In Senate testimony on February 3, Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute warned that replacing oil and gas with renewables will make the United States vulnerable to other countries—but barely reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“While the U.S. is essentially self-sufficient today in net hydrocarbon use, it is an importer of alternative energy materials and machines. This means that replacing the former, which supply 80 percent of America’s energy, with the latter would replace a large share of the GDP with imports.”
Many of these imports will be mined. Mining is “inherently energy-intensive,” says Mills. “[T]he United States is today, and will be for the foreseeable future, a net importer of, either wind, solar and battery machines, or key components for them, or for most of the critical “energy minerals” needed to build them.
“[M]ining and processing of energy minerals, and the fabrication of energy machines, is inherently energy-intensive—and most of that energy use takes place offshore.”
“With China’s 60 percent coal-fired grid, this leads to supply-chain carbon dioxide emissions that are a significant share, even the entire share, of emissions eliminated by replacing a combustion engine in many parts of America.”
Advanced Li-Ion Battery image by Argonne National Laboratory is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.