Greens Missing the Green Revolution
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  • The old efficiency fallacy. The more efficient you make something, the more of that something you use. Following the 1970’s, the US Economy drastically reduced the number of joules required to create a unit of GDP. Overall energy use went UP.

    If you have ever visited a freezing shopping Mall in Dallas, you will understand that the cheaper you make chilled air, the more chilled air you will have.

    Efficiency is a good that a free economy will always seek. Just don’t confuse it with energy policy.

  • Toni

    @Merrill #1

    Well, OF COURSE energy use increased after the 1970s! In the ’70s the world thought the world was running out of oil and natural gas. Prices went sky high.

    But two things happened. The US natural gas industry, which had been regulated into sclerosis, was deregulated. Oil had never been regulated (except Jimmy Carter’s gas station lines), but both oil and natural gas producers had brought to market MASSIVE new supplies.

    About that time, guess what. The world learned that it was not (and still isn’t) running out of oil and natural gas. The world was so awash in oil that by 1986, the price fell to 25% of its 1981 peak! Natural gas took longer but fell as much. Prices took decades to exceed those 1981 highs.

    Econ 101: When prices fall, demand rises. Meanwhile, the US population has grown by 40% since 1980.

    Econ 101: When prices rise, demand falls — because both businesses and consumers use it more efficiently. If you don’t like efficiency, well, I hope you’re still using your 1984 IBM PC.

    BTW, the Dallas mall in summer is as cold as a Denver mall is hot in winter. Why this is, I don’t know. One late December, I arrived at the Denver airport in subfreezing weather. My cab had been so hot that I stood outside the airport to take off my coat, and unstrap, unsnap and unzip my garment bag, and put my coat on a hanger in it, and finally restrap etc. my garment bag — and only then was I beginning to get cool. Go figure.


    I grew up under the flight path into Philly International Airport.

    Compare the amount of sound from and old line 707 and the amount generated by the late generation Boeings, for example, and you can see this effect at work.

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