Solar panels are set up in the solar farm at the University of California, Merced, in Merced, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2022. (Nathan Frandino/Reuters)
It’s a good thing we have the Epoch Times as an alternative to the Los Angeles Times on California news, especially climate issues. The latter’s “climate columnist,” Sammy Roth, has been brewing climate alarmism in several recent articles of his “weekly Boiling Point newsletter,” as he calls it. The very title indicates his bias: that man-made “climate change” is boiling the earth.
Indeed, his latest newsletter
is headlined, “It’s 2024. Time to start acting like climate change actually matters.” It warns, “rising seas have forced us to consider pulling back from the coast.” Except President Barack Obama, another climate alarmist, in 2019 bought
a massive compound on Martha’s Vineyard right on the ocean in Massachusetts.
To find out what’s really going on in 2024, I talked to Ronald Stein
, whom I’ve known since 2017, when I was hired as then-state Sen. John Moorlach’s press secretary. Mr. Stein gave our staff a lot of great information on energy policy. He’s an engineer, energy policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, the author of “Clean Energy Exploitation” and other books, and the frequent source
for articles and interviews in this newspaper.
“The problem I have with Sammy Roth is he doesn’t know the difference between electricity and products,” Mr. Stein said. “He keeps talking about how wind and solar energy can solve our problems. But wind and solar only generate electricity. Our climate is changing. But if you get rid of crude oil, you’re going to get rid of a couple billion people.”
It’s a message Mr. Stein has advanced for years. But it became controversial a month ago at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Said
host Sultan Al Jaber, the conference president, “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5, unless you want to take the world back into caves.”
The “1.5” figure means limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade.
He was blasted
immediately by former President Al Gore, also at the summit, who said, “They are abusing the public’s trust by naming the CEO of one of the largest and least responsible oil companies in the world as head of the COP. He should not be taken seriously. He’s protecting his profits and placing them in a higher priority than the survival of the human civilization.”
Of course, Mr. Gore himself jets around the world attending these climate conferences. And the Daily Mail reported
he has run up personal profits of $330 million from “climate alarmism.”
Energy for the People
Mr. Stein emphasized it’s been the development of oil during the past 200 years that has allowed the global population to rise from 1 billion to 8 billion.
“It was all the products that became available from oil. There was no medical industry 200 years ago. There was no transportation industry 200 years ago. Tires didn’t exist 200 years ago. Washers, dryers, iPads, iPhones, washing machines, air conditioning, and all the other products are what made our population grow,” he said.
“Right now the population is surviving based on those thousands of products we get from oil and electricity.”
Mr. Stein said the climate, indeed, is changing. But it always has.
“We’ve gone through numerous ice ages. I’m all for getting rid of oil. But where’s the backup plan? There’s no backup plan. Today globally we have 50,000 commercial aircraft and 20,000 military aircraft. We’ve got 50,000 merchant ships. None of them is running on electricity made with wind and solar. All the parts for the aircraft, all the parts for the merchant ships and the cruise ships, all made from oil derivatives in manufacturing. Crude oil,” he said.
The private jets of Al Gore, Bill Gates, and the other wealthy environmentalists flying to these conferences also all are made from crude oil.
“Wind farms can’t make iPhones,” Mr. Stein continued. “They can’t make asphalt, cars, or planes.”
“Roth is focusing on building slowly to get rid of oil in California,” Mr. Stein said. “He’s doing a great job of that. California imports more oil than any other state in the country. That means California is a security risk. Do you remember the oil embargo of 50 years ago?”
Indeed I did remember it too well. I had just started driving and the cost of gas soared when I took girls on dates.
to Federal Reserve History, “On October 19, 1973, immediately following President Nixon’s request for Congress to make available $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel for the conflict known as the Yom Kippur War, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) instituted an oil embargo on the United States. The embargo ceased U.S. oil imports from participating OAPEC nations, and began a series of production cuts that altered the world price of oil. These cuts nearly quadrupled the price of oil from $2.90 a barrel before the embargo to $11.65 a barrel in January 1974.”
Mr. Stein said, “The Department of Energy was formed to make sure that didn’t happen again. That we didn’t depend on foreign oil. At the time, oil production in California and Alaska accounted for about 95 percent of this state’s oil needs.
“Well, today we’re the fourth-largest economy in the world, and all the governors before Newsom have been on a campaign to reduce in-state oil production. So today, instead of being 5 percent dependent on foreign oil, more than 60 percent of our oil demand comes from foreign countries.
“We have nine international airports here, three of the largest shipping ports in the country, and a lot of military bases. And that’s all being run by foreign oil. We’re a national security risk for the entire country.”
He pointed to the California Energy Commission’s website
for the breakdown of the foreign sources. Here is their chart:
(California Energy Commission/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Not a lot of stability there. The Associated Press reported
Jan. 4, “A U.S. airstrike on the headquarters of an Iran-backed militia in central Baghdad on Thursday killed a high-ranking militia commander, militia officials said.
“Thursday’s strike comes amid mounting regional tensions fueled by the Israel-Hamas war and fears that it could spill over into surrounding countries. It also coincides with a push by Iraqi officials for US-led coalition forces to leave the country.”
And Reuters reported
Jan. 8, “A top U.S. defense official will visit Guyana on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in the South American country said, as tensions between Guyana and neighboring Venezuela simmer in a border dispute over the oil-rich Esequibo region.”
Communist China’s Exploitation of Miners
Mr. Stein brought up something I’ve written
about in, “California Zero-Carbon Mandates Boost China’s Control of Cobalt.”
“We need to bring transparency to clean energy exploitations,” he said. “All the exotic minerals that go into the turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries are coming from developing countries. They have no environmental controls and no labor controls. The environmental degradation is atrocious. We’re destroying other countries so that we can ‘go green.’ Right now the foreign developing countries are paying for it, so the wealthy countries can feel good.”
He said communist China currently controls 90 percent of the crucial minerals used in green energy production. “Even the lithium and cobalt in Africa is under Chinese control. These heavy batteries for EVs weigh 1,000 lbs. and, if it wasn’t for China, you wouldn’t have it.”
He referred to his 2021 book
, “‘Clean’ Energy Exploitations: Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses that Support ‘Clean’ Energy,” written with Todd Royal. The book was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.
He also said China and India are building new coal power plants at a rate of one per day. Reuters reported
last Nov. 29, “More than 95 percent of the global coal plant capacity that began construction this year was in China, according to U.S. think tank Global Energy Monitor.”
So once again, as Mr. Stein said, it’s coal or oil that’s powering the manufacturing of “green” windmills, batteries, etc. sold to the gullible eco-Californians.
And of course, giving so much control over our energy future to Communist China is an immense security risk. If tensions rise over Taiwan—even if there’s no war—Beijing could cut off the spare parts to all those windmills and solar panels, or maybe even sabotage the software, shutting down a large part of California’s electricity production
Not Fast Enough?
Mr. Roth griped, “Even in California, a self-professed leader in fighting climate change, carbon emissions aren’t falling fast enough
to meet our goals.” He linked to an Aug. 25, 2023 L.A. Times editorial headlined
, “The 2022 heat wave killed 395 Californians. It shouldn’t have taken so long to find out.”
“I’m more concerned about the maintaining the 8 billion people,” Mr. Stein said. “If you get rid of crude oil without a backup plan to supply the electricity, you’re guaranteed to lose a couple billion people. We’ve basically eliminated the deaths about 90-plus percent because, if it’s hot, you turn on the air.”
Mr. Roth graduated
in 2014 with a bachelor of arts in sustainable development from Columbia University. So he was born around 1992. That means he doesn’t remember the days when even the middle-class didn’t have air conditioning.
I was born in 1955 in Detroit and grew up in a nearby suburb. In the sweltering “double 100” summers—100 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 percent humidity—we got daily reports of people dropping like flies throughout the metro area. My father was a district judge, but we didn’t get air conditioning until 1970. In 1964, we drove our new ’64 Chevy Impala out to California for our summer vacation with no A.C. My Mom passed out ice cubes taken from the previous night’s motel to us kids in the back seat. That’s how even the middle-class lived.
Michigan, of course, is also known for its frigid winters. Mr. Stein said, “If you’re in a cold climate, you need reliable electricity, continuous electricity. And you’re guaranteed not to get that from wind or from solar.” He also pointed out France has “made a 100 percent commitment to nuclear power.”
Indeed, Southeast Michigan largely is powered
by the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. Unfortunately, America’s nuclear power construction programs are now stalled.
While Mr. Roth is talking about a utopian future many decades off, Mr. Stein is talking reality today.
“With no backup plan to getting rid of oil, you’re talking about getting rid of the medical industry, the transportation industry, and the communications industry. Because all of those parts need electricity—everything. You’ve had 200 years to replace oil and with all the ingenuity you’ve unable to do that. Yes, I’m 100 percent in favor. Get rid of oil. But before I jump out of the airplane without a parachute, I’d like a back-up plan.”
Conclusion: Energy Realism Is Inevitable
Talking to Mr. Stein is like accidentally touching two live wires. It’s a jolt of reality. There is no eco-utopia just beyond the horizon. Electricity made by coal, oil, or natural gas will continue to be the major supply of products in the United States and elsewhere.
He said, “Right now, California imports more electricity than any other state. We import more electricity from adjoining states. Well, that’s fine. But if those states start needing their own power, well, they’re not going to have any available.”
When that reality dawns on the public, the current politicians will long be gone from office. The needs for the basics of life will remain the same after apocalyptic warnings of boiling oceans and a state aflame have not happened. The mandate for 100 percent new electric cars by 2035 will likely be repealed, along with other follies.
Reality, as always, has a way of intruding on delusions.