[Editor note: A previous iteration of this post was published on January 14th. Given the inaction of the Obama Administration on offshore drilling in the last year, part of a pervasive strategy to discourage carbon-based energy production and usage, this post, this question needs to be raised anew.]
From time to time, John Holdren has acknowledged that plentiful, affordable, reliable energy is vital to human well being. Indeed, there is no going back to an energy-poor world. (Remember: caveman energy was 100% renewable.)
America–and the world–need more carbon-based energy, not less. Wind and solar are inferior energies compared to the real thing that consumers choose and want more of–oil, gas, and coal.
Holdren on the Importance of Energy
When Holdren or Obama advocates policies that risk making energy artificially scarce or less reliable, these words can be used to argue for nonregulatory approaches to energy policy:
“Virtually all of the benefits that now seem necessary to the ‘American way’ have required vast amounts of energy.
“The winds, turning more mills than ever before, pump water, grind grain, churn, and do a score of little tasks for a surviving domestic industry; but they list not to blow with enough regularity or violence to keep wheels spinning and mills going.”
– Walton Hamilton and Helen Wright, The Case of Bituminous Coal (New York: Institute of Economics/Macmillan, 1926), p. 3.
William Stanley Jevons’s The Coal Question (1865), the book that founded mineral economics, got it right on the limits of renewables for the machine age and the godsend of coal as a superabundant utilitarian energy source.
Previous posts at MasterResource have summarized Jevons’s 19th century wisdom on the primacy of coal (carbon-based energy); the limits of windpower; the limits of hydropower, biomass, and geothermal; and the paradox of energy efficiency.…
Best of MasterResource: 2009
This post orginally appeared (with comments)
on March 4th
The disadvantage of windpower as a primary energy source has been long recognized. This 1838 textbook described the competitive situation of wind as follows:
William Stanley Jevons also detailed the problems of windpower in his 1865 classic, The Coal Question,…