Leading environmentalist predicts “a farewell to fossil fuels”April 27, 2012
Amory Lovins is chair of the Rocky Mountain Institute and has been serially – and incorrectly – predicting the end of fossil fuels for the better part of four decades. He has been reliably wrong on the big picture issue of energy for nearly his entire career, but that does not prevent major organizations like Time Magazine from naming him one of the 100 most influential people in the world (to be fair, nobody says you have to be correct to be influential). This month, the journal Foreign Affairs offers him a platform for his essay A Farewell to Fossil Fuels. I could not possibly disagree more with Lovins – I have repeatedly called the 21st Century the “Shale Age” or the “Second Age of Oil” – but readers interested in balance should read Lovins’ opposing view. Our view is simple: Fossil fuels are simply too cheap, too abundant and too powerful to be moved from their place at the top of the energy hierarchy any time soon. They have the advantage of being ready for the built infrastructure and the ability to be easily transported. The Three Ps – Price, Portability, and Potency – are all heavily in favor of fossil fuels over any other current alternative. Other energy sources such as solar and wind will incrementally increase their share where suitable (and EGP remains a strong proponent of micropower -local, distributed and unsubsidized), but the heavy lifting will be done by King Carbon for the rest of my life and probably all of my son’s life as well.