HomeBudget & Tax NewsMoore: 100% Green Energy Could Destroy the Planet

Moore: 100% Green Energy Could Destroy the Planet

The untold story about “green energy” is that it can’t possibly be scaled up to provide anywhere near the energy to replace fossil fuels. (Unless we are headed back to the stone ages, which is what some of the “de-growth” advocates favor).

Right now, the United States gets about 70% of its energy from fossil fuels. To go to zero over the next 20 years would be economically catastrophic and cost tens of millions of jobs. With gas prices at nearly double their price back from when Donald Trump left office and inflation up from 1.5% to 8% in just 15 months, we are already experiencing the economic damage from the green energy crusaders.

But we also have to ask whether green energy is even good for the environment. Some environmentalists are pointing to a little-noticed study by the World Bank showing that moving toward 100% solar, wind and electric battery energy would be just as destructive to the planet as fossil fuels. This was precisely the conclusion of a story in Foreign Policy magazine, hardly a right-wing publication.

According to the Foreign Policy analysis, moving to a “carbon-free” energy future “requires massive amounts of energy, not to mention the extraction of minerals and metals at great environmental and social costs.”

Here are some of the numbers. Going all-in on batteries, solar and wind would require:

  • 34 million metric tons of copper
  • 40 million tons of lead
  • 50 million tons of zinc
  • 162 million tons of aluminum
  • 4.8 billion tons of iron

Those tens of millions of windmills, solar panels and electric batteries for cars and trucks aren’t exactly biodegradable. So, we will have the most prominent energy graveyard with toxic pollutants that will be 100 times larger than any nuclear waste storage. And yet, the Left is worried about plastic straws!

I’m all for mining for America’s bountiful natural resources of copper, lead, magnesium and precious metals. But ironically, it’s the greens that want to shut down mines, which is like saying you want food, but you oppose farming. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Then, the land space is needed for the windmills and solar panels. Bloomberg reports that getting to zero carbon by 2050 would require a land area equal to five South Dakotas “to develop enough clean power to run all the electric vehicles, factories, and more.”

In other words, the liberals are calling for a full-scale industrialization of America’s wilderness and landscape.

Now, even many of the most liberal areas of the country are shouting “no” to green energy in their own backyard. Vermonters are rebelling against unsightly solar panels spoiling their views. According to the Bennington Banner, “Vermont’s utility regulator has rejected permits for two 2 MW solar farms proposed in Bennington, pointing to aesthetic concerns and current land conservation measures in the town plan.”

Meanwhile, a town in Wisconsin is suing state regulators to “stop construction” of what would be “the state’s largest solar project,” according to the Wisconsin Journal.

Even blue Massachusetts residents are fighting green energy projects. Off-shore wind farms are delayed off the coast of Cape Cod, where per capita income is nearly the highest in the country, because they don’t want their ocean views spoiled from their beachfront villas.

In other words, real nature lovers are finally starting to awaken to the reality that wind and solar aren’t so green after all. A nuclear plant takes up at most 1 square mile of land. Wind and solar farms require hundreds of thousands of acres. So, to provide enough electric power to keep Manhattan lit up at night would require paving over nearly the whole state of Connecticut with windmills and solar farms.

The public is starting to ask: How is any of this green? The Green New Deal strategy makes especially no sense given that by increasing our use of clean-burning and reliable natural gas, we are reducing energy prices AND cutting carbon emissions. Add nuclear power to the mix, and we wouldn’t need to start building wind and solar farms in our forests, deserts and national parks.

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at Freedom Works. He is also author of the new book: “Govzilla: How The Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.” To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore
A conservative political column written by Stephen Moore, an American economist and policy analyst.


  1. The challenge for both wind & solar is they are “dilute” energy sources. They rate poorly in both energy & power density. Robert Bryce had a nice article on power density in Forbes last week. Once you understand that you’d have to “blanket” an area twice the size of California just to provide enough wind power to charge our current grid, you realize the scale (and folly) of relying on “renewables” to replace conventional (thermal) generating sources. NOT going to happen. The sooner the public and enough politicians figure out this “scam.” the better. Combined cycle natural gas to modular nuclear to (eventually) fusion is the route to a clean domestic electricity grid. Anyone who claims differently is driven by ideology, NOT technology & requisite energy imperatives.

  2. I’ve actually read IPCC reports. The disconnect between the warnings about climate change and the proposed remedies are so stark that I stopped taking climate change seriously. Nuclear energy and carbon capture are summarily dismissed, while international coordination of taxation policies, transfers from citizens in developed countries to governments in LDCs, and new cultural paradigms like “buen vivir” are promoted. If the members of IPCC aren’t serious about greenhouse gasses, then neither am I.

    Being an outdoorsman, I like the idea of having minimal impact on wild spaces. Being a human being, I like the idea of promoting human life. Fossil fuels and nuclear energy promote both.

  3. I favor nuclear power production because God chose nuclear for the universe. Solar power IS nuclear power. Turning uranium into electricity for air conditioning will surely raise atmospheric temperature some amount. And the population increase from about 1.3 billion pre-industrial revolution to today’s almost 8 billion obviously has an effect, since we’re 98.6°F and the global atmosphere averages about 60°F. We’re all going to die!


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