The Politics of Energy Stasis

Electing Obama would be disastrous for our energy future because for energy policy Obama is not the candidate of change – instead he would give us more of the same. Barrack Obama is the candidate of energy ennui from the party of entropy – he represents stasism and zero change for energy policy.

His “green jobs program” amounts to jobs for activists and entrenched luddite energy lobbies that would have us use antique power generation methods (solar, coal, and wind) to create energy. These sources are centuries old and if there were real promise of abundance in these technologies we would have seen it by now. Before you bluster about that, how long have windmills, water-wheels, and solar motors been around? What supplied power to farmers in the great plains during pioneer days, where did ancient Romans get energy? How long have windmills been in Europe? Haven’t we been using Biomass since we discovered that wood burns? Did any of the above means except coal ever provide abundant energy by today’s standards?

If you look at history and follow the growth of civilizations they centered around those antique power nexus. Every ancient harbor is a center of wind-powered transport in the form of sailing ships. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian civilization grew along the rivers, where energy in the form of food (food is human fuel,) wood, water power, and water-borne transport was abundant by that day’s standards. 

The middle class industries of Europe grew where the energy was during the middle ages and the Renaissance, and the power sources the Eco-luddites propose are quite antique – they’ve all been given plenty of time to develop, and proven less than effective (the first modern solar engine was built in 1860, ancient Roman and Greek cities used passive solar heating.)

The key thing about these ancient renewable sources is that they are desirable in small niches where they can be used, but they are not enough in themselves. (As past articles have pointed out: if you paved the entire Southwest in solar grids it still wouldn’t provide the amount of energy that we burned in cars in 2006)

The net energy effect of an Obama presidency would be no change at all and more of what we’ve seen for the past 34 years from the establishment Democrat party. Carter-style Stagflation would return. We would see continued increase in coal power generation, since that’s the only source of energy allowed to grow in today’s eco-luddite regulatory environment, and cap and trade is just another way to let it grow if you look under the covers of the proposals to the fine print inserted by coal and eco lobbyists.

With nuclear, oil, and gas halted by prohibitive legislation that favors antique energy sources an Obama Presidency is a stasist formula for a dirty environment and economic disaster. It would mean no new nuclear energy, existing nuclear energy plants storing fuel in dangerously dispersed locations, no new oil, no new gas, no new refineries.

In past articles you’ve read of the need for new energy sources to aid ecology, growth, and food security as well as the beneficent effects of abundant energy. Abundant cheap energy reults in lower birth rates, higher wealth, lower infant mortality, cleaner environments, and longer lives.

We need an estimated 70 Petwatt Hours of energy online by 2050 to sustain nine billion people. In other words every source of energy we have must be used as fully as possible.


Since the needs for plentiful energy as well as the bonuses of abundance has been covered in sufficient detail here, here, and here, it’s time you learned more about the political forces of entropy impeding the energy economies of the world. This loose knit neo-luddite cabal of energy stasists cuts across political, class, and cultural divides.  You will see odd alliances, such as greenpeace advocates and coal lobbyists, Marxists and venture capitalists, social conservatives and social liberals.

The “strange bedfellows” syndrome you’ve seen in  the spate of commercials featuring staunch political opponents sitting on couches is not recent, Virginia Postrel noted the cause of these alliances in her book “The Future and its Enemies,” where you see Pat Buchanan and Jeremy Rifkin both reveling in agreeable xenophobic nihilism on Crossfire in the ’80s.

Today you see similar strange bedfellows in the form of Greenpeace and Sierra club activists teaming with Biodiesel pimps, coal lobbyists, oil lobbyists, wind and solar lobbyists, foreign energy interests, and other supposed opponents in a strange dark pact that keeps us in a deep freeze for energy policy.

Over the next few weeks you will see more details on this in a series of articles here.