I sympathize with those tasked with putting a precise dollar figure on the externalities of fossil fuels. Sure we know there are costs to society in terms of lung damage and long-term environmental damage, but what are they?
Today, back to back, I experienced two different sides to an important argument that I hope readers will find interesting. I had a meeting this morning with Richard Stuebi, a gentleman who’s been in and around the game of raising capital for cleantech start-ups long before I had the idea. He’s a believer in the importance of the development of technology from the standpoint of (more…)
When it comes to evaluating our energy options, policymakers typically perform cost-benefit analyses. That seems pretty uncontroversial, right? Where it gets squirrelly is in the selection of ingredients. What costs to include? Short term costs, or long-term? Include externalities? If a particular technology emits pollutants that threaten life on earth as we know it, (more…)
Those of us old enough to remember can recall the day when cars sold in the U.S. – even new cars — didn’t require seat belts. And the debate here was fierce; public safety advocates had their reports detailing how many lives would be saved each year, but the auto industry insisted that such legislation would ruin the industry: it would increase the cost of cars to an (more…)
Here’s an article that’s illustrates what happens when regulators get clever in creating incentives for environmental stewardship and responsibility: smart people work around them, unintended consequences result, and windfall profits occur in random places that have nothing to do with environmental benefit.
If I were doing this, I’d make the whole situation (more…)
Here’s a consumer-oriented piece from the U.S. Department of Energy: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Electric Vehicles. Nicely done.
There are a couple of issues with EVs, however, that make this a trickier issue than the article implies:
• Even though the fuel savings versus gasoline are significant, (more…)
I just sat down over lunch with a printed publication to which I subscribe called the “Green Money Journal.” Fantastic stuff. I loved the lead article, “From Growth Capitalism to Sustainable Capitalism,” by Joe Keefe, President and CEO of Pax World Management, which manages about $2.5 billion using an approach the company calls “sustainable investing.” (more…)
In reference to my post on the lifecycle analysis (LCA) of wind turbines, a reader writes:
The LCA of fossil fuel (or nuclear) powered electricity production presumably shows a good return in terms of direct power out vs. power consumed. Until, that is, you start to quantify the externalities – pollution, climate impact, resource (more…)
There are at least two kinds of “EV deniers” (as I call them), i.e., people who doubt that electric vehicles represent an improvement for the environment over gasoline. The first concept is that for the foreseeable future, an increase in the electric load means burning more coal. I.e., coal plants that would otherwise have been tamped down during off peak (more…)
In response to my recent piece on electric vehicles, a few readers sent me John Peterson’s position on the subject. Thanks, but I’m already quite familiar with it. John’s a brilliant, honest, and levelheaded guy; in fact, I plan to visit him in Switzerland when I’m in Europe next spring. Having said this, I disagree with him here. (more…)