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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scientific American Proopses Spending $100 Trillion Dollars on "Sutainable" Future

In the middle of the Copenhagen farce, Scientific American has published an article extolling the building of wind, solar and water stations to replace our carbon-based power system. The cost of this sustainable system according to their own estimates? An unsustainable $100 trillion.

ClimateSanity has put their own estimates at $200 trillion and offer this critique. Check out their post and analysis here.

From ClimateSanity:

"Jacobson and Delucchi [the writers of the Scientific American article] say…

"'Our plan calls for millions of wind turbines, water machines and solar installations. The numbers are large, but the scale is not an insurmountable hurdle; society has achieved massive transformations before… In 1956 the U.S. began building the Interstate Highway System, which after 35 years extended 47,000 miles, changing commerce and society.'

"The Interstate Highway System is 'largest public works program in history.' The concept was first approved by congress in 1944. But it was more than a decade until President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The plan evolved to building 42,500 miles of 'super-highway' by 1975. 40,000 miles were completed by 1980.

"The expected cost in 1958 was $41 billion. By 1995 the total construction cost amounted to $329 billion (in 1996 dollars). This translates into $58.5 billion 1957 dollars. That is not too far off from the original estimate. Converting the $329 billion 1996 dollars to 2009 dollars gives $453 billion.

"So if Jacobson’s and Delucchi’s estimate for the cost of their energy system is correct, then their energy plan would cost over 200 times as much ($100 trillion / $453 billion) as the Interstate Highway System to which they like to compare it.

"If my calculations for the cost of their energy system are correct, then it would cost more than 400 times as much ($200 trillion / $453 billion) as the Interstate Highway System! And since they propose building their system in just 20 years, then it would be like building 20 interstate highway systems (which took about 30 years to build) every single year for twenty years."


"Jacobson and Delucchi claim that the expense of their energy system 'is not money handed out by governments or consumers. It is an investment that is paid back through the sale of electricity and energy.' This is a soothing argument that overlooks an obvious fact: We already have a power energy system that pays for itself 'through the sale of electricity and energy.'


"It’s almost like swallowing poison so you can reap the benefits of good health after you recover."

There's much more interesting stuff in the post. Read the whole post at ClimateSanity. It is rather enlightening.

But hey, $100 trillion or $200 trillion... What's the difference? Both will essentially bankrupt the U.S. for no purpose... It almost sounds like a threat, doesn't it? Better start working those third world population offsets right now! Geez...


  1. You've got to hand it to these guys for sheer chutzpah: asking their readers to believe that replacing an entire energy system with one that hasn't really been invented yet is sort of like building roads, a technology that was well understood by the ancient Romans.

    But many people want to believe it, and they will. Of course, they will live in the firm expectation that other people will invent the technologies, do the work, and pay for it all!

    It reminds me of the moment in PC groupthink when Progressives were certain that all terrorists needed was a little dialog. I never did find one who was willing to say he or she was up to the task. There was always some mythical "somebody else" who knew how to do it!

  2. Yeah, that faith in some mysterious others' super ablilities is a pretty interesting phenomenon. I hadn't really thought of that regarding the enviromental panic.

    Certainly the Right has a certain generic blind faith as well, but I wonder if it is as prevalent among the Right's base as it is in the Left's base. After all, one of the tenet's of the Right's base is self-reliance and not demands for governments to "do something" for solutions-- placing a certain faith that the government is compotent and can do something effective. Thomas Sowell writes about this sometimes in his essays.