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Between the Devil and the Green New Deal

By: 
JASPER BERNES

We cannot legislate and spend our way out of catastrophic global warming.

...nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper. The renewable-energy supply chain is a complicated hopscotch around the periodic table and around the world. To make a high-capacity solar panel, one might need copper (atomic number 29) from Chile, indium (49) from Australia, gallium (31) from China, and selenium (34) from Germany. Many of the most efficient, direct-drive wind turbines require a couple pounds of the rare-earth metal neodymium, and there’s 140 pounds of lithium in each Tesla.  Energy is never “clean,”

...the Green New Deal has to generate growth and reduce emissions. The problem is that growth and emissions are, by almost every measure, profoundly correlated.

Given current technology, there is no possibility to continue using more energy per person, more land per person, more more per person.