Climate and environmental fears are gateway drugs to Eco-Totalitarianism.
"Fortunately, physics, economics and human priorities will eventually put an end to this folly. " Don't be so sure, or at the very least, be exceptionally patient. When one combines mass psychogenic disorder (AKA Mass Formation Psychosis), repudiation of fundamental religious moors, and what Freud termed as "Death Drive" ( or Todestrieb), you have a recipe where only a small number survive. If Eco-Totalitarianism dies before it completes its mission, they'll invent something else. It's human nature...
I think "eco-statists" is my new favorite description. Perfectly apt.
Don't completely agree with that. LCOE can provide valid comparisons so long as all costs are incorporated. Agree that it is totally inappropriate to use LCOE to compare fossil/nuclear with renewables. In making LCOE calculations, it is easy to cook the books by omitting external costs.
This is why I think it is time for an up-to-date assessment of the impact of government interventions.
I remember Buffet saying that, and it raises a question. Why are there no recent data on the impact of government interventions on energy projects? Is this a taboo subject amongst energy or economic researchers? James Conca recently published a paper for ANS that alluded, in periphery, to these costs:
"However, the cost of increased transmission lines, not included here, are substantial, about 25 percent of the construction costs for wind and solar according to the DOE [ref] thereby adding another $4 billion to the total cost for wind and $3 billion to solar..." Conca, "How to Compare Energy Sources: Apples to Apples." 15 Jun 2023.
The reference cited in the above is dated 2009. Ancient, in many ways. I often wonder why we haven't seen a true economic comparison of energy sources. There is much to be read in Lazard's, but even they acknowledge that LCOE is inadequate for comparing intermittent technologies with each other or with dispatchable technologies such as natural gas.
Don 't underestimate the authoritarian (I mean loving) political and douchebag classes' ability to both scare unquestioning people into acting foolishly and at the same time, placate them with bits of money in the form of subsidies, tax rebates and even checks signed by doddering, old, buffoonish men to keep a lid on the questions. The Democrats running the fear machine hate the poor and the questioners of authority since it's all that stands between them and their complete dominion over citizens all over the planet.
Because you are so clear-thinking on the irrational issue with carbon dioxide and a proponent of nuclear energy, have you considered writing a piece on the danger of supporting nuclear for its lack of carbon footprint? It was something point out by Petr Beckmann of "Access to Energy" many years ago. He warned of the hazard of 'skating on that thin mythological ice' for nuclear justification. If sanity returned to the climate argument the rationale for nuclear could evaporate, leaving us without a reason to fight for the the greatest energy liberating means ever invented.
Almost all the current support for nuclear is from people that use 'net-zero-carbon' as their motivation for the transition to nuclear. Few see clearly that government control of the energy games and the research grants are the greatest impediment to wise energy choices. I keep thinking of Elon Musk and his breakthroughs in space access costs. as an example of what the nuclear industry would look like if government was restricted to managing harm and not method. The fact that every new idea must be cleared by bureaucracy, that every change must be approved, that every experiment is controlled stifles invention.
Perfect! Thank you
Excellent column. I hope this gets a much wider audience. Also, thanks for citing the Copenhagen Consensus, one of the few organizations that's been around for a while that comes up with real solutions to real problems.
Good article. I wonder though how accurate the radiation hazards listed are. Almost all radiation hazards are determined using the no linear thresholds method which is pretty well discredited by radiation hormeses. Regrettably, so much reliable statistic have been compromised by both poor research and activist manipulation.
Your actuary also table misses that the greatest lose of life expectancy results from living in poverty, something all of will suffer from if our access to low cost energy is curtailed by environmental zealots.
The climate hucksters recruit those who have no faith and no belief in a supreme being to be their alarmists. Those less than curious individuals then fill the void in their souls with a cult-like worship of Pachamama, scolding everyone who does not dye their hair, pierce their bodies, and paint their skin with the uniform of rebellion. Amusing at first, they have become tiring psychopaths willing to harm others for their own attention and amusement. Ignore them. In the end they will eat each other.
“ Without a second thought, we take daily risks with far greater empirical odds of being injured or killed than the threats presented from climate change or environmental exposures. In 2021, over 40,000 people, including 715 children age 13 or less, were killed while traveling in cars in the U.S. More than 150,000 children are hurt in car crashes in America each year. But we clutch our pearls over the condition of earth’s climate 80 or 150 years from now. ”
You haven’t met the crazy anti-car activists, have you?
Thank you for a superb essay eM. Keep up the good work! When thinking about the fearmongering regarding the safest form of large-scale power generation, namely nuclear power, greedy capitalists are part of the mix. For several decades, Rod Adams has been curating and publishing the "Smoking Gun" at his Atomic Insights blog. https://atomicinsights.com/smoking-gun/ Rod shows how greedy capitalists practicing franchise protection have typically utilized third parties to disparage nuclear power. For a current example of how Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary PacifiCorp is lobbying to replace non-polluting Diablo Canyon nuclear Power Plant mostly with Wyoming coal-fired generation, please refer to the Californians for Green Nuclear Power's April 5, 2022 Capitol Weekly OpEd, "Closing Diablo Canyon spurs fears over replacement power." https://capitolweekly.net/closing-diablo-canyon-spurs-fears-over-replacement-power
Well written, thank you. Back in the day, when radioactive waste was going to destroy the western United States (according to the alarmists of the time), a very wise person, I have no idea who, put down these words.
There are very real threats to civilization that cause death and destruction daily. Sometimes I think in this community we are working so hard to protect future generations against a potential threat that we forget about the real world and its wars, and starvation, and misery. Even in affluent and secure countries there is daily high carnage and needless but very real and continuous smoking/drinking and drug-related sufferings and deaths. We argue, as societies, page after page and year after year about hypothetical future risks and spend billions to avert them while all of these ugly, painful, deadly real things are around us daily and accepted as the cost of doing life’s business.
Since then, I've witnessed time and time again how people try to frighten us with some perceived future boogeyman, all while ignoring the myriad of problems we actually have. Drugs? The border?
Inflation? the economy? I've come to the conclusion that those alarmists not only want to keep us afraid of the future, but take our eye off the ball of fixing the problems because they don't know how!
Thanks again for this essay. It needed to be said.
If you put the "number of deaths from disasters" on a scale that is relative to total world population it would be shown as an inverse logarithmic curve. The world's population has grown by over 5 billion people in the time that the deaths from natural events have declined by almost 4 million in one year. In reality, the risk of death from natural events has become so small due to the use of energy to improve our living conditions, greatly reducing risk from extreme heat, extreme cold, and even flooding. No one can even calculate the benefits of having lighting at night vs. having no lighting at all. Depriving ourselves of the energy we need to do this will reverse the trend, so the ideas that climate alarmists are advocating will actually become the cause of higher death tolls from natural events, perhaps making their predictions self-fulfilling.
“The Dead God is a god who has taken an avatar or who has fallen to the grund (the so-called chthonic god)… The laws of gravity must be complied with and the logic of the ground must be affirmed; this is the route taken both by humans and by the avatars of the outside. Dead gods come open, to eat and defile, to immerse themselves in mess, entangled both by the immensity of the outside and by earthborn restrictions.… The dead god is not a tired, abolished, or doomed god but a god with a weapon of catastrophic destruction. A plague coming to earth to make of the earth’s restrictive ground a direct passage to openness.” — Cyclonopedia 204