Can someone explain to me why conservatives are against renewable energy?

I can understand many conservative arguments against taxing rich people more, allowing people to buy firearms, and against all that other crap, but one thing I have never understood is the resistance to new forms of energy. Is it really as lame and childish as “that’s what liberals want”? Or is it simply financial investment in old school energy? Can someone explain what this is about?

Find some that doesn’t require a huge subsidy of federal money first.

Conservatives are not against new forms of energy. We are against government subsidies of new forms of energies. Government subsidies waste taxpayer money and distort the price mechanism that the market needs to efficiently allocate resources.

Government subsidies of old forms of energy, though, those are just fine and dandy. Really, what renewable energy is all about is finding sources of energy that don’t (in the long run) require subsidies. It just takes some investment to get to that point.

Which renewable sources would you like to power the country with: wind? solar?

What are the viable options presently available? There aren’t any, on a large enough scale.

They think they’re against federal funding for renewable energy. However, the current crop of “How do you like your nuclear power now!” threads suggest that years of railing against federal funding for renewable energy has made conservatives actively root against it.

Many of them are either in the petrochemical industry or associate with those people. Many of them oppose it simply because the Left supports it, I’m sure. And many of them are religious fanatics, who either think that there’s need to worry about using up natural resources because Jesus is coming back any time now; or they are actively hoping for an apocalypse because they think that’s when Jesus will come back, so they want massive climate change and a collapse of civilization due to energy running out.

I occasionally see a faint glimmer of dawning intelligence in the eyes of an eco-leftie of the “Why wouldn’t you just” school (for values of “just” equal to equating a huge technical/infrastructure development and buildout=a cakewalk) when I say –

“If these alternative renewable energy sources were economically viable, let alone profitable – don’t you think the evil energy companies would have swooped right in and monopolized them? They don’t much care where the BTUs come from . . . .”

And apparently none of them, not one, thinks it’s not a great investment on a cost-benefit, green eyeshade basis.

Not when nonrenewable sources are more profitable, especially since they can shovel much of the downsides onto the rest of society.

And what you are ignoring is that profitability is a secondary concern. What matters is having the energy at all, and not wrecking the planet in the process of getting it. If that means taking a net financial loss, so be it; that’s the sort of thing government subsidies are for.

They are short sighted fools (or outright psychopaths) who will cheerfully condemn modern civilization and condemn their descendants to a lifetime of impoverished misery, as long as they can make a single percentage pint of extra profit right this second.

I’ve never seen you not resort to this fallback position, this mantra’s like a security blanket for you when your “logic” is ever challenged – my enemies (every last one of them) are the enemies of God and they are all CRAZY and STOOPID! There CANNOT be any other explanation for their policies! It’s a pretty unconvincing (very unconvincing) approach and you’d do your side more good by resisting the urge constantly to wade in with it on “progressive” issues – you’re making it look like progressive causes depend on a worldview in which more or less half the American populace is insane or retarded, which most sophomore logic students would understand is a difficult premise to sell (to those same people).

On the other hand, the argument against “Just” switching everything to (non-existent) wind and solar infrastructure does not require that I believe proponents of such infrastructure to be crazy or stupid. It merely requires my pointing out that they (I believe) have underestimated certain direct and indirect costs and drawbacks to such a technological/economic sea change, and possibly overestimated the ill effects of the current energy mix (“condemn their descendents to a lifetime of impoverished misery” is more than a little bit histrionic and Messianic).

Even assuming that is true, why is it relevant? The fact (if it is a fact) that renewable sources cannot ever be enough to supply all the power we need is no argument against investing in them so that they can supply part of our energy needs.

I think the answer is going to vary widely because ‘conservatives’ aren’t, contrary to popular (SDMB) opinion, some vast monolithic ground moving in lock step. Some conservatives aren’t against renewable energy at all, of course. Some are against the subsidies. Some are against it merely because liberals are for it, and as with jerking knees on the left, jerking knees on the right are just opposed to whatever the other side is for. Some probably have a vested interest in the current energy suppliers, either because of contributions or they have direct investments in it. Some conservatives are frankly wary of any energy source more advanced that fire, because fire was good enough for those folks in the Bible, and it should be good enough for the rest of us as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you’d have better luck asking ‘Conservatives…are you opposed to renewable energy, and if so, why?’…it will be less of a lefty wank-fest that way. This way you are going to get a lot of lefties telling you why THEY think conservatives are stupid and, oh yeah, why they hate renewable energy, blah blah blah.
I’m considered a board ‘conservative’, so I’ll give you my take on renewables, FWIW. I LOVE renewable energy and I wish it really could meet all the magical promises and scale up to being a large chunk of our energy mix. But everything I’ve read basically says that, as it is today, it can’t. It would take too many resources, cost too much and have too big a foot print to be more than a few percentage points of our overall energy mix. It simply doesn’t scale up to meet the bulk of our needs. It is and will increasingly be a good niche energy resource though, and I think it’s important to not only continue research and development and encourage that R&D but to build the things as well.

To me, the sad thing is…why do so many ‘liberals’ oppose the use and expansion of nuclear energy. Of course, as with my answer above, a lot of ‘liberals’ actually don’t…and other oppose it for various reasons. But it’s an important and scalable energy source that actually exists today and isn’t pie in the sky that we COULD be using…and, sadly, while we do have nuclear energy we aren’t developing or using it to it’s fullest, and in fact it’s remained pretty static for decades now and is on the decline unless we change direction.



I don’t think there’s a country out there that isn’t investing in renewable energy, but they are not cost-effective and we, as tax payers, end up subsidizing them (even more than we do with existing power generation).

Personally I believe nuclear and plasma gasification of ordinary garbage should be the way of the future.

There ARE no “good” explanations for why conservatives support the things they do. Any truthful description of what they do and what they want is going to be an insulting one.

And I find it amusing to see this argument made when the Right constantly demonizes the Left. You guys can dish it out, but you sure can’t take it.

No, it is a straightforward consequence of basing civilization on something that will run out. You might as well call me “histrionic and Messianic” for pointing out that it will kill you to jump off a 200 foot high cliff onto concrete.

For the sake of the Left, you really do need to just go over to the corner and quiet down. You’ve painted yourself as such an outlier that you are discrediting every position you speak up for. And we get the God thing again with the claim that you have sole possession of “truth.” You’re visibly full of frothing illogical hate and megalomaniacal claims to omniscience. Libs/econuts, can you control this guy? Hint – he’s not helping you out . . .

Well, I can only speak for myself, but most of it for me has to do with the costs of those types of energy far outweighing the benefit. At this point, it looks like solar/wind cannot compete in any cost effective way. Therefore, the funding should not be directed toward subsidizing actual energy production, but toward researching more efficient ways to collect and store that energy.

I also don’t like the idea that money for solar/wind/biofuel projects has taken money away from what I think are more viable options, particularly hydrogen fuel pack technology. When you add in the completely unexpected consequences like food prices going up due to farmers switching to corn for biofuel production and seeing my state being invaded by completely ugly wind farms…well, it seems more like a feel-good program that’s turning on us.

Most research and analysis I’ve seen indicates that, at its current level, wind/solar/biofuel cannot possibly provide even 20% of our current needs. So why are we funding these projects - why aren’t we wholly funding research? If you bought a widget from me that was only half built, you’d feel ripped off. I see most active projects of this kind to be the same thing.

People shouldn’t voice opinions on matters having a strong economic component when they manifestly have no understanding of economics. At no point in our respective lifetimes or our grandchildren’s are we going to “run out” of petrochemicals. They may become harder to find and extract. They may become more expensive. We may turn to different more (or less) expensive ways of getting them (shale, tar sands, natural gas). And at some point it may prove necessary and advantageous to see if we can get some form of non-traditional renewable power going (if solar cells become say 500% more efficient, I’ll be the first to cover my roof with them).

Hard lefties have an almost religious need to deny that markets generally work, so they miss a lot about what actually happens in markets. Hint: they’re dynamic, not static. Demand drives supply. Cost increases create new incentives to increase supply or reduce demand. Every consumption decision (energy, food, whatever) has both an associated cost and associated benefit.

Hold on there. Vested interest in the status quo is a time honored goal of the powerful, against even their own self interest.

Or perhaps you can cite the multitude of plantation owners striving to make the work of a field slave easier.