Wall Street Journal: “Why No One Wants to Pay for the Green Transition”

Just because you heard it at the Wall Street Journal does not make it wrong. Your truly (and a few lonely commentators of broadly similar view) have criticized the snake oil sold by the Green New Deal type and other Green Transition hopium peddlers as at least as dangerous as doing nothing. They hyped the idea that shifting to lower-carbon energy sources would generate jobs and not (or not unduly) raise energy costs and inconvenience business and consumers.

Now it is true that there is low-hanging fruit on the energy front, and a fair bit of that (like better home insulation) has not been pursue systematically enough. But arresting the freight train of rising energy use, including the difficulty of transitioning away from fossil fuels, the too frequent failure to consider the total energy (including infrastructure) and environmental costs of lower carbon, and the unwillingness to curb energy use (via pricing or bans) is pretty much impossible under our neoliberal system. We need more top down planning, not just on comparatively narrow issues like whether and how to get the grid and related charging stations in place to allow for greater EV use, but on bigger questions of city/residential design (would it be a big net energy savings to attempt reconfigurations, or would the building front-load too much in the way of CO2 costs?).

But a second problem under neoliberalism is a dearth of people capable of looking at problems like this in a broad-gauged enough way, and their lack of political credibility even if they did.

So after selling various schemes that relied on savings that often were not available across populations, and “build it and they will come” assumptions, the green transition is running into the reality that it will entail costs…something that was pretty much never conveyed to voters and consumers. And that’s before getting to the fact that the investments and behavior change needed to make a serious dent in the global warming trajectory is large and growing. We’ve repeatedly said that the only way to get there from here is radical conservation, as in going on a very big energy consumption diet. But again, how can you achieve that when most people in a neoliberal system need to sell their labor to survive, which means getting to work (usually entailing gas/diesel use), provisioning (again transportation energy), heating and cooling often free-standing, energy-inefficient homes?

The Journal focuses on more immediate issues, using the green energy programs in the Biden Inflation Reduction Act as a point of departure. As author Greg Ip points out:

This year the fantasy ended. With electric vehicle demand falling short of expectations, manufacturers are dialing back production and buying back stockinstead. Offshore wind developers have canceled projects. The S&P Global Clean Energy Index has fallen 30% this year. Ford’s market cap is down to $42 billion….

But the economics of getting to net zero remain, fundamentally, dismal: Someone has to pay for it, and shareholders and consumers decided this year it wouldn’t be them….

….the green transition is driven by public policy. It is “a negative supply shock, with an accompanying need to finance investments whose profitability cannot be taken for granted,” French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry wrote in a reportcommissioned by the French prime minister and released in English in November. “By putting a price—financial or implicit—on a free resource (the climate), the transition increases production costs, with no guarantee that the reduction in energy costs will eventually offset them, while the investments it calls for do not increase productive capacity but must nevertheless be financed.”…

He notes the transition involves hefty capital spending today to replace fossil-fuel consumption in the future. Pisani-Ferry estimates a middle-class French family would spend 44% of annual disposable income for a heat pump, and 120% for an electric car. These investments boost demand, but don’t leave families better off since they simply do the same thing as what they replace. And if taxes rise to pay for these investments, families will be worse off, financially.

The article then depicts a carbon tax or cap and trade as the most efficient way to shift investment and consumption away from fossil fuels, and how Europe has implemented some of these approaches, only to get Gillet Jaunes protests and other resistance.

The problem is that any taxation scheme is inadequate and it’s misleading to equate taxation and quantitative restrictions are similar (there is the separate question of whether the carbon tax is set high enough and whether cap and trade schemes have set limits low enough and are sufficiently comprehensive). Andrew Haldane summarized Martin Weitzman’s classic approach to how to select the right policy approach, taxation or prohibition. From Haldane’s The $100 billon question:

Public policy has increasingly recognised the risks from car pollution. Historically, they have been tackled through a combination of taxation and, at times, prohibition. During this century, restrictions have been placed on poisonous emissions from cars – in others words, prohibition. This is recognition of the social costs of exhaust pollution. Initially, car producers were in uproar….

The taxation versus prohibition question crops up repeatedly in public choice economics. For centuries it has been central to the international trade debate on the use of quotas versus subsidies. During this century, it has become central to the debate on appropriate policies to curtail carbon emissions.

In making these choices, economists have often drawn on Martin Weitzman’s classic public goods framework from the early 1970s. Under this framework, the optimal amount of pollution control is found by equating the marginal social benefits of pollution-control and the marginal private costs of this control. With no uncertainty about either costs or benefits, a policymaker would be indifferent between taxation and restrictions when striking this cost/benefit balance.
In the real world, there is considerable uncertainty about both costs and benefits. Weitzman’s framework tells us how to choose between pollution-control instruments in this setting. If the marginal social benefits foregone of the wrong choice are large, relative to the private costs incurred, then quantitative restrictions are optimal. Why? Because fixing quantities to achieve pollution control, while letting prices vary, does not have large private costs. When the marginal social benefit curve is steeper than the marginal private cost curve, restrictions dominate.

The climate change application of this approach is that the social costs of climate change (flooding, mass migration, disruption of agricultural production) are so high that prohibitions/output restrictions are the sound policy approach. But the “private” costs are also high and there are plenty of who are also disproportoinately affected.

But the US isn’t prepared to require sacrifice. Again from the Journal:

U.S. leaders have rejected any federal tax or fee on carbon. Biden’s solution is to not ask consumers to pay for the green transition…..

Subsidies can play a vital role by giving green energy time to scale up and innovate until it is competitive with fossil fuels. But the IRA has been undermined by extraneous conditions such as made-in-America requirements, and by green tech inflation—a byproduct of the IRA itself, which helped fuel demand…

For years, the cost of wind and solar plummeted, but since 2021 they have risen…..

Many developers can no longer economically supply power at the rates previously agreed to. Denmark’s Orsted, the world’s largest wind developer, took a $4 billion charge in early November for pulling out of two projects off New Jersey. The company today is worth 75% less than in early 2021.

ClearView Energy Partners estimates about 30% of state-contracted offshore wind capacity has been canceled, and another 25% may be rebid….

The financial appeal of EVs has similarly faded….For most drivers, the trade off still doesn’t work—even with subsidies.

True, the IRA has spurred a boom in EV and battery factories. But a successful green transition requires that those factories be profitable, and Detroit’s automakers are still losing money on every EV they sell….

In a sobering report this week, Morgan Stanley auto analysts estimated the average nonfinancial company in the S&P 500 spends its market cap in capital expenditure and research and development in about 50 years. GM and Ford spend theirs in 1.9 and 2.6 years, respectively. “This cannot continue, in our view.”

This sorry outcome is in no small measure the result of not making the dangers of climate change tangible and visceral enough to most people, and conveying the impression that the green transition would be rainbows and unicorns. That is not to say it would have been easy to get broad social support for concerted action. But no serious attempt has been made.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. NBKing

      Dude, go to your local thrift store and get ’em for $5, or look on Craigslist for the same price, or often free.

      Whenever you see a moving truck at a house, go up and ask the owners if they have things they dont’ want to pay to have hauled across country. We have furnished a garage conversion into an apartment with wonderful things that way for free.

      There is so much used stuff being sold or given away out there that no one in their right mind pays full retail, plus sales tax!

  1. flora

    As far as sacrifice goes, the US pols and Wall St have sacrificed the living standards and wealth of the middle and working classes for the last 30-40 years. At the same time they’ve heaped billions on the defense and banking industries and on wars that go nowhere. Wars are of course one the the biggest carbon emitting activities. At the same time they want me to buy an EV (I can’t afford) and give up my gas stove an buy a new electric (I also can’t afford) to ‘save the planet’, they’re happy to bomb and fly high jets and sail ships to their latest war emitting gawd knows how much CO2. Then there’s the enormous difference in carbon footprint between the wealthiest 1% and everyone else. But they say it’s OK because they can buy carbon offsets. Color me unimpressed and unconvinced. It’s always I and my cohorts who must give up stuff, not the people pushing these ideas. It really has become a class thing at this point. Hey, maybe the gilets Jaunes or yellow vests will have a resurgence. / end rant

    1. timbers

      If Biden or anyone in Congress were serious about reducing carbon emissions, he’d veto military aid to Ukraine and Isreal and any annual military budget exceeding $50 billion/year, ban private jets and yachts, and tax billionaires out of existence.

    2. NYMutza

      I agree with you 100%. This sentiment is likely broad based as it should be. The world is going to hell, so why should any of us sacrifice trying to save a lost cause.

      1. i just don't like the gravy

        Exactly. Those who are aware of the severity of the situation know the futility in trying to do anything.

        It’s all about stripping the copper wire out — putting your O2 mask on before helping others as the aircraft hurdles towards Terra.

        The irony is this mad dash to save oneself is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. Alas, selfish & stupid chimp brains persist in H. sapiens.

    3. OnceWere

      And that’s why i think the only possible way to get mass buy-in from the general public is to give every citizen an equal carbon share irrespective of income and social class – war-time ration card style. Make the rations tradeable and Joe Billionaire could still enjoy his profligate lifestyle to a certain extent but only by paying 100 Joe Bicycles or Joe One-Rooms for their unused rations.

      1. flora

        Thanks. That made me laugh out loud. “paying 100 Joe Bicycles or Joe One-Rooms”. That’s hilarious. Folks like Warren Buffet or Bezos are really gonna feel the pinch there with that one. LOL. / ;)

        an aside: I’ve been working for environmental cleanup for decades, invested in local wind and water electrical generation, but the current ideas from the so-called great and good look like a money vacuuming scheme to me, vacuuming money from Main Street to Wall Street. Carbon offsets looks like selling indulgences a la the old church, available only to the wealthy. / my 2 cents

            1. flora

              adding and adding, the 1-2 second clip of a young, pony tailed woman riding a horse is of course not me, but it could have been me back in the day, as they say.

    4. Asdf

      Meanwhile Greta Thurnburg & Leonardo DiCaprio are protesting copper mining which to me indicates they aren’t actually serious about electrification

    5. NDAlgo

      The car companies have EVs not because they care about the environment, that should be obvious. Rather what better way to sell an entire world a whole lot of new cars as the current fleet of ICE is lasting a whole lot longer than ideal for maximizing profit. Even basic analysis reveals that replacing every ICE car with an EV does little to move the needle in terms of CO^2 emissions. Public transit, 15 minute cities, pop density, local agriculture, telework, and other concepts are far better at dealing with CO^2 than cities clogged with Teslas..

  2. TomDority

    I guess the dams and electric grid, highways, interstates in the country was something no-one wanted to pay for but, I guess everybody wants to pay for endless wars and military – everyone wants to pay for destruction and everyone wants to pay the high costs of financializm’s imposed overheads and rent payments.
    Of course, wall streets mouthpiece would come up with this view.

    1. ISL

      actually, what you say would apply in a democracy. In an oligarchy or kleptocracy, or a system where the public desires have no statistically significant impact on spending or laws, its what the 0.0001% want the rest to pay for for their benefit. And since they are planning to relocate to New Zealand, or card carrying members of the church of prosperity….

      Talk and talk and talk, and actions that only enrich a few while not making any impact on whatever the problem is.

  3. Max


    I hope this link posted properly; this is my first attempt to comment in NC after being a reader (and (fan) for many years…

    Some quotes
    * ‘Another concern for the Windsor Central School District is the obsolescence period.
    “It’s predicted that they’ll have a lifespan of five to eight years,” said Beattie. ‘

    * ““Look at our current transportation facility, even the lifts potentially aren’t strong enough to lift the new buses “…

    But here is the most, shall we say, interesting one:
    * “Earlier this year, the Marathon Central School District received a $1 million grant for three electric buses, but after the community resoundingly voted against the purchase the district was forced to give back the funding.
    Van Fossen said he’s curious if voter approval can be waived, as these purchases are mandated by New York State. “We have traditionally had our voters approve our bus purchases,” said Van Fossen. “If that becomes an issue where voters are not supporting our purchases, and they happen to be electric buses, that’s a situation that has to be rectified because, at this point as a mandate, we can’t choose to not follow it.”

    I trust readers of this blog will understand what is really being said (and implied) here

    1. Reply

      There are many cautionary tales from the Biden GND experiment. One is how easily his policies were enacted without much forethought as to consequences. There was much sloganeering and precious little analysis showing specifically how people would adapt, let alone afford to. If anything, questions were seen as disloyalty, and evidence of insufficient enthusiasm, marking those for marginalization. Re-education programs ooze naturally from that mindset.

      Maybe next time, don’t jerk the steering wheel hard and slam on the brakes without realizing that passengers, pedestrians, pets and everyone else is impacted in unforeseen, underappreciated ways.

      1. Asdf

        If the GND promises were fulfilled, would require mining more copper in the next 20 years or so than was mined through all of history up through today. Obviously most of those deposits haven’t even been discovered let alone put into production (you would need to find another 8 or 9 deposits the size of Pebble or Resolution). The GND is utter snake oil promising if we all just buy a Tesla and say nice things about the environment it’ll all work out

      2. notabanker

        Biden’s GND experiment was just that, an experiment. It can all be undone with the stroke of a pen and likely will be in January 2025. This was nothing but a boondoggle for campaign finance interests with gaslight talking points for the imbecile voters. Let’s get real here, gas stoves are probably number 103,235 on the top 1000 list of climate priorities.

    2. upstater

      Electric school busses might work OK downstate, but certainly not here. The Adirondacks are even worse for this misguided idea. Our school district is pondering their high-cost solution. Why doesn’t Hochul decree that UPS, FedEx and Amazon electrify their fleets?

      1. jan

        I see Amazon electric delivery vans from Rivian (i think) driving around here in Houston Texas. They look nice, and quiet.

  4. Bill

    It very much looks like we have to let things crash and burn before we will try to come together as a community and invest in what could have been done more easily in the past or now but at this time freedom and individual rights [the American way] is more important.

    1. chris

      And even then… how many have beach houses? How many need to fly in jets regularly? How many people need multiple properties? Or large crypto mining operations?

      Why should any community come together to figure out the solution to problems that effect the wealthiest and cruelest members of the community? Or even better, the ones who claim they aren’t part of the community because those people are deplorable and should learn to code?

      It won’t hit us in the states in the way you’re suggesting until the global south is on the move and we have entire nations at our southern border. By then it will be too late. I don’t think Ozymandias solution in Watchmen would even work now. Until and unless we fix the caste like class system we’ve erected there will be no coming together to solve any problems. I’m surprised the underclass haven’t already revolted and made the police and the military sources of right wing aggression towards our idiot handlers.

      1. southern appalachian

        Don’t disagree but it’s not just about humans so in the face of all this we do what little we can.

      2. notabanker

        I have the tv on and Beachfront Bargains is on where people are paying $300K for a shoebox condo built 60 years ago on the beach in Florida and throwing another $50K into it on vinyl floors, quartz countertops and plastic furniture. All they need is to install an electric charger in the car lot and they’ll be all set.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>All they need is to install an electric charger in the car lot and they’ll be all set.

          Can I assume that those electric vehicles will be the Ford’s new model, the Floridian Minnow with the propeller and rudder? Are life jackets included? :-)

    2. Mitch

      Yes, the old story needs to die before a new one can take its place. Currently there is a severe lack of well-grounded stories floating about in the collective conscious of how to live in a world with less stuff and energy. The stories constantly sold to us through large media companies are nonsense, and we know it. I think that tends to harden people against considering more realistic possibilities as it is just more ‘greenwashing BS’.

  5. digi_owl

    That age old Paradox of Jevons is at the core of it all. New ways to generate power will not supplant old, only add to the overall pool and increase usage by driving down pr unit cost.

  6. Jason Boxman

    And then there’s the fact that the solutions necessary to mitigate climate disruption aren’t in the universe of solutions possible under neoliberal capitalism, or indeed any capitalism.

    Just one example: Every store in every city in every country in the world can’t ever again stock flavored bottles of water; it’s just not credible. Juice, soda, energy drinks, whatever. Gone. All Gone. Forever. This isn’t possibly sustainable.

    What’s Coke and Pepsi gonna say about that?

    Not. Gonna. Happen.

    Now multiply this across thousands of industries where serious bucks are made every day.

    (And all these people can’t eat now; that’s kind of a problem as well.)

    We’re all screwed.

    1. eg

      You’ll get resource wars of extermination before capitalists will give up a single dime by selling less sugar water.

  7. Candide

    Our nearly 200year old wood farmhouse didn’t get electricity til 1947 and water was lifted from a dug well and from a nearby spring. Knowing a large family lived here with scant carbon footprint has helped us be careful with energy use. Electric bill following last spring’s heat pump installation with two portions of the house served is saving us significantly after using a window air conditioner in the summer for 20 years. All this is to say the latest generations of heat pumps has delivered immediately readable savings for us and we hope the overall pathetic condition of US energy is being nudged out of its squalor by individual examples that can be emulated. BTW, a weekly local (usually live) 10 AM Wednesday program called the Home Power Hour is accessible online from wcomfm in Carrboro NC. Zany at times, lighthearted and full of info, its two hosts have broadcast for around 17 years, affirming initiative and benefits of plummeting costs for elements of energy transition.

    1. Candide

      That said, it will take a vast uprising to get real about the overall challenge.

      The censorship of media and social media stand in remarkable contrast
      with the efforts in this and other independent media to seek responsible
      strategies. And so we persist.

  8. Synoia

    Yes, decorating the streets with charging stations looks very unappealing, for at least 2 reasons: (More reasons should are welcome)

    1. Initial cost and payback
    2 Maintenance and theft

    1. chris

      3. American A$$holes

      How about the problem of jerks? Can you imagine those charging stations if they were free to use? People would queue up to park in those spots and if they couldn’t get them they’d just unplug the car when the owner left. The behavior wouldn’t improve much if the charging stations were pay for use. People would steal the connection, or even the power feeder, and then what? We can’t keep parking meters or street lights in good condition. We’re supposed do better with charging stations? And what about those towns that are out west and hundreds of miles apart? We going to tell people they can’t drive that far anymore?

    1. ISL

      sorry, its significant, but not that significant.

      From the linked page:

      f it were a country, the DoD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).[1]

  9. NYMutza

    I’m of the view that despite little effective action being taken to address the climate crisis and other urgent matters, most people think that we will find a way to muddle through and things will work out in the end. Wishful thinking runs deep in our society.

  10. EDS

    To paraphrase several speakers I’ve heard recently: none of the efforts matter if you consider that something like 3billion people in the world are in 3rd world poverty and they are struggling (and burning all the fossil fuels and carbon emitting things they can find) to try to raise themselves to 2nd – or, heaven forbid, 1st – world status. That’s 10 more United States worth of people that want cars, and central ac (heat in some cases).

    Asking the citizens of first world nations to drag their standards of living down to counteract the effects of other nations pulling themselves up is a total and complete non-starter. Anyone who thinks otherwise is completely delusional. Nothing will be done because, realistically, nothing CAN be done except for minor change at the margins.

    We had all best just comfortable with the idea that the earth is going to get 2-3 degrees hotter over the next 100 years (perhaps 50, who knows?) and that no change will come about until the catastrophes are so massive that there is no way to stop a revolution by the masses demanding changes. Tangentially: I would argue that discouraging people from smoking has done a massive disservice to the environment. Lifespans need to be kept shorter, not lengthened.

    1. Felix_47

      Every baby born increases the mother’s lifetime CO2 production by 50 times. The Population Bomb had the idea but the timing was off. If we can colonize outer space we might be OK.

      1. Crandall

        That makes no sense whatsoever. Think about it. Why does anyone have a 50x carbon footprint of anyone else? Are they giving birth to little baby billionaires?

  11. Susan the other

    We need to repurpose the military. Let’s kill several birds. The first birds to go are the congressional dodos that block social and environmental spending and let’s do this by using the military. If the military is doing the spending for the sake of defense then any amount of money is procured. And by changing the concept of defense to make it mean something like extinction defense, the new budget bird we allow will be the phoenix of generosity, no? And if we keep the organization of the military intact, if we do not dismantle it, we maintain the mechanism we need to transition into a new economy which reduces, reuses, recycles reclaims and rescues the environment. And we will need to stick with this mandate for a very long time so it will create stability, both environmental and economical. Value will be based on good ecology which should control all the fantasy profit ponzi we have devolved into. Open season asap.

    1. Susan the other

      A little martial law could be very constructive. We’ll all stop squabbling and get serious.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I hope you are not serious about martial law. How far is the u.s. from martial law now considering the way our police, local and national, operate now? In the past, the military has been home to people who ran the fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo. Today we have military people helping to perpetrate ‘cleansing’ Gaza.

        1. Susan the other

          I am serious but only because we’ve got a five alarm fire on our hands and we have no way to incentivize people to pitch in.

  12. turtle

    I’ve thought for a while now that our collective inaction in the face of the climate disaster that is currently unfolding amounts to the largest, most intractable collective action problem that humanity has ever faced.

    At every level of human organization, everyone asks the same question flora expressed in a comment above (not picking on them particularly because I essentially do the same thing). To paraphrase into a more generalized form: why should I/we be the one(s) to bear the costs or burdens of addressing this issue if the others (individuals, organizations, leaders of every stripe, entire sectors of the the economy and of society, nations) aren’t being made to do the same?

    I just do not see any viable answer to this, because no one has the power to successfully force the end of capitalism worldwide and move us to a sustainable, cooperative, low energy and resource consumption model in the time frame that is called for. I think we’re cooked, very possibly meaning billions, not millions of people dying over the next few decades from various related causes: heat, drought, famine, war, complete chaos. I’ve seen predictions that humanity will be reduced to under 1 billion people by the end of this century, if I recall correctly.

    I want to go along with the (realist) optimists who say that every little bit helps, every fraction of a degree will make a difference, but it’s difficult to get past the feeling of impending apocalypse. My only hope is that the pain of the disaster will get to such a level that it will cause everyone to organically choose the better model I mentioned above. Still, a lot of people will die anyway, and it may all be too late due to processes having been set in motion decades ago that we just won’t be able to control regardless of what we do.

    I discovered a while ago that there is this entire climate doom acceptance movement. I need to look at that more closely and start learning.

    1. Googoogajoob

      I kinda wonder what type of people run in the acceptance crowd as I would concede that I’d fit the bill.

      I’m open to the idea of taking real action but I can’t consolidate the issue in head when it runs up against political and structural issues. Ive seen this as well as a matter of power dynamics – I have no doubt that our masters of the universe believe in climate change and it’s effects but my observation has been that the actions they want to take amounts:

      a) how can we profit off this transition?

      b) how can we hand the bag off to the avg citizen?

      and most importantly

      c) how can we retain our power, influence and wealth without needing to sacrifice anything?

      That’s why I think these initiatives often lack credibilty to the public and serves to undermine the bigger picture.

      So as far as I see, this system has the pedal welded to the floor and is headed for the wall. Maybe Ill be fortunate to give up the ghost before it becomes all too real but knowing my luck it’ll come in my elder years.

      1. turtle

        Yes, the political and structural issues would be major obstacles.

        I think there’s a good amount of a) and b) that goes on, but I think c) is probably a bigger factor, although I would maybe put it a slightly different way:

        They are just as lost as we are, wondering how they can do anything if them making the first move will lead to their political, business, foreign, or whatever adversary eating their lunch.

    2. flora

      Well gosh, that sounds like the erstwhile Deagel script. Yet, imo, it ain’t necessarily so, as the old song went. You’d be surprised how resilient those in the flyover states and in the wider world areas are. Maybe because we hoisted a finger or two to Deagel’s and Wall Street’s predictions and just got on with things. / ;)

      1. turtle

        Forgive me, I’m not familiar with Degel. Any summary or links you can provide?

        Oh, I wouldn’t be too surprised. I think in general, people who fend for themselves with less luxuries and fragile systems already, especially in isolated areas, may be better prepared to deal with what’s coming, barring major environmental collapse even in their areas (which will probably come too, eventually).

          1. turtle

            I see, thanks. I found a very quick summary of it: https://eightify.app/summary/world-affairs/2025-deagel-forecast-shocking-war-population-reduction-and-collapse

            I was more referring to the kind of thing described at the following article, which has mostly to do with climate change. Nothing about CRISPR, nuclear war, etc. The war I was referring to would be wars for resources due to effects of catastrophic climate change.


    3. dave -- just dave

      Nate Hagens has posted a long, multitopic interview with Jeremy Grantham of GMO

      “Pollution, Population & Purpose”

      Grantham, looking back at his early life during WWII and how different things were then, expresses confidence that people can adapt to major changes in their way of life WHEN THEY MUST. “It’s the race of our lives, but we do have a chance of making it.”

      Time will tell. One never knows when something surprising might happen.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Grantham also said, when asked Hagens’s standard question at the end about what would you do if you had a magic wand:

        Reduce the population to 1 billion.

        Another reminder of how our billionaire philanthropists really think.

    4. elviejito

      “Breaking Together”, Jem Bendell. A Dense read but worth plowing through. The book is available free/to download if you go to his website.

  13. Craig Dempsey

    It is no surprise that wind and solar development is slipping, and probably the same reason applies to the higher initial cost of electric vehicles. The Fed has shot interest rates up through the roof, with considerable damage to numerous parts of the economy. See, for instance, this article from Time Magazine. Building anything is much more expensive, so old industries are rewarded for their built infrastructure, while new development of all types is penalized. This is just one more reason why the Fed’s misdiagnosis of the cause of the inflation has been a disaster. Meanwhile, the cost of increasing global warming is rapidly rising, so something is going to have to give soon.

  14. ChrisPacific

    This sorry outcome is in no small measure the result of not making the dangers of climate change tangible and visceral enough to most people, and conveying the impression that the green transition would be rainbows and unicorns. That is not to say it would have been easy to get broad social support for concerted action. But no serious attempt has been made.

    I keep coming back to this. Contrary to what the Green New Deal suggests, we can’t rely on markets to get us out of this (this is the point the WSJ is making, in its own blinkered way). That means we need strong government action. That can’t happen without the support of voters, at least in a democracy, or the government will find itself no longer the government before too long. And the support of the voters depends on them understanding the necessity of making hard choices. Anything that hampers that is hobbling us before we even begin.

  15. John

    Public goods demand public financing. If you want it, raise taxes. How about a “Net-Zero” surcharge on all taxes … no exceptions … I say again NO EXCEPTIONS … let’s see who is serious about green energy or net zero by whatever name you want to call it.
    I can already hear the screams.

    I have said over and over there will no serious attempt to slow, much less halt, our collective dive into whatever the changing climate has in store for us, until there is a mega-death catastrophe … may not even then.

  16. upstater

    Meanwhile, airlines are getting SERIOUS!

    Airlines Race Toward a Future of Powering Their Jets With Corn

    Carriers want to replace jet fuel with ethanol to fight global warming. That would require lots of corn, and lots of water.

    The Biden administration could decide on its tax incentives for the industry as soon as December.

    “Mark my words, the next 20 years, farmers are going to provide 95 percent of all the sustainable airline fuel,” President Biden said in July.

    Always a grift… We’ve been mining topsoil and fossil water for SUV and monster pickup fuel for decades now. Why not airliners and business jets? This is sustainable?

  17. SocalJimObjects

    Wait, haven’t we also been told that a complete Green Transition is impossible, that there’s limited resources like metals given population size, etc?

    Reading some comments, it seems most people are resigned to very bad weather related outcomes, but I’ve read from multiple sources, including Gail Tveberg that cheap fossil fuels will run out in the next 30 40 years or so, If that happens, yes, 1.5 degrees of warming is probably still inevitable, but 3 is probably out of reach. Same outcome for most people though, mass death …. from hunger and diseases.

    Putting my tin foil hat on, the powers that be will not wait more than 10 years to initiate some kind of mass cleansing program. They will need all the fossil fuels, etc to fund the real transition to new sources of energy.

    1. c_heale

      Three degrees celsius is already baked in due to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The only question now is how many humans will survive.

    2. dave -- just dave

      In a recent Indonesian YouTube interview Steven Chu, physics Nobelist, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, expressed his confidence in large scale carbon dioxide removal as a way to get atmospheric CO2 levels down even after exceeding former climate limit goals. I wondered if he might not be too optimistic in a technofuturist way – but maybe he’s right.


      I didn’t watch the following, but they are recent and on the same general topic:



  18. Glen

    Strange, we’re told climate change is a humanity ending, world war level event, yet me and all the other little chubs around me are supposed to “fix it”.

    Yeah, I’m sure that’s how America won WW2 and created the American Empire – no government effort required at all! The WSJ just wrote a strongly worded article and the war was won!

    1. dave -- just dave

      An excellent point – a wholehearted global response will need to be the “moral equivalent of war” – cf. Jimmy Carter, 1977 – with its unfortunate acronym MEOW. Finally – and I hope to live to see the day, but realistically probably not – we will arrive at the point where There Is No Alternative to abandoning neoliberalism.

    2. Adam Eran

      Just as a point of reference, I’ve read that government took over 50% of the US economy in that gigantic public works project called “World War II.”

      As modest (and unrealistic) as is the Green New Deal, it would only consume 5% of the economy.

  19. David Mills

    Anyone discussing this without serious moves for #NuclearEnergy is deeply unserious. The impediment to better nuclear technology is twofold: the oil industry and the incumbent nuclear industry.

    Carbon taxes, caps, wallets, allowances, etal are unpopular because people KNOW that they will add to their imiseration.

Comments are closed.