Saturday, April 20, 2013

Iraq Vs. A 100% New Power Grid for the U.S....and Ultrarunning

In a piece called Iraq War Could Have Paid For 100% Renewable Power Grid, we learn of what we could have done instead of squandering our blood and treasure in a war that was ginned up and executed just to show that we could kick some Mideastern butt.  It's the old guns versus butter discussion, and as usual, the guns prevailed; that's why we can't afford nice things anymore.

The piece begins by discussing the estimates of Paul Gipe:

Wind energy expert Paul Gipe reported this week that – for the amount spent on the Iraq war [$3.9 trillion] – the U.S. could be generating 40%-60% of its electricity with renewable energy.
Then the blog goes on to explain why that $3.9 T figure is actually low, and why, using the upwardly adjusted data, we could have paid 100% for a new renewable power grid.  One hundred percent.  Let that sink a moment.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated in 2008 that the Iraq war could cost America up to $5 trillion dollars.
And the Brown University study actually concluded that the Iraq war could end up costing $6 trillion dollars over the next 40 years.
Since $6 trillion is one and a half times as much as the $3.9 trillion estimate used by Gipe and Freehling, that means that the Iraq war money could essentially convert 100% of U.S. power to renewable energy.
It is ironic, indeed, that the Iraq war was largely about oil. When we choose subsidies for conventional energy sources – war or otherwise – we sell our future down the river.

The connection to Ultrarunning, of course, is that despite our focus on a very rewarding pastime and sport, none of us are immune from stupid decisions from the top.  If you don't think that the nation's power infrastructure affects you directly, you are quite mistaken.

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