Biden’s Carbon-Neutral Mandate Will Accomplish Nothing—Except Higher Taxes

December 15, 2021 Updated: December 20, 2021

Commentary

President Joe Biden’s latest executive order will require all federal government agencies to become carbon-neutral by 2050. The problem? Despite his administration’s constant clamor about climate change, even this unprecedented order won’t accomplish anything.

Except for higher taxes and higher energy costs, that is—just what we all wanted for Christmas.

According to the science to which climate activists constantly demand blind loyalty, Biden’s order is just empty virtue-signaling. In fact, even a full Green New Deal-style ban on fossil fuels nationwide would have next to no impact on global temperatures. If the United States eliminated all fossil fuels within this decade, average temperatures would be less than two-tenths of a degree lower in 2100—and that’s if historically inaccurate climate data models turned out to be trustworthy.

Biden’s climate clamor is much ado about nothing. And meanwhile, the state of humanity and our planet are better than ever before. Our resilience is improving, with climate-related deaths down 98 percent in the last century and declining even faster than deaths due to non-climate natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Our nation is leading the world in clean air and pollution control technology, helping us harness our natural resources more cleanly and efficiently than ever.

There’s work to be done, but when it comes to climate change, the news is profoundly good.

Though even the most draconian climate action would have no real environmental impact, Biden’s grandstanding will still have serious ramifications—and, in the midst of both severe inflation and a global energy crisis sending prices through the roof, you’d think the president would heed the financial implications of his actions.

Biden claims his “whole-of-government” approach to climate change “creates well-paying jobs, grows industries, and makes the country more economically competitive.” But the evidence from decades of climate policies in the United States and around the world suggests otherwise.

Biden’s mandate for net-zero procurement by 2050 will drive the cost of federal agencies’ operations sky-high. Not only are net-zero goods and services considerably more expensive, it’s also almost impossible to accurately determine because of the sheer complexity of supply chains. Should companies be held accountable for the emissions they directly produce? But what about those companies’ third-party partners and suppliers? Should companies that might offer better, cheaper products really be excluded from federal procurement because of emissions entirely outside their control?

Additionally, forcing more wind and solar power will contribute to higher electricity prices on the entire grid. There’s a reason costs inevitably rise and reliability deteriorates as more renewables are added to the grid. Because they’re intermittent and dependent on the weather, they require an ever-increasing amount of backup power to keep the lights on during dark nights and windless days. That backup power, naturally, comes from fossil fuels, which can be counted on to provide a steady stream of power and can be dialed up or down to align with demand.

While energy poverty is on the decline around the world, it’s still very prevalent even in wealthy countries such as the United States, where a third of households are energy burdened (pdf) and have difficulty paying their utility bills every month.

So, if we still need fossil fuels to provide reliable electricity, even as we pour more taxpayer money into wind and solar, and if the science suggests that American consumption of fossil fuels won’t cause a climate catastrophe after all, what’s all the hubbub for? Wouldn’t it benefit the American people far more to embrace the power of American-made oil, natural gas, and clean coal to power the nation, reduce costs, and promote prosperity both here and abroad?

It makes sense that the Biden administration would want to distract from the crippling inflation spreading across the country, especially during the Christmas season, and even to claim that his climate policies would create new economic growth. However, these claims don’t align with reality.

We’ll all be net-zero when we’re dead and gone—but until then, affordable, reliable energy from fossil fuels remains critical to human flourishing.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Jason Isaac
The Honorable Jason Isaac is director of Life:Powered, a national initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation to raise America’s energy IQ. He previously served four terms in the Texas House of Representatives.