Yesterday, I blogged the Economist's online debate over the question: This house believes that subsidising renewable energy is a good way to wean the world off fossil fuels.
The proponent of of the resolution, Matthias Frippe, a Research fellow, Environmental Change Institute and Exeter College, Oxford University, asserted:
We must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 in order to avoid dangerous risks to the environment and ourselves. Meanwhile, electricity demand is rising worldwide: even if the world converges at half the OECD's current electricity intensity, total demand will still be 2.7 times higher by 2050. To meet this demand while reducing total emissions by 80%, we must replace current coal and natural-gas plants with something more than 90% cleaner. This can only be renewables.
The opponent Robert Bradley, founder of the free market think tank the Institute for Energy Research, countered:
Governments should end subsidies to renewable energies and let consumers determine winners and losers. Wind and solar, in particular, cannot power a modern society and require fossil-fuel blending to play even a limited role. Additionally, the alleged market failure of fossil fuels should be revisited in the light of the economic failure and government failure associated with coercive energy planning.
The results are in: 52 percent of those voting do not believe that subsidizing renewable energy is a good way to wean the world off fossil fuels.