Fossil Energy: Hidden Costs Threaten America’s Future

As civilization evolves, and science advances, and democracy effects positive change in favor of human dignity and freedom, one paradigm replaces another, and we become better at managing the problems that threaten to destabilize the human environment. There was a time when authority could use command and control to maintain order, for a time, but in our democratic and informational age, that paradigm is as primitive and unworkable as it is unjust, and our problems demand subtler, more values-infused solutions.

As the subtitle of a recent Economist report on closed industries in Italy says it, “Cartels that make life cushy for insiders exact a heavy toll on everyone else”. There is no real way around this: to profit from doing business well and providing excellent quality of manufacture and service is one thing; to pad one’s profits by coordinating market strategies with close competitors that join with one to form an exclusive cartel, boxing out the influence of stakeholders is quite another.

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Renewable Energy is Not an Ideological Issue

There is nothing ideological about the issue of renewable energy resources. Proponents tend to care about the health of the natural environment, which motivates their wish to see renewables replace high-polluting fuel sources like oil and coal, but the technologies, the fact of their economic viability and their usefulness for society at large, are not in any way a matter of ideology.

Neither is there anything ideological about the allegiance of some to carbon-based fuels. The considerations are entirely practical on all sides, and we need to remember this as we try to find consensus on how to move forward, responsibly, as a civilization, in terms of our relationship to energy and the environment.

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