Gored!

I know I'm late to the party, but I was on the beach this weekend with a malfunctioning wireless broadband modem, and by the time I was ready to make fun of Al Gore, Andy Revkin had done it for me.  Don't get me wrong, I think that Al Gore has a hobby.  I just think it's a pity that hobby is making a fool of himself in public.  His speech on global warming is full of misstatements, exaggerations, and outright untruths.  What's worse is that I'm sure he believes every word of it.

I'll add only one thing to Revkin's critique, which is that Al Gore's program for energy is not merely costly, it's impossible.  Electric power needs several different sources:  baseload generation, and peak capacity generation.  Alternative energy sources are iffy for this.  Wind is not reliable, and the places where it is more reliable tend to be either rather far from where the power is needed, or smack in the middle of the view from Robert F. Kennedy's vacation home.  Solar requires vast land area to work, which is its own sort of environmental problem, and again, the best sites tend to be in the middle of the Arizona desert, which means large new investments in transmission.  To replace our current, mostly coal fired, fossil baseload generation would involve the construction of massive new nuclear capability.  This is a) blocked by Al Gore's friends in the environmental movement b) going to get you into a nasty fight with Harry Reid and c) not feasible in a decade in the current regulatory environment.  Forget the price.  Where are you going to put hundreds of new nuclear plants?

I understand the strategic value of setting bold goals.  But when bold passes into lunatic, I think most sensible people just stop listening.



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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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