Hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created as a member of Congress, I get to have a lot of really interesting people and experts on what they're talking about. This is the podcast for insights into the issues. China, bioterrorism, Medicare for all in depth discussions, breaking it down into simple terms. We we hold we hold these truths. We hold these truths with Dan Crenshaw. Welcome back, folks.
A special episode today, shorter one where I'm going to start posting some of the hearings that we do give you an idea of what that five minutes of fame is like. You only get five minutes to question witnesses when they come in on any given subject. And so what I'll use these little episodes for is will go ahead and play the hearing and then I'll I'll add some additional explanations on top of that. And just to give you an idea of what we're talking about, why we disagree, where we disagree and where to go from here.
So this particular hearing was on the Clean Future Act.
So this is the Democrats, I would say, legislative agenda to implement the principles of the Green New Deal. But there's a lot of problems with it. I lay out some of them in this particular hearing to have a listen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for being here. Look, I want to focus on costs and benefits and tradeoffs. Policymaking is about trade offs and solutions.
And when you have a preferred solution in mind that there's a large incentive to exaggerate problems, exaggerate benefits associated with that solution and diminish the costs associated with that. So there's a lot of things to cover here. I want to hit the transition of jobs or the supposed transition of jobs. The reality is that this bill creates one job and that is a director of a task force that would have that would supposedly transition workers to green energy jobs. The problem is, and this has already been acknowledged in this hearing, that if there's no opportunity on the other end of that, well, these these government programs never work.
The Washington Post had to fact check John Kerry using girl labor statistics data when John Kerry claimed that the fastest growing jobs in America are some of them were renewable energy jobs. Here's the thing. By percentage wise, that might be true. But in reality, when you actually look at the absolute absolute numbers, it's only about ten thousand new jobs over the next 10 years. Here's the other thing. These jobs, on average pay about twenty thousand dollars less than oil and gas jobs.
This idea that we're just going to transition jobs is a myth. That is a fantasy. I want to hit on the big clean up program and this question will be directed to Mr. L. I just a quick question. If the plan was implemented perfectly and we didn't lose any industry, let's say, which, of course is quite the assumption, how much would we actually reduce carbon emissions? Thanks so much for the question. The first thing I would say is that one of the most important aspects of bicycling is that it has no incentive whatsoever to offshore production.
Exactly the same standards are applied to overseas.
So the question is, if we had an hour, I would love to talk with you, but please answer the question that I asked. Sure.
That's all I wanted to say. And so building materials in the U.S. represent a few percent of our total emissions. So if we brought those to zero, we might see an impact of a few hundred million tons of CO2.
So a few percent, meaning three percent of US emissions?
Well, that depends very sensitively on how much money Congress decides to spend on infrastructure.
Let's say it's 10 percent. All right. Let's say we reduce the US emissions by 10 percent. U.S. emissions account for about 15 percent of global emissions. This would equal about one percent decrease in global emissions, which is kind of nothing, practically speaking, at a huge cost. I realize you claim that there's no cost to this. I notice you said that in your testimony, too, but you did not cite any references. You have any references now for why there would be no cost?
Have you consulted with industry about this? Yeah.
So in my written testimony, there are extensive footnotes which provide all the numbers, but I didn't say there would be no cost. I said the cost would be very modest.
So this witness is a Democrat witness. She works with an environmental organization. And I like this exchange because it really gets to the crux of the debate, which is about trade offs. And the case that I make isn't that we don't need to reduce carbon emissions. I am I work on a lot of ways to reduce carbon emissions. The case we're making here is what benefit are you getting by the actions you're taking and at what cost? Now they make this claim that this is, she says, practically no cost.
And that's just not true.
You can talk to any industrial manufacturers, because what we're really talking about here is manufacturing of of of materials like cement and steel. And this this contributes to carbon emissions. Of course, it's it's a high intensity production process.
To say that you can just radically change the way you manufacture these things is it's a it's a bit utopian ascetic thinking it would certainly make us less competitive with other countries and probably ensure that we have to then import these materials from abroad in order to stay competitive. This would dramatically raise prices on things like highways, buildings, everything we use to that, we use these materials for.
So these are things you have to take into account when you're making policy. Now, if we were just if we were saving everybody's life by doing it, then obviously that, you know, no cost would be too great. But the thing is, and this was the point I was making with hers is, well, how much would you really reduce emissions? And she noted, well, they only account for a few percent of U.S. emissions in the first place.
Now, you're not going to get to zero carbon industrial production.
You know, that was one point she made. But that's just maybe if you offset it in other ways, which is which is how they get to that zero carbon number. But that's a very, very dramatic reduction in reality with some of the plans they're implementing. You know, you might decrease emissions there by a few percentage points, as she noted. And I gave her say, hey, what if it was 10 percentage points? What if it was?
And what if it was actually much larger? Even then, you might reduce global emissions by one percent or less, which really has no effect on on the climate. That's what we're getting at. Right. It's a trade off. What is the cost and what is the benefit? You tend to outsource jobs here. We're outsourcing production and which, by the way, probably increases emissions vastly because when you outsource that production, places like China, they're already manufacturing with higher emissions than we do.
They just have less regulations in general, less labor regulations, less environmental regulations. So it's more than just US jobs lost with that outsourcing. It's also an increase in emissions that occurs. This is the case we're always making when we talk about ceding energy dominance to Russia and Saudi Arabia. You know, you can put our oil and gas industry out of business here and feel like you're doing something good for the environment. But the reality is global demand for oil and gas resources.
This still increases by about twenty five percent over the next 20 years.
Somebody is going to meet that demand and it's going to be countries that operate their refineries and operate their production in a much less clean way than than Americans do. I people have to realize that the holistic approach here, you got to take everything into account. That's what I was pointing out in that particular clip. Let's move on to the next one on plastic manufacturing, there should be a pause on new plants in the next three years. Honest question. What benefits do we expect from doing that?
Is the benefit directed towards emissions or plastics recycling, or are we afraid plastics are going in the ocean?
What is the expected benefit?
So I was not invited to testify on the plastics title of the bill and the other witness won't answer that question. OK, well, I'm going to say it's both right, I'm going to say that maybe maybe my colleagues are expecting both, OK, so it's admissions and we don't like plastic in the oceans. I don't like admissions. I want to reduce emissions. And I also don't like plastic in the oceans. Here's the thing. Let's look at this study.
Danish Ministry of Environment and Food found that you'd have to use a cotton bag 20 thousand times just to have less environmental impact on a simple plastic bag. Now, look, I'm a millennial. I take that cotton bag to Whole Foods. I do. But I know one virtue signalling. I know that it's actually bad for the environment. We need to acknowledge this reality in California. You can't get a plastic bag. Here's the other thing. If we're concerned about plastic in the oceans, let's be honest.
Here in America, your straw isn't going into the ocean. It just isn't. 10 rivers contribute to 90 percent of plastic in the oceans. It's not your straw, Mr. Sun. My limited time left. Can you hit this this this theme of the costs that are being ignored by this bill? Sure, I think, broadly speaking, we see significant public intervention in the marketplace, you see a glut of the thing that the government is trying to buy and scarcity and high prices for the things that the market actually needs.
So that's been an underexploited aspect of it. If private companies, management wanted to make a significant change, that we would need to see some modeling, some analysis, some real extensive understanding of tradeoffs before we would jump on that sort of massive shift in approach on the private side. So from where we sit in Pennsylvania and again, we've done everything we should be doing in terms of air quality energy costs in manufacturing, and we want to see those trends continue.
Thank you, and I yield back no time. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The gentleman yields back. So what I was hitting on in that line of questioning was what's in this bill, which basically bans new plastic manufacturing, three year paws on it. And I asked a very simple question, which nobody wanted to answer. They didn't want to take the bait, I guess.
But the question is why? Why, why do this?
We need to take a step back sometimes and think to ourselves, OK, well, what is wrong with plastic doesn't it doesn't degrade like a like a biodegradable substance would. And so we view this as bad now. It's only bad if it ends up in the forest or the ocean or somewhere where we don't want it, where it's harming wildlife. I think we would all agree with that. Plastic in the ocean drives me nuts. I mean, it really does.
And so, you know, my goal is to prevent plastic from going into the ocean. That should be our goal. This doesn't meet that goal and it's not clear that it would reduce emissions either. And, you know, for for the example I gave there was when you when you produce something that isn't plastic for a simple a simple product such as a carrying bag, well, you actually end up with far more emissions. If you're not using plastic, then the question is, what do you use instead?
Look, I think it's a good idea for you to to to use larger water bottles, containers, as opposed to single use plastic bottles.
I can get behind that. That makes sense.
Maybe just refill your your your reusable water bottle container instead of buying a new one every time.
This this isn't the craziest thing in the world. I'm not against that. But you can't just ban the manufacturing. You still need these things. I would have never had access to drinking water in Iraq and Afghanistan if we didn't have plastic. All right. It's plastic is synonymous with hygiene, would allow it.
It's what is allowed many people to make it out of poverty, many medical devices to be made, modern hospitals. And then medical devices are extremely reliance on plastic and some of what now we're going to we're going to outsource that development to other countries and then have to import it. So this is what you got to think about when it comes to trade offs. What are you getting out of it? Nobody could tell me in that and that in that point, could they?
And at least they didn't want to debate me on it.
So I want to break down how this actually works and how in America we we manufacture plastic and and why this this bill is a terrible idea.
American Petroleum, natural gas is which is already heavily, heavily regulated for environmental concerns. It's shipped to the is shipped to the Houston Ship Channel, which is the world's largest petrochemical manufacturing facility. So this means American Petroleum is broken down and then made into plastic pellets. These pellets are exported all around the world. These factories are regulated by American safety regulations, American environmental regulations and American labor laws. Additionally, because of the shale boom, America has become one of the cheapest producers of plastic.
So we're producing cheap, clean and fair trade plastic and we're shipping it to other countries for advanced materials like plastic medical devices. The production is actually done in the United States. But for plast for basic plastic goods, you know, your common toy that says made in China on the back, those plastic pellets, they're shipped from here to China or another country and then they're shipped back for sale in the United States. That's how that works. This bill, in the name of reducing emissions, proposes to put a pause on all new plastic production.
So, OK, so what would that do? It would shift production of plastic to other countries who don't have the cleaner natural resources.
China produces plastics with coal because they don't have natural gas. Other countries use naphtha oil, which is not as high quality as American natural gas, and ends up leading to poor quality products. So again, for for high quality things like biomedical devices, you're not going want to use that. So shifting production of plastic to other countries, it just ends up increasing global emissions doubles down on the cycle of human rights abuses and hamstrings American leadership in clean manufacturing.
And of course, again, quality is a concern. American natural gas based plastic is recognized as a global standard and quality.
So it's an honest question. Do we want our medical devices used for quality products? In the last year, we we had a big problem because too much of our our our medical industry was being manufactured overseas, PPE, some kind of drugs, things like that. So, you know, in a time where we want to be buying American and producing things here, we actually have to mean what we say. And these these two ideas simply feel good.
Plastic man and and maintaining our leadership in clean quality plastic manufacturing. These two ideas are in conflict.
And again, what are you looking for? What is the benefit that you're looking for?
Nobody could seem to answer that. It actually looks like those opposed opposed benefits would be made worse by by outsourcing. This one unintended consequence of this also is that it would ban advanced recycling because the Democrats intent is to ban fossil fuels, whether intentionally or just, you know, based on endurance, on how much fossil fuels are used and everything that they own. This bill puts an end to advanced recycling. So Houston based companies are innovating way ahead of this bill.
They're relying upon one of the basic laws of thermodynamics. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can only be transferred or changed into one form or another. Plastics are made with carbon and carbon can be broken down again into other resources. We have people turning plastic into new forms of energy, but that's banned under this bill as well. Local company Huntsman, for instance. I don't know if you remember Peter Huntsman on the podcast. They take in plastic bottles and they make insulation out of it.
So there's so many there's also waste reformation, transformation technologies out there where you literally create energy based off of waste.
And they can they can pretty much use anything.
So, you know, this this bill is just poorly written. It contradicts itself. Section nine one one of the bill that sets requirements for how much recycled plastic has to be in a product, but section 92 and 93, which make it harder for there to even be recycled plastic in products.
It's it's it's it's it's it's really irresponsible policy making, to be honest. Another contradiction, which I didn't get a chance to point out in the hearing was or maybe it was a different hearing. I get them all mixed up. But but a big part of the Democrats plan for infrastructure is building out broadband. Republicans agree with that. Of course, we have totally different ways on how we think the most efficient way is to do it. But it's worth pointing out that one of the Democrats want to spend hundreds of another hundred billion dollars on laying down fiber optic cable to every home in America, which is probably an inefficient way to get everybody broadband.
But but that's part of their plan. But here's the thing. You have to have plastic in the fiber optic cable to make it work. So, again, very contradicting policy, you know, which is it? Do you want millions of miles worth of fiber optic cable or do you want to ban plastic? Which one is it? You know, it just it just doesn't work. Another huge part of the Clean Future Plan is, is a massive amount of money for renewable energy.
The total on this bill is about five hundred sixty five billion dollars. There's elements of the bill that say, you know, 40 percent of the funds associated with renewables must be used to benefit environmental justice communities. Whatever that means and look, I use this word a lot, environmental justice, I like to I like to counter that with talking about energy, justice and a 100 percent renewable electrified grid. You don't have any energy justice because you have no reliability.
You're investing tens of millions of billions of dollars into inherently unreliable energy. Time after time we've seen this not work doesn't work in Germany where they've spent depends on the estimate. You're looking at some say trillions. Sometimes it's 600 billion. But they had their own form of a green new deal that resulted in higher emissions per capita. And they end up importing natural gas from Russia to maintain the energy needs that they that they have.
So, look, this stuff doesn't work. You've heard me talk a lot about the issues on the Texas grid. And one of the big problems we have is an underinvestment in baseload energy. That's gas, coal and nuclear. And the more you invest in wind turbines, even though it's it's a good investment because there's a federal tax credit that's very lucrative. And we have a pricing structure at Ellacott here in Texas that that does benefit renewables over over more reliable baseload energy.
So it will continue to be a good investment. But listen, you're always going to have to be able to power your entire grid off of or on demand. And wind is never on demand. Sun the sun is never on demand. We could talk about having enough battery power to store the energy when it's blowing and then. And then and then use that energy when it's needed.
But look, that's about four to six hours of energy in modern batteries. Batteries do have a physical limit. They're not going to get that much better. It's not like microchips that just keep doubling in size every year that the same rules don't apply. There are there are the laws of physics still apply to wind capacity, solar capacity and battery capacity. They're not going to get that much better. No sane person would agree that they are so that that that places some limitations on us.
And what I noticed in this bill was not a single investment in clean baseload power. What is clean baseload power? Well, nuclear, for instance. Now, nuclear is expensive. There's lots of ways to make it less expensive. We overregulate nuclear to an extraordinary degree. We don't allow highly enriched uranium to be used in nuclear plants, which would be much more efficient the way we allow it to be used on nuclear submarines and nuclear aircraft carriers, for instance.
And we're we've only just started to invest in next generation modular nuclear that has a lot of promise. If we lose our ability to manufacture nuclear plants, the Chinese and the Russians are going to take over the world with that. They already are. They're already selling their nuclear plants all over the world. We are behind the power curve on this. And this is how you get to zero carbon emissions while also providing energy, justice to the people. It's not just nuclear, by the way.
We can invest in carbon capture technology that is proven to work a plant right outside Houston that powers 5000 homes, zero carbon natural gas power plant that use it utilizes carbon capture to make it a zero carbon plant. So like this stuff exists, there's really interesting technology on the horizon in geothermal right now. Geothermal is great if you're in Iceland and your geology works well for geothermal, but it doesn't work everywhere else because of the advanced drilling techniques pioneered by the oil and gas industry.
There's some really interesting things on the horizon where you might be able to make geothermal work everywhere. I mentioned waste transformation or waste reformation plants earlier, earlier as well. They use trash to make energy. And these are they claim it's actually negative carbon. So, again, there's it's not that we want no solutions. It's that we want better solutions that are actually reliable. And I question the intent of Democrats on a lot of these policies.
It just it makes me think that they're either they either have a dogmatic religious adherence to the renewable sector or they're just so deeply entrenched in the special interest groups that provide lots and lots of money out of the renewable energy sector, that they just refuse to look at any other potential solutions. So that's why the Clean Future Act doesn't make any sense. I hope you enjoyed it. That was just this. Some highlights of what's in that bill and that hearing.
Thanks for listening.