Are electric cars the new 'diesel scandal' waiting to happen?


Bjorn Lomborg

The $150 trillion challenge

Energy costs are climbing out of control. Though part of this is due to the world restarting after the pandemic as well as the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine, climate policies are increasingly driving prices up.

As countries move to net zero carbon emissions, costs will escalate much higher again. The Bank of America has found that achieving net zero will cost $150 trillion over 30 years, almost twice the combined annual GDP of every country on Earth. The annual cost of $5 trillion is more than all the world’s governments and households spend every year on education.

Research published in Nature finds that reducing emissions just 80% will cost the United States more than $2.1 trillion every year from 2050, or more than $5,000 per person, per year. The cost of achieving Biden’s promised 100% reductions will be far higher. To put this in context, the annual US cost of World War II is estimated at $1 trillion in today’s money. Every year by 2050, climate policy could cost Americans more than twice what they paid during the Second World War.

Similarly, a new McKinsey study finds that net zero will cost a family in the US close to $20,000 every year. We need a change of direction.

Read Lomborg's latest op-ed which is being syndicated around the globe. Already, publications include New York Post, The Australian, Jyllands-Posten (Denmark), Tempi (Italy), Milenio (Mexico), El Tiempo (Colombia), La Tercera (Chile) and Portfolio (Hungary).

Electric cars: miniscule climate impact at high cost

20 years ago, diesel cars were hailed as the greener option compared to gas-powered cars. Today, diesel is a dirty word and many countries penalize drivers with extra congestion charges and vehicle duty. Instead, we are being encouraged to switch to electric cars with eye-watering subsidies and the prospect of a ban of gas and diesel cars from 2030.

Yet, electric cars come with a lot of problems of their own. Crucially, they are not the climate savior that many campaigners want you to believe they are. The IEA estimates that if every nation achieves their ambitious targets on increasing electric car ownership, it will reduce CO2 emissions in this decade by 235 million tons. That, according to the UN Climate Panel’s standard model, will reduce global temperatures by about one ten-thousandth of a degree Celsius (0.0001c) by the end of the century.

Read Lomborg's feature article for Britain's Daily Mail.

Facebook censors inconvenient climate facts

We all share a legitimate interest in avoiding outright falsehoods, but much censorship today ultimately is about restricting discourse to a narrow corridor of the politically acceptable.

Lomborg writes in New York Post that by labeling inconvenient climate evidence ‘misinformation’, Facebook suppresses crucial information that could help us identify the best policies to reduce future heat and cold deaths while reining in global warming effectively--which surely should be the goal.

Tellingly, Facebook's censorship does very little against the enormous amount of claims from climate alarmists: activists can claim climate change effects are far worse than they really are, with little or no censorship. In other words: inconvenient facts get blocked, but convenient mistruths and exaggerations thrive.

An outside-the-box plan to fight climate change

In a new op-ed for China's largest newspaper in English language, China Daily, Lomborg discusses a potential backup plan for climate change called geoengineering. While he cautions that we shouldn't do this right now, he makes the case that we should certainly research it:
"Crucially, it is the only known approach that allows us to make dramatic cuts in global temperature at low cost. Research for Copenhagen Consensus shows that just $9 billion spent building 1,900 sea-water spraying boats could prevent all of the temperature increase projected in this century. This is a tantalizing possibility when we consider the $60 trillion in damages in the 21st century that would come from unmitigated global warming."

Energy security requires backup for wind and solar

In a new interview for British financial newspaper City A.M., Lomborg discusses which energy sources might be able to power the rest of the century and critically assesses popular climate promises. He points out:

"On current policy trends, mostly the rich world will deliver at high cost on some of its climate policies, which will reduce temperatures trivially. Sustained high and increasing energy costs makes the standard expensive climate policy unsustainable and robs it of its legitimacy. Politicians who promise yet more costs will eventually be booted from office."

Read the full interview here.

In an interview with the FOX Business channel, Lomborg was asked if Russian President Putin was benefitting from Europe's green agenda. He explained that because the EU doesn't want coal or fracking, and its biggest economy Germany decided to phase out nuclear power, Europe has become very dependent on Russian gas, because wind and solar cannot provide reliable energy around the clock.

'False Alarm' around the world

Bjorn Lomborg's bestselling book False Alarm* will soon be available in more than a dozen languages.

Recently published translations include Spanish and German (Germany's newspaper of record, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, concluded the book was "unorthodox, remarkable and superbly written"), and a Finnish translation will follow next month.

*As an Amazon Associate Copenhagen Consensus earns from qualifying purchases.

Lomborg on social media:

CO₂ and climate change make world greener

The amazing newspaper headline you never get to read

The most cost-effective solutions to make the world a better place

Global life expectancy has increased from 46 to 73 years within 7 decades

Droughts are decreasing

We're safer from climate disasters than ever before

More global articles and interviews:

Misguided climate panic ignores human ingenuity
Business Day (South Africa)

50 years of misguided climate panic
City AM (United Kingdom)

Neue Industrien braucht das Land
Beyond the Obvious podcast (Germany)

"Am Klimawandel beweist sich eine heroische Generation selbst"
Tichy's Einblick (Germany)

Einen kühlen Kopf bewahren
Schweizer Monat (Switzerland)

"No hay que asustar a los niños: el mundo no se va a acabar con el cambio climático"
El Espanol (Spain)

50 años de pánico no han resuelto el cambio climático
Milenio (Mexico)
El Universo (Ecuador)
La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador)
El Periodico (Guatemala)

Ayudar, pero con eficacia
El Pais (Uruguay)

Gwałtownie rosnące ceny energii to dopiero początek
Listy z naszego sadu (Poland)

Padesát let klimatické paniky. Proč už dávno nejsme mrtví?
Finmag (Czech Republic)

50 aastat eksitavat kliimapaanikat
Postimees (Estonia)

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to do good in the world and has repeatedly been named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 public intellectuals. 

He is the author of several best-selling books, Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and he has worked with many hundreds of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates.

Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Times of India and China Daily. His monthly columns are published in dozens of newspapers across all continents. 

The Copenhagen Consensus Center, was named Think Tank of the Year in International Affairs by Prospect Magazine. It has repeatedly been top-ranked by University of Pennsylvania in its global overview of think tanks.
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