Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Obama Really Believed in Green Energy

President Obama is batting on a bit of a sticky wicket these days. Gasoline prices are increasing, reaching $5.00 per gallon in some places, and he is having to pretend that he didn't want this all along. From Jonah Goldberg:
Obama was recently asked by Fox News’s Ed Henry whether high gas prices are a deliberate result of White House policies. His response was telling. “From a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?”
If you parse the statement you can see that the president is not opposed to high gas prices per se. He just doesn't like high gas prices when "going into reelection."

But it turns out that the president is not the cynical political monster we imagine. He really believes his green energy hokum. He really thought that green energy was going to jump start the economy. James Pethokoukis:
Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. "I don’t get it," he’d say. "We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?"
Let me help out here Mr. President. Green energy is a fantasy, at least for the next 20 years. That's because the whole point of energy is to have concentrated energy. Nuclear is more concentrated that oil; oil is more concentrated than coal; coal is more concentrated than wood. Wind and solar and biomass are less concentrated than the above. So people won't use them unless you force them. And because they are economically worse than current oil and gas technology, green jobs are going to cause a net decrease in jobs, as the Spanish have discovered.

Everyone says that they are in favor of science, but the fact is that science cannot tell the future. Therefore we humans are forced to use faith when preparing for the future. Conservatives have faith in the market and the free enterprise economy to adapt successfully to whatever the future may bring. Liberals have faith in the ability of government and academic experts to prepare for the future.

The only time that you can change anyone's mind is when things go wrong. Of course, you don't change the minds of the true believers. You just change the minds of the folks who went along to get along, the proverbial "moderates."  In the case of green energy and global warming, the American people have gone along because green energy and global warming were about the only narrative they heard from their news broadcasts, their teachers, and their children.  Until now.

Now it seems pretty clear that something is wrong with the green energy/global warming "consensus" and so now is a moment for conservatives to get in and push a conservative energy strategy based on oil and gas--especially the new and exciting horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology--and maybe spend a little money midwifing a move to modular nuclear in the years ahead.

On nuclear, the big problem is the popular notion that if there is a nuclear accident we are all going to die. Even though in the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami the current death toll is: death from tsunami: 20,000; death from nuclear radiation: zero.

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