This is all going some where. It is going to take two more posts to explain why the Nature article and Pielke are wrong, dangerously wrong, I think.
This issue of insisting we must wait for energy technology breakthroughs that rarely come (as explained here) vs. deploying our existing or near-term technology as fast as is humanly possible is perhaps the central climate debate of the day, one we can’t afford to lose. That’s why I blog so much on it.
I also think readers of this blog probably want to use technical terms correctly and perhaps want to understand why some people choose not to.
As for the Breakthrough Institute, that is a more powerful and dangerous entity than Pielke, and it will take some time to debunk them. The thing to ask yourself is — if they are really on the side of solving this problem, why do they keep attacking Al Gore, one of the biggest allies the climate-savers have (see here)? Why do they say things like:
From development to deployment, there are still many hurdles to implementing new clean energy systems, and it is going to take technological breakthroughs to clear those hurdles.
How can breakthroughs overcome the classic hurdles like utility regulations that favor generation over efficiency, or hurdles that favor large central generation over more distributed generation, or that grandfather dirty coal plants or a thousand other well-documented hurdles that can only be fixed by chaning policy?
Why do they keep attacking a straw-man Rush Limbaugh view of environmentalists (and me):
In this debate, the traditional environmental remedies of lifestyle change and pollution regulations will be revealed as so massively inadequate to the climate challenge we face as to be largely irrelevant. Thanks to folks like Joe Romm and the editors at Grist, environmentalists will be the last to know.
Does any reader think that this describes most of the environmentalists pursuing climate action? Of course not. It doesn’t describe a single environmentalist or energy person I know. Does it describe my proposed solutions or those of Dave Roberts at Grist? Of course not. It describes the exact opposite of what I (and Dave) are trying to do.
So why does B.I. keep saying things that are so clearly wrong?
I’m gonna have to deal with that next week, since I have two more Pielke posts, plus the solution to global warming (!) to blog on the rest of this week.