North American Energy News delivers news stories, analysis, opinion that illuminates this new stage of human history for our readers
Every news organization has a bias. Today, I want to write about ours, which is based upon the premise that the global economy has begun a century-long transition from fossil fuels to clean energy technology.
I’ve written about energy transitions here and here and here. And in tomorrow’s column I’ll write more about what we think the energy transition looks like and how it informs our news coverage and editorial positions.
But given that the Republicans and Democrats recently confirmed their nominees for president, and the general campaigns are beginning to hit their stride, I want to address the politics of energy journalism. This is an important issue. In fact, it may be the single most important news issue because climate change and energy are inextricably linked. And since world leaders are determined to accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy, energy is – or should be – top of mind for every American voter.
As it stands today, there are generally two camps in energy news reporting: Fossil fuel lovers/clean energy haters vs. clean energy lovers/fossil fuel haters. This is especially true in the online news space, where advocates for each camp have set up newsy sites catering to their adherents (cf. DeSmog Blog, Energy In Depth).
One could argue that the general media outlets – the national TV networks, the major daily newspapers, wire services – take a more balanced approach, and perhaps constitute a third camp, generating solid journalism (and plenty of not so solid journalism, but that’s grist for another column) about both fossil fuels and clean energy.
But I’d suggest that North American Energy News constitutes a fourth camp because of our perspective on the energy transition: that fossil fuels and clean energy will co-exist and compete in the marketplace for many decades. My guess is 50 years or more, judging by the experience of other big technologies, but the timeline could be longer (or shorter, I suppose, though I think it will be longer) depending on the technical advances made by both sets of energy technologies.
Logically, then, North American Energy News can be both pro-oil and gas AND pro-clean energy. (But not coal, mostly because natural gas plus renewables provide a competitive replacement for coal-fired power generation)
As you can imagine, this approach occasionally gets us into trouble on social media. Eco-activists and fossil fuel champions don’t want to hear that the other’s argument may be just as legitimate as theirs. Their mission is to change hearts and minds, not engage in thoughtful debate about energy options.
We reject that polarized point of view. Bill McKibben and Al Gore are wrong. Just as Alex Epstein is wrong.
Which brings us to another political point: we believe the public debate needs to shift from whether or not “accept” climate change science to how to best manage the energy transition.
Which makes perfect sense if you think about it. The objective of the climate change discussion has always been to change how humans use energy. Therefore, if human society has already begun transitioning to clean energy, then the primary objective of climate change advocates has already been achieved.
The focus needs to shift away from the activists and politicians and toward the scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and lawmakers who will influence the shape and pace of the energy transition.
The world has entered the post-climate change slash energy transition period.
Here at North American Energy News, we will bring you news stories, analysis, and opinion that explain and illuminate this new stage of human history.
That’s our bias. And, ultimately, why you should read our energy news site. We hope you enjoy it.
Markham, I believe you’re right that we should think of it as “…how to best manage the energy transition.” If you think about it, we’re still very primitive in digging deep holes in the ground to find dead life matter that’s been cooked and pressurized by the earth into usable/storable energy.
As “…scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and lawmakers…” we can do much better to cleanly collect, store and use energy. It’s exciting to see continued advancements in renewable energy conversion efficiencies and storage technologies including batteries, flywheels, thermal energy and compressed air to name a few.
Hopefully we can surprise ourselves with the speed of breakthroughs to accelerate this transition.