Absolutely, entirely, barking mad.

Barack Obama should set drastic targets to force the US to switch to renewable energy in an effort to slow down climate change, according to the former vice president Al Gore. Gore said that one of Obama\’s first acts as US president should be to demand a move to 100% renewable energy within 10 years.

"We can do that," he said

Erm, no, we can\’t.

We couldn\’t even get to the point that all new plant built in a decade was renewable only, let alone make ourselves immeasurably poorer by tearing down the energy production sector that we already have.

It\’s not just that we don\’t want to do this incredibly stupid thing it\’s that there\’s no possible way that we could.

Might I just say thanks to those hanging chads that this buffoon never did become the US President?

18 thoughts on “Barking”

  1. Why is it not possible? Compared to saving the banking system, it looks cheap.

    And why is it incredibly stupid? We’ve got to do it sooner or later. The sooner future growth becomes carbon-free the better. I know Lomborg says there are more pressing problems, but this one is at least achievable.

    Tim adds: What’s stupid about it is that he’s not just suggesting that future increases in energy supply should be renewables. Rather, that all energy supply should be renewables in 10 years’ time. That’s simply insane, that we should tear down every coal and gas plant that we currently have. Even if I thought that climate change was an immediate and catastrophic problem (I don’t, I think it’s a long term and chronic one) I wouldn’t be recommending that we go out and destroy trillions upon trillions (of $) of our current infrastructure.

    Nor, if anyone bothers to read the thing, does the IPCC report in the SRES.

  2. Mark Brinkley, I kind of agree, if they spent $850 billion on it, they might make some headway. However, one stupid economic decision does not justify another, especially when it’s the same poor people picking up the bill each time.

    Do people really, I mean really think we’ve only got a ten year window here? Heck, I’m a climate change “believer” but I’m playing the long game.

  3. “We’ve got to do it sooner or later.”

    Well, as carbon-produced energy is cheaper & more reliable, renewables technology not really happening yet – can we do it later please?

  4. “We’ve got to do it sooner or later. ”

    why? Okay, in the very long term we’ll run out of all fossil fuels, but that is a long ways off. So for now, cheapest is best. Why should the taxpayer fund renewable energy when fossil fuel energy can be supplied in terms of the market?

  5. Luckily President Obama is going to ignore him, the last thing that he wants to do in the middle of a recession is increase everybody’s energy bills (which a dash to replace all conventional energy with renewable would inevitably do at the moment). He’ll probably do what he said he would do instead and put more money into R&D, which is better because it will decrease the time before non-CO2 emitting energy generation is cheaper than CO2 emitting energy generation so everybody would switch anyway. It will also be good to see a politician doing what he promised, you don’t get many of them over here.

  6. In line with some of the earlier comments, why make energy more expensive and thus make the world poorer?

    Virtually all of the climate change problems can be solved by making us better off. Look at it from the point of view of the IPCC’s SRES scenarios. as Tim has previously done. The A1FI scenario is basically the ‘no controls on emmisions’ scenario with the emphasis on growth. The B1 secenario is the same but driven by non carbon energies – made possible of course by artificially pumping up the cost of fossil fuels. The GDP per capita in 2100 of developing countries is,under A1FI $66,500 and under B1 is $40,500 (Goklany, 2008).

    With these kinds of income levels, nevermind the increased stock of knowledge, your average climate change problem eg. droughts or coastal flooding goes out the window.

    Leaving aside determinations of the ‘social cost of carbon’, there should arguably be no controls at all on carbon emissions.

  7. Yes of course fossil fuels are currently cheaper and more reliable, but that won’t always be the case. Just look at how the world is dealing with the credit crunch: ignoring the problem for many years and now spending a fortune clearing up the ensuing mess.

    The energy problem is not so very different: sure we don’t know the timing, but we all know it’s coming. It’s no black swan. Surely better to start investing in solutions now rather than relying on DocBud’s rosy view of a future where fossil fuels are both plentiful and can be burned without consequence.

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  11. Why is it not possible? Compared to saving the banking system, it looks cheap.

    Three points,
    1) The alternative to shovelling bota loads of cash at the banks was a much bigger crash, costing more than the bail out.
    2) Most of the cash being spent will be got back (ok probably not in Northen Rock).
    3) With the banks, the time frame was short. Even if clean energy were half the cost of fossil fuels, ten years is far to short. Currently, for example, there is a two year waiting list for wind turbines.

  12. Mark,

    > Surely better to start investing in solutions now …

    To me, the phrase “investing in solutions” implies putting money into R&D so that viable solutions will be available in the future. If a firm announced they were investing in new manufacturing solutions, I wouldn’t infer from that that they were intending to destroy every one of their existing factories. To call Gore’s demand “investing in solutions” is to make it sound a hell of a lot more reasonable and less destructively revolutionary than it actually is.

    I had not heard of your book, but now I have. I think I might buy a copy.

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