Politicians and environmentalists concerned about global warming are pushing policies to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector. It’s too bad they are pushing costly green energy technologies.
ExxonMobil’s annual energy report shows just how expensive it is to use green energy to cut CO2 emissions. Replacing coal power, for example, with wind or solar energy costs upwards of $100 and $200, respectively, per ton of CO2 reduced. That’s much more expensive than replacing coal with natural gas or simply improving vehicle engine efficiency.
Pushing electric cars, however, is the most expensive way to reduce CO2 emissions, costing $800 per ton, according to Exxon.
Skeptics can just look at what the market is doing. Wind, solar and other green energy technologies still need billions in government subsidies every year to be competitive with conventional energy sources.
In fact, the main source of energy displacing coal (which is being hampered by low demand and onerous federal regulations) is natural gas. Utilities switching from burning coal to natural gas for electricity has been the main driver behind falling U.S. CO2 emissions in the past few years.
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