Articles Related to the Climate Act – May 2023

This post describes some articles I have noted recently that relate to the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (Climate Act) net-zero transition plans.  At the core of the Climate Act the key questions are is there a problem that warrants the complete conversion of our energy system and can the alternatives proposed replace the existing system affordably while maintaining current standards of reliability.  The articles referenced here address those questions.

I have been following the Climate Act since it was first proposed. I submitted comments on the Climate Act implementation plan and have written over 300 articles about New York’s net-zero transition. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.

Climate Act Background

The Climate Act established a New York “Net Zero” target (85% reduction and 15% offset of emissions) by 2050 and an interim 2030 target of a 40% reduction by 2030. The Climate Action Council is responsible for preparing the Scoping Plan that outlines how to “achieve the State’s bold clean energy and climate agenda.”  In brief, that plan is to electrify everything possible and power the electric gride with zero-emissions generating resources by 2040.  The Integration Analysis prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its consultants quantifies the impact of the electrification strategies.  That material was used to write a Draft Scoping Plan.  After a year-long review the Scoping Plan recommendations were finalized at the end of 2022.  In 2023 the Scoping Plan recommendations are supposed to be implemented through regulation and legislation.

Climate Change Problem

The rationale for the Climate Act is that there is a climate crisis.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations organization that assesses science related to climate change and the IPCC reports were referenced in the Scoping Plan.  In March the latest Synthesis Report describing the latest IPCC AR6 assessment was released.  Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL)  has published a new report entitled “The Frozen Climate Views of the IPCC: Analysis of the AR6”:

“The new Report provides an independent assessment of the most important parts of AR6. We document biases and errors in almost every chapter we reviewed. In some cases, of course, one can quibble endlessly about our criticism and how relevant it is for the overall ‘climate narrative’ of the IPCC. In some cases, though, we document such blatant cherry picking by the IPCC, that even ardent supporters of the IPCC should feel embarrassed.”

Judith Curry described this report in a recent post.  She describes the key issue:

The IPCC focuses on “dangerous anthropogenic climate change,” which leads to ignoring natural climate change, focusing on extreme emissions scenarios, and cherry picking the time periods and the literature to make climate change appear “dangerous.”

I recommend her post as a good overview of the flaws in the IPCC assessment.  I endorse Curry’s conclusion:

In any event, UN-driven climate policy has moved well past any moorings in climate science, even the relatively alarming version reported by the IPCC.  The insane policies and deadlines tied to greenhouse gas emissions are simply at odds with the reality of our understanding of climate change and the uncertainties, and with broader considerations of human well-being.

Proposed Solutions

I think one of the fundamental flaws associated with the Scoping Plan is the presumption that the raw materials necessary for the electrification proposed are readily available.  Furthermore, the “clean energy” and “zero emissions” descriptions in the Plan ignore the total life cycle impacts of those raw materials.  On April 26, 2026 Mark P. Mills, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, gave testimony before the Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing on: “Exposing the Environmental, Human Rights, and National Security Risks of the Biden Administration’s Rush to Green Policies”.  His testimony makes a strong case that New York’s presumptions are misplaced.

His introduction includes the following:

Permit me to begin by observing two indisputable facts about our future. First, economic growth is the fundamental driver of energy demand. And second, while periods of slow growth and recessions are inevitable in all societies, those periods always end. But any subsequent growth can be stifled if energy supplies are either unavailable or too expensive.

Energy supply itself is not as much a matter of finding resources as it is one of building machines, regardless of the natural resource used, whether sun, wind, water, oil, gas, coal, or uranium. Thus realities around machine-building determine costs and all the associated environmental, social, and geopolitical impacts.

We know a lot about those impacts—both the good and the bad—associated with energy machines that use hydrocarbons because we’ve been using those technologies at scale for a long time, and because that’s how 85 percent of U.S. and global energy is supplied. We’ve learned a lot less about impacts from wind, solar, and battery technologies because they’re relatively new and, so far, supply only a few percent of society’s overall energy.

 The Biden Administration has a stated policy goal to see America powered increasingly, eventually entirely by renewable energy. I should like to stipulate that the future will doubtless see far greater use of wind and solar technologies, and electric cars, if for no other reason than the sheer scale of future energy needs, and because developed countries are wealthy enough to pay higher costs.

However, there are many misconceptions about the realities of renewable energy technologies at scale, especially if the goal is to replace rather than supplement hydrocarbons. It begins with the core reality that renewables aren’t green. In fact, nor are renewable technologies inherently cheaper, nor more geopolitically secure.

That renewable energy isn’t green is a consequence of an unavoidable feature of wind and solar resources; they have very low energy density. That means, compared to using hydrocarbons, one must build machines that occupy roughly ten-times more of the earth’s surface to deliver the same amount of energy to society—whether it’s an hour of heat, or light, or computing time, or a mile of driving.

Essentially all life occupies the thin, surface interface of our planet, whether it’s land or water. One of humanity’s greatest achievements has been the radical reduction in the amount of that interface we use to deliver increasing quantities of food and fuel.

The inherent low-energy-density of renewables also means that far more machinery must be fabricated to deliver the same energy as now supplied by hydrocarbon machines. That in turn translates into a radical increase in global mining and minerals processing to supply all the critical materials needed to build renewable machinery.

Renewable plans proposed or underway will require from 400 percent to 8,000 percent more mining for dozens of minerals, from copper and nickel, to aluminum, graphite, and lithium. The IEA says the world will need hundreds of new mines, soon. Given regulatory realities, those won’t be here. Instead, most will be in emerging economies and most will be on or near the lands of indigenous people in areas that are culturally and ecologically valuable and fragile.

And given machine realities, the huge jump in mining required will increase energy use in that sector, thus offsetting a lot, in some cases all the CO2 emissions saved later by replacing hydrocarbons in powerplants and cars. Global mining today already accounts for 40 percent of worldwide industrial energy use, which is dominated by hydrocarbons, and will be for decades.

Mills makes similar arguments in a couple of videos available at PragerU.

Electric Vehicles

I also want to highlight a couple of articles about the electric vehicle mandates in New York and elsewhere.  Robert Bryce asked how can the conversion to electric vehicles possibly work out when Ford loses $66,446 per vehicle sold?  He argues that Ford can currently swallow the losses incurred by its electric vehicle sales but:

If a business isn’t profitable it isn’t sustainable. The history of electric vehicles goes back more than a century and that history is one of failure tailgating failure. In 1915, the Washington Post declared “Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.”  Today, 108 years later, Ford and other EV makers are still trying to make that prediction come true.

Timothy Nash described 25 reasons why Biden’s EV goals are economically and environmentally harmful.  One of the points he made was that thermal runaway issues with the battery packs are a problem. An industry insider told me recently that there is some talk about limiting vehicle range because battery over heating is more of a problem with the bigger batteries.  Given that range is a major concern that tradeoff is especially problematic.  The ultimate question is what is supposed to happen when people don’t buy the electric vehicles required by the government mandates.


The Climate Act is an example of an insane policy with unrealistic deadlines that is tied to the IPCC analyses.  In 2023 the Scoping Plan recommendations are supposed to be implemented.  The legislature is in session for another month or so and it will be interesting to see how things play out. The disconnect between reality and the aspirations of the Climate Act is still evident.  I hope that the issues described in these articles get addressed in the conversations.

Author: rogercaiazza

I am a meteorologist (BS and MS degrees), was certified as a consulting meteorologist and have worked in the air quality industry for over 40 years. I author two blogs. Environmental staff in any industry have to be pragmatic balancing risks and benefits and ( reflects that outlook. The second blog addresses the New York State Reforming the Energy Vision initiative ( Any of my comments on the web or posts on my blogs are my opinion only. In no way do they reflect the position of any of my past employers or any company I was associated with.

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