The Economics of Energy Efficiency

It’s not encouraging.

It makes me cringe when I see bloggers and pundits say things like, “What’s the downside of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions? Even if we’re wrong about man-made global warming, we’ll end up with better energy technologies and cleaner air. And if we’re right, we’ll save the planet!”The only problem is, no matter how serious you think global warming will be, our current renewable-energy technologies and conservation will make virtually no difference to future global temperatures.

These efforts might make us feel better about ourselves, but don’t expect them to come anywhere close to solving the problem.

They don’t. The real denial here is practiced by those who think that there’s a magic technological bullet out there somewhere that’s going to provide cheap, clean energy. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, does a masterful job at blowing that delusion out of the water.

But why should so many be in such denial? Spencer thinks he knows.

Unfortunately, it seems that public opinion is leaning more toward feel-good efforts than toward real solutions. This can be partly blamed on our education system. Math teachers that place more emphasis on how a student feels about a problem than the correct answer, or a biology teacher ranting about the mythical extinction of polar bears, are not conducive to maintaining an informed public.

And his stance on global warming is…what?

This whole discussion, of course, assumes that man-made global warming will be a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I’m one of those who believe that our current global warmth is more likely to be mostly due to natural climate variability. But I can not prove this.But neither can the global-warming alarmists prove that our current warmth is not the result of natural climate variability. Not one published study has ruled out natural causes, such as a slight change in cloud cover from a tiny change in the general circulation of the atmosphere.


Explore posts in the same categories: Economics, Global Warming

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