The days are long, but the years are short - a good way to describe how things go in my life.  It seems almost impossible to believe that another year is heading for the rear-view mirror and a new one will be upon us. I’m always proud of myself when during those first months of a new year I manage to put the date on my check and not have to write over it a couple of times to correct the year.

So, what can we expect from 2023?  Well, there are a lot of variables and trying to predict what will go from a non-problem to a big problem, like a 20-day weather forecast, is pretty hit or miss.

I’m willing to put my tree climbing shoes on and crawl out on that limb… I predict the nation’s politicians will continue to promote the idea that we need to address global warming – also renamed climate change.  For many of those who claim to be concerned about climate, they really are more anxious to use it as a cause to advance their favorite political agenda.

A good example of this, is the recent focus on electric vehicles.  Zero emission vehicles are how they are portrayed but most of us understand that is an incomplete picture.  In an interesting TED talk, Graham Conway pointed out the batteries in electric vehicles add twice the carbon emissions to build an electric vehicle as a conventional vehicle.  Electric vehicles also have to get charged from the electric power grid, but 2/3 of the power generated in the world emits carbon. Electric vehicles, with the increased carbon created by building batteries, reach the breakeven point with conventional vehicles after being driven 80 or 90 thousand miles. In Mr. Conway’s example, the average electric vehicle has a range of about 125 miles while the conventional vehicle can travel about 400 miles.  If you were to add enough battery power to get the electric vehicle to go 400 miles, it would generate more carbon than the conventional vehicle.

So, why are we embarking on an accelerated effort to promote electric vehicles?  If we are truly concerned about carbon emissions the electric vehicle isn’t the answer and indeed will generate more carbon than conventional vehicles.

Another example comes to us from the recently completed global climate talks in Egypt.  People traveled to this conference from all over the world generating huge amounts of carbon so they could talk about how we need to reduce our carbon emissions.  While urging the world to reduce their energy consumption their only solution to those countries that emit less carbon than the western countries is to buy those countries off with funds transferred from western countries.  Nowhere in the news articles about this solution did I see an amount of wealth transfer we would need to provide.  And in the end, once the wealth ran out, as it inevitably will, what will happen then?

Meanwhile back at the ranch, we are hearing warnings about blackouts which could occur during the winter months when the policies to eliminate those carbon emitting power generating systems reduce our electrical grid reliability.

According to an article in the Cowboy State Daily, the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) estimates that by 2025 the Western Interconnection, which is the grid serving Wyoming and other states in the West could see blackouts.

Will these warnings be taken seriously by our politicians?  Will they continue to use political science to determine policies, or will they use real science?  I predict the former.

By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President