In the novel “The Ingenious Nobleman Mister Quixote of La Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes, first published in 1605, the protagonist, Don Quixote, imagines that windmills are giants to be destroyed. Don Quixote attacks the windmills with his lance, an action called “tilting,” all to no avail. From this story comes the idiom “tilting at windmills” which means confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived, or courses of action are based on misinterpreted or misapplied heroic, romantic, or idealistic justifications. We can add the motivation of political correctness to the Pima County, Arizona, plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Since President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Pima County Supervisors have approved their own version of the Paris Accord and pledge to reduce the County’s carbon dioxide emissions.
In a previous article, “Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it” I show that if all countries fully comply with their promises under the Paris Accord, it would make a difference of only 0.17°C by the year 2100.
According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, Pima County government will attempt to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 42 percent from current levels by 2025, mainly by using more solar energy. The county government will attempt to get 40 percent of its electricity from very unreliable solar generation. The county will also buy 20 new electric-powered sedans for its vehicle fleet a year, at $30,000 to $40,000 apiece.
These electric vehicles are much more expensive than gasolene-powered versions of the same model. According to a new paper published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology entitled Electric Vehicles: Climate Saviors, Or Not?, driving an electric vehicle rather than a conventional petroleum-powered vehicle effectively does nothing to reduce global-scale CO2 emissions. The net carbon dioxide emissions depend greatly on how the electricity for recharge is generated.
The Star story also notes that the county government’s share of regional greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. It generated less than 0.1 percent of all emissions produced in eastern Pima County in 2014.
In my opinion, Pima County’s action with regard to reducing carbon dioxide emissions is simply a quixotic exercise in political correctness that will have absolutely no effect on global temperature nor on Tucson temperature. The action also diverts taxpayer money from projects that would actually benefit county citizens, such as repairing roads.
“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Third Assessment Report, IPCC.
A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists which asks: “What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” Expert climate scientists can’t cite any such evidence.