Market Conservation vs. Government Conservationism: Understanding the Limits to Energy Efficiency and ‘New-Economy’ ESCOs

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 25, 2009 17 Comments

“Today the conservation movement is led by sober business men and is based on the cold calculations of the engineers. Conservation, no longer viewed as a political issue, has become a business proposition…. The old school looked on conservation as a governmental function; the new school believes in entrusting it to the hands of business men and engineers.”

– Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933), pp. 784–85.

Profit-seeking conservation is nothing new, as economists have noted. So why must we assume that self-interested conservation is a ‘market failure’ requiring government subsidies and mandates? Why is market decision-making with energy necessarily sub-optimal?

And if “market failure” is posited, what must be said about “government failure”? Political processes are human too, and worse, bureaucrats do not have their own hard-earned cash on the line.…

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Enron and Waxman-Markey: Response to Joe Romm

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 2, 2009 9 Comments

Enron Lives! in Waxman-Markey. The sooner the public, media, and intelligentsia realize this, the faster cap-and-trade can be put in the dustbin of bad ideas.”

Cap-and-Trade: The Temple of Enron, MasterResource, May 14, 2009.

Joseph Romm holds a Ph.D. (in physics) from MIT and works for a 501(c)3 foundation. Being highly educated and in the education business, to most of us, means being careful and fair in our arguments–and avoiding reckless ad hominem argument. But not so with Joe as evidenced by his very inaccurate recent post against me.

In “George Will and WattsUpWithThat embrace a proud former shill for a man convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges,” Romm argues that I must be corrupt because of my former association with Enron and Ken Lay–and thus George Will and the mega-site WattsUpWithThat are party to corruption too.

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The Intellectual Roots of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (and the pre-prehistory of climate alarmism)

By Pierre Desrochers -- July 14, 2009 17 Comments

[Editor note: Pierre Desrochers, who guest posts with us for the first time, is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto.]

Paul Ehrlich’s best-seller The Population Bomb  turned 40 last year. The latest issue of the peer-reviewed (and somewhat iconoclastic) Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development is devoted to the book, its impact, and the validity of its main message. It features contributions by both Paul and Anne Ehrlich, who mostly stand by their original analysis, and some of their critics who challenge their basic premise and supportive evidence.

Despite a now widespread popular perception that The Population Bomb was a pioneering work, it originally drew little attention. In fact, it was just the latest in a long line of books, reports, essays and pamphlets on the population issue published in post-World War II America.…

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Why Natural Gas Should Not Play the Cap-and-Trade Game (the real enemy is mandated renewables/conservation, not coal)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 8, 2009 2 Comments

“Waxman-Markey is largely top-down regulation dressed in cap-and-trade clothing.”

David Schoenbrod and Richard Stewart, “The Cap-and-Trade Bait and Switch“, Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2009.

The Environmental Left is pushing hard to provoke a civil war between natural gas industry (its “friend”) against the coal (and oil) industry. John Podesta (Center for American Progress) and Tim Wirth (UN Foundation) have cooked up a menu of bribes (taxes, a.k.a. “incentives,” “credits,” “allowances,” and “expand”) as follows:


• Establish incentives to retire aging, inefficient, dirty coal-fired power plants, and replace them with renewable and low-carbon electricity.

• Create a renewables integration credit to offset specific costs associated with producing high levels of renewable energy and to reward those who go beyond the renewable electricity standard.

• Establish a dedicated incentive for development and deployment of “dispatchable” renewable energy to build markets for electricity storage technology.

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Energy Malthusianism in the Sweep of History (and Rockefeller, Insull, and Lay)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 12, 2009 7 Comments Continue Reading

A War on CO2? Civil Libertarians, Beware!

By Robert Murphy -- September 14, 2009 6 Comments Continue Reading

Okay, Joe Romm: How about a Wager on $65 Oil? (‘peak-oil’ bull or closet bear?)

By -- October 21, 2009 9 Comments Continue Reading

Coerced Energy Efficiency in Texas: Government Conservationism Isn’t Market Conservation

By -- March 22, 2010 No Comments Continue Reading

Howlin’ Wolf: Paul Ehrlich on Energy (Part III: Conservationism)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 23, 2010 3 Comments Continue Reading

Loren Steffy (Houston Chronicle) to Pew Environmental Group: “So What?” About China’s Renewable Energy Policy

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 1, 2010 10 Comments Continue Reading