Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Apples and oranges

Those who are saying that Great Britain should abandon its expansion of wind power and focus on energy efficiency are missing the point. Great Britain (and everyone else) should do both. We should also recognize that the question of which should be a priority is a false one as they are not directly comparable. One, energy efficiency, reduces carbon emissions and makes carbon-based fuels last longer. This is a worthy goal, but by itself it only delays the day of reckoning. The other, building clean renewable energy sources, is the only path with a future. Without it the day of reckoning will come and go without a solution.

By presenting the question as an "either/or" proposition, the authors of the report cited and the supporters of this approach would like you to believe that we cannot afford both and so we must choose based on the dollar cost of each alternative. But, in the end, it is the energy cost that matters in the future. Financial assessments are useful when money means something. In a world bereft of renewable energy, money will have far less meaning and value.

The real answer to the wind power critics is that we must pay for both energy efficiency and wind power. The task before us is to create the political will to do so instead of presenting fake "either/or" choices that only serve narrow constituencies and narrow minds.

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