2011-07-21 10:49:36A Christy Crock: "without energy life is brutal and short"
Sarah Green

This one addresses these quotes:

"It turns out one of the greatest benefits to humankind [has] come from energy, and cheap and affordable energy, accessible energy. I lived in Africa for a few years and I can tell you that without energy life is brutal and short. And so by making energy more expensive, less accessible, that means you’re gonna reduce your standard of living and in so doing you’re really not going to help the planet."

34) "I happen to think life is precious on the planet, so I look at energy as a real enabler of making human life better and longer."


I'm working on a second one to cover:

Christy Crock:" Making things makes emissions"

"Australia emits a lot of carbon because Australia makes a lot of things. This is something that perhaps some people don’t understand is that if you don’t make things out of aluminum, or if you don’t mine or extract things that other people in the world want, you don’t have too many emissions. But when you do provide to the world so much of its resources, it takes energy […] The rest of the world should be thanking Australia for providing so many natural resources that we use."

Feedback welcomed!

I can't seem t get the pictures lined up right. I'll work on it.



2011-07-21 15:29:03
Rob Painting

Sarah, I think you need a picture or graphic near the top of the post to act as a hook when the post is displayed on the home page.

I like the whole premise of the post because it really riles me up that the "what about the poor people?" card gets played when the rich see limits proposed on their gluttonous ways. What exactly has rich people burning oil and coal done for the poor up till now? 

Reckon you really need to push the idea that renewables and de-centralized power generation will actually more easily implemented in many poor regions such as Africa, from a logistical point of view. The cost of trying to impose some western civilization-type power generation schemes would be gargantuan. Who would pay for that anyway? Christy and his mates?

A rapid shift to renewables, would substantially bring down the cost of PV solar panels and small wind generators, which would have an immediate impact on the lives of the poor. Whereas the creation of centralized power generation would takes decades, and wouldn't be viable for very remote regions anyway, even if they could rustle up the cash.

I know your post says pretty much what I've covered, but I don't think it is explicit enough.

2011-07-22 02:01:45Energy most certainly does not equate to oil/coal


I'm currently reading Al Gore's "Our Choice" on the iPad and one of the videos gives a great example that it is possible to "energize" Africa without fossil fuels. A boy from Malawi - William Kamkwamba - built his first windmill from leftover material and has since then progressed to "Moving Windmills". There's even a documentary about him: http://movingwindmills.org/documentary

Here is a link to Williams blog.

Really extraordinary (and perhaps worth a mention in your post, Sarah?)

2011-07-22 07:23:13Suggested structural changes
John Cook

Great stuff, Sarah. Can I suggest breaking this into 2 shorter posts?

Then for each post, don't start with the Christy quote. By giving him the lead, you risk reinforcing the myth (the backfire effect). Instead, decide what your core message is and lead with that. Start with your core message, reinforce it through your post, use a graphic to hammer home the point then finish with your core message.

Then would you mind adapting these into generic rebuttals to go not our rebuttals database? :-)

2011-07-23 00:58:07
Sarah Green

Thanks for helpful feedback.

John- you're right that blog-wise it will be better as 2 posts; and actually easier not to have to tie the pieces together. And I can do rebuttals versions.

Baerbel- Thanks! I'll check those out.

Rob- I agree and will aim to get more explicit (while trying to keep the politics out- don't want to get sks labeled as socialist for pointing out the obvious!).  

Anyone good at cartooning? I'm imagining a guy (Christy?) leaning out the window of a huge SUV (as Jim Ed Pool used to advertise, the "Sherpa Intimida, a mountain of a car") saying something to the poor African about the benefits of more energy use.  Or maybe a a person plugging in her first solar system amid the construction of a huge coal-powered grid billowing smoke that obscures the sun, while a fatcat announces "In just a few decades your standard of living will be as good as mine".


2011-07-23 03:26:41
Julian Brimelow

Sarah, you asked for a cartoon.  Romm has some good ones--you'll have to digg around I'm afraid.  Like this (the person on the left could be from Africa):


Not quite as revelant, but speaks to refugees and disruption.

2011-07-23 04:51:30true cost of coal
Dana Nuccitelli

It might be worth mentioning the true cost of coal power in this post.  Wherever coal is used (developed or undeveloped world), even though the market price of the energy might be low, people also have to (indirectly) pay the costs of the pollution, associated health effects, climate change caused by the carbon emissions, etc.  While the electricity may seem cheap, the full cost of the energy is not.  When the full costs are considered, many renewable energy sources are actually cheaper.

This will be Christy Crock #7, by the way.

2011-07-27 03:20:58
Sarah Green


It's now broken into two parts. Part 1 "living better and longer" is ready for a second look, http://www.skepticalscience.com/Christy-crock-1-sarah.html. 

I found the perfect cartoon but it's copyrighted (as are the 2 suggested above), http://www.PoliticalCartoons.com/cartoon/8833a820-226c-4caf-913c-d70af6b7f829.html. Rats. John- does sks have a subscription? I can't even figure out how much that costs. One posting of this cartoon is $20. I'd put that up; I think it would need to be registered to you.

I'll include suggestions on the cost of coal and the cool African wind project in part 2, which is on energy costs.

Any more suggestions on this one?

2011-07-27 06:44:37
Dana Nuccitelli

Looks good, I made a few minor edits.  Can you add links to the studies you reference?

Here's a link to the updated Part 1.

2011-07-27 07:31:32
Sarah Green

Links added (some may only give access to abstracts). Should links open in new windows/frames? I don't quite understand the various options in the linking set-up.

Thanks for the edits!

2011-08-07 04:18:38
Dana Nuccitelli

Looks good to me, will try to publish this next week.  I wonder if we should make it into a rebuttal, and what exactly the 'skeptic' argument would be.  Thoughts?