What People Don’t Want to Know About Energy
Posted by Jeff Id on April 15, 2012
Guest Post by Thomas Fuller
I’m well on my way to winning a small wager with a friend about my new blogging venture, 3,000 Quads ( http://3000quads.com/). It’s an unusual bet–I’m betting that I will be religiously ignored by the members of the climate consensus. We’ve never gotten along–I’ve had real battles with Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, Chris Colose, Michael Tobis and the minions that venture forth from their sites to hound and harass those of us who don’t agree with them. But that’s not the reason.
And it’s not because the central message of my weblog conflicts in any way with climate science. I have written 65 posts charting the future of energy consumption for the rest of the century (well, partially–I’m a long ways from finished). And the numbers are sobering and show us why we need to take this climate stuff seriously. The title is a clue–I predict that the world will be burning 3,000 quads every year in 2075, and can pretty much show in detail how we’ll be using 1,000 quads a year in 2030. (For reference, the world burned 500 quads in 2010.) This is far higher than the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration projects–their total is 721 quads in 2030. The difference between their estimate and mine is roughly equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by both the US and China last year. And I keep pounding on the point that if all of that extra energy is provided by coal, the effects on our climate will be severe.
Nor is it because I am relatively obscure and only lightly published. I put up the Excel spreadsheets that show my work (they are definitely not as pretty as Jeff’s work, but the numbers are there). They could grab ‘em and go and not even credit me.
So why was I so sure that the environmentalists trying to persuade us to use less energy and emit less CO2 would ignore evidence that supports their case?
Because it’s too much. They have a neatly programmed scenario that stages cuts in emissions with implementations of orchestrated alternative energy solutions, with utilities building wind farms on and offshore and solar farms in remote deserts (and passing the capital costs through to consumers), with guaranteed fee rises and profits that make them complaisant and compliant in a grand reordering of our energy generation and transmission system.
Showing that their plans are not nearly enough is not welcome. It’s as if Socolow’s pie wedges got dropped on the floor. Building x number of windfarms will still leave us short! Ooops. They won’t even be able to concede to reality and build enough nuclear power plants–not enough, not quickly enough (and what about the staffing?)
The developing world is developing. They’re going to use a boatload of coal. But many countries that are officially part of the developed world–Turkey, Mexico, etc. are going to increase in the same way.
However, because these frankly frightening figures (three f’s–ain’t that cool?) don’t fit into the master plans of those pushing solutions down the throat of a largely indifferent public, these figures have to be ignored. (Doesn’t mean they aren’t being read–I can see…)
So once again the chance to have a real conversation about these issues is passed over so that politically correct messaging can continue without inconvenient interruption. And I’ll be happy to win my bet. But I would have been happier to lose.