HomeBudget & Tax NewsBetsy McCaughey: The Zero Carbon Flimflam

Betsy McCaughey: The Zero Carbon Flimflam

When politicians go green, vowing zero carbon, the public should see red.

We all want to protect the environment. But lefty pols are making reckless promises to “transition” entirely to renewables — wind and solar — within a few years. Never mind that Joe Public will get clobbered with huge electric bills, blackouts, unaffordable car prices and layoffs in many industries. Getting to green nirvana on the Left’s timetable will be hell for ordinary people.

Some 10 million New Yorkers who rely on Con Edison for their electricity were warned last week that their electric bills are going up 9% next month and could double by 2025. A $70 bill will surge to over $140. Ouch. That could keep you from turning on your air conditioner or clothes dryer.

You can thank the state’s Democrats, including former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Kathy Hochul, who are pledging to make Con Ed 100% carbon-free and nuclear-free as well. The ruinously expensive transition has to be paid for by Con Ed’s consumers. That’s where much of the $11 billion in rate hike money is going.

Worse, expect more rate increases and blackouts ahead because, in New York, wind and solar will fail to produce enough power to meet the public’s needs, according to energy expert Daniel Turner of nonprofit Power the Future. When supply falls short of demand, prices rise.

Energy titan Harold Hamm explains in his eye-opening must-read book “Game Changer,” “I’m not against renewables. I am against dismantling the current system for another system that doesn’t exist yet.” Hamm, founder and chairman of petroleum company Continental Resources, explains that “net zero” has become one of the Left’s favorite mantras. But “it has zero chance of working.”

The costly mistake New York is making is being repeated in other states. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a government-certified standard-setting group, cautions that around the country fossil fuels are being removed from electric grids too fast to meet electrical needs.

The Electric Power Research Institute, an industry group, reports that technology does not yet exist to produce an adequate, dependable supply of electricity without carbon.
Biden’s climate ambassador John Kerry is being pilloried by the Left for admitting that “50% of the reductions we have to make to get to net-zero … are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have.”

Politicians cavalierly push for net-zero, ignoring these facts.

The Pew Research Center finds that two-thirds of Americans want a mix of energy sources, while fewer than one-third think “getting the U.S. to net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible” is important.

Like New York Dems, President Joe Biden is ignoring the commonsense majority. He vows to end fossil fuel production and use. Last week, Biden’s Department of Transportation floated radically increased fuel mileage standards, doubling them in less than a decade.

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg boasted new standards “means more money in Americans’ pockets” and more energy security for the entire nation. Wrong on both counts.

These extreme mileage standards will force automakers to switch to manufacturing primarily electric vehicles, depriving customers of choice and forcing cash-strapped buyers to settle for a clunker instead of a new car.

Electric vehicles cost about $53,000.

Biden’s romance with electric vehicles is a gift to China. It controls 85% of the metals needed to make EV batteries, according to Hamm.

China is also flooding Europe with cheap EVs, and they could capture 20% of the European EV market within the next few years. Hamm predicts the U.S. is next. No wonder the United Auto Workers are stalling endorsing Biden.

Citing heat waves and wildfires, New York Times alarmists warn against supporting a Republican for president in 2024. The Times claims Republican contenders reject “the scientific consensus” that the United States “must transition rapidly to renewable energy in order to limit the most catastrophic impacts.”

Sorry. There is no scientific consensus on moving to net zero. Industry experts show it would cause severe, self-inflicted hardships.

Next time you vote, size up each candidate’s energy IQ. Avoid the ideologues who don’t give a damn whether you can pay your electric bill, afford a new car or even keep your job. The environment can be protected without destroying America’s standard of living.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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For more public policy from The Heartland Institute.


  1. “Getting to green nirvana on the Left’s timetable will be hell for ordinary people.” Getting to green nirvana on ANY timetable will be hell for everyone.
    “The environment can be protected without destroying America’s standard of living.” How?, you say. By focusing on environmental pollutants (and we have made real progress there). Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a necessary component of our atmosphere and a source of life itself for all green plants which are the food basis for all animal and human life. Its current level is far below that which is regarded as optimum for plant growth. One of the founders of Greenpeace believes raised levels of CO2 in the atmosphere now may be key to preventing the demise of life on earth in the next ice age (and there will be one).


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