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  • Writer's pictureTom Mast

Comments on NYT Opinion

June, CP

By Thomas Friedman, May 17, 2022

Tom Mast – Founder Solve American Gridlock

I received and read the May 17, 2022 Opinion piece in the NYT by Thomas Friedman. It was written in a lively and readable fashion, chiding both the oil industry and the green folks in ways that made some sense. #climatechange

I would have preferred in the case of the greens that he had followed his criticisms of all the errors and misdirection with some comments that a carbon-pricing plan could replace the high-level political mismanagement with a single solution. It would be a market approach that would have the proper incentives working on everyone – with thousands of decisions (including transmission lines) coming naturally. Best of all, it would cause all of us using GHG emitting substances to have skin in the game, 100% of us.

Secondly re the green movement, I am continually amazed at how the source of electrical energy most qualified to make a pivotal change in our coping with our global warming gets constantly overlooked, namely nuclear. In addition to the types of nuclear fission plants we already know, and which incidentally have a stellar safety record compared with most any other major human activity, there are Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs, also fission) and Nuclear Fusion reactors. The former are at a stage that they could be put in use in a few years; two are already operating in China. Read Small Nuclear Reactors by Daniel T. Ingersoll. Nuclear Fusion yet out of the research stage, but it has incredible potential including virtually no dangerous long-lived waste and apparently no risk of a meltdown.

Re the comments about the oil industry: It seems to me that the oil industry is showing much less interest in investing in the future of hydrocarbons, oil and gas. It knows that there will be “some” demand for quite some time to come, but the “noise” seems to be saying that one way or the other, pressures are going to reduce its growth from a historical positive rate to a negative rate. Also, the political uncertainty is huge, and a good carbon pricing plan would give everyone in industry and the government a solid basis for making future plans. I think Friedman’s criticism would have fit better a few years ago. Again, a carbon pricing plan implementation would greatly reduce all the rock throwing and bring people together under a common plan.

It seems like Friedman’s research should have led him to more than just criticism, i.e. some suggestions as to where such criticism leads him.

Incidentally, Germany seems to have busted its thumb on energy several times in recent years. France has done a lot better. It is hard to imagine how a country with much of its area and many of its people under the Soviet Union for 45 years could have placed itself hugely in the position of relying on Russia for much of its energy! There are lessons in realizing this situation, one of which is not having all one’s energy eggs in one basket.


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