‘Brown’ as the new ‘green’

‘Brown’ as the new ‘green’

If government backers of the “green” movement aren’t red-faced after this scholarly expose – and that includes pols such as Tom Wolf and Bill Peduto – then shame is not in their DNA makeup.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), whose self-described mission is “shaping a secure and sustainable energy future for all,” has, as Manhattan Institute scholar Mark P. Mills reports it, exposed “the hidden environmental costs and infeasibility of going green.”

Here’s a brief sampling from the IEA’s nearly 300-page report (“The role of critical minerals in clean energy transitions”) released this month:

“A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired power plant,” the report says.

“Since 2010, the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50 percent as the share of renewables has risen.”

And as Mills reminds, “That was merely to bring wind and solar to a 10 percent share of the world’s electricity.”

Mills also notes that wind, solar and battery technologies are built from an array of “energy transition minerals” (ETMs) that must be mined and processed.

“The IEA finds that with a global energy transition like the one President Biden envisions, demand for key minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel and rare-earth metals would explode, rising by 4,200 percent, 2,500 percent, 1,900 percent and 700 percent, respectively, by 2040.”

Which, given the facts on – and in – the ground hardly are “sustainable,” whether it be mechanically, environmentally, economically or socially, the research concludes.

In fact, such a demand and extraction of these EMTs redefines “degradational.”

Or, put another way, to “save” the planet we must environmentally ransack it with deleterious outcomes far, far greater than the extraction of natural gas.

Indeed, the International Energy Agency warns of the “high emissions intensities” of ETMs. That is, as Mills translates it:

“Energy use per pound mined is even trending up. This is no arcane nuance. It’s the key hidden factor that determines whether, or to what extent, a clean-energy machine actually reduces carbon-dioxide emissions on net.

“The IEA data show that, depending on the location and nature of future mines, the emissions from obtaining ETMs could wipe out much or most of the emissions saved by driving electric cars.”

Again, this is just one example of the fallacies of the ecocrats’ push for all things “green” that, instead, are brown and ugly and far more political than practical public policy.

“If such a report had come from a pro-hydrocarbon organization, the group would be dismissed, if not canceled outright,” Mills concludes. “Credit the IEA for boldly going where few policy makers have gone before.”

But don’t expect the Wolfs, Pedutos and other environmental ignorami to be swayed. After all, they know “better,” don’t they.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).