A debate has recently ended in the Economist magazine that makes for interesting reading.

The question was whether subsidising renewable energy was a good thing. The cons won by 52% to 48%. This threw up a number of interesting points to me.

Firstly, I was surprised that the Economist magazine chose for the arguments of the main critic of the motion, Robert Bradley, of the IER. Robert Bradley, a former Enron executive, is a well-known global warming skeptic, insisting on a “benign enhanced greenhouse effect” (ie global warming is a good thing) and that the world economies cannot afford carbon control.

Alarming as these points are, the thing that most alarmed me, though I shouldn’t be surprised really since the president of the IER is a former oil-industry lobbyist, is the fact that initially the debate started out at 53% of those that voted, agreeing with the motion that subsiding renewable energy was a good thing. Then after Robert Bradley posted a clarion call to his American readers on his own blog about the debate – hey presto the numbers change to deny that renewable subsidy is a good thing.

There must have been a more objective speaker available – or maybe not!

The whole debate can be found here.