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The False Promise of Green Energy Hardcover – February 16, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roger E. Meiners is professor of law and economics at the University of Texas at Arlington, and senior associate at the Political Economy Research Center. He is author or editor of numerous books including "Who Owns the Environment? (with P.J. Hill) and Economic Consequences of Liability Rules "(with B. Yandle).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (February 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935308416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935308416
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,559,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's too bad that I couldn't give this book 4.5/5 stars, because I am really close to loving this book. The authors legitimately point out the litany of errors, and their consequences, in the "scientific" green energy/green job reports. So many examples from the book could be cited, like the comedy/tragedy surrounding the multitude of definitions or the inadequacy of input-output models. Their points are made in a really sarcastically funny way too, like the "we have the technology to put a man on the moon, but you don't see lunar tourism" passage.

There was hardly much in here that I think can be debated on a factual basis. Of course, agreement on facts never prevented disagreement on policy. Since its from the CATO Institute, obviously I know to expect the "free market is better than anything else we have" viewpoint. But the authors never really attack the argument that negative externalities requires government involvement to internalize costs. This, of course, is the intellectual defense to all the sham research they have criticized. They come close to it, by asking (quite pejoratively) "if green activists think people are too dumb to realize energy savings". I would say that behavioral economics has shown that many people act as if they are "satisficing" not optimizing. Maybe that's just a semantic argument, but I think its a legitimate argument nonetheless. Secondly, that pejorative dismissal misses the point having external costs. That is, its not that people are "too dumb", its that they are causing damage to other elements of the economy. We are both a network and a bunch of atoms.

The book attacks any practical policy implementations that try to address externalities (or just collect rents) and justly so in my opinion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One line of attack on the "green energy" agenda is to question its primary rationale, namely the theory that catastrophic global warming will result unless human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are drastically reduced.

This book tackles a different question: Assuming that global warming due to carbon emissions might be a problem, is the green energy agenda well designed to achieve the environmental and economic benefits that have been attributed to it?

The authors are four academics (three being economists and/or attorneys) who describe themselves as "professional skeptics." And they do a workmanlike job of questioning the logic and integrity of green energy from various angles.

Having followed the debate about this subject, I was familiar with many of the points. The technical feasibility of a rapid transition to solar and wind power has been vastly exaggerated, while the cost estimates are correspondingly understated. Some environmentalists view nuclear power as "green" because it has the potential of reducing carbon emissions, while others will oppose it to their dying breath. There are numerous environmental objections to the government-supported ethanol program. There is no common definition of the green jobs that are promised, and forecasts are typically expressed on a gross basis (without subtracting jobs that would be eliminated, e.g., in the fossil fuel industries and in industrial operations that would leave the country as the result of higher US energy costs.) Some analysts would count jobs in regulatory compliance areas as a benefit, when they actually represent an economic cost. Claims that green jobs will necessarily provide highly paid, agreeable employment are not credible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is from the Cato people so you should know where they are starting from. As long as you realise this its an OK read. Much of the information is very USA centric and as such if you are from outside you should be careful about reading USA examples into your own country.

Cato is very disingenuous at times. They complain that the Green lobby uses best case examples to push their ideas while at the same time Cato uses very carefully contrived worst case examples to shoot them down. Examples of this are in the chapter on public transport where only one traffic flow is considered rater than all the traffic flows that the system would carry. On the same chapter they complain that feeder busses don't work because they don't match the passenger load, ignoring that you can in practice change the size of the bus to match the traffic flow. In their examples it seems all cars carry 4 people and all are going to the same destination from the same departure point.

Its like this throughout the whole book, the answer is the motor car now what is your question?

They could have done much better, still if you can get it cheap or from a library its worth a read just don't take things to much to heart.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A biased but convincing (to me) view that radical efforts to cut all carbon emission immediately is impossible and counterproductive. This is a politically charged issue and one should look at both extremes. This treatment is pretty balanced in my view, but I am sure a significant minority in the US (including Barack Obama) would disagree. That's not a negative.
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