‘Net Zero Emissions’ and the Carbon Offsetting Scam

Yves here. We’ve written regularly over the years about how carbon offsets, now rebranded as “netzero” are so obviously bogus (activity not verifiable, same offset even if it exists, can be sold multiple times) that it makes carbon trading look good. But it’s useful to have a long-form explanation. And it’s depressing to see the IPCC acting as a stooge.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

“If our rulers wanted to mitigate the damage from climate change, they’d be doing it now and we’d be seeing them do it.”
—Yours truly (discussed here)

The release of the recent IPCC Assessment Report (AR6 – Working Group 1)has caused renewed conversation about climate change and how to address it. Note that the conversation is no longer about whether to address it.

The reasons for this shift — from whether to address climate change to howto address it — has several causes. Among them:

The number of sentient Americans who don’t know that the earth is heating is falling fast, who know the climate clock is way out of sync and we’re headed to world where the worst is yet to come.

The people who want to keep the fossil fuel engine running — our ruling elites — have discovered two wonderful ways to acknowledge change and still keep unmonetized carbon assets viable:

The first way is to target “net zero” emissions by a given date instead of real zero emissions.

The second way is to tout and fund “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) technology, which exists nowhere in the world, as a magic carpet to carry us into the future that most resembles our past — a future of high energy use, infinite growth in profits, and a lifestyle based on ever-increased manufacturing. A future, in other words, that constantly rips what is raw, like minerals and oil, and sells it as smart phones, buildings, and plastic.

This leaves entirely aside the question of whether that past can ever be transported into the future. After all, the greatest unasked questions in the mainstream climate movement are the most basic of all: Can we really keep “modern civilization” and have our climate too? Or does trying to keep one inevitably destroy the other?

Let’s leave for later the questions around CCS technology, and also the greater questions raised in the previous paragraph, and focus for now on “net zero emission” targets.

Bottom line first: “Net zero” targets are a scam to keep carbon profit flowing.

What Does ‘Net Zero Emissions’ Mean?

According to the website Climate Central, a generally good mainstream pro-climate site, the term “net zero” means that “any greenhouse gas emissions released are balanced by an equal amount being taken out of the atmosphere.”

In simpler terms, under a net zero policy, atmospheric CO2 emissions in one place are offset by negative emissions (CO2 reductions) somewhere else, keeping global CO2 static.

A goal of net zero emissions is vastly different from a goal of real zero emissions. The first goal allows fossil fuel companies to continue operating at current or increased capacity so long as offsets are found — or invented — to balance the global equation. The second goal puts fossil fuel companies out of business forever.

Needless to say, fossil fuel companies and their captured governments love the first goal and hate the second.

The IPCC Supports ‘Net Zero’ Emissions, not ‘Real Zero’ Emissions

So which goal is the global government–dependent IPCC touting? From the Summary for Policymakers (“policymakers” means politicians) of the recently released report:

Achieving global net zero CO2 emissions is a requirement for stabilizing CO2-induced global surface temperature increase, with anthropogenic CO2 emissions balanced by anthropogenic removals of CO2. This is different from achieving net zero GHG emissions, where metric-weighted anthropogenic GHG emissions equal metric-weighted anthropogenic GHG removals. For a given GHG emission pathway, the pathways of individual greenhouse gases determine the resulting climate response46, whereas the choice of emissions metric47 used to calculate aggregated emissions and removals of different GHGs affects what point in time the aggregated greenhouse gases are calculated to be net zero. Emissions pathways that reach and sustain net zero GHG emissionsdefined by the 100-year global warming potential are projected to result in a decline in surface temperature after an earlier peak (high confidence).

Nowhere could I find an aspirational goal of real zero emissions. The IPCC is fully on board with the push for “net zero” emissions, as is Exxon, which has no intention of going out of business. Yet aspiring to just “net zero” is a recipe for failure.

What’s Wrong With Net Zero Policies?

The biggest flaw in every net zero policy proposal is “carbon offsetting,” a practice so easily gamed as to be laughable as a solution (see below). Despite the myths, no “net zero” regime achieves net zero emissions.

But that’s not the only problem. Here are a few more reasons why net-zero cannot work, from an explainer produced by Climate Home News:

• Net zero by 2050 is insufficient to solve the climate crisis.

Major and unprecedented reductions in emissions are needed now. Otherwise, our current high emissions will consume the small remaining global carbon budget within just a few years. Net zero targets typically assume that it will be possible to deliver vast amounts of “negative emissions”, meaning removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through storage in vegetation, soils and rocks. However, deployment of the technologies needed for negative emissions at the required scale remains unproven, and should not replace real emissions reductions today.

• We cannot compensate for fossil fuel emissions using so-called “nature-based solutions” like such as carbon sequestration in vegetation and soils.

Fossil fuels are part of the slow carbon cycle. … Nature-based solutions are part of the fast, biological carbon cycle, meaning that carbon storage is not permanent. For example, carbon stored in trees can be released again by forest fires. Fossil emissions happen today, while their uptake in trees and soils takes much longer. The overall capacity of nature-based solutions is also limited, and is anyway needed to help remove the carbon dioxide that we have already released into the atmosphere.

And from the report “Not Zero: How Net Zero Targets Disguise Climate Inaction“:

• The term “net zero” is used by the world’s biggest polluters and governments as a façade to evade responsibility and disguise their inaction or harmful action on climate change.

• There is simply not enough available land on the planet to accommodate all of the combined corporate and government “net zero” plans for offsets and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) tree plantations.

Or as one writer put it at the academically-oriented site The Conversation: “There aren’t enough trees in the world to offset society’s carbon emissions – and there never will be“.


• Collectively, “net zero” climate targets allow for continued rising levels of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, while hoping that technologies or tree plantations will be able to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air in the future.

• By putting the burden for carbon sequestration onto land and tree plantations in global South countries – which have done little to cause the climate crisis – most “net zero” climate targets are effectively driving a form of carbon colonialism.

For more on net zero policies and their consequences, check these additional resources:

The Big Con: How Big Polluters are advancing a “net zero” climate agenda to delay, deceive, and deny

Net Zero Producers Forum: A Catalyst For Climate Ambition Or Yet Another Delaying Tactic?

The Net Zero Scam In Action: Audubon Society Greenwashes California Polluters

Let’s look a little deeper at the use of the net zero by polluters and governments as a façade for harmful action. From the “Not Zero” report:

In almost every case, “net zero” pledges signify a lack of ambitious action. Most actually serve to greenwash corporate plans that will cause great harm, including human rights abuses, runaway emissions, and ecological destruction.

Far from signifying climate ambition, the phrase “net zero” is being used by a majority of polluting governments and corporations to orchestrate escape clauses so as to evade responsibility, shift burdens, disguise climate inaction, and in some cases even to scale up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions. The term is used to greenwash business-as-usual or even business-more-than-usual. At the core of these pledges are small and distant targets that require no action for decades, and promises of technologies that are unlikely ever to work at scale, and which are likely to cause huge harm if they come to pass. [emphasis added]

And here’s a prime example. California has a “carbon offsets” program in which it encourages people and institutions to offer to protect forests that would otherwise be logged and sell that protection to polluting companies to offset or negate their own CO2 emissions.

As ProPublica explains it:

The program allows forest owners … to earn so-called carbon credits for preserving trees. Each credit represents a ton of CO2. California polluters, such as oil companies, buy these credits so that they can emit more CO2 than they’d otherwise be allowed to under state law. Theoretically, the exchange should balance out emissions to prevent an overall increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. [emphasis added]

The Massachusetts Audubon Society manages thousands of acres of forested land. In 2015, the Mass Audubon Society, which has no interest (one hopes!) in logging its forests, nevertheless claimed it could “heavily log 9,700 acres of its preserved forests over the next few years.”

It did this in order to participate in the California program: “The group raised the possibility of chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees as part of its application to take part in California’s forest offset program.”

Why did Audubon do this? For money:

The [California] Air Resources Board accepted Mass Audubon’s project into its program, requiring the nonprofit to preserve its forests over the next century instead of heavily logging them. The nonprofit received more than 600,000 credits in exchange for its promise. The vast majority were sold through intermediaries to oil and gas companies, records show. The group earned about $6 million from the sales, Mass Audubon regional scientist Tom Lautzenheiser said. [emphasis added]

So one of the state chapters of the National Audubon Society, a “big green” organization and a well-reputed one, made $6 million from a phony promise to not log trees it had no intention of logging in the first place. And California oil and gas companies got permission to continue their profitable, civilization-ending pollution, offset by nothing.

That’s how the “net zero scam” works. Shame on the IPCC for promoting it. And shame on those in the media and “big green” organizations who actively offer it as a solution.

The generation that will suffer most will not be pleased when billionaires who profited from the “net zero” scam have died, and those who survive inherit the wreck they created.

(This is an updated version of an earlier piece.)

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  1. Ian Perkins

    carbon stored in trees can be released again by forest fires

    Not only that (and this year’s forest fires in Siberia have already released 800 Mt of CO2), but how many of the countries participating in these carbon offset/credit schemes, even assuming they’re not simply scamming the system from the word go, can guarantee social and political stability for the next fifty or hundred years?

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Net Zero Emission schemes can work if – and the word ‘if’ here is of course doing a lot of work – they are properly regulated and audited. Most sectors of the economy will require time – probably the natural lifecycle of replacing plant and machinery – to transition to genuine low or zero emissions, and its probably more efficient in the meanwhile to encourage/force companies to off-set in genuinely productive ways, such as funding rewilding schemes.

    This should of course be obvious, but the failure of the power-that-be to insist on full, transparent and rigorously audited schemes show that they really aren’t serious about this, for the most part they are just greenwashing. The longer this goes on, the more justifiably cynical the public will be about this, and the harder it will be to create genuine change. Maybe thats the whole point.

    1. Ian Perkins

      Most sectors of the economy will require time … to transition

      Steel and cement account for a sizeable proportion of CO2 emissions, though alternative, zero-CO2 production methods may be on their way. Sweden’s made progress with steel recently, but it’s unclear if the iron ore is emissions-free – and I doubt it.

      “Progress with HYBRIT enables us to maintain the pace in our transition and already in 2026, we will begin the switch to industrial-scale production with the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, Sweden,” he said. “Once LKAB has converted its entire production to sponge iron, we will enable the transition of the steel industry and reduce global emissions by around 35 million metric tons a year, which corresponds to two-thirds of Sweden’s entire emissions. This is the greatest action we can take together for the good of the climate.” (35 million metric tons is around 0.1% of global emissions)

      Meanwhile, as early as this year SSAB said it plans to deliver small quantities of steel made using hydrogen to customers, with a view to ramping up production to large-scale fossil fuel-free steel by 2026. “High-strength fossil-free steel will also allow us to help our customers to strengthen their competitiveness,” added Lindqvist.

      In the meantime, most of the world’s steel will continue to be made with coal, or at best with dirty hydrogen – Sweden has abundant hydro-power with which to produce ‘green’ hydrogen.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The problem with a real true netzero like you describe is this . . . . it leaves the skycarbon already up in the sky still up in the sky. All it can ever mean, even if truthfully achieved, is that for every new carbon sent up, a carbon is pulled down. And the background carbon stays where it was when 1-down for every 1-up is achieved.

      So if the background skycarbon level is 500 ppm once net zero carbon is reached, the one-down for every one-up still leaves the legacy 500ppm still up there, still trapping heat.

  3. Dr. John Carpenter

    Thank you for this piece, which I’ll be bookmarking. “Net zero” strikes me as one of the biggest environmental scams going. Hopefully this will explain things to my unconvinced friends better than I can.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It sounded good at the time. It took the help of articles like this to keep me from getting confused.

      We should invent a term like ” fake carbon zero” or “carbon fake zero” to describe what the Merchants of Fossil are doing here, with their tricknological term of ” carbon net zero”. And we should throw that term at “net zero” whenever we hear it or see it.

      Meanwhile, what’s an equally compelling brain-driving term for zero carbon skyflooding? Something easier to say and more brain-grabby than ” zero fossil fuel emissions”?

  4. Larry Gilman

    I agree that Net Zero is being deployed as a sham goal; like geoengineering, a bag of speculative tricks whose real purpose is to keep business as usual going.

    But it’s sad and worrisome how quickly this trail leads into the swamp. Neuberger links to his review of Derrick Jensen’s Bright Green Lies and quotes Jensen at length. The trouble with some of these greener-than-thou chaps is that to help kill the fantasy that technology is going to magic all our troubles away (which it isn’t), they wildly mischaracterize those technologies in which people put most hope, i.e. wind and solar. For instance, in his linked review Neuberger quotes Jensen to the effect that “12 percent of the continental United States would have to be covered in windfarms to meet current electricity demands . . . In reality, so-called ‘green’ technologies are some of the most destructive industrial processes ever invented.”

    Solar and wind are indeed not environmentally cost-free, because nothing ever was or will be. But they are not “some of the most destructive industrial processes ever invented.” They are, for one thing, far less destructive than the industrial processes they are replacing, coal and gas. And Jensen’s hypothetical figure for wind’s land usage, which Neuberger credits, is ludicrous: In Jacobson et al.‘s detailed budget for meeting all US energy (not just electricity) demand with renewables, onshore wind (~30% of supply) occupies only 1.6% of US land, even counting multi-use spacing area between turbines — land which turbines do not “destroy” (as Neuberger/Jensen claim).

    In the real world, the renewable energy economy — which we will eventually have to have, one way or another — will run on a patchwork of onshore wind, offshore wind, PV and concentrating solar, and miscellaneous. Many components will entail little or no de novo land development: e.g., per NREL, “the total national technical potential of rooftop PV is . . . 39% of total national electric-sector sales.” Renewables are not magic and do not guarantee Utopia — but neither will “they will only hasten [the earth’s] demise” (N/J).

    I find it disturbing that Jensen has such status in eco-circles. He not only purveys technical codswallop but is, or has been at times, dangerously unhinged: e.g., he told journalist Dahr Jamail in 2010 that he wants “all activists to act like they are serious about their resistance and that might include assassinations,” a view he also expressed in his book Endgame (2006). We might not want to party a whole lot with these guys.

    We certainly shouldn’t take a word they say about renewable energy at face value.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      If you’re looking to refute Jensen, I wouldn’t quote Jacobson. His plans are wildly unrealistic about costs and resource limitations. Boost hydro production in the US by a factor of 10? No. There’s no physical room in many dams, and doing so elsewhere would destroy many river ecosystems. Assume that hydro reservoirs have perfectly constant refill rates? No, rivers in real life see seasonal variations and drought. Deploy over 500 TWh of energy storage for the US? No, not when the entire world produces only 0.15 TWh of energy storage per year. It’s “technical codswallop”, so to speak. His plan will never happen.

      Jacobson’s behavior might also be described as “dangerously unhinged”. When a large group of experts published a formal critique of his plan, he filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit in response. He was eventually “reproached by a federal court for trying to intimidate one of his critics by filing a frivolous lawsuit against him. On April 20, Jacobson was ordered to pay the legal fees of Chris Clack, the Colorado mathematician who Jacobson sued in 2017 for $10 million on claims that Clack had defamed him. Jacobson’s lawsuit, which also named the National Academy of Sciences, was a classic example of a SLAPP suit, or strategic litigation against public participation.” [From https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2020/04/30/stanford-professor-cant-muzzle-planet-of-the-humans-must-pay-defendants-legal-fees-in-slapp-suit/?sh=5afe086fe0ac.] Oops.

      And in your comment about everything running “on a patchwork of onshore wind, offshore wind, PV and concentrating solar, and miscellaneous”, the word “miscellaneous” carries tremendous weight. Much more than you may realize. They key question is this: What, exactly, will keep the lights on (and the heat pumps running) during a cold and windless winter night? The answer matters greatly. Will it be tens of thousands of GWh-scale battery stations? Massive fleets of hydrogen electrolyzers, pipelines, and gas turbines? Former coal-fired stations that will now burn ground-up forest, pressed into wood pellet form? Be warned: the costs and environmental impacts of these backup systems will dwarf those of the solar and wind resources themselves.

    2. Thomas Neuburger

      Thanks, Larry. I’ll check out your links. (The Jacobson paper is 132 pp; fyi for those who DL it.)

      About Jensen, yes, I’ve read his and his colleagues’ other writings. He leave no solution off the table.

      OTOH, I’m deeply disturbed by the widespread assumption (as near as I can tell) that a high-energy, high-manufacturing, high-population economy is sustainable at all. And I wrote in that review that my plan was to check that assumption out. I don’t promote Jensen’s ideas as known-good. I simply ask that they be checked out before being presented as known-bad.

      From the conclusion:

      Can We Have Both Industrial Civilization and a Habitable Planet?

      A Truly Open Question

      But I want to leave the question of the viability of industrial civilization open for now, because the implications are so broad. I want to see the numbers on which the conclusion depends, which I think the book provides, though I suspect the authors are way beyond right. It just seems so likely that “manufacturing our way out of the problem” enshrines and preserves the problem itself — manufacturing.

      Must we surrender manufacturing to survive? If so, how does that happen?

      As many have pointed out, even if an enlightened politician were president (we don’t have one), the surest way to get unelected in a hurry is to ask for sacrifice from the modern American people. As Yves Smith pointed out at Naked Capitalism, “The only hope we have of non-catastrophic outcomes is radical conservation, and just about no one in a position of influence is willing to say that. After all, we live in a society where some regard mask-wearing as an unbearable hardship.”

      My plan is to read the book, watch the film, and make a decision after that. I encourage you to do the same.

      And if the answer to the question I posed in the title turns out to be no, I’ll try to address that as well. If we’re going to be witness to a spectacular sunset-of-the-species, we should at least be attentive and thoughtful about what we’re seeing. And even in the direst of circumstances, action — intelligent and well-designed — is always better than passive and pained acceptance.

      Thanks again.


    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the Jensenites start to become a real menace, we may have to ask for help from the Peoples Liberation Army to hunt them down and exterminate them.

      I don’t think China would like to see Jensenism applied to China’s detriment. And maybe China would take actual kinetic action to see that Jensenism is not allowed to do that.

  5. Grumpy Engineer

    In addition to the true scams addressed by this article, there is another way in which “net zero” works out poorly.

    Many companies today (like Google) that claim net zero have facilities that consume enormous amount of electricity 24 hours a day. To offset this, they buy shares of solar farms elsewhere, which produce more significantly more electricity during the day than they consume. And when only a few companies do this, it works out well.

    But as more and more companies try to do this, problems arise. The key problem is that all of the companies will be producing excess solar during the day and still consuming fossil-fueled electricity at night. Eventually the excess becomes too much, and curtailment is required to avoid pushing the grid out of voltage and frequency specs. The amount of “offset” gets reduced. And everybody is still consuming fossil-fueled electricity at night.

    We can’t all get to net zero by deploying solar. If we all try, we all fail.

    1. Ergo Sum

      The key problem is that all of the companies will be producing excess solar during the day and still consuming fossil-fueled electricity at night.

      Wind, hydro and nuclear power can augment solar, in addition storing some of the solar power generated during the day. Yes, they are not net-zero technologies, but they are a far cry from burning fossil fuel:


      Of course, fossil fuel industries prefer net-zero emission just to keep them going…

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        There isn’t enough wind and hydro to reliably make it through the night. Especially if said night is windless. If you’re willing to add nuclear, though, then everything changes.

        If you study things enough, you’ll realize that using nuclear as a backup for wind and solar makes little sense. The capital costs are spread out over fewer kWh (meaning higher electricity prices), and the constant start-stop action causes the equipment to wear out faster because of thermal fatigue cycles. It’s arguably more dangerous.

        However, if you’ve deployed enough nuclear to fully carry the grid over a windless winter night, then you may as well use nuclear for daytime operations too and skip most of the wind and solar deployments entirely. The dollars per kWh go down, and the reduced thermal cycling makes things safer. Yes, you end up needing more nuclear fuel rods, but that’s a small portion of the overall operating costs of a nuclear station. And yes, you end up with more nuclear waste, but if we can solve the disposal problem for the waste we already have today, scaling it up by a factor of five for a larger nuclear fleet shouldn’t be too big a challenge.

        If you’re going to embrace nuclear, you may as well go in big.

        1. Ian Perkins

          Couldn’t more limited nuclear – “enough nuclear to fully carry the grid over a windless winter night” – be used to produce hydrogen when there is sun or wind?

    2. Zamfir

      In my impression, these kinds of schemes are at this moment beneficial. Unlike tree planing offset schemes that are just greenwashing schemes without benefit.

      The green-energy offset schemes do help to pay for PV and wind farms. They encourage overbuilding in the short run, producing power at good hours to get offset money. But that’s not a bad thing, I think. At least for now.

      For one, that overproduction hurts fossil suppliers who are driven from the markets in those hours

      And second, it avoids some chicken-and- egg problems. Grid improvements and storage systems are much easier to justify, if the generation imbalance already exists. Then they are offering a solution for an existing problem – as opposed to preparing for a hypothetical and uncertain future.

      You see the same with feed-in tariffs. Overbuild intermittent capacity first, using a supply-push model, then you figure out how to deal with the intermittency in a demand-pull model, and it often turns out easier in practice than it seemed on paper.

      Google’s green washing money helps in the supply-push, it pays for generating capacity up front.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “The green-energy offset schemes do help to pay for PV and wind farms.” But who is left to balance the Grid and maintain its infrastructure, and who pays the costs monetary and other? The idea that an existing problem helps justify the expenditures for addressing that problem is an interesting idea. The Grid is fragile, difficult to manage, maintain, and complex with far too little national, and regional oversight, and captured regulatory agencies — to mention a few problems. These problems long pre-exist the further problems of load imbalances the present energy policies create through promoting an ‘overproduction’ of solar and wind power. Little has been done to address these pre-existing problems, and now you want to add more problems. I grow very sad imagining “supply-push” as a means to cobble energy policy. I prefer imagining the u.s. might someday have a Government that serves the long-term interests of the u.s. and Humankind.

        1. Zamfir

          Part of it is political. Such problems and complications are never solved by pointing out that they should be solved – people already know that, and that didn’t solve the issue before. The issues linger around because they lack a strong constituency, the negative effects are diffused, not enough people have a concentrated interest in their resolution. But every wind farm that gets built, changes that balance. It creates people who have proffesional need and interest in a grid that can handle more intermittency, people who will apply the pressure and grease to make changes. And not just the wind farm operator!

          But beyond that, there is a more fundamental part. We don’t know how the best system looks like to deal with intermittent power on larger scale, and we can only discover that in reality. What will be the cost trajectories of various technologies? How much changes in demand patterns are really possible? We cannot plan out the final system in advance, and only then build it. In that sense, I believe that even the best imaginible energy policy would still be cobbled together by trial and error. Build stuff, see the problems, then discover what’s hard to fix and what’s easy to fix.

          1. Grumpy Engineer

            We cannot proceed by “trial and error”. Severe errors could result in power being unavailable for extended periods of time, and in extreme cold, that could result in people literally freezing to death in the dark. People won’t stand for it. Even smaller disruptions would cause public support to disappear quickly, and all progress would grind to a halt. If you want to truly change things, it’ll have to happen smoothly accordingly to a well-defined and realistic plan. Anything else is a recipe for failure.

            And in terms of the grid handling supply intermittency, the question isn’t whether or not the grid can handle it. The question is whether or not we can adjust demand to match the supply. And at present, we have very little demand adjustment capability (mainly paying large industrial users to shut down during periods of extremely high demand), and I don’t see that changing. If I build a solar farm I would indeed have a “professional need and interest” in getting people to turn off their heat pumps at night. But it doesn’t mean that people would be willing to do that.

            Jeremy Grimm is right. The grid today is already a fragile and terribly complicated beast, and adding wild supply variations that will not be coordinated with demand is asking for trouble.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If a separately manageable sub-part of the grand grid could exist on a day to day or week to week basis, a sub-grid, say; could people in that gridshed handle a daylight excess of solar power by air conditioning their houses to cooler than they would like, and all turn off the air conditioning and its attendant demand at night, when no sun shines? And the houses could warm up from their excess cooldown from the daytime use of excess solar power stored in the form of excess air conditioning work done in all those houses?

              If it could work technically, then all that would be needed for it to work socially/culturally would be for people to decide they understand and accept the logic, and agree to bank surplus sunpower by day as surplus chill inside their houses, to be passively enjoyed overnight when no sun shines to create power for air conditioning at night.

              Its just a thought . . . .

  6. Kent

    This is off topic, but we just spent another couple of thousand on new air bag sensor wires, made of soybean powder instead of PVC, for the third time! Bill to us so far for “protecting the environment” is over $8,000 on one car alone.

    The rats love to eat the “environmentally protective” wires, resulting in overall billions of dollars of auto repairs and massive amounts of wasted energy. Penny wise and pound foolish, environmental performative B.S. like soybean wire coating is harming the environmental movement and the planet more than it is protecting it.

    1. Felix_47

      I would say it is right on topic Kent. I suspect that our leaders simply do not believe that there is a solution. The reason I am convinced of it is because the simple things they could do to at least decrease the speed of the process are things well within their power and easy to do. Consider, for example, a national speed limit. Nixon did it in response to the Arab Oil Crisis. It turned out it did not save much oil, I agree, but it showed that a minimal amount could be saved with 55. And he pissed a lot of people off because Americans hate to go 55. But now with much greater stakes why is there not a 45 or even 40 MPH limit? I realize some cars are geared now to be more efficient at higher speeds but that could be changed. There is no question but air resistance is the major factor in fuel economy over 45. And why is there not a national law that all tires must be correctly inflated? Police should be able to spot check and stop cars to check inflaton pressures and if too low they should hand out an expensive ticket. Pretty soon people will start checking tire inflation. With speed control and proper tire inflation substantial reductons in national CO2 production could be achieved at essentially no or minimal cost. And why are we not taxing engine displacement or weight or raising the gas tax……in fact Biden is trying to lower the price of gas? And because driving is so cheap the numbers of people taking public transit drop from year to year. The answer, I suspect, is that the political heat is perceived as real and climate change is perceived by our leaders as not real. So we just do not believe in it yet.

  7. rjs

    with atmospheric CO2 now at 417 parts per million, i figure there to be 153019699399000000 cubic meters of the stuff out there…so they better find a big enough leakproof bottle to hold all that until hell freezes over…

  8. Peter Joseph

    I’m surprised that this thread in “Naked Capitalism” ignores a naked truth about the system: artificially “cheap” fossil fuels, whose enormous damages are conveniently “externalized.” Everyone here understands that, so why is there no talk of a carbon tax?

    Virtually the entire US economics profession advocates a revenue neutral, fully refunded, predictably and steeply rising carbon fee, dividend and border carbon adjustment. (econstatement.org) as the most efficient, effective and equitable means of lowering emissions at the scale and speed necessary. In agreement are the U.N., IMF, World Bank, US Chamber of Commerce and many other major business and political organizations. You can scoff at Exxon’s, etc. (disingenuous) support, but at least they’ve said the words, which might give some politicians cover.

    Effective carbon pricing is foundational to every other conceivable solution. A straightforward, accountable carbon tax has no offsets or trading markets. People can understand it, unlike every other gimmick being purveyed today. It can act immediately, like your favorite headache medicine, rather than promising lofty goals that come due on someone else’s shift. See CitizensClimateLobby.org

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” The whole economics profession” ? really?

      Whatever the whole economics profession recommends is probably different that what James Hansen recommends. I don’t remember James Hansen using the weasel words “revenue neutral” for example.

      And James Hansen’s purpose in proposing the kind of FeeTax Dividend the way he proposed it was to structure it in a way that it would fairly quickly exterminate the fossil fuel industry from the face of the earth, starting with coal. That was his goal with his ” full metal Hansen” FeeTax Dividend plan.

      Is that what “the whole economics profession” seeks to achieve?

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