First Sarah Palin, now Robert Bryce taking pot shots around things they barely understand: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/23/AR2010042302220.html
1) Solar and Wind take up too much land: If you just focus on rooftop solar and buffer land at airports, brownfields, wastewater treatment facilities, and military bases you could power the US almost 2 times over with just solar power. Wind turbines on the top of light posts are being tested by Wal-mart and that market alone could power 10% of the country. Everyone wants to extrapolate from today’s large scale projects instead of using their brain — Bryce is no different: http://www.ef.org/documents/EF-Final-Final2.pdf
2) Going green will reduce our dependence on imports from unsavory regimes: this is true that there are some elements from copper to rare earth metals that we will have to import. But the dirty secret Robert won’t tell you is that business as usual also uses rare earth metals so we are not worse off than we would be otherwise. http://seekingalpha.com/article/103972-rare-earth-metals-not-so-rare-but-valuable
3) A green American economy will create green American jobs: In this case, Robert goes off the deep end again. First, he shows that he doesn’t actually understand how jobs are created in our country. What the green economy does is create mostly short-term service jobs (some manufacturing). But more importantly, it takes money away from inefficient job creators like utility companies and shifts that money to the general marketplace where it can be used to buy new iphones, kitchen remodeling, or new cars for that matter. It doesn’t matter. The point is that we need to take money away from low growth industries like utilities and shift that money to the innovative parts of our economy — green technologies do that in electricity, water, natural gas, etc.
4) Electric cars will substantially reduce demand for oil: His argument here is that he just doesn’t think that anyone will buy electric cars. So you are a downer, I get that but make a real argument. Not just that you don’t believe in global innovation — from the Manhattan Institute of all places. BTW, it may not be electric cars, it might be electric bicycles and mopeds. It will certainly take 20 years to replace existing vehicles, but Robert wants instant gratification. This is infrastructure, 20 years is a short period of time.
5) The United States lags behind other rich countries in going green: Here is the one place I agree with you. America doesn’t get credit for what it has accomplished and the extraordinary growth trajectory it is on in these areas. Maybe I like Robert afterall 🙂
For the record, I don’t know Robert and he is I am sure a brilliant senior fellow, but I needed a foil. Happy Earth Day!
Carbon War Room