Weekend Postcard – Lake County, CA

There is more to Lake County than just “Clear” (what a misnomer that is) Lake.

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The Emperor’s New Power Grid

If you have not yet read Robert Bryce‘s excellent books, Power Hungry and Gusher of Lies, you must. He takes down the fallacies of “energy independence” and “renewable energy” with physics and simple math.

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The Plundered Planet

Writing on NetGreen News, Paul Mackie, formerly of the World Resources Institute, provides a book review of Paul Collier‘s latest book, The Plundered Planet: Why We Must–and How We Can–Manage Nature for Global Prosperity. In general, he agrees with Oxford Economics Professor Collier’s assertion:

“The romantics (environmentalists) are right that we are seriously mismanaging nature and that our practices are indefensible. The ostriches (economists) are right that much of what is said about nature is ridiculously pious, casting the rich world as the villains and the rest of the world as their victims. But they are also each half wrong. Both will take us to oblivion, albeit by different routes.”

Professor Collier says they are “half wrong” because, (economists) believe nature is an asset “to be exploited for the benefit of mankind,” and well environmentalists (apparently) are rigidly pious.

According to the description on Professor Collier’s page:

“(We must confront) global mismanagement of nature. Proper stewardship of natural assets and liabilities is a matter of planetary urgency: natural resources have the potential either to transform the poorest countries or to tear them apart…(Collier) [o]ffers concrete suggestions for how to fix the problems–including global warming, food shortages, and violent conflict–that result from improper exploitation of natural resources…”

I will put Professor Collier’s book on my “to be read” list and give it a look. Not too long ago I would wholly have agreed with him.

Now, I think, in spite of our natures, we are taking far better care of the earth than ever before. I’m skeptical that the effects of food shortages and violent conflict are the result of “improper exploitation of natural resources.” People respond to incentives, if there is a demand for a good or service, producers react by trying to market that. Recall, the food shortages of 2008 were, in part, the result of the Kyoto Protocols causing nations to move toward biofuels which pulled farmland out of food production for biofuel (and caused deforestation for palm oil plantations). Technology, rather than being a force destroying the earth, has a benevolent effect as well.

One more thing about fixing the food shortages. Tim Worstall has this to say in a rebuke of Johann Hari’s speculation of the shortage’s cause:

The wise, omniscient and altruistic politicians and bureaucrats could send a fax to all farmers telling them to plant more. Signs could appear in every breadshop telling us all to eat our crusts.

Except, of course, those wise, omniscient and altruistic politicians and bureaucrats are precisely the fuckers that got us into the mess in the first place by insisting that we should put wheat into cars rather than people.

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