Will The US Climate Bill Make Any Real Difference?

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By Paul Homewood

There has been a lot of hopelessly wishful thinking over the effects of the newly passed climate legislation in the US.

The US Senate has approved a sweeping $700bn (£577bn) economic package that includes major legislation on healthcare, tax and climate change.

The bill seeks to lower the cost of some medicines, increase corporate taxes and reduce carbon emissions.

The passing of the bill – a flagship part of President Joe Biden’s agenda – is a boost ahead of mid-term elections.

But it is a significantly scaled-back version of the $3.5tn package that was first proposed by his administration.

The bill also includes $369bn for climate action – the largest investment in the issue in US history.

Some households could receive up to $7,500 in tax credits to buy an electric car, or $4,000 for a used car. Billions will also be spent in an effort to speed up the production of clean technology such as solar panels and wind turbines.

There will also be $60bn given to communities that have suffered the most from fossil fuel pollution.

The authors of the bill say it will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.


First, a few basic observations:

  1. This bill has been massively slimmed down since the original proposals last year. The $368bn is spread over ten years, works out at less than 0.2% of GDP – in UK terms, that equates to about £2bn a year. This is chicken feed, given that we are already spending £12bn a year on renewable subsidies, on top of the billions more spent on EV and heat pump subsidies, grid upgrades, EV charging points and the rest of the green boondoggle – yet we are still nowhere near the emission cuts targeted.
  2. US federal expenditure is notorious for pork barrelling. The scope of this bill is extremely wide, and it is inevitable that tens of billons will be diverted, spent on bureaucracy or simply enrich green lobbyists.
  3. The BBC say “it will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030”, but the 40% is a cut to 2005 levels, not today’s. Currently CO2 emissions are already 20% below 2005’s, in large part because of the switch from coal to gas. Just to print such nonsense shows the BBC’s total delusion over decarbonisation – they clearly believe that it is something that is very easy and cheap to do.
  4. The bill focuses mainly on decarbonising the power sector and the roll out of EVs. However, in both cases it merely extends existing subsidy programmes, which have had limited effect. For instance, the $7500 EV subsidy is the same as already paid.
  5. What is done can be undone. It is highly likely that a future President and Congress will ratchet back on a lot of this stuff.

Now to the nitty gritty.

It is in the interest of the green lobby and Democrats to overstate cuts in emissions, as it diverts attention away from the true, horrifying costs of Net Zero. Historically, by far the most source of analysis of climate policies has been the Climate Action Tracker (CAT); they are not a sceptical group by any means, and are devoted to the green agenda.

They have not yet evaluated the new bill, but according to them, based on the “policies and actions” already in place prior to this bill, emissions are projected to decline only very slowly up to 2030, by about 5% from today’s levels. Bear in mind that these policies include all of Obama’s as well as Biden’s prior to this new bill. The 40% objective takes emissions down to 4461 MtCO2e, close to that Domestic Target, which means a cut of 30% from 2021 levels. It is wise to ask how Biden’s will achieve such a big reduction, when Obama’s own tenure managed so little in comparison:


According to CAT, this is how US emissions break down:


Power Sector

Despite the billions already shovelled into renewables, wind and solar still only supply 12% of US electricity. It must be remembered that even if wind and solar are cheaper per se than fossil fuels, regional grids simply cannot forget about their imperative to have security of supply.

Let’s suppose then that this figure could double by 2030, an extremely optimistic view, emissions from the power sector may drop by about 200 MtCO2e, which is 3% of total US emissions.


Currently less than 1% of the 250 million cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks on the road in the United States are electric, with plug ins accounting for about 3% of annual sales of 17 million.

As we know in the UK, EVs are utterly unsuitable for most drivers. And a subsidy of $7500 is pretty irrelevant when the purchase price is $20000 higher than petrol. It is difficult to see why EV sales are suddenly going to take off.

Let us suppose though that the annual sales double to 1 million a year, emissions from transport might only drop by 10% at most; probably a lot less as the sector also includes HGVs etc. That would work out at a cut of 170 MtCO2e.

Biden, by the way, thinks that half of all car sales will be electric by 2030! Delusionists like him need to ask themselves why the UK is banning all conventional cars, an action that would hardly be necessary if EVs were so popular.

And the rest?

I think you can already see the problem. So far we have only got savings of 370 MtCO2e, a cut of 6% from current levels. Not the 30% targeted by this bill.

And there is very little scope for substantial savings in the other sectors.

The bill budgets for heat pump subsidies, for instance. But, again, the lesson in the UK is that houseowners are simply not interested in heat pumps, even with subsidies of £5000 on offer.

Industry too has no financial incentive to decarbonise, and the farm lobby will resist any such impositions.

Climate Action Tracker project that current policies will reduce 2030 emissions by 5% from today’s levels. This new bill might increase that cut to 10%.

Finally I want to return to the comment I made earlier.

The BBC consistently underplay the costs of Net Zero. To them, it is really simple – wind and solar power are now “dirt cheap”, the public are eager to embrace “clean energy”, eat less meat and give up their SUVs. It is only the government which is holding us all back.

In the BBC’s world, the government has a bottomless purse to pay for all this.

In part, I believe, this is based on the naive green ideology, which most of the BBC are signed up members of.

In part too, it is a deliberate attempt to divert the public’s attention away from the truly terrifying costs involved, not to mention the whole pointlessness of it all.


AUGUST 13, 2022