The Goldilocks Policy: The Basis for a Grand Energy Bargain.

AuthorMeiners, Roger

The Goldilocks Policy: The Basis for a Grand Energy Bargain, by John R. Fanchi (World Scientific, 2019), 215 pages, ISBN 978-981-3277-44-1.

Professor Fanchi has a long career that began with his Ph.D. in physics and evolved into many years in petroleum engineering and related fields. Having taught previously at the Colorado School of Mines, he is currently a professor of engineering and a leader in the Energy Institute at Texas Christian University. He is the author of many works in physics and energy.

In The Goldilocks Policy, Fanchi lays out the case for a reasonable policy to transition away from fossil fuels over many decades. He is concerned that the progressive agenda, in its calls for a rapid end to fossil fuels, is too radical and costly. The agenda calls for an energy czar to dictate how energy will be produced and used. High emission fuels, coal especially, are on the high-speed chopping block under that policy. Costs are irrelevant in that view as we are in a race to save the planet and, besides, paying people to install solar panels generates wealth, not just costs, in their way of thinking. On the other end are the non-interventionists who want little public policy while allowing the market determine what energy recourses are used. Like Goldilocks, Fanchi advocates a policy that is neither too small nor too large. We want to avoid the consequences of major climate change but must be sensitive to the costs of rapid abandonment of fossil fuels that dominate the energy system today.

The first third of this short book is an excellent review of the history of energy sources and use. It also explains the different kinds of energy. Fanchi's review is neutral and informative with helpful charts and tables. This section of the book is an excellent primer for students or anyone else interested in an accessible survey of the energy landscape.

Fanchi then, in a similar dispassionate and readable manner, explains the climate change evidence and debate. He lays out the science of greenhouse gasses and explains how these are interpreted by various parties. The discussion is evenhanded and is not an advocacy piece stretching the evidence to fit his personal beliefs. He lays out the conclusions of the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) and of the Nongovernmental International Panel of Climate Change (NIPCC), which are different on key issues. While the IPCC sees fossil fuels as the main culprit, the NIPCC sees population growth and...

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