Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin.

…radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today…

Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign of a “clean energy” or “renewable energy” group in the rankings.  Yet, they are one of the “most influential” because Stephen Moore says so and not because any facts back it up.

…we could end up seeing “rolling brownouts and even blackouts in the years ahead.”

Kind of like the blackouts induced by the infallible private sector giant, Enron, in California over a decade ago?  Remember kids, always let the fossil-fuel guys have their way and nothing will ever go wrong.

America gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

Correct.  And one day, whether it’s because climate change has erased mankind off the face of the earth or because we run out of coal, that percentage will be zero, which is the whole point of finding renewable sources and getting them in use as fast as possible.  This ignores other ugly realities of coal, such as the destruction caused by mountain top removal.  Moore might want to look into that some time.

But the environmentalists are…raising unsupported objections to fracking.

Unsupported?  If they are so unsupported Mr. Moore, please allow a fracking operation to begin close to your home, just like the CEO of Exxon refused to do.  And what about the growing research showing the relationship between fracking and increased earthquakes?  Unsupported?  Not really.

Sorry, for the foreseeable future, we aren’t going to get our power for our $18 trillion economy from wind turbines and solar panels. And if we begin to try, prices are going to skyrocket.

This ignores the reality that the cost has been falling for things like solar.  As noted in this piece from the Guardian:

Panels now sell for less than a quarter of their 2008 price…Bloomberg estimates that the world will have 600GW of photovoltaic solar worldwide by 2020 (an increase from about 150GW today) and 1,900GW by 2030; making up 5-7% of the global electricity mix. These positive predictions are based on the falling prices of renewables.

And one last absurd quote from Moore:

the Greens think oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming.

Let me fix that statement for you.  Scientists know oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming. There you go, Mr. Moore.  You’re welcome for the assistance.

Is ‘Drill Baby, Drill’ the Equivalent of ‘Kill Baby, Kill’?

A very interesting read appeared yesterday on CBS News’ website pointing out that many of the recent conflicts around the world, whether it is actual war or just a war of words, have one element in common: energy resources are a big factor in all.  This is an observation that is certainly uncontroversial and most people on both sides of the political spectrum in the United States should be able to easily see the reality of this fact.

These conflicts are obviously over non-renewable, limited energy resources that most countries need going forward to keep their lights on and their societies moving.  But looking at overall energy generation the countries listed in the article have something else in common.  They are mostly at or near the bottom of the list when it comes to percentage of their total renewable energy generation.

This is not to make the argument the countries at the top of this list are peaceful utopias where everyone is happy and the streets are paved with gold and everyone is working toward the next most important and logical step in the betterment of mankind: moon colonies.  But certainly a case could be made that an increase in renewable energy in every country could logically reduce the reasons for conflict, whether armed or not, between countries.

However, there is also a side story to this debate and that is conservation.  This is an idea that is, in some circles in the U.S., the equivalent of blasphemy.  The belief is we should not have to conserve at any time because we are free and conserving is a restriction that can be controversial to say the least.  One of the ideas that would probably rile many in America I remember first seeing in Bill Maher’s comedy book “When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden.”  The idea was not putting up Christmas lights as part of your decorations in the interest of not funding terrorism through using energy that is supplied by countries linked to terrorism.

Ignoring the debate about a war on Christmas or religion and focusing solely on energy consumption, this brings up an interesting thought experiment.  What if making sure we aren’t using energy for non-essential purposes would translate into lives saved?

To clarify something before moving on, everyone’s definition of ‘non-essential purposes’ will vary from person to person.  An environmentalist’s definition will likely look vastly different from a libertarian’s.  For the purposes of this post, let’s just stick with Christmas lights as the example and everyone is free to expand the definition to their own liking.

What if not using lights in your decorations (or using solar powered lights only) could be quantitatively shown to save, for example, an American soldier’s life in the long-run by reducing the need for conflict over energy resources in the future?  Would people get behind the idea?  I think it’s safe to say, most probably would and it would give a whole new meaning to the idea of supporting the troops.  Now expand the definition and the possible effects of conservation if applied to other areas of your life like adjusting the thermostat a bit or adjusting food consumption in our obese country which would reduce energy consumption through less creation and transport of food.  You see how this can quickly add up even though it would be an effort made on the individual level.

I know some might argue these lights are a type of art form and they are expressing themselves through this and this is the equivalent of cutting funding for the arts by the government.  I have a news flash for you.  Putting an outline of a snowman on your roof does not equate to Mark Twain writing a novel or Da Vinci painting an image.  If we want to insult their legacies, let’s put it this way.  They did what they did to show off and make money.  You are just showing off (and consuming limited resources).  It is not the same thing so get over yourselves.

In politics questions sometimes get asked simply to score political points because the answer forces people to be one-sided and come to the side of the person posing the question.  For instance, asking whether the world is better off without Saddam Hussein to sway people to support the Iraq war debacle.  These questions are designed to simplify the argument and avoid taking all aspects of the debate into account, such as the cost of a program, the reason for its implementation, or the long term effects of it.  These questions make people like me pull our hair out because there is always more to the story than just one aspect and if other factors are ignored in the interest of scoring a political point bad things happen.  But for the sake of this post, I’m going to ask one.

Imagine that you knew a soldier who had died in a recent war (obviously not something that needs to be imagined for many) and you are visited by a higher power.  This higher power gives you a choice.  You can continue the way your life is going now or you can have that soldier back with certain conditions, such as never putting up Christmas lights again or being forced to drive a smaller car that gets better gas mileage for the rest of your life.  What choice would you make?

Given the fact we know international conflict is growing because of energy resources, this isn’t as imagined a scenario as we would like to think.  And since we know ‘drill baby, drill’ is only a temporary solution at best, doesn’t it really equate to ‘kill baby, kill’ in the long-run?