There's obviously a lot of investment right now into alternative energy, some of which is already starting to pay off
, though much of it is still quite speculative. But developing clean energy sources is only one way to protect the environment and and the economy. Finding ways to reduce consumption is equally useful in this regard. Tim Haab reprints a recent graph from The Economist, which nicely shows the costs of various methods of reducing carbon emissions
. While things like solar power remain expensive, certain things, like improving indoor insulation and using different types of lightbulbs, save both energy and money. The question, then, is why aren't people already taking advantage of the low-hanging fruit of energy savings? A lot of it probably has to do with inertia or personal taste, which is why some politicians wants to mandate fluorescent lightbulbs
. While that particular legislation may save people energy, the thinking behind it is the same as the subsidies of ethanol, which seem to be causing economic harm
. It's better to let consumers learn about these options and have the best solutions emerge through the market.