1. Burton Richter (Physics Nobel Laureate 1976), and pro nuclear advocate, makes a good contribution to the energy macro environment when it comes to energy. Here is what he has to say:

    Because I was Director of a DOE lab for many years as well as a President of the American Physical Society, I have had lots of opportunity to see how the government really works. If something big is to be done, and changing the energy system of the country is very big, an army of lobbyists on all sides of the issues mobilizes. If something is not only big but controversial it is easy to find all sorts of excuses for doing nothing and it takes something major to get action. From this experience I have derived Richter’s Four Laws of Government Inertia:

    1st Law: The future is hard to predict because it hasn’t happened yet.
    This one is an excuse for inaction because we do not know enough yet.

    2nd Law: No matter how good a solution is, some will demand we wait for a better one.

    This is what some environmental organizations use to block sensible proposals like incentivizing the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation. If we did that we would decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. It is opposed because it does not eliminate all emissions from electricity generation.

    3rd Law: Short-term pain is a deterrent to action no matter how much good that action will do in the long-term.

    This is the one that blocks things like cap and trade or carbon emission fees. You can always find a lobbyist to explain why hurting their clients hurts the nation (and maybe campaign contributions).

    4th Law: The largest subsidies go to the least effective technologies. This one keeps things like subsidies for corn ethanol going.

    1. Cap-and-trade is worth blocking simply because it’s a vehicle for rent-seeking (via grandfathered or out-of-cap allowances) and “trading” profits are a deadweight loss to the rest of the economy.  This is why there was such enthusiasm for it at Goldman Sachs.

      Carbon taxes have no such side effects, which is why they’re practically taboo.

  2. ” If we did that we would decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. It is opposed because it does not eliminate all emissions from electricity generation.”

    Really bad example.

    Real science published in peer reviewed reputable journal shows gas especially fracked is actually a worse warming forcer than coal due to methane leaks from production to delivery. Since the actual cost of gas production is 3 times the current market value financed by Big Oil dumping, there is no reason other than political not to replace all coal and gas plant with nukes.

    Diverting a tiny fraction of the money wasted on ever never never land carbon capture alone to the basically zero dollars spent today on generation 4 nuclear, would have Gen IV units flowing out of factories within 5 years.

    Only unrestricted dumps of Big Oil lolly in the pockets of our 100% corrupted politicians and Big Media, stands in the way.

    These same might want to remember what happened to their compadres in 1917 Russia when folks realized the extent they had been hornswoggled by corrupt leaders.

  3. Dieter Helm is often presented as an independent energy policy adviser from Oxford University, but also collects consultancy fees from the fossil fuel industry, being a proponent of shale gas. How about this report: “The Era of Gas: How to use this new potential” commissioned by PKN Orlen, a major energy player in Poland and a big investor in shale gas developments in that country. See: http://www.raportroczny.orlen.pl/pub/files/EN_2011/volume_2__the_era_of_gas.pdf

    So much for objectivity…

  4. Everything ive come across leads me to at least partially agree with this assessment – nuclear has been producing measurable clean energy for decades but large increases in capacity have come slowly at best recently. Most if not all recent carbon and pollution reductions have come from gas replacement of coal.

    With gas the boat still sinks, but with a few more minutes to enjoy the band.

    1. Also I am beginning to believe energy numbers coming out of Europe – particularly Germany are suspect. Specifically where they deal with “exports” and overcapacity. Other deals and collaborations are pointing towards what is only describe as corruption. Their carbon market is counterproductive.

      I dont believe the Greens are just “misguided” – from following the news on my blog and how the facts are playing out. ( http://diseaseclimate.blogspot.com/ ).

      I hope I am wrong but the lack of honesty and transparency in European energy reporting is becoming more worrisome. Is it also occurring across other venues? Regardless, them being wrong here will have real consequences no matter how its spun.

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