There’s no “free lunch” when it comes to energy

The recent New Mexico Legislative session and numerous federal policy initiatives are designed for the supposed purpose of reducing CO2 emissions and thus saving the environment. While touted as good for the economy these policies have significant economic costs.

Unfortunately, while the US is already reducing CO2 emissions, China is most definitely not. In fact, even the New York Times recently covered this issue and noted that:

The country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions are 28 percent of the global total, roughly the same as the next three biggest emitters combined: the United States, the European Union and India.

Coal being loaded on to a cargo ship at a port in Jiangsu Province, China, in November. Industry groups say China needs to use large amounts of coal for electricity and industry for years to come.

Furthermore, while the push towards greater use of electric vehicles (not to mention use of batteries in electricity storage for the electrical grid) is a priority of the Biden Administration and New Mexico’s political leadership, that push will require more mining. As this Reuters article points out the push to electrification will require more permitting of mines.

Theoretically more mining could help New Mexico’s economy which has great potential for “rare earth minerals,” but the same environmentalists who are pushing for “clean” energy are also the first to object to new mining permits. How that tension is resolved is anybody’s guess, but so far it has meant simply exporting America’s hunt for minerals to poor nations with fewer restrictions.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation

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2 Replies to “There’s no “free lunch” when it comes to energy”

  1. I believe mining is important to the success of the remaking of the electrical grid. I can see the Chino mine from my living room. It is one of the largest copper mines in the world. Copper is vital to the new green electrical grid.

    I am concerned about the environment, but I also realize that we have to have the means of production in order to produce the new grid. Shifting the burden of environmental damage to poor people is unacceptable. Our mine is going now! Keep extracting copper from the existing source, as the Chino mine, then ASAP, retire the mine, and recover the land as best as possible.

    Same with the oil in the Permian Basin and other places, and coal. We will have to continue to use those nasty resources during the transition to green. As an example. It will take a lot of energy to process the copper ore from the Chino Mine in order to refine it into usable material for building solar panels, wind power generators, and electric cars. We simply do not have the capacity in green energy sources to process all that copper ore. That means we have no other choice but to burn some coal, or oil, in order to process the copper ore.

    We should have started the transition years ago, but political forces protecting the fossil fuels industry were strong. The tide is turning. Let’s not hobble the effort by being overzealous about environmentalism to a radical degree.

  2. More than70 percent of the world’s cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is only one of the toxic elements needed in the production of batteries. This in a country know as “heart of darkness “ a country deeply troubled. Child labor used for mining these elements. That electric car uses a big battery.

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