Saturday, May 21, 2011

The R-word and the S-word

Here is Ken Green on wind power.  Here is Matt Ridley on renewable energy.  Anyone interested has surely seen various discussions of the silliness of "renewables".

While "sustainability" is often left undefined and used to evoke feel-good responses, many of the discussions do end up with the idea of somehow promoting a switch from "non-renewable" to "renewable" fuels.

There are at least two problems that the two cited links bring up.  Ridley reminds us once again that the stone age did not end because our ancestors ran out of stones.  We rarely "run out" of stuff and then move on.  Price signals kick in way before that.  Secondly the "renewables" that are so often touted (like wind and sun) are not free.  Instead they are very expensive.  What is "sustainable" about that?

Suffice it to say that it makes no sense.  But how many course syllabi come up with "sustainability" mentioned when you do a Google search?  About two-million.


It's just a Google search.  Try "sustainability" with "syllabus" and you get 1.2 million hits.  "Economics" and "syllabus" gets 4.4 million; searching "sex" along with "syllabus" gets 5.5 million.