Robert Bryce’s 5 Myths shows Ignorance

First Sarah Palin, now Robert Bryce taking pot shots around things they barely understand:

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:

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.
Plus we save gargantuan amounts of water, over 1 gallon per kWh of fossil fuels offset.

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!

Jigar Shah
Carbon War Room

3 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    Not surprising stuff from Bryce who is bit of a shill for the oil/coal industry and editor of online energy publication that frequently publishes pieces about the global warming 'hoax'.Manhattan Institute is a big right wing think tank and like similar vested-interest chaff it is widely distributed in the blogosphere

  2. Craig Shields
    Craig Shields says:

    Excellent job of fact-checking by Jigar Shah! On myth #1 – I've been following trends and technologies for years and I've come to the conclusion that the best solution solar thermal using molten salt for energy exchange and storage and DC transmission. Using only 3/10ths of a percent of 3.5 million square miles of land in the US for 100 of these solar thermal plants dotted across the Sunbelt – each only 10.5 miles on a side – we can supply all the electricity needs of the whole country 24/7/365. Sound too good to be true? Take a look here:… can be taken worldwide, too, with generation in the more tropical and equatorial latitudes and transmission to the population centers in the northern latitudes, with all-electric transportation of individuals and goods. That gets me to Myth #4 – I'm very optimistic about a high rate of adoption of "all electric" transportation even in America. I believe we're closing in on a shift in thinking about guzzlers similar to society's reversal on fur coats. If you're curious about my reasoning when we have such a deep love of horsepower, check these out:… there are barriers to be overcome – insufficient political will, opposing moneyed interests, not enough media coverage – but I've seen no roadblocks that are science-based or resource-based.At the end of the day, it’s glaringly obvious that we must change direction. We can't just keep living on ancient sunlight energy underground in the form of fossil fuels, and dumping the carbon out into current atmosphere. We will either end our addiction and learn to tap into that fantastic, risk-free fission reactor 93 million miles away that we'll be turning circles around for the next five billion years, or we'll stay hooked, and we'll make devastate of life, love, truth and beauty as we continue our lethal slide into waste and war.Venues for info dissemination, discussion and debate like CleantechBlog so wonderfully provides here are the hope of our nation amid a mass of poor quality one-way media coverage elsewhere.Craig Shields, Editor,

  3. Tom Wayburn
    Tom Wayburn says:

    Jigar Shah has determined that there is sufficient area, presumably not otherwise employed in a use that conflicts with harvesting solar energy, in the United States to meet our energy budget twice over. It is odd that Clean Tech, which is devoted to commerce, has not noticed that in a growing economy, which every commercial society encourages and, in fact, requires as explained at… the US will soon require more energy than can be provided by solar. In short, no matter how much area is available to harvest wind and solar energy, a growing economy will require even more. After every possible conservation measure is in place, the energy requirements will double in a number of years equal to 70 divided by the percent growth. If we need 100 quads now and the economy grows at the rate of one percent, we will need 200 quads in seventy years neglecting the effect of conservation measures, which can only extend that period a limited number of years.Tom Wayburn

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