New NPG Research Shows How Great Hopes for Renewable Energy Cutter CO2 Emissions will be Negated by U.S. Population Growth

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Bold Claims for Renewable Energy Simply Do Not Hold Up.

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Researcher Edwin S. Rubenstein demonstrates why “the bold claims made for renewable energy simply do not hold up in the real world.

Does the answer to winning the battle against climate change lie in turning over great swaths of land and coastal waters to massive solar and wind farms? According to a newly released study by Negative Population Growth (NPG) the answer is a definite “NO!”

In presenting that conclusion in his latest well-documented NPG Forum Paper, Renewables to the Rescue? The Myths, The Reality, And Why A Smaller U.S. Population Is Needed To Save the Planet, researcher Edwin S. Rubenstein demonstrates why “the bold claims made for renewable energy simply do not hold up in the real world.”

Rubenstein jumps into the current exchange of arguments among scientists and special interest groups over how our nation can best balance the rising demand for energy with the goal of reducing carbon emissions and forestalling global warming.

“If converting to renewable energy won’t save the biosphere, what can we do?” Rubenstein asks. He states: “The first step is to acknowledge the problem: there are no viable ‘supply-side’ solutions to energy-related CO2 emissions in sight at this time. Technological breakthroughs in the storage and transmission of wind and solar energy are always possible, of course, but even if that were to occur tomorrow, the case for a smaller U.S. population would still be overwhelming.” And he notes: “The U.S. emits more CO2 per capita than any industrialized nation in the world. Reducing the demand for energy via a reduction in U.S. population is a demand-side alternative whose time has come.”

In reviewing the role of biomass and hydroelectric power as the leading renewables in mid-20th century America, Rubenstein focuses on the sun and wind. He proclaims: “Solar and wind power are the great green hopes of renewable energy fans. It’s hard to find a more taken for granted, unquestioned assumption than that it will be possible to substitute these two sources for fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases, and still grow the economy. But objective analysis shows these assumptions are without merit.” He highlights that… “To avoid blackouts, every additional BTU of wind and solar capacity must be backed up by another BTU of conventional power. This means that coal, natural gas and even nuclear plants cannot be phased out. We have created a CO2 Catch 22, where a system touted as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions relies on coal and fossil fuel plants for backup – plants that emit even more CO2 when ‘peaking’ to replace sudden drops in renewable generation.”

Rubenstein makes a case for lower U.S immigration levels in the future by asserting that: “Over the long run population growth is the most important factor in CO2 emissions emanating from this country. Whether a new immigrant or a baby born to a U.S.-born mother, the number of children the new arrival chooses to have is far more important to 2100 climate than whether he or she recycles, bicycles to work, drives a hybrid vehicle, or sets the thermostat high or low.” He makes the case that “had immigrants remained in their home countries they would have still produced some CO2, but their output would have been far less. Immigration to the U.S. represents a large-scale transfer of population from countries with comparatively low per capita CO2 emissions to one of the highest per capita CO2 emitters in the world.”

In all, Rubenstein comes to the conclusion that: “Our growing population has overwhelmed improvements in energy efficiency and emissions abatement. Indeed, for most of our recent history, reductions in energy use per capita and per dollar of GDP have failed to offset the increased demand for energy brought on by population growth. Immigration is expected to account for 82% of U.S. population growth by 2050. Our immigration policy is, therefore, key to the global effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The war on global climate change starts at home.”

Founded in 1972, NPG is a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to educating the American public and political leaders regarding the damaging effects of population growth. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment. NPG advocates the adoption of its Proposed National Population Policy, with the goal of eventually stabilizing U.S. population at a sustainable level – far lower than today’s. We do not simply identify the problems – we propose solutions. For more information, visit our website at http://www.NPG.org, follow us on Facebook @NegativePopulationGrowth or follow us on Twitter @npg_org.

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Craig Lewis
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