In their effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Western governments have set aggressive deadlines. By 2030, the European Union wants a 55-percent reduction and the Biden administration promises a 50-52-percent drop in net greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide.
The trouble is that fossil fuels and nuclear power currently provide 80 percent of the world’s energy needs and we are far from being on track to replace them.
Author Helen Raleigh grew up in Communist China. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, she likens the West’s green energy revolution to Mao Zedong’s “ruinous” Great Leap Forward which began in 1957. Mao sought China’s quick transformation from “an agricultural society to an industrial powerhouse.”
Ms. Raleigh points to Mao ‘s insistence that China surpass the U.K.’s steel output within a 15-year timeframe. “Each village had a production quota to meet,” she writes, “so everyone — including children and the elderly pitched in.” In villages across the country, people built small backyard furnaces and “melted down farming tools and cooking pots,” everything they could find to keep those furnaces burning. Bur their “efforts and resources were wasted” because the process produced only unusable “pig iron.”
Farmers’ desperate efforts to produce steel diverted them from meeting Mao’s unrealistic agricultural quotas. According to Ms. Raleigh, “local officials initially compelled farmers to experiment with ineffective and sometimes harmful techniques.” These tactics failed to increase yields and depleted the soil. Local leaders lied to superiors, inflating production numbers. This resulted in the state requiring villages to sell more than they could spare. The vicious cycle that ensued brought famine — from 1959 to 1961, 30 to 40 million Chinese died from hunger.
Although they operate in democracies, today’s green revolutionaries ignore basic economics and also employ government coercion in their quest to replace fossil fuels with renewables without the necessary infrastructure or reliability.
Helen Raleigh warns against this “Green Leap Forward” which “has set humanity on a fast track to another man-made catastrophe.”