The brief item written by Nick Stockton on page 48 of the current print issue of Wired (which was posted online January 5 and titled “No Matter What Trump Does, Green Energy Will Prevail”) would be silly were it not for the damage it is intended to do to America’s march toward energy independence through the development of its vast oil and gas supplies now exceeding even those of Saudi Arabia. He writes:
Acts of God are on the rise. Insurers now pay nearly four times as much to policyholders hit by natural disasters as they did in 1980. That’s because God has had a major assist from fossil-fueled industrialization. With the Paris climate agreement, the world’s emitters sought to slash carbon (sic) across the public and private sectors. The US Clean Power Plan targets coal; China is enacting a cap-and-trade system; India is betting big on solar. The deal sends a clear signal to companies: Invest in green business models. After Donald Trump was elected, more than 360 companies signed a letter urging him to uphold the agreement. Many are hewing to it anyway. Google will reach 100 percent renewable energy in 2017; Facebook and Amazon are following suit. Business leaders will aim to sway Trump from his anti-green stance with economic calculations. Investing in clean energy isn’t just imperative for the environment—it’s essential for US competitiveness.
Stockton’s claim that Silicon Valley companies, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, will soon be out from under the need of fossil fuel energy is blatantly absurd. Were they really trying, it would be wonderful for their competitors, who claim no such stupidity.
Sensible people know that the wind does not always blow, and when it does it is often not at acceptable speeds for wind turbines. While there was a time that the sun never set on the British Empire, such a claim can not be made for any of the aforementioned three companies still crying over the unwanted election of a pragmatic president who is not married to either liberal or conservative causes that make no economic sense. Donald Trump is a problem solver, and knows that so-called renewable energy may give some people warm and fuzzy feelings, but makes no sense in the light of our fortunate richness in inexpensive fossil fuels. Best that they do not upset him too much or he will intelligently move to unwind the federal subsidies that support the fantasy that the world can run on the sun and wind.
It is unconscionable to continue to mislead an untrained public with the idea, expressed by Stockton, that our tax dollars do God’s work by supplying free energy that can maintain the fine standard of living most of us enjoy.