“More Energy Research” is Bunk

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Politicians love to claim that “more research” is the solution to our energy problems. It allows them – and us – to evade the real challenges that face our civilization as we transition from fossil fuels to non-fossil energy sources over the next 100 years or so. Doling out the public research loot to empire-building bureuacracies and rent-seeking special interests also increases politicians’ prestige and power.

 

However, here’s the reality the “more research” mantra evades: There is no energy silver bullet just over the horizon that can replace the fossil fuels which are currently the basis of our civilization’s industrial economy. They can be replaced, and I have previously cited an authoritative source that describes what kinds of sources have the potential to provide the magnitudes of energy required to allow the entire world’s population to enjoy a basic middle class, bourgeois standard of living. It’s not windmills, and it’s not biofuels. It’s nukes, and possibly geothermal, and possibly thousands of square miles of solar heat collector/concentrators in deserts.

 

TAANSTAFL, not in thermodynamics or economics. “More research” is primarily a politician’s and rent-seekers evasion. More wealth is the real solution, because those other energy sources are more costly than fossil fuels – that’s why we don’t use them now. However, if the economy itself is larger, then the proportion of it used to provide energy can be relatively smaller. Meaning it will consume a smaller proportion of household budgets, even if it’s more costly in absolute terms.

 

We will transition to non-fossil energy over the next 100 years or so, we won’t abandon the comforts, conveniences and broadened horizons that industrial civilization and its huge energy consumption provides, and we can see those blessings extended to all the world’s people – eventually. Whether that last happens in the same time frame or takes much longer depends on whether we grow the world economy, or stifle the growth with pernicious, wrongheaded public policies like protectionism, carbon cap-and-trade, economic central planning, etc. It’s in our hands.

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4 Responses to ““More Energy Research” is Bunk”

  1. Stacey Derbinshire Says:

    Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  2. Bill Nowling Says:

    We’re protesting Nancy Pelosi’s Ann Arbor visit today. She keeps Congress from voting on a comprehensive energy bill while she’s on a book tour. Please join us, if you can, and help us spread the word. More info.

  3. Nick Says:

    I’d like to conduct “more research” into why Nancy Pelosi broke her promise to run the Congress in an open and transparent manner where the opposition was treated with respect and given an up or down vote.

    I’d also like to conduct “more research” into why she’d rather be out selling her snoozer of a book on OUR dime instead of working to solve the energy crisis!

    –Nick
    http://www.RightMichigan.com

  4. Bob Carr Says:

    Hopefully not trite, but thanks.
    As always nice links. Thanks for the info.
    Just came back from our “Carmen Group” meeting. (just a weekly Thurs. 8am conservative breakfast we set up) In walked a Nader nut and what an uneducated blast we got from him before we got him to leave. I could of used some of your fuel cell points from your related post section.
    Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative.
    PS good luck on the conference call.

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