When all you have is a hammer…

You know how to finish this phrase… everything looks like a nail.  That is a profound observation of human nature isn’t it?

We all have points of view, perspectives, bias, and filters on what we see and hear.  We can categorize these into simplistic labels like optimist or pessimist, but that fails to understand the mechanics of how each point of view truly operates in a society.

Let me try to explain this in practical terms.  Recent news articles are showing that the idea that white Americans are racist is catching rightful flak.  CRT was being crammed down organizational throats.  The reaction was predictable: while there certainly are vestiges of racism in our society, the broader problem is the polarization driven by social and news media in their attempt to retain readership.  If it bleeds it leads.  Well now, some media outlets are realizing that this is tone deaf.  Let’s see if their model catches on this next year.

The predictions that the world’s environmental problems can be solved with simplistic ideas like solar, wind and EVs is finally showing signs of realism: we can’t mine our way out of our problems and supply chains are real.  In fact, the costs of these ideas is now rising again for these reasons and will rise very quickly if we try to force markets to produce these devices. Meanwhile the climate alarmists sense all this and are redefining their arguments.  The recent GreenBiz VERGE Net Zero conference was careful to not talk about climate change but redefined the goal as a “pathway to safety.”  This reminds me of how our military redefined the need for funding our bases in the US as strategic readiness.  Don’t get me wrong here, I do agree with that as a better way to describe what we are trying to do.

We engineers get a bad rap in life because we almost always fall back to basic logic and numbers.  When asked whether the glass was half full (the optimist) or half empty (the pessimist) the engineer quips “you appear to have about twice as much glass as you really need.”

But, the real question with the hammer and the nail analogy is exactly that.  What are we trying to hold together?  Would a screw work better?  What about glue?  What are we trying to do?  It is fascinating to me to consider these questions on the earlier questions of racism.  Are we seeing comments about racism now because we have so many people in the HR departments searching for it to keep their jobs?  I think so.

Does the climate change market now sense their dreams are just that and are desperately trying to redefine the game before they are called to account for the lack of results in anything they are doing right now?  Yep, I think so.  This next year will force many to ask and answer a very simple question: what is this fortune in funding actually doing to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere?  When the data comes in it will show all this solar, wind, EV and supposedly beneficial electrification has made the carbon dioxide levels rise more quickly!  Thus the pivot to a pathway to safety.

Yep, follow the money.  If you make hammers everything does look like a nail.

3 thoughts on “When all you have is a hammer…”

  1. Joel – “We engineers get a bad rap in life because we almost always fall back to basic logic and numbers.”
    Well, most engineers are not following logic and numbers. That might be you and me and 20% of us. Whenever I go to a conference or webinar – including speakers from PJM, MISO, SPP, utilities, commissioners – people who should know this stuff. They are living in a fantasy land. Cars and the grid are not cell phones or computers. That’s what they seem to think. I also have a friend who belongs to ashrae. He complains all the time about the same, I don’t know what it’s called – cognitive dissonance or something.

    You’re right! I like it!

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