Robert Bryce, a guy who works at the conservative Manhattan Institute and who wrote an even-handed book called Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, isolated a very important lesson from Sandy. In the Wall Street Journal today: “After Sandy, No One Lined Up for Wind Turbines.”

Reuters / Keith Bedford
This is the perfect moment to pivot from scenes like the above to your argument against green tech.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, all of the critical pieces of equipment were burning gasoline or diesel fuel: the pumps removing water from flooded basements and subway tunnels, the generators providing electricity to hospitals and businesses, and the cars, trucks and aircraft providing mobility.

The Sierra Club and its allies on the green left will doubtless continue their decades-long war on the oil and gas industry, but the Sandy disaster-response efforts are showing again that there is no substitute for oil.

There are a few hundred other words, but there’s really not much point in reading them.

Counterpoint! First of all, there are substitutes to oil in the case at hand. Here are some. Are they scalable to address a disaster the size of Sandy? No — but it’s trivial to imagine a world in which non-petroleum-based generators and pumps exist and are common. Even wind-powered ones: If there’s one thing Sandy provided in spades, it was wind power. Though I’ll grant you that they probably won’t feature large 50-foot wind turbines. You’ve got us there.

Oh, also? If we’d used less petroleum for the last century or so, we may not have needed those wonderful petroleum-based generators and pumps at all. But then Bryce also wrote a piece called “Five Truths About Climate Change,” in which he overestimated the number of truths by five. (One of his arguments: Science isn’t settled; after all, CERN may have found a particle that travels faster than light!)

I’ll let you imagine the various applicable jokes about columns this guy would have written at the onset of the automobile or the electrical outlet or the whatever-else. I was going to write some, but they seemed too easy. And unlike some writers, I try not to take the hackish, predictable route. (Just kidding; I do that all the time.)

I can’t confirm it, but I’m pretty sure that the man complaining at the beginning of this Colbert segment is Robert Bryce himself.

The last thing Sandy victims need now is wind-turbine-caused herpes. Thank you, Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce. Your knee-jerk exploitation of tragedy has saved innumerable future lives, except all the people killed by air pollution.