The myth of the great 'energy transition'
Who would not be in favor of an unlimited source of emission-free energy without deleterious environmental, economic and social side effects? The real question is how to reach or at least approach that goal given the requirements of modern society and the expectations of individuals for an affordable quality of life. The article below shows the pitfalls of quasi-religous belief that if we wish something to be done it will. Such believers ignore the reality that we will be using more electricity for our growing population and the machinery of daily life. The writer is correct in his analysis but omits some sobering realities. We will need terawatts of new electricity domestically and worldwide. Don't we see that our data centers proliferate, consuming power like dinosaurs once consumed forests? The rapidly urbanizing populations of Africa and Asia will surely not abide sitting in the dark without air conditioning nor will their economic enterprises run on donkey power. Solar and wind are not dense enough to replace fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. And when one looks into the materials and land requirements for wind power (ignoring the mass killing of birds) the numbers and negative effects are staggering, even ignoring the cost. The very same promoters of electric vehicles reject nuclear plants that are the most energy dense, the least land and resources consuming and zero CO2 emitting. Nor will Americans stand for being held hostage to Russia for fossil fuels and China for rare earths because we will have given up our energy independence, especially given the fact that fracking is replacing coal and has made us the world's leader in reduced CO2 emissions. --Larry Greenberg
Just as technological innovation--fracking unaided or subsidized by the taxpayer-- cut coal mining for electricity by 30 percent, we can expect that economic incentives in response to the needs and demands of users and consumers will spur further innovation. Forcing the transition with self-defeating interventions will delay realizing the desired goal and cause much harm and dislocation along the way. Magic does not apply.