Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

More on the morality of renewable energy

Fossil fuels create tremendous prosperity. Renewables can’t. Maybe somewhere someday something will be invented that can do so, but not today.

3/27 – Prof. Don Boudreaux (of Cafe Hayek) at Wall Street Journal – Fossil Fuel Free Is No Country for the Poor – Article points out a number of filthy rich people want a zero carbon emission world in 35 years. Currently all renewable energy provides around 10% of what we use in the US. Dropping the 90% of energy provided by fossil fuels would collapse the economy.

I have seen subsistence agriculture in operation during my very brief visits to Africa and Indonesia. I do not want to go there.

My father and his siblings grew up chopping wood to heat the house. Grandma used wood to cook food. My grandparents used a couple chunks of coal in the stove at night so a tiny fire would remain in the morning to get the wood started.  I do not want to go there either.

Yet that is what the superrich want for the poor of the world.

Look at what these self-appointed experts wish for:

In asking less-developed nations to ration carbon emissions, environmentalists are essentially demanding that they forgo the most revolutionary shift of the modern era: machines.

Look at the payoff from having fossil fuels in our lives:

Every day, as energy expert Alex Epstein observes in his new book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” the average American relies on machines that exert the equivalent energy of 93 physical laborers.

(I hope to write a few posts about that book soon.)

Let me rephrase Mr. Epstein’s comment:

As a middle-class professional, I can easily afford to have 93 servants working in my home every day. That doesn’t count the huge number of arithmetic clerks, stenographers, printing press operators, and stat typists living inside my computers. I can fit several dozen staff inside my little office (with only one chair for all of us).

I also own two carriages that have somewhere around 200 horses attached to each of them. Don’t have to buy a ton of hay every day, because they only “eat” a gallon or two of gasoline a day. Costs me somewhere around twenty cents to buy the hay needed to get those 200 horses to pull me one mile.

I am richer today than the superrich were 100 years ago.

Phrased yet another way, here is what those particular superrich people want:

For hundreds of millions of desperately poor people in China, energy-fueled industrialization is the best hope for a better life. Asking the Chinese government to reduce carbon emissions means asking them to commit millions of their people to poverty, condemning them to a hand-to-mouth lifestyle.

I guess that means dirt-eating poverty is morally preferable to burning petroleum or coal. As for me, I wish those hundreds of millions of poor people could each afford to have 93 laborers working in their home.

I’m obviously not very bright. Could someone who is far smarter than me please explain why net-zero carbon emissions can possibly be presented as a moral option?

Here are two more explanations in a long string of reasons why we need fossil fuels to prosper and stay healthy. Hint: try running the nearby hospital’s emergency room with wind or solar power.

11/28/14 – why not wind power – That fixes MY problem, who cares about yours? Article explains yet again two of the catastrophic failures of wind power.

First, they are just not reliable. If you want to live in a modern society then always reliable electricity is required. That’s not available from wind or solar. From the article:

Currently, there is no way to make them effective. In reality, there probably never will be. That’s the reason we switched to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels create reliable energy. Without reliable energy, people live poorer lives.

Have you ever seen a village that does not have reliable electricity? I have. I’ve performed field audits in Zaire, Lesotho, and Indonesia. Life is bad without electricity.

I don’t want to go back in time. I like having 93 laborers on my payroll.

Second, the environmental devastation:

The turbines may actually produce more CO2 than fossil fuels after you sum the amount of energy used to create and maintain them.

1/2/15 – Brietbart London – As Britain Freezes, Wind Farms Take Power from Grid to Prevent Icing Offshore wind turbines only produce electricity when the wind is blowing between 10 and 50 mpg. To prevent icing in freezing conditions, they draw electricity off the net to keep the blades turning slowly. Also need juice from the grid to keep the operating equipment operating. So during the current cold snap, over a hundred slice-and-dicers are drawing down available electricity.

The wind farms in England, both on-shore and off-shore, have a theoretical capacity of 12.1 GW. A study last year indicates their average actual output is about 8% of the theoretical potential.

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