A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

A Re-Look at ‘The Bet’ (Simon, Ehrlich, and Paul Sabin)

By Pierre Desrochers -- April 5, 2017

“Sadly, in Paul Sabin’s account, the main villain turns out to be the morally upstanding Simon who, fifteen years after his death, is blamed for creating policy logjams and fueling uncivil discourse. In the meantime, Paul Ehrlich keeps issuing ‘important warnings’ such as a recent prediction that humans might soon have to resort to cannibalism to survive the ecological apocalypse.”

The background and story of the famous bet between catastrophist biologist Paul R. Ehrlich and optimist economist Julian L. Simon was first told in some detail over twenty-five years ago by journalist John Tierney in the pages of the New York Times Magazine. The bet, ostensibly on the future prices of five commercially important metals – copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten – provided a platform upon which two opposing worldviews, that of Ehrlich’s depletionist catastrophism and Julian’s optimistic resourceship, confronted each other.…

Fossil Fuel Divestment: Futile, Misguided, Morally Questionable

By Pierre Desrochers -- July 25, 2016

“The divestment activists’ rhetoric and policy prescriptions are morally questionable because they imply no sacrifices on the part of consumers and will hurt primarily poor people, futile because achieving their goals will have no impact on the value of corporate stocks and the production of carbon fuels, and misguided because drastically curtailing their use in the absence of better alternatives will harm both human society and the environment.”

“As a direct result of greater use of carbon fuels, in the last two centuries every indicator of human well-being–from overall number, life expectancy, income per capita, hunger and infant mortality to child labor and education–has improved, very often dramatically.”

By 2015, students and faculty at more than 1,000 college and university campuses across the world (including nearly 30 in Canada) had pressured academic trustees and administrators to divest their institutions’ endowment holdings in publicly held fossil fuel companies (i.e.,…

‘Energy Independence’: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

By Pierre Desrochers -- June 12, 2014

“Unfortunately, at the first sign of political and economic trouble most people are spontaneously inclined to put the brakes on international trade and to increase local production of critical things such as food and energy. This stance often has dire consequences.”

As some apparently inexplicable behaviour illustrates (say, being a die-hard fan of the Chicago Cubs), humans are profoundly territorial creatures. According to evolutionary psychologists, this is because for approximately 90% of their time on this planet, modern humans belonged to small groups that were constantly fighting each other over the possession of land and resources. Deep down, most people’s behaviour is not all that different from that observed on Animal Planet’s Meerkat Manor

Peace and Open Trade

As recent events in the Ukraine remind us, sometimes the other tribe is still out there to get us.…

Beyond Locavorism: Food Diversity for Food Security (carbon-fuel transport remains essential)

By Pierre Desrochers -- February 22, 2013

Debating Locavores: Food to Energy to Smart Action (response to critics)

By Pierre Desrochers -- August 10, 2012

Food Miles: The Local Food Activists’ Dilemma (a global warming inconvenient truth)

By Pierre Desrochers -- October 15, 2010