Energy Realism

Summary:

The most important event in economic history: the harnessing of heat to do work. First coal, then oil, and later natural gas – hydrocarbon energy powered the Industrial Revolution and transformed humanity’s existence for the better. Growth rates in the one and a half millennia before the Industrial Revolution averaged approximately zero. Since then, per capita incomes in a typical free-market economy have risen by amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand percent.

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Yet today, businesses and consumers face demands for the forcible phasing out of fossil fuel energy over the next three decades to stop global temperatures rising by a half a degree Centigrade. This is not just incompatible with capitalism. It is incompatible with modern living. Some six in every seven humans today still live in undeveloped countries. Non-Western nations aspiring to Western standards of living now account for around three-fourths of global CO2 emissions. For this reason alone, whatever the US and other western nations do, net zero by mid-century is simply not going to happen.

Energy policy should be based on facts and reason, from the fundamental physics of energy production and storage to the relation between energy and economic growth. This page is meant to serve as a clearinghouse for research, news, and multimedia that can inform debate over the major energy policy questions of today. Together, these curated materials lay the foundation for the policies that will ensure reliable and affordable energy for businesses and consumers and help the economy bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, as well as chart a course for genuine environmental stewardship. 

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