Gore: Is his carbon-free vision a pipe dream?

Last week Al Gore proposed that the U.S. abandon fossil fuels and replace them with wind, solar, geothermal, and other sources of renewable energy.

When it comes to the environment, said John Broder in The New York Times, Al Gore is a true provocateur. But his proposal last week that the U.S. abandon all carbon-based electricity in just 10 years may be his “most audacious” pronouncement yet. Before more than 1,000 cheering admirers in Washington, D.C., Gore urged that the U.S. completely scuttle the “old-fashioned, coal-fired power plants” that help light up our homes and cities and makes our gadgets run. He laid out a vision of a nation electrified mostly by such renewable means as windmills, solar panels, and geothermal sources. With less than 3 percent of the nation’s electricity now generated this way, the plan seems out of reach. But Gore reminded Americans that we had met President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon in less than a decade. We need great dreams again, Gore said, warning that continuing to rely on greenhouse-gas-producing fossil fuels would lead to catastrophic climate change. “The future of human civilization is at stake,” he said.

And now, a reality check, said Marlo Lewis in National Review Online. It would take about $3 trillion to realize Gore’s messianic energy project. That price tag would “make even the Pharaohs blush.” Then again, said Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal, Gore never was one for inconvenient facts. He’s forgotten that when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, the power they produce ceases as well. Wind and solar will always have to be backed up by oil, coal, and nuclear. Since Gore routinely ignores both science and sense, why does anyone take him seriously?

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