Reading an article on a subject can be beneficial if we are willing enough to genuinely consider its content. This applies regardless of whether we are pro or con regarding the author’s position. General agreement can strengthen our position, disagreement can challenge us to do more homework.
Reading comments can be even more enlightening. It is gratifying to see someone contribute something worthwhile, intelligent and well-stated. Sadly, those seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Having just read comments posted on an article discussing an environmental issue, we came away appreciative of those fine examples. But, the insistent and mindless clamoring of the clueless is disturbing, to say the least.
The preponderance of ill-conceived remarks should give us all pause. If this were less common, and limited to a few select subjects, the situation would not be so dire. Unfortunately, we see this type of behavior in a continuous flow of ignorance and arrogance across the internet. Pick a topic, you won’t need to look far to see this play out.
Aside from the frustration and erosion of civility in society, there is a dangerous upshot. They promote ideas that are not only erroneous but foolish and exceedingly costly. Given the nature of social justice taken to silly extremes and politicians eager to please, these ideas can take root. Again, this is true for many things but especially when it comes to the environment. One aspect of that is energy.The physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically 'new energy economy' in the foreseeable future. Click To Tweet
Energy Demand, Economics and Physics
So, let’s take a moment to review some realities about energy. Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and McCormick School of Engineering Faculty Fellow at Northwestern University. We cite below from his summary of his recent work on this subject.
“A week doesn’t pass without a mayor, governor, policymaker or pundit joining the rush to demand, or predict, an energy future that is entirely based on wind/solar and batteries, freed from the ‘burden’ of the hydrocarbons that have fueled societies for centuries. Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy ‘transformation’ is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically ‘new energy economy’ in the foreseeable future.”
He goes on to list a number of points related to energy demand, economics and physics.
Realities About the Scale of Energy Demand
“Renewable energy would have to expand 90-fold to replace global hydrocarbons in two decades. It took a half-century for global petroleum production to expand “only” ten-fold.”
Realities about Energy Economics
“Over 90 percent of America’s electricity, and 99 percent of the power used in transportation, comes from sources that can easily supply energy to the economy any time the market demands it.”
Inconvenient Realities of Energy Physics
“The common cliché: an energy tech disruption will echo the digital tech disruption. But information-producing machines and energy-producing machines involve profoundly different physics; the cliché is sillier than comparing apples to bowling balls.”
Read in more detail at 41 Inconvenient Truths on the “New Energy Economy”.