I’m debating Bill McKibben this November on the environmental impact of fossil fuels. Here is a preview.
99.9% of discussion of fossil fuels and our environment ignores the single most important fact about fossil fuels and our environment: fossil fuels have made our environment amazingly good.
The difference between a healthy environment and an unhealthy environment can be summed up in one word, and it’s not “CO2” or “climate” or “temperature.” It’s “development.”
Every region of the world, in its undeveloped state, is full of deadly environmental hazards such as indoor air pollution, bacteria-filled water, excessive cold, excessive heat, lack of rainfall, too much rainfall, powerful storms, disease-carrying insects, lack of sanitation, disease-carrying crops and animals, etc.
And yet some nations, such as the US, have the best air, water, indoor temperature, crops, sanitation, water supplies, storm-protection, disease-prevention, sanitation, and overall environmental quality in human history–while others are plagued by heat waves, cold snaps, drought, storms, crop failures, malaria and dozens of other dread diseases, filth, dung-burning fires, lack of clean drinking water.…
“The following overview on these issues, and my concluding remarks, should leave little doubt as to the worthlessness and serious consequences of pursuing policies of supporting and implementing wind plants in particular. Will the other side respond in the interest of more informed public policy?”
As shown in Part I (Introduction & Summary), Part II (Analysis Approach & Implementation Costs), Part III (Total Costs), and Part IV (Subsidies & Emissions), wind fails on the major considerations of cost and emissions. Yet unbelievably, it still enjoys general popularity and significant government support and subsidization. The answer must be in my response to question 1 in Part I: Wind is seen as a silver bullet – environmentally and politically.
On top of this, there are many other problems with wind that can cause serious, and needless, damage to society.…
When government tries to pick losers and winners, it typically picks losers. Why? Because in a free market, consumers pick winners to leave the losers for government.
The U.S. energy market is rich with examples. In the 1970s, synthetic fuel projects that went bust, and the Synthetics Fuel Corporation was terminated with much of its funds still unspent. In the same period, the California Energy Commission decided (see p.24) that methanol-powered (M-85) vehicles were the transportation future for their state. But advances in reformulated gasoline and onboard vehicle technology removed the benefits of converting natural gas, wood products, and coal into this transportation fuel. The methanol fad quietly went away.
EV Largesse: $2.2 billion
It seems like only yesterday that electric vehicles (EVs) were a pillar of Obama’s government-knows-best transportation strategy.…