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View Diary: Still clueless about energy policy (8 comments)

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  •  Tommy's a moron of long standing but... (1+ / 0-)
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    ...A directed carbon tax is a very good idea.It should be spent on the development of carbon free energy.

    That said, despite the talismanic popular enthusiasm for it - which always reminds me of the widely held opinion in the early middle ages that the best solution for bubonic plague was prayer - so called 'renewable energy" has a big problem.

    The problem is this:   Because of energy density considerations, tied to an area called "physics" it will never be sustainable, nor will it ever be able to scale to anything even remotely close to the 520 exajoules of energy that humanity now consumes each year - even as it spirals to disaster.

    For more than 5 decades people have been making overly optimistic - and at this point delusional - statements about how "renewable energy" will save the day.   Hundreds of billions of euros, dollars, yen and yuan have been thrown at it, with the result that solar energy - the favorite talisman - produces less than 0.5 exajoules each year, and wind - at least until the somewhat toxic lanthanide mines are depleted - manages just about 1 exajoule.

    Nothing can be done about climate change at this point.   The crisis is accelerating, not ameliorating.  Check the carbon dioxide figures for 2013.    They will be among the worst ever seen.

    Little Tommy Friedman is a world class dummy, but that said, I have personally always advocated taxes commensurate with the external cost of energy.   I wrote about it here in this awful space some years ago:

    The Utility of Light: Getting Real with the Existing Energy Infrastructure.

    It probably was a dumbbell move on my part to write all that, but it was an argument about how a carbon tax might be used to phase out dangerous fossil fuels.

    I confess that in 2007 I also thought that so called 'renewable energy" was a good idea, but I opened a lot of scientific papers since then and actually read them, and I, um, changed my mind.

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