No gas furnaces? Are you insane? Apparently not. It seems it’s a movement. Cities and counties are banning gas for residential new construction. It’s being treated as an awesome, enlightened step forward for the planet.
Look at the positive. Getting rid of gas furnaces eliminates all of that nasty fossil fuel. Yes! Then we can have net zero emissions! By golly, it’s just like the zero emissions electric vehicles. There’s no carbon. It’s awesome!
Only a skeptic could question the truth in all of this, the actual environmental benefits. Only a skeptic would note that gas furnaces are super-efficient and low NOx. Of course, that’s not zero emissions. Super-efficient gas furnaces still emit some CO2. That’s bad. It’s very, very bad.
Never mind that the combustion turbines producing most of our peaking electricity have around a third of the efficiency of a residential gas furnace, not to mention transmission line losses. We are saving the planet, saving the polar bears, and saving our children’s futures!
So what if coal is still a significant part of the electric generation mix? That’s changing. We’re reducing our dependence on cheap energy by shutting down as many coal plants in a year as China builds in a week. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. We closed 15.1 gigawatts of coal generation in 2019. China added 28.8 gigawatts of coal power last year and has 247 gigawatts under development, according to a joint report by the U.S.-based Global Energy Monitor and Helsinki-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
While it’s true that Communist China may not have the greatest track record on the environment, they promise to do better someday, down the road, in the future, decades from now. And they always keep their promises. Ask Hong Kong.
Besides, the “decarbonization” of America gives our environmental glitterati an excuse to jet across the globe and preen at international conferences in exotic locations that are about to be swamped by rising oceans. This is more important than giving people a choice in how they heat their homes or cook their food. What is consumer choice compared to sea level changes? Sea level changes are concerning. They are so concerning, the environmental glitterati are being forced to sell their oceanfront homes. After all, they know stuff. We do not.
Barack Obama is one of the guys who knows stuff. He declared that “rising sea levels threaten every coastline” at the UN Climate Summit. But then, why did he buy a 7,000-square-foot oceanfront mansion on an island?
Bill Gates knows stuff. He wrote a bestselling book on solving the climate crisis. In a CBS Evening News interview, Gates stated, “As you put more CO2 in the atmosphere, it stays there for thousands and thousands of years, and it drives the temperature up and that makes those storms really bad. It destroys things like coral reefs. It causes wildfires. The sea levels go up.” But then, why did Gates buy a $43 million beachfront home?
In his Oscar-winning movie, Al Gore warned of a 20-foot rise in sea levels with simulations showing New York City and half of Florida underwater. While showing a simulation of New York flooding, Gore said, “This is what would happen to Manhattan. They can measure this precisely, just as the scientists could predict precisely how much water would breech the levy in New Orleans. The area where the World Trade Center Memorial is to be located would be under water.” They can measure it precisely? Yikes. That sounds really scary. But then, why did Gore buy a $9 million “ocean-view villa” in California?
Why are the people who know stuff buying beach property? Just what is the stuff these people know?
Maybe they know we are rapidly shifting to a new economy based on renewable energy from the sun and wind. It’s clean. It’s beautiful. There’s no downside. Well, other than the cost. Oh, and don’t forget the slaughtered raptors from the wind turbines. They also slaughter bats, but who likes bats? They’re icky.
Then there are the desert tortoises. Sure, they are cool looking, but they live in the Mohave. They’re a sacrifice we should all be willing to make for the solar fields that will likely underperform and fail completely in a few years.
It’s progress man! And 2020 was our most progressive year yet. After gazillions of dollars of subsidies and government-picked winners who went bankrupt, the Energy Information Administration proudly proclaimed that in the year of lockdowns and limited travel, renewables comprised 12% of the nation’s energy mix. See! Progress! Well, except for hydro. We don’t like hydro because, well, just because.
There’s also biomass, which is burning trees and stuff, like a scaled-up version of your wood pellet smoker. Since people don’t like to talk about burning wood, we’re supposed to say biomass. It sounds better.
Limited to wind and solar, renewables are around 4% of the energy mix with wind at 3% and solar at 1%, per the EIA. Decarbonization, here we come!
Don’t be skeptical! It’s not like the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. After all, only a few dozen people froze to death in the Texas snowmageddon. Texas, by the way, accounts for nearly a third of U.S. wind power. Just think how great it will be when the rest of the country becomes even more dependent on undependable wind than Texas!
Fortunately, we can keep homes warm without gas. Government can reduce freedom and eliminate consumer choice by mandating all-electric homes that are so well insulated that fewer people will be able to afford them. Now that’s real progress. Someone who can’t afford an obscenely priced starter home also can’t afford the obscene electric bills that come when temperatures fall so far below the balance point that the only heat is electric resistance.
Seriously, unless we start pushing back in our local communities, we will wake up and find our only option is to own an all-electric home heated by wind and solar. We will be told that we will be happy. Well, you may be happy until the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down. Then you’re going to hope and pray there’s a fossil fuel powered combustion turbine somewhere that can generate some electricity for your heat pump or resistance heat.