the rest of the United States in implementing the Green Deal, as Germany is in making a cautionary tale for Europe. Here is the German case: The power output of installed wind power in Germany in one month of 2014, by day, is shown in Figure 2.
Though the month was August, solar did not do any better, as shown in Figure 3.
California’s governor in 2005, Arnold Schwarzenegger, issued an executive order, then made law by California’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, that it would cut CO2 emissions to just 20% of the 1990 level by 2050, and, among other things, that it would not only eliminate coal power but refuse to import coal-fired power from any other state. It has since done all this, while also eliminating nuclear power in a process to conclude in 2024. But its attempt to replace coal and nuclear with constantly expanding wind farms, solar farms, and natural gas turbine plants has not succeeded.
Electric power generation in California dropped by 2.7% in 2019, while “interruptible” power technologies rose from 55% to 57% of total rated capacity. The state’s target is that this will become 100% by 2045. Coal has been eliminated in the state, and nuclear power plants, which once had a combined installed capacity of 12 GW, now are at 2.4 GW from a single plant, Diablo Canyon, and will go to zero in 2024 when that plant is scheduled to shut down as “economically not viable.”
The state’s per capita energy consumption is the third-lowest in the nation. Regarding actual generation of electricity as opposed to installed capacity: Coal power has been completely eliminated in the state; residual nuclear energy is just 2.6% of total generation compared to 19% nationwide; wind, solar, biofuel, and hydro account for 36.6%—double the national average—and natural gas turbine plants for 60%. This is precisely the Green New Deal profile for electric power, as detailed above.
The result is also predictable. In-state generation of electricity fell by 5% in 2018 before the above-cited 2.7% in 2019, the result of shutting down (inclusive of 2020 actions) about 12 GW of gas turbine capacity. The residential electricity price is 50% above the national average; the commercial electricity price 70% higher; and the price for industrial electricity 150% higher.
California suffered regional power blackouts three times in 2019 and 2020 combined. These occurred because the state government attempted to accomplish the shut-down of some of the (“polluting”) gas-turbine capacity, which had replaced coal and nuclear and become the back-up redundant power for the wind and solar farms. With power demand high in the summer, the state regulator—which already was far above any other state in importing power from other states—tried to import still more at high-demand times of day and was rebuffed. Blackouts ensued, primarily in the southern part of the state.
Remarkably, after the August 2020 “high-level emergency” declared on the grid, with wholesale electricity prices reaching $1/kWh, and the ensuing regional blackouts, California’s governor, Gavin Newsome, acknowledged that the state’s economically suicidal energy policy was responsible. Newsome said the displacement of fossil fuel by solar and wind was “a moral and ethical imperative” but had created “gaps in reliability” in the electric grid. “Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsome said.
Manufacturing growth has been rendered nearly impossible in a state which once led the nation in high-skilled aerospace manufacturing, for example. California had 2,050,000 manufacturing jobs in 1990 but is down to 1,220,000 at the start of 2021, a 40% drop. During the gain of approximately 600,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide during the Trump Administration’s first three years, California’s manufacturing employment stagnated; it remains at the level of 2015.
California imports one-third of its total electricity use—and will not, by law, import power produced by coal. Were even a significant minority of states to reach that situation, regional power blackouts would become a certainty, producing chaos in industry, medical care, and many other fields.
In a nation in which states with a great deal of nuclear and coal power—such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Alabama—are the biggest exporters of power; and states like California and New York, with no coal and only residual nuclear power, are the biggest importers; the consequences of imposing a Green New Deal are obvious regarding blackouts, unreliability of power, and unstable energy grids. The biggest electricity importing states also exhibit lower, and falling per capita electricity use; New York, for example, as of 2018, became the fourth-lowest for electricity generation and use per capita, above only California, Rhode Island, and Virginia. New York has just eliminated 13% of its power capacity by closing the remaining Indian Point nuclear reactors, and despite plentiful hydropower, is getting most of its dwindling power from “interruptibles” and from natural gas.
The Pandemic, and Recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused 2 million excess deaths in the world—compared to an average annual death rate of about 55 million before the pandemic—it has also, according to a new report by the UN International Labor Organization (ILO), caused the loss of the equivalent of 250 million full-time jobs, probably actually negatively affecting the employment of about 500 million people around the world. That was the status as of the 4th quarter of 2020, according to the ILO, and it tracks two earlier reports by that organization in May and October. The overwhelming number of people affected are what are called “informal workers” in the developing nations, and there are more than 2 billion “informal workers” in the world’s workforce. This great loss of life and work is continuing, even worsening. ILO’s report in fact forecast the loss of the equivalent of 130 million more full-time jobs in 2021.
The great majority of nations in the world do not have robust medical care or public health systems, and this is true for many of the “advanced” nations in Europe and the Americas.
To take the United States as an example: It has a 1946 law called the Hospital Construction and Survey Act (the “Hill-Burton Act”), no longer enforced for decades, which required 4.8 hospital beds of various types per thousand residents in every county. The average today is 2.3 beds/thousand per county, with the nation having roughly 900,000 general hospital beds, but with many rural counties near zero beds. Contrary to decades of “expert opinion” in the United States that hospital bed rating is “outmoded and inefficient,” municipal hospital systems across the country have become overwhelmed by patient loads at several points in the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States in fact needs 500,000 more hospital beds urgently, including special types.
Contrast to this, levels ranging from 8 to 11 beds per thousand people in many Asian and some Eastern European nations. The inability of most Western European nations and the United States to mount any serious COVID-19 testing and tracing effort is merely indicative that public health capacities have also been allowed to atrophy.
The situation in most developing nations outside of East and Southeast Asia demands a global mobilization. The COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over, nor is it the last one for years to come. A modern public health and hospital system needs to be built up fast in every country, including the requisite living standards for healthcare workers.
What this requires was detailed by EIR in our May 2020 report cited above, The World Needs 1.5 Billion New, Productive Jobs: Ten million beds in modern hospitals and clinics around the world. Several thousand GW of new electric power worldwide, best provided by small modular nuclear reactors. The development of large new fresh water supplies for those medical facilities and housing developments for their staffs. The employment of 110 million people in new construction, engineering, laboratory, and healthcare jobs, and the mobilization of auxiliary workers in vaccination campaigns, which have yet to begin in most developing nations.
This necessary great infrastructure project can only be driven by the major high-technology nations such as China, Russia, the United States, India, Japan. It provides these nations’ sovereign governments the necessary “first mission” to strike down the London-centered financial powers imposing the Green Deal or “Great Reset,” which powers are rallying the private financial sectors of Europe and North America for selective but spreading denial of credit to real, productive economic activity worldwide. These nations’ leaders must meet to launch the large-scale provision of credit to the most critical and most productive economic activity.