The False Promise of Green Energy

Book Forum
April 21, 2011 4:00PM
Hayek Auditorium
Featuring the coauthor Andrew Morriss, Professor of Law and Business, University of Alabama; with comments by Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy, Center for American Progress; moderated by Jerry Taylor, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

Renewable energies such as wind, solar, and biomass, along with energy-efficiency initiatives like building retrofits — so-called “green energy” — are all the political rage in America today. Proponents contend that we are in the midst of a transformative green-energy revolution. The Obama administration goes so far as to argue that this new “green economy” will be one of the key building blocks for economic growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century and proposes production mandates and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars to make it so.

A new book entitled The False Promise of Green Energy (Cato, 2011) warns that the government’s campaign to promote green energy is built upon a mountain of wishful thinking, misleading accounting, and bad economics. Andrew Morriss, one of the book’s several co-authors, contends that the case for green energy has somehow managed to escape critical examination. Kate Gordon, on the other hand, argues that experiences at the state level and in other countries, as well as a number of reports and studies on the potential for job creation in the green economy, demonstrates that the political faith in green energy is well-founded.