and Mark Mills on our energy future and why it isn’t “renewable

In this issue:

  • Mark Mills on our energy future and why it isn’t “renewable”
  • A reader’s letter to ExxonMobil

Energy policy, including climate policy, will be one of the main issues of the 2020 elections.

I believe that the best policy for America’s future and the world’s future is a policy of energy freedom, in which all sources of energy–including fossil fuels–can compete to produce the most reliable, lowest-cost energy for billions of people.

I am extremely worried that a large percentage of candidates running for office are advocating “renewables only” policies that, if actually implemented, would quickly turn America into a third-world country.

I want to use my years of experience studying energy and persuading people about energy to help pro-freedom, pro-energy candidates and citizens as much as I can.

Thus, I will be sharing what I think are the best talking points, along with references, on every major energy and environmental issue this election.

For now I am sharing them as publicly-accessible Google docs at

Please share this link with any candidates you support. Also, if you know of any shows that would like to interview me about these points, please feel free to put them in contact with me.

Currently I have messaging on the so-called climate crisis, Joe Biden’s energy plan, the wind Production Tax Credit, and reducing CO2 emissions. Many more are in the pipeline.

Note that each talking point is the length of a Tweet so they’re super easy to share.

Mark Mills on our energy future and why it isn’t “renewable”

On this week’s Power Hour I interview Mark Mills, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, on the future of energy in general and “renewable energy” in particular. In the last year and a half Mark has published two fascinating and widely circulated reports: “The ‘New Energy Economy’: An Exercise in Magical Thinking” and “Mines, Minerals, and ‘Green’ Energy: A Reality Check”. 

Mark brings a great perspective to energy issues because he a) has a strong physics background and b) he is deeply knowledgeable about how different industries, above all the digital technology industry, use energy. 

On the show we discuss:

  • The three ways to use unreliable “renewable” energy and why none them work well
  • The massive and rapidly increasing quantities of reliable electricity used by digital technology
  • Why every hour of video uses as much energy as driving 1 mile
  • How AI has a limitless need for energy
  • Tech companies’ contradiction of supporting unreliable energy and demanding ultra-reliable energy
  • The fallacy of equating energy and electricity
  • The limits of battery density
  • Why engineers can’t fulfill arbitrary political wishes

You can watch on YouTube or listen on Apple Podcasts.

A reader’s letter to ExxonMobil

One of the readers of this newsletter, Wally Manheimer of the CO2 Coalition, recently shared with me a letter he wrote to ExxonMobil last year about their public relations strategy. The first half in particular is very in line with my own thinking so I thought I’d share that portion with readers of this newsletter. Note that the letter was dated May 17, 2019. 

Dear Mr. Woods and Ms. McCarron [Woods is XM’s Chairman and CEO, McCarron is VP for public and government affairs]

I write to you as a small individual holder of Exxon Mobil stock, as a member of the CO2 coalition (but I do not represent that organization in this letter), and mostly as a concerned citizen.  I am an experienced scientist and have had a long career as a senior scientist at the US Naval Research Lab where my work was mostly in the controlled fusion and national defense sectors.  I am retired now, but still serve as a consultant on NRL’s laser fusion project.  I am writing to you to recommend that you change your public outreach and advertising strategy.

I feel concerned that Exxon Mobil’s advertising and public outreach are all wrong, in this era of climate change panic and green new deal. It seems to me that your strategy is one of appeasement.   But that never works, it did not help Chamberlain in 1939, and it does not seem to be helping you today.  Let me give you a few examples.  Taken from your web site recently, here are a few links to some of your most recent public outreach:

The fat, fit, fantastic green machine – Energy Factor

Empowering useful E. coli for biofuels – Energy Factor 

These emphasize your new partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).   The next two emphasize your work on algae and e-coli for biofuel.  I found next to nothing on oil, fracking, more environmentally sound and advanced ways of drilling, etc.  Yet your basic product is absolutely vital for civilization, advanced economies simply cannot live without it. Surely your scientists and engineers know that the fossil fuels you produce are a resource of stored solar energy laid down down over ~ 500 million years, and each year you extract perhaps a million years worth.  There is no way that the immediate solar energy in the wind, sunshine and biofuel, laid down today can produce energy in nearly this kind of quantity.  As you know, despite hundreds of billions in subsidies and other support, solar energy has failed over the last 30 years to significantly impact the world energy budget.

Two years ago, I also looked at your web site, and your public outreach was all about how your company is cooperating in research on climate change.   Here are two examples:

Yet what did the policy of appeasement get you in the last two years?  You were sued by several west coast cities for climate change your product presumably had wrought.  There are now at least 40 members of congress elected in 2018 supporting the green new deal, and 5 Democratic senators running for president also back it.  Appeasement does not buy peace; all it buys are more and more extreme demands.   The threats to Exxon Mobil and similar companies are very real, I believe.  You ignore them at your peril.

I believe a much better basis for your outreach strategy would be based on Lee Raymond’s excellent talk 1997 talk in Beijing: 

1997 Exxon’s Lee Raymond Speech at World Petroleum Congress 

He took pride in the accomplishments of Exxon Mobil and other energy companies and pointed out their importance for world civilization, especially its development in Asia.

Exxon Mobil certainly has the resources to defend its wonderful contributions to human civilization, and I recommend that you alter your public relations strategy to do so.


Yours very truly

Wallace Manheimer  

Thanks for reading this week’s newsletter. 

You might find the following amusing. To celebrate my birthday last weekend I decided to go paragliding at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem: there was no wind. “Unreliables” fail again. 

To Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Energy,