All we get is a few witty repartees, which is easy given how witless the stuff is we is reparteein'.
In the American Scholar, Milan Ilnyckyj summarizes Laughlin thus:
"Laughlin commits an error comparable to to seeing a baby driving around on a bulldozer and saying 'There's no need to worry; that bulldozer will be just fine.' "And at Kloor's, ThingsBreak summarizes the burgeoning pixie dust movement perfectly.
Pursuing clean energy on its own isn’t going to keep coal in the ground. What is the proposed mechanism by which the “breakthrough” scheme accomplishes this? If they don’t have one, they should just explicitly acknowledge it. If they have a mechanism, they should articulate it, so that people like me will become evangelicals for them. ...Amen, brother. What we are looking at is not a position, it's a posture. It may have legs politically. These days, God only knows what doesn't. But it doesn't actually solve any problems.
I’m ripe for conversion, Breakthrough people. Help me help you. How, absent a price on carbon or staggeringly distorive subsidies does a clean energy fund keep coal in the ground?
The only "breakthrough" would be if some unconstrained energy source was made cheaper than coal. But we don't need any "breakthrough" for that. All we have to do is stop subsidizing dirty energy. The technology for that is already in place at the IRS and respective revenue departments in other countries. Just move the extrenalities from the general public to the user. The net economic impact is zero and those nice conservative proven market mechanisms kick in like a charm. Hello?
Hello? Are you still there?