Friday, March 22, 2013

Earth Hour: Keep Lights ON!

Many people will fall again for the demagoguery of celebrating “earth hour” purportedly for “saving” the environment. 

Most of them will simply follow “feel good” popular politically correct themes rather than understanding the real dynamics or “crony based” green energy politics behind them.  

This serves as example of the Bandwagon effects, not only in the marketplace, but also in the realm of the politics of environmentalism.

Earth Hour advocates avoid explaining the cost benefit tradeoffs between their populist pseudo-environmental interests (which are principally based on highly flawed computer simulations*) and the economic and social value of electricity to humanity. 

*people's lives are supposed to be determined by computer models which can't even predict economies and the markets! Queen Elizabeth even took to task the London School of Economics for failing to predict the 2008 crash.

They fail to take into account that “electricity is the backbone of modern life”. On the other hand, they elude discussing the costs of their themes from which life without electricity equals poverty and death.

North Korea or the medieval life are great examples of life without electricity.

So advocates of earth hour are basically misanthropists. They want people to suffer in the name of preserving the "environment" (ahem, promoting the interests of cronies and of the political class)
The following video from the Copenhagen Consensus eloquently showcases the benefits of electricity.

Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg gives further explanations on the benefits of electricity at the (hat tip AEI’s Professor Mark Perry) [bold mine]
Electricity has given humanity huge benefits. Almost 3 billion people still burn dung, twigs, and other traditional fuels indoors to cook and keep warm, generating noxious fumes that kill an estimated 2 million people each year, mostly women and children. Likewise, just 100 years ago, the average American family spent six hours each week during cold months shoveling six tons of coal into the furnace (not to mention cleaning the coal dust from carpets, furniture, curtains, and bedclothes). In the developed world today, electric stoves and heaters have banished indoor air pollution.

Similarly, electricity has allowed us to mechanize much of our world, ending most backbreaking work. The washing machine liberated women from spending endless hours carrying water and beating clothing on scrub boards. The refrigerator made it possible for almost everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, and to stop eating rotten food, which is the main reason why the most prevalent cancer for men in the United States in 1930, stomach cancer, is the least prevalent now.

Electricity has allowed us to irrigate fields and synthesize fertilizer from air. The light that it powers has enabled us to have active, productive lives past sunset. The electricity that people in rich countries consume is, on average, equivalent to the energy of 56 servants helping them. Even people in Sub-Saharan Africa have electricity equivalent to about three servants. They need more of it, not less.

This is relevant not only for the world’s poor. Because of rising energy prices from green subsidies, 800,000 German households can no longer pay their electricity bills. In the United Kingdom, there are now more than 5 million fuel-poor people, and the country’s electricity regulator now publicly worries that environmental targets could lead to blackouts in less than nine months.

Today, we produce only a small fraction of the energy that we need from solar and wind—0.7 percent from wind and just 0.1 percent from solar. These technologies currently are too expensive. They are also unreliable (we still have no idea what to do when the wind is not blowing). Even with optimistic assumptions, the International Energy Agency estimates that, by 2035, we will produce just 2.4 percent of our energy from wind and 0.8 percent from solar.

To green the world’s energy, we should abandon the old-fashioned policy of subsidizing unreliable solar and wind—a policy that has failed for 20 years, and that will fail for the next 22. Instead, we should focus on inventing new, more efficient green technologies to outcompete fossil fuels.

If we really want a sustainable future for all of humanity and our planet, we shouldn’t plunge ourselves back into darkness. Tackling climate change by turning off the lights and eating dinner by candlelight smacks of the “let them eat cake” approach to the world’s problems that appeals only to well-electrified, comfortable elites.
So we can’t discount of the "conspiracy theory" where one of the other possible subsidiary reasons for the massive printing of money by central banks could have been meant as subsidies for green energy via the pushing up or inflating prices of fossil fuels, which should make "unreliable" "inefficient" and "costly" green energy "competitive".

Unfortunately, markets know better. The free-market based Shale energy revolution has been proving to be the likely “environmental friendly” alternative more than the politically blessed “green energy” that has been founded on disinformation.

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