A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Julian Simon: High School Debaters Hear His Message

By Greg Rehmke -- June 16, 2020

“I began publishing Julian Simon’s upbeat analytical articles on the benefits of population growth…. [O]ur ‘Econ Update’ newsletter was mailed to every high school with a debate program. Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource thus joined the battle of ideas against ‘Growth DAs’ in debate classes, clubs, and tournaments across the country.”

When I worked at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in New York in the mid-1980s, Julian Simon used to call from time to time. Sometime he would send a letter with just a leaf inside.

High school debate was my connection to Julian Simon. 

Discovering Julian Simon

I learned about The Ultimate Resource (1981) from Andrea Rich’s Laissez-Faire Books catalog. A few years earlier, Economics in Argumentation had outsourced a debate resource guide to a former debater for the national high school debate topic.…

Environmental Accounting and Green Subsidies: The Biofuels Mistake

By Greg Rehmke -- December 4, 2018

Full-cost accounting turns out to be complicated. Ethanol from corn was a popular idea in corn-growing U.S. states like Iowa, as well as with those who wished to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Environmental groups joined farm lobbies to enact ethanol mandates and subsidies. But new research and mounting environmental costs have turned most environmental groups against ethanol.”

At tournaments around the world each year, high school and college students debate public policy resolutions and motions. One popular format, World Schools Debate, has teams of three debating announced motions after preparing to argue for and against. [1]

On December 14–16, some 90 teams from around the globe will compete in Zagreb, Croatia, in The Winter Holidays Open, where final motion will be (THW: “This House Would”):

WHO 2018 FINAL MOTION: THW oblige companies to price in environmental burden in the cost of their products.

For the Poor, How Much Energy Is Enough?

By Greg Rehmke -- October 2, 2018

“Solar may be the way to go for millions of poor people around the world, at least for starter off-grid energy. I rely on solar power for my nifty water fountain and fun outdoor Christmas tree lights. But I don’t try to power my refrigerator, hot water heater, washing machine, or other household appliances with solar.”

For prosperity and human flourishing, how much energy is enough? American settlers survived and over time prospered burning wood for cooking and heat. Later energy innovations brought higher-density energy from the earth, with coal, oil, and natural gas providing industrial and household heat and electricity.

Across the developing world though, hundreds of millions still burn wood and dung for cooking and heat. Lack of clean energy killed some 124,000 in India in 2015, according to Lancet: Pollution Due To Burning Of Cow Dung & Wood As Fuel Killed 1.24 Lakh People In One Year  (IndiaTimes, updated June 4, 2018)

Indoor pollution, which is not often seen as potentially harmful, is actually fatal.

The Energy Race Is On (improving fossil fuels vs. political favorites)

By Greg Rehmke -- August 28, 2018

Solar in Seattle? Not So Fast (clouds, clouds, my Dear Watson)

By Greg Rehmke -- July 13, 2017

To Live and Breath in Beijing

By Greg Rehmke -- June 5, 2017

Ford’s Electric Cars in China: Good News or Bad?

By Greg Rehmke -- April 13, 2017

For Still-Poor China, Coal Pollution from Home Heating

By Greg Rehmke -- February 14, 2017

Does U.S. Policy Promote China’s Costly Solar and Wind Power?

By Greg Rehmke -- July 5, 2016

Ocean Catastrophe Narratives: Something Fishy Going On

By Greg Rehmke -- January 30, 2015