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Windmills in the sun. Photo by Willi Heidelbach from PxHere. Licensed under Public Domain permission (CC0 Public Domain).

We Are Squandering A Fortune On Climate Fixes Doomed To Fail

The misnamed Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law last month, is in fact mostly about climate change. In a bill with total funding of about $485 billion, approximately $369 billion is for measures to address global warming, with the lion’s share going to subsidies for wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles.

Is this an effective use of the money? Will these measures actually produce the desired results? The En-ROADS climate model (Figure 1), which was created by and is maintained by Climate Interactive and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management provides answers.

En-ROADS is a highly complex, interactive model with a simple interface that allows users to explore and understand the effects of a wide variety of interventions that influence climate, including the use of coal, nuclear power, wind and solar energy, increasing the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs), the planting of trees, and so on.

En-ROADS examines the effects on temperature rise of global implementation of the various parameters out to the year 2100. It predicts that if nothing is done, the planet’s temperature is expected to increase about 3.6 degrees C. Maximal global use of wind turbines, solar panels and other renewables would decrease the Earth’s temperature by 0.2 degrees C by the year 2100. Maximal incentives for a transition to electric vehicles globally would yield a similar decline of 0.2 degrees C.

For shorter periods, such as 30 years from now, those reductions taken together would be less than 0.05 degrees C – that is, negligible. Is this worth a price tag of more than $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States?

An important aspect of these predictions is that they are predicated on the entire world following our lead and implementing similar policies toward renewable energy and electric vehicles – a highly unlikely scenario.

The “big five” emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) are China, the U.S., India, the European Union, and Russia. China’s CO2 output has been rising rapidly and is now twice as large as that of the U.S. (Figure 2). This is not going to change any time soon.

Similarly, India has a rapidly growing economy that it will not willingly sacrifice for a few tenths of a degree temperature reduction. The U.S. and the EU have already reduced their CO2 output substantially but nowhere near enough to compensate for the increases in China and India. And because Russia depends on the sale of fossil fuels and its colder regions are a net beneficiary of global warming, there is no way it will support renewables and electric vehicles.

In summary, the climate measures in the Inflation Reduction Act are expensive, will produce no meaningful temperature reduction even if implemented globally – and none at all if implemented mostly by the U.S., EU, and a few other industrialized countries.

What, then, can we do?  Is there a way to prevent the progression to catastrophic warming?

There are two possibilities. The first is direct CO2 capture and removal from the atmosphere, which is sometimes referred to as sequestration. This is done by drawing in air through giant fans, chemically removing the CO2, and storing it underground. This is currently being done on a small scale at an operating plant in Iceland that removes 4,000 tons of CO2 per year. This demonstrates feasibility but would have to be vastly scaled up to make a dent in the 36 billion tons of CO2 emitted each year. It is one of the few ways of potentially reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Once more CO2 is removed than is generated, temperatures will begin to fall.

The second possibility is climate engineering. This would be a purposeful effort to mimic the effects of volcanoes. Large volcanic eruptions put millions of tons of ash and sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere which partially block sunlight from reaching the Earth and, thereby, produce an immediate cooling effect. The Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 resulted in a substantial cooling effect for the next couple of years (Figure 3). And the Tambora eruption in 1815 caused snow to fall in Virginia on July 4, 1816.

Both of these approaches will, however, require significant research and development. The cost of direct CO2 capture and sequestration must decline by well over 90% to be affordable, which is similar to the reduction in the cost of solar panels over the past 30 years.

Climate engineering requires even more study, both of how to do it effectively, and how to measure and minimize any adverse effects of releasing materials that could affect human health if not done judiciously.

Whatever risks there are must be weighed against the costs of doing nothing – or at least nothing effective. And it doesn’t have to be done all at once; the approach would be to try a modest intervention, measure the effects, and make whatever adjustments are needed.

Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on wind turbines, solar panels, and EVs will make no perceptible difference in global warming during our lifetimes. A far better investment would be an aggressive and highly focused research and development effort on direct CO2 capture and sequestration and on climate engineering, measures that do not require world-wide collaboration but could be effectively implemented by the U.S. and our allies acting alone.

We view these initiatives as analogous to World War II’s Manhattan Project to create atomic weapons and the Apollo Project two decades later, which was announced in 1961 and led only eight years later to men walking on the moon. Could similar undertakings produce global cooling in our lifetimes? Those of us who believe in science and technology and can do the math think it can.

Tom Hafer was trained as an electrical engineer and developed systems for neutralizing rockets and drones. Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, was a research associate at the NIH and a consulting professor at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies. They were undergraduates together at MIT.

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  • Ah, yet another toy climate model!

    “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible.
    In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    IPCC Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para.,, p774.

  • “Climate change” was nonsense from the start. As EPA will tell you. it is all based on unverified and unvalidated models in which the climate change promoters and gurus have varying degrees of confidence. The CPCC technical reports are quite clear that climate predictions are at best a modeling exercise, and show clearly that connection to reality is at best uncertain. Yes, the planet has been warming very slowly since the last Ice Age, but the warming that one can observe is due largely to “heat islands” produced by vehicle traffic, operation of machinery, and the many ways that warm air is moved from higher to lower temperatures (e.g.. air conditioning, refrigeration, etc), and warm air generated by friction (stopping and starting a vehicle) and of course direct combustion,

  • The healthy and wealthy countries of the United States of America, Germany, the UK, and Australia representing 6 percent of the world’s population (505 million vs 7.8 billion) could literally shut down, and cease to exist, and the opposite of what you have been told and believe will take place. Emissions will be exploding from those poorer developing countries.

    Only healthy and wealthy countries like the USA, Germany, Australia, and the UK can subsidize electricity from breezes and sunshine, and intermittent electricity at best. The 80 percent of the 8 billion on earth living on less than 10 dollars a day cannot subsidize themselves out of a paper bag. Those poorer countries must rely on affordable and abundant coal for reliable electricity, while residents in the healthy and wealthier countries pay dearly for those subsidies with some of the highest cost for electricity in the world.

    Simply put, in these healthy and wealthy countries, every person, animal, or anything that causes emissions to harmfully rise could vanish off the face of the earth; or even die off, and global emissions will still explode in the coming years and decades ahead over the population and economic growth of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Africa.

  • I have been saying “climate change” is a marxist hoax for years. Back in the 70s we were heading for global cooling and we were all going to freeze to death, then it changed to “global warming” and the polar ice caps are going to melt and all land will be swallowed up by the seas! When all that crap was debunked they changed it to “climate change”. I hate to tell the idiots perpetrating this scam(because they already know this), as well as the “useful idiots” but the earth has gone thru “climate changes” for the entirety of its history, ya know, billions of years!!!!! If the elites really think man made climate change is the problem, they can lead all us rubes by showing us how to live in caves and eat berries! No more creature comforts, no more privateI(or any jets) or other conveyances, walk everywhere you lazy bastards. No more big fancy mansions, no more davos parties, etc. SHOW US THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS OR SHUT THE F–K UP!!!!! instead of fleecing the rubes, get a real job!!!!!

  • Interesting concepts but the article starts with an unsupported premise. No model of “climate change” has EVER been correct. Even the IPCC does not agree with your premise.

  • Dirty Joe’s Climate Hoax speeches are more fuzzy talk…
    more Red China/India getting a pass…the same democrats with huge homes & 3-5 gas vehicles, a boat (& maybe a jet) are AGAIN chewing us out.👀
    A tax and guilt tripping our bu$inesses is not going to lower or raise global temperatures.🦨
    It’s the sun son! No MMGW.
    Dirty Joe & Obama had 8 years so why is this Climate Hoax still so serious an i$$ue? 
    America has thousands of EPA laws now and we are in the top of clean industrialized nations.
    (reelmanPhD 9/2022)

  • What if we “do nothing” and deal with the effects of higher temperatures (if and when they happen) and where they happen? Green energy is great, but we should only switch to it after it is as reliable and cheap as carbon based energy.

    • Did you actually read the article? Here’s the part that’s pertinent to your comment: “Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on wind turbines, solar panels, and EVs will make no perceptible difference in global warming during our lifetimes. A far better investment would be an aggressive and highly focused research and development effort on direct CO2 capture and sequestration and on climate engineering, measures that do not require world-wide collaboration but could be effectively implemented by the U.S. and our allies acting alone.”

  • Leave it to the Democrats to find a away to squander our Taxes on their Pork Projects

  • Reducing CO2 emissions has had and will not have any significant impact on climate. CO2 concentrations are measured in parts per million. If it was measured as a percentage, it would comprise 0.04% of the atmosphere. The computer climate models assume that CO2 drives global temperatures, rather than solar cycles and Earth’s orbital shifts. The models have been an utter failure over the last 25 years. Their predictions have been worthless, except for generating bogus IPCC reports and panicked headlines.

    But lets get back to CO2. All life on Earth ultimately depends on CO2. If concentrations fall below 0.015%, photosynthesis stops and plant life dies out, followed shortly thereafter by animal life. Maybe early single cell organisms that don’t depend on photosynthesis will survive, but that’s about it. Hare-brained schemes to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere are potentially putting life on Earth at risk. Are you listening, Mr. Gates?

    Let’s ask another question that’s rarely asked. Where did the evil carbon in fossil fuels come from? It was all once in the atmosphere. Ancient plants and other organisms absorbed carbon from atmospheric CO2 and then got fossilized, locking that carbon away over geological time scales. The records show that CO2 levels in the ancient atmosphere were up to 10 times higher than today, yet the planet thrived.

    So, as I see it, burning fossil fuels is recycling on a grand scale. The plants love it and so should we.

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