Nor should we want to dramatically curtail energy consumption......Environmentalists can rail against consumption and counsel sacrifice all they want, but neither poor countries like China nor rich countries like the United States are going to dramatically reduce their emissions... Given this, the challenge we face as a species is to roughly double global energy production... while simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half worldwide... so that we can avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
How could such a massive undertaking be achieved? Not, as environmental leaders insist, by limiting human power but rather by unleashing it....
The kind of technological revolution called for by energy experts typically does not occur via regulatory fiat. We did not invent the Internet by taxing telegraphs...Nor did the transition to the petroleum economy occur because we taxed, regulated, or ran out of whale oil....
And, contrary to conventional wisdom, private firms rarely initiate technological revolutions. Indeed, government has always been at the center of technological innovation...
Big, long-term investments in new technologies are made only by governments and are almost always motivated by concerns about national security or economic competitiveness, from the threat of the Soviet Union in the 1950s to opec in the '70s. The Internet (originally Arpanet) was created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was itself established in response to the Soviet Union's launching of the first Sputnik satellite in 1957.... And today's highly mature energy markets are the result of decades of subsidies for coal mining and oil drilling.
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