Paul Krugman on Why Projections Constantly Underestimate Clean Energy Growth

Paul Krugman weighs in on the debate on why projections have so far massively underestimated renewable energy growth. His theory is more cynical than David Roberts’:

I’d place more emphasis on a more cynical view: capture, both crude and subtle, by existing fossil-fuel interests (with nuclear power, another big business venture, somewhat similar).

It should be obvious that Big Oil and Big Coal have a stake in having the public believe that there is no alternative to ever more drilling, digging, and burning. And who employs, funds, and generally shapes the careers of mainstream energy “experts”? Who actually has a seat at the table when international organizations are putting together their scenarios?

It doesn’t have to be raw corruption, although there’s that too. It can instead be a matter of creating a mindset. And a lot of that mindset involves the sense that serious, hard-headed men think in terms of big extractive projects, that solar, wind, and conservation are hippie stuff — a sense that persists even in the teeth of contrary evidence.

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