$20 Per Gallon Would Really, Really Suck
$20 a gallon is about the only thing that could unleash the genius of the market in energy innovation. And nothing else will really do anything to abate climate change. Bring it on!
Now, it’s quite conceivable that the forced innovation would indeed make our lives better in ways that I can’t imagine. For upper middle class yuppies living in our urban centers, it might be really swell.
But the transitional impact would be absolutely devastating for most people. Even Steiner admits that whole industries — from airlines to amusement parks to sushi restaurants — would go under. Almost all homes outside urban centers would be simultaneously unlivable and unsellable. Only the independently wealthy would be able to travel abroad. Essentially, we’d set our lifestyles back a hundred years.
We’re not going to all be in utopian walking neighborhoods in big cities, either. They’re incredibly expensive already and the competition will only increase.
Further, Steiner’s notion that everyone would migrate into “energy-related startups” is an absurd fantasy. Few people will have the intellectual capacity, much less the training and education, to do anything but menial work at the cutting edge of science.