Economics, Energy and the Environment

Finally! I Can Agree with Amory Lovins!

amory-lovinsOver the years, I have rarely found cause to agree with Amory Lovins. Whether it was his fixation on the hydrogen hypercar, or his ideas about “negawatts,” I’ve usually found Lovins’s thinking to be, well, somewhat daffy. Well-spoken and -written, but nonetheless, economically and scientifically daffy.

But finally, I can agree with something Lovins wrote about in The Weekly Standard last month (don’t know how I missed this, but one can’t read everything!). At the end of an informative article on energy subsidies to the nuclear power sector, Lovins says:

Here’s a principled alternative: Reverse the energy subsidy arms-race. Don’t add subsidies; subtract them. Take markets seriously. Not just for nuclear and fossil fuels but for all so-called “clean” technologies, head toward zero energy subsidies, free enterprise, risk-based credit pricing, competition on merit, cheaper energy services, greater energy security, and dwindling deficits.

Of course, Amory doesn’t get everything right. He suggests that AEI scholars support nuclear-power subsidies. Some might, but I’ve been pretty vocal in opposing all subsidies. As I wrote in 2007, “The best thing to do for world energy markets is to strike all energy subsidies, tax the verifiable environmental harms energy creates and let markets sort out the rest.”

Still, for now, I will say hear, hear, Amory! I won’t buy your hypercar, and I’m not nuts for your negawatts, but on ripping out energy subsidies? I’m Lovins it!

Image by flickr user AIDG.

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