President Joe Biden’s move to halt construction on the Keystone XL pipeline is a mistake, and will result in the loss of 11,000 jobs, many held by Americans.

If you support Biden’s decision to halt this gas pipeline, then please shut off your Natural Gas Meter if your electric company provides your home with such an amenity. No need to be a hypocrite.

Environmentalists are quick to judge American energy as “dirty,” yet they neglect to see that their electric cars and smart phones are created with cobalt that is mined by exploited Congolese children. The irony and hypocrisy is surreal.

I am reminded of when Biden said that Virginia coal miners should, “Learn to code.”

Renewable energy can’t power modern civilization because it was never meant to. No amount of marketing can change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear power plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells to produce the same amount of energy, according to articles and books written by journalist Michael Shellenberger.

Be more grounded and authentic than urbane cosmopolitan elites who fetishize their solar roofs and Teslas as signs of virtue.

Any transition to renewables is doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how romantic they are, do not want to return to pre-modern life.

Low energy costs are most important for the consumer, and can remain that way in their current state of converting fuel to electricity. Yes, that is how you get power into your house if you have a meter from the electricity company.

Zain Eisenberg

Boone

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(4) comments

thechaosaysmuuuu

Alright, there is A LOT of misinformation to cover here, I’m going to need to take it line-by-line, so here we go:

[“President Joe Biden’s move to halt construction on the Keystone XL pipeline is a mistake, and will result in the loss of 11,000 jobs, many held by Americans.”]

- Mostly False. 11,000 jobs? Yes, but you need to be specific. These are part-time job, not full-time jobs. These jobs are only available during the construction phase and are slated to disappear within ~18 months. Once the pipeline is complete, the Keystone XL will create only 50 full-time jobs. No that’s not a typo. It will create about as many jobs as an average large fast-food joint/restaurant. Know what the fastest growing industry in the US is? Solar. Know how many FULL-TIME jobs there are in clean energy in NC alone? ~113,000. Do you not care about job creation?

[“If you support Biden’s decision to halt this gas pipeline, then please shut off your Natural Gas Meter if your electric company provides your home with such an amenity. No need to be a hypocrite.”]

- First off, Keystone is not a gas pipeline, it’s an oil pipeline. It’s primarily for moving oil extracted from Albertan Tar Sands to refineries in the gulf, it is *not* for moving natural gas. It’s a way for Canadian extraction firms to use the US as a highway for shipping their crude tar sands oil to refineries so that they can export to other countries. Secondly, come off your high-horse. This is a non-argument, as Americans have consistently been given little-to no choice over our energy suppliers. In addition to this, you’re not even properly distinguishing between electric utilities and gas companies, they are not always one-in-the same. Finally, by your logic I would tell you to shut off your electricity. Afterall, you’re in NC, 10% of your electrons are coming from renewables! What a hypocrite!

[“Environmentalists are quick to judge American energy as “dirty,” yet they neglect to see that their electric cars and smart phones are created with cobalt that is mined by exploited Congolese children. The irony and hypocrisy is surreal.”]

-American energy *is* dirty. Period. This is a statement of fact, not an opinion. It is however, getting better with increased renewable additions happening every day! You’ve also created a false dichotomy here. Mining cobalt is not the same as tar sands extraction, not even close. Mining cobalt need not be done by children, it is an unfortunate and abhorrent reality, and one that should be fought (and is fought, by the way.) That said, the labor practices are on the company, not the process. Whereas there is no environmentally safe way to extract tar sands. Beyond that, there’s no need, as tar sands oil is completely incapable of being cost-competitive (or even breaking even financially!) when oil prices are below $60/barrel.

[“I am reminded of when Biden said that Virginia coal miners should, “Learn to code.””]

- OK. What does this have to do with anything in your initial “argument?” If you’re attempting to highlight that coal jobs are disappearing, you’d be right. But what does that have to do with the Keystone XL project? That said, do you know how many folks work in coal? I mean the entire industry. Less than 55,000. It’s a dying industry, not due to environmentalists, not due to environmental regulations, it’s due to two main things: mechanization and a movement away from human labor (like just about every industry will do given the chance) and the very resource that you’re on here celebrating (incorrectly, I will repeat, as it has nothing to do with the Keystone project): natural gas. Low natural gas prices have destroyed the coal industry. That said, many of the same skills used in coal are needed in renewables. Retraining coal miners to work in renewables is also pretty cheap. In fact, a 2016 study found that ALL US coal workers could be retrained to work in solar, and that coal company CEO pay alone is enough to foot the bill. What’s your solution?

[“Renewable energy can’t power modern civilization because it was never meant to. No amount of marketing can change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear power plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells to produce the same amount of energy, according to articles and books written by journalist Michael Shellenberger.”]

- You are aware that there are both US states, and entire countries (some of the world’s most powerful economies, too, I might add) that get most and in some cases ALL of their electricity via renewables, right? If we’re going to play the history game, might I also direct you to one of Edison’s famous quotes, as he’s arguably one of the key figures in developing our modern energy systems: “I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Why, too, am I’m I not surprised, that all these false and misleading claims are coming from yet another person taken in by Michael Shellenberger’s BS. He’s been bought and paid for by the nuclear industry through and through. Not that I’m opposed to nuclear, but Shellenberger has been called out time and time again for both false and misleading claims. He is NOT an energy expert, he’s a lobbyist. Land-use is also not the only issue here, it’s *impacts* on land. Tar sands extraction has destroyed huge swaths of Alberta. Solar panels on a roof are making use of unused space, offshore turbines of unused space, etc. According to NREL, the US could generate nearly 40% of ALL of our electricity from rooftop solar alone…

[“Be more grounded and authentic than urbane cosmopolitan elites who fetishize their solar roofs and Teslas as signs of virtue.”]

- Seriously? This is the level you’re going to sink to? Insults? I ain’t no cosmopolitan elite, but you better know I’ve got nearly all of my energy generated by the panels next to my barn, the same panels my chickens hang out under for shade and dust baths. I could have sworn that self-sufficiency was an admired trait in Appalachia, not kowtowing to large energy companies, but then maybe you’re not from around here…

[“Any transition to renewables is doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how romantic they are, do not want to return to pre-modern life.”]

- False. Mind explaining to me the “pre-modern” society that is Norway? A society that gets nearly 100% of their energy via renewables? How about Denmark? How about Costa Rica? Iceland? New Zealand? UK? Brasil? Germany? How about one of the top economies in the world, California, who currently get ~30% of their electricity from renewables? Need I go on? This is a completely false claim and a grave misunderstanding of renewable energy technology. In fact, beyond your misunderstandings of the tech, you apparently misunderstand what Americans want. According to a recent Pew poll, when asked what energy sources should be most promoted in the US, 79% of respondents said renewables. Only 20% argued for the expansion of oil & gas. If you want to read more, I’d recommend the excellent (and data-driven) book: “Cheap and Clean: How American’s Think About Energy.”

[“Low energy costs are most important for the consumer, and can remain that way in their current state of converting fuel to electricity. Yes, that is how you get power into your house if you have a meter from the electricity company.”]

- I’m going to come right out and say it: A technology-based energy system will ALWAYS outcompete a commodity-based energy system. Technologies improve, efficiencies increase, costs come down, this is the story not just for renewables but for basically every single technology ever invented: cell phones, personal computers, cars, rockets, satellites, TV’s, you name it. With renewables, the fuel is free, so the costs are tied to the technology. When you build an energy system that’s wholly dependent on commodities (finite resources in the case of coal/oil/gas), prices will ALWAYS go up as supply dwindles, as the price is tied not just to the technology, but also to a finite resource. This is simple elementary-school level economics. It’s no surprise then that the major players pushing for a transition to renewables are corporations! Profit is their bottom-line, and they see the writing on the wall, renewables are cheaper!

You’ve got a lot to learn, sir. Might I recommend taking advantage of the awesome programs AppState offers in renewable technologies?

Branch

Dang. I appreciate the careful breakdown, information, and sources. I always have a knee-jerk reaction to the old "they took our jeeeerbs" refrain -- especially when those jobs are temporary and so few in number -- but lacked the knowledge to put it into deeper context here.

Donald

You are absolutely correct. Shutting down our fossil fuel industry and jobs without phasing in an already growing renewable energy source is a terrible hit to our economy, health and prosperity of the American people. Unfortunately, too many wealthy investors, politicians, educators and misinformed citizens have made "human caused climate change" a replacement for our Creator (aka God) and an anti-establishment cause to promote their self worth, without considering common sense, cleaner and better renewable sources to replace fossil fuels. One is hydrogen engines powered by water (salt or fresh) which emits zero pollution and unlimited source (the exhaust is vapor that recycles as rain, etc) and nuclear power plants for our electricity. No body would want to drive a car or truck from NC to CA in an electric vehicle! It would take over a week or more during the Winter months. The problems you outlined with solar and wind sources are spot on!

thechaosaysmuuuu

[“You are absolutely correct. Shutting down our fossil fuel industry and jobs without phasing in an already growing renewable energy source is a terrible hit to our economy, health and prosperity of the American people.”]

-Economy? Maybe in the short-term, not the long-term. Health? Just the opposite considering the damages cause by dependency on fossil fuels and the host of negative health impacts associated with polluted air, water, soils, etc. Prosperity? Not at all. A resilient nation is a prosperous one, not one a nation built upon sand. By the way, we already have a growing RE industry, it emplys hundreds of thousands, and solar and wind both are at grid parity in over 40 US states (i.e. it’s cheaper and easier to install solar/wind than coal/gas.)

[“Unfortunately, too many wealthy investors, politicians, educators and misinformed citizens have made "human caused climate change" a replacement for our Creator (aka God) and an anti-establishment cause to promote their self worth, without considering common sense, cleaner and better renewable sources to replace fossil fuels.”]

-I’m going to ignore the God comment, because it has no place in a discussion around scientific issues.

[“One is hydrogen engines powered by water (salt or fresh) which emits zero pollution and unlimited source (the exhaust is vapor that recycles as rain, etc) and nuclear power plants for our electricity.’]

-There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Transitioning away from fossil fuels means using a host of different resources and technologies. You are correct to point out Hydrogen, as it will have an important role to play, especially in terms of energy storage. I know a lot of renewables folks like to hate on nuclear, I’m not one of them. Nuclear has a role to play, too, but it can’t be the outdated reactor technologies we’re currently using that create extremely long-lived radioactive wastes. There are better designs out there and we need to be investing in them. Beyond that, we would have to increase our current nuclear reactor fleet by over 5x in order to meet present day electricity demands. That would cost well over $1 trillion and would take decades, and it still locks us into a finite resource: Uranium. Again, I support nuclear, but this is 100% unrealistic.

[“No body would want to drive a car or truck from NC to CA in an electric vehicle! It would take over a week or more during the Winter months.”]

-And you were doing so well there for a moment, Donald. This is just simply an outright lie. See: https://mashable.com/article/electric-vehicle-charging-cross-country/ . With current charging infrastructure and fast-charging stations it’s absolutely doable in nearly the same time it takes an ICV. Also, tell that to the millions of EV-owners around the world!

[“ The problems you outlined with solar and wind sources are spot on!’]

-Except that no, they’re not. Not within the confines of this discussion. They are far from perfect, but if your only complaint is land-area, you’ve got a lot of work to do on bolstering your position.

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