Bill McKibben, who has been called “the nation’s leading environmentalist,” is leading a movement to destroy the fossil fuel industry, which he calls “Public Enemy Number One.” This is the signature issue of his mega-popular organization 350.org under the names “Do the Math“ and “Fossil Free.”
As an energy researcher who knows the indispensability of the fossil fuel industry to my own life and billions of lives around the world, I am doing whatever I can to stop this movement.
My Debate with Bill McKibben
Earlier this month I publicly debated Bill McKibben in order to make the case that his quest “to cut our fossil fuel use by a factor of 20 over the next few decades” is pseudoscientific and suicidal.
Throughout the debate I stressed four points:
[Editor Comment: Previous posts at MasterResource (see here and here) have critically reviewed Moore’s Law applied to energy systems. Mr. Lightfoot revisits the issue below based on his article in Engineering Dimensions (May/June 2013). His views about the need for government direction to achieve energy transformation are the author’s alone.]
In a 2009 speech before the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about hope for the future:
“It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet. What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come.…
“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousand fold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine – the special pleading of selfish interests.”
– Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1946)
Henry Hazlitt (d. 1993) was born on this day in 1894. As has been done with other great classical liberal thinkers at MasterResource, this post celebrates Hazlitt’s birthday by applying his thinking to the current policy debate.
Specifically, Chapter 14 of Hazlitt’s book Economics in One Lesson, “Saving the X Industry,” despite being published in 1946, enlightens the current discussion about the wind production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends it.…