Search for the Magic Energy Pony
Doom-and-gloom environmentalists are blowing it again. Global warming can never be stopped by trying to regulate CO2. Our only hope is to make massive investments in clean-energy technology, in hopes of finding something that will completely replace dirty energy from coal and oil.Something must be in the air, because today Tom Friedman makes the same argument in the New York Times. (Farewell steel curtain!) Friedman argues for the inevitability of dramatic, energy-intensive development in the Middle East and China:
I am not blaming them. It is a blessing that their people are growing out of poverty. And, after all, they’re just following the high-energy growth model pioneered by America. We’re still the world’s biggest energy hogs, but we’re now producing carbon copies in places you’ve never heard of.
Such growth is so massive, he asserts, that it will overwhelm all our CFLs, hybrid cars, and other puny green initiatives.
That’s why we’re fooling ourselves. There is no green revolution, or, if there is, the counter-revolution is trumping it at every turn. Without a transformational technological breakthrough in the energy space, all of the incremental gains we’re making will be devoured by the exponential growth of all the new and old “Americans.”Now I would love to see a transformational breakthrough in the energy space as much as the next person. The Sierra Club has been promoting clean energy for years, as have all the other environmental groups. But it seems like a really bad idea to give up on trying to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere while we’re waiting for scientists to produce a magic energy pony. After all, they don't come along all that often.