Peter Huber's prudent policies


Peter Huber has brilliantly put together all the arguments of a prudent carbon policy.

First of all we have to acknowledge the fact that we are unable to control the global mobilization of carbon-based energy because 80% of fossil oil worth $ 40 trillion is under the control of 'nasty' people. Secondly, the anti-nuclear bias of the greens after Chernobyl has increased the pollution of our planet because the coal industry was the main beneficiary. Thirdly, developing countries are sitting on trillions of cheap coal that they will use regardless of the West’s obsession with de-carbonizing the planet. Fourthly, 1.2 billion people of the industrialized West don’t even control the demand for carbon anymore, the 5 billion poor people that are meanwhile emitting 80% of greenhouse gases have taken over and their per-capita emissions are rising much faster than ours can possibly fall using de-carbonizing technology. As a result and fifth it is plainly absurd that the planet can be saved with just 1 or 2 % of the world economy.

On wind power, Huber accurately states:

Windmills are now 50-story skyscrapers. Yet one windmill generates a piddling 2 to 3 megawatts. A jumbo jet needs 100 megawatts to get off the ground; Google is building 100-megawatt server farms (in Lithuania with 78 % nuclear electricity production, FH). Meeting New York City’s total energy demand would require 13,000 of those skyscrapers spinning at top speed, which would require scattering about 50,000 of them across the state, to make sure that you always hit enough windy spots.

The worst thing we should do is sharply increase the cost for coal-based electricity. For using this to power our passenger cars would actually lower carbon emissions because these big power plants are much more efficient in burning carbon than individual gasoline engines. And finally Huber makes a very good case for sequestration of carbon on the inescapable assumption that in our 21st century economies carbon emissions will keep growing. But focusing on better land use and reforestation worldwide over the next 50 years will do.