This excellent new graph from author Alex Epstein provides a telling look at one aspect of the climate debate that is usually completely overlooked, if not maliciously distorted:
the massive new money-making enterprise
that is the renewable energy supply chain
While alarmists and activists for years have been shouting ‘big oil’ and big gas’ and vested fossil fuel interests blah blah blah, the real ‘big’ players, including many from the big oil and gas crowds, have been moving into the ‘big materials and services for renewables’ space.
Just look at the highlighted area in the graph.
Those are all products, services and just general money printing endeavours for certain businesses, plus their ‘investor’ mates, including the banks and funds that are actively distorting markets to create better conditions for themselves and their financial products (think, well, basically all historic market crashes, ever, the most recent big one being the GFC built on the sub-prime finance debacle – who would have thought that ‘forcing’ markets to accept conditions they would not otherwise sign off on would eventually create problems – do we hear any wind farm advocates out there? Yeah, there’s nothing similar there, not at all…).
This includes a heap of government subsidies, including, as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) puts it, the supply-side support to renewables of around USD166 billion in 2017.
Is that not ‘big’ enough for alarmists and activists????
Are the massive amounts of raw materials (not to mention land use), input energy and labour hours required to build such solar and wind generators, as idyllic and utopian as they may be, to be ignored, accepted as collateral damage on the path to the perfect energy grid???
Like, “we can definitely have plentiful ‘renewable’ energy for all, everyone will benefit, it will be great…. We will just need trillions of tonnes of finite resources, on an ongoing basis, to deliver and maintain it…”
Noting that we, being strong supporters of the free market and capitalism, find nothing wrong with such ‘bigly-ness’ per se. If you have a good product, have plenty of skin in the game and aren’t asking for the taxpayer to bankroll the very foundations of your business, that is. Those in such positions, with actually good, useful products, please go ahead, research, develop, build and sell away, fill your boots….
We just ask that, at some point, we all acknowledge that such businesses (whether bankrolled by taxpayers or not) are themselves only in it for the money, for the power, to become big, and in no way any different to any other enterprise.
Furthermore, such businesses are, as shown in the graph, quite unsustainable, thanks to their massive footprints in terms of natural resources and land use, and extremely damaging to the environment.
As Gloria Estefan sang, “it cuts both ways…”
As a final note we would also like to point out that, as also shown in the graph below, most (well, relatively, compared to renewables) of the effort to find, develop and deliver fossil fuel-based energy converts directly to the final product, as in energy for humanity.
While there is of course wastage and significant amounts of materials involved, fossil fuel-based energy itself has a much smaller relative footprint, at least in terms of solid materials. Yes, life-giving plant foot CO2, the odourless colourless gas that scares alarmists to death, is of course part of that footprint, but as we maintain and regularly show on this site, in an uncontrollable climate the more CO2 we have the better…
The latter is an entirely other debate, but either way, even if you are one of those terrified by atmospheric CO2, we can all at least agree that it doesn’t take up any of our actual Earthly space – you know, the land and seas, the dirt and water we live on, can walk, run and swim through, build houses, boats and football stadiums on, use to grow food and raise cattle, etc. etc.
When it comes to that side of the equation, renewable energy and its big business backers are gobbling up millions and millions of hectares and hectolitres at a time, with no end in sight….
And that’s just a fact.