Posing the right questions on energy

In: Uncategorized

7 Aug 2008

The Wall Street Journal poses an important question in a column on energy published in America yesterday and today in Europe:

“Al Gore said the other day that ‘the future of human civilization’ depends on giving up fossil fuels within a decade — and was acclaimed as a prophet by the political class. Obviously boring reality doesn’t count for much these days. Even so, when Barack Obama wheels out an energy agenda nearly as grandiose as Mr. Gore’s, shouldn’t it receive at least some media scrutiny?” (original emphasis).

It also comes to a sensible conclusion:

“Consumption isn’t rising because of wastefulness. The U.S. produces more than twice as much GDP today per unit of energy as it did in the 1950s, yet energy use has risen threefold. That’s because energy use is tethered to growth, and the economy continues to innovate and expand. Mr. Obama seems to have other ideas.”

Despite a common misconception it is not true that energy efficiency means less energy use. On the contrary, it means even more energy can be used.

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