Going Green Can Backfire

June 13th, 2011
in econ_news

Global-Warming-Doomed-Polar-Bear Econintersect:  The argument goes that, if 'green' energy was made cheaper, the contribution of traditional energy technology to such things as pollution and climate change would be reduced and replaced with environmentally friendly technologies.  The environment would be improved.  But, what if the outcome were not necessarily that simple?  What if cheap, renewable, green energy simply led to a more rapid increase in energy consumption and the net effect on the environment were unchanged?  Or made worse?

Follow up:

From Common Dreams.org:

What if electric cars made pollution worse, not better? What if they increased greenhouse gas emissions instead of decreasing them? Preposterous you say? Well, consider what’s happened in Sweden.

Through generous subsidies, Sweden aggressively pushed its citizens to trade in their cars for energy efficient replacements (hybrids, clean diesel vehicles, cars that run on ethanol). Sweden has been so successful in this initiative that it leads the world in per capita sales of ‘green cars.’ To everyone’s surprise, however, greenhouse gas emissions from Sweden’s transportation sector are up.

Or perhaps we should not be so surprised after all. What do you expect when you put people in cars they feel good about driving (or at least less guilty), which are also cheap to buy and run? Naturally, they drive them more. So much more, in fact, that they obliterate energy gains made by increased fuel efficiency.

And green energy may not save the world from climate change if the energy use per capita grows in China and India to any siginficant fraction of what is used in the U.S. 

Of course, the entire debate is moot if global warming is not occurring.  There are those who mainatin this position, as shown in the following from You Tube

Source:  Common Dreams.org and You Tube 

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