Increasingly, The Answer is "No"

Aren’t We Clever?

“There is really no debate about climate change in China,” said Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, a nonprofit group working to accelerate the greening of China. “China’s leaders are mostly engineers and scientists, so they don’t waste time questioning scientific data.” The push for green in China, she added, “is a practical discussion on health and wealth. There is no need to emphasize future consequences when people already see, eat and breathe pollution every day.”

And because runaway pollution in China means wasted lives, air, water, ecosystems and money — and wasted money means fewer jobs and more political instability — China’s leaders would never go a year (like we will) without energy legislation mandating new ways to do more with less. It’s a three-for-one shot for them. By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change.

I don’t understand our hesitancy to go down the path of alternative energy. It seems like a no-brainer (making it a good match for many of our politicians) — we can become less dependent on foreign sources of energy, can create jobs here, and reduce CO2 emissions. Even if the bought-and-paid-for-by-big-oil politicians don’t like the last one, surely spending money domestically instead of sending it overseas has to be good for the economy. Waiting to act only makes things worse.

Update: Related: The Brothers Koch and AB 32

Can the Republicans be the pro-business party when we need them to be the pro-business party?

One thought on “Increasingly, The Answer is "No"

  1. Energy is not the metric. Energy multiplier is the metric. One joule from burning fossil fuel requires a very tiny fraction of a joule to obtain. One joule from burning corn ethanol requires more than a joule to obtain – a net loss. If the latter were not true, corn ethanol plants would run off corn ethanol rather than external inputs. Ditto tar sands extraction, the single greatest consumer of natural gas in Canada.

    PV = energy, 101.325 J/liter-atm. A fossil fuel power plant sequestering its CO2 cannot avoid losing minimum 30% of its energy output to the task. Doing better requires a magic catalyst to react exhaust gas with… something, that costs energy to produce, and no doubt from petroleum.

    A society that shifted 1:1 from fossil fuels to a galaxy of alternative energy sources could not lose less than 20% of its energy supply joules out for joules input, NOT counting the necessary novel infrastructure investment and its energy cost. Enviro-whinerism: expensive, shoddy, deadly.

    End the Industrial Revolution! No energy for you.

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