Energy Postmodernism: Obama Today, Amory Lovins Yesterday (645-page powerplant rule to nirvana)
All good things to all people. That is how the Obama/EPA Power Plant Rule is being sold this week in the U.S. and around the world.
Lower prices, more jobs, greater security, accelerated innovation. New for old, cleaner for dirtier. Better air and less ailment. Take the disadvantages of rationing carbon dioxide in U.S. power plants and assert just the opposite. Get others to echo for a ‘shared narrative.’ Think energy postmodernism of wish, want competitive intermittent renewable energy.
Say it is a free lunch. Better yet, say it is a lunch that we are paid to eat.
And all this for a better future. “This is something that is important for all of us,” Obama stated in regard to the proposal. “As parents, as grandparents, as citizens, as folks who care about the health of our families and also want to make sure that future generations are able to enjoy this beautiful blue ball in the middle of space that we’re a part of.” Save the Planet!
Never mind the infinitesimal climate effect of incremental emission reductions. (Do some simple math here assuming that power plant emissions are 38 percent of the U.S. total. I get a year-2050 temperature reduction of .005 degrees centigrade, and a year-2100 averted warming of .009.)
Never mind that the proposal flunks any sort of a cost/benefit comparison. And what about the Rule’s ‘government failure’ costs–the costs of devising, implementing, revising, and lobbying even if it were done by angels?
Back To Lovins?
The master of deceit and misdirection brings to mind the wonderful road of ‘soft energy” by the father of today’s conjure, Amory Lovins. Some 37 years ago, he presented his case in romantic, something-for-everyone packaging.
As he told a congressional subcommittee in 1977:
A final feature of the soft energy path that I wish to commend to this committee as politicians is that it helps to avoid conflict between constituencies by offering advantages to all of them; jobs for the unemployed, capital for businesspeople, environmental protection for conservationists, increased national security for the military, opportunities for small business to innovate and for big business to recycle itself, savings for consumers, world order and equity for globalists, energy independence for isolationists, exciting technologies for the secular, a rebirth of spiritual values for the religious, radical reforms for the young, traditional virtues for the old, civil rights for liberals and states’ rights for conservatives. 
As someone who has studied energy and politics for several decades, this Lovins quotation is about as wildly postmodernistic as any I have ever read.
June 2, 2014, was Black Monday for energy and climate realists. What to do?
One is to keep on fighting. In time, we can show the great middle that Obama is a political con man in energy and climate as he is in so many other areas.
Another thing to do is to remember Ayn Rand’s advice in such circumstances: “Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.” 
 Amory Lovins, quoted in William Lanouette, “A Latter-Day David Out to Slay the Goliaths of Energy,” National Journal, October 1, 1977, p. 1532.Quoted in Bradley, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy, p. 251.
 Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.