There are a handful of indispensible writers on energy and resource issues, and if you had to narrow the list down to just the top two or three people, I’d have to name Vaclav Smil as my Numero Uno. Among Smil’s terrific books are Energy Myths and Realities and Energy at the Crossroads, but see also his Why America Is Not a New Rome. Perhaps his most useful insight is that energy transitions are long-term affairs, no matter how much governments may try to “nudge” or shove technology along—a lesson clearly lost on our current Energy secretary Stephen Chu, who apparently thinks we’re actually getting off oil before this decade is over.
Smil comes to our attention today for what ought to be a career-ending beatdown of last week’s Power Line Green Weenie Award winner, investor Jeremy Grantham. Taking note of Grantham’s recent article in Nature magazine, I said that “While Grantham is a shrewd investor, he turns out to be a climate nutter.” That was mild compared to Smil’s deconstruction of him today over at American.com, in “Jeremy Grantham: Starving for Facts.” Smil says that Grantham “puts his claims in terms more suitable for tabloids than for one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific weekly magazines.” Read the rest for the details about how Grantham’s views on the imminent shortage of fertilizer is, well. . . raw fertilizer.