A pretty basic principle of economics.

Opportunity cost

Brian Kent
5 min readJan 27, 2020


Considering that virtually this entire situation boils down to the principle of opportunity cost, I thought I’d take this post to explain exactly what it is (for those who weren’t already aware or who casually glossed over the opening image) and what I mean by that.

If you haven’t hugged at least ONE of your loved ones yet today, and you read this — let alone take the time to comment on it — that’s opportunity cost. [Note: that includes trees.]

What you decided when you read or commented is that reading or commenting on this is more important than hugging a loved one is to you.

Which obviously assumes you had the opportunity to do so. Depending on what you did or where you were before reading or commenting, you might not have had the chance to hug a loved one. Or pick up a piece of trash you found laying on the sidewalk despite not being the one who left it there.

You might not have driven anywhere in a combustion vehicle, or used marginally hotter water in a marginally longer shower than you needed to.

Perhaps you overlooked yet another opportunity to take your reusable mug to Starbucks, or looked the other way to sustainably sourced, fair trade coffee in preference for sipping an economy blend from a giant corporation which paid $0.10/pound or less to the growers who provided the beans for your morning jolt. Because who cares about them, anyway? You can’t SEE them.

Maybe you’re still using cosmetic products comprised mostly of water — instead of looking at products like Ethique, by Brianna West’s company out of New Zealand. What does it matter that shipping massive quantities of water around in diesel-fueled semi trucks at 5.9 mpg is terribly wasteful?

Maybe you actually believe you know something that is so earthshattering that it will fundamentally alter what I happen to be rather convinced is the case. Maybe you think all your clever words would never be able to get through to someone so “stupid” or “delusional” as I am.

Perhaps you’ve been trained in psychology or psychiatry from an Ivy league university and could develop a plausible argument that *I* am the one who is crazy, not the balance of the rest of the world.

None of that would change the principle of opportunity cost.

All it would mean is that you’re a different version of full of garbage than the rest of the people who would find me guilty without much more than the slightest chance of a fair trial. It would mean you believe in false promises rather than the only true one I am certain you have left. Maybe you think we can “start fighting that climate change battle” once the impeachment trial is over. Because watching that on television is an awfully good way to spend your time.

Or at least you apparently think it is.

Which is probably just exactly what Vladimir Putin would have you think. It can wait a while. It’s getting good here. We might finally be able to get rid of well-meaning but terribly stupid profiteer Donald Trump.

You all really do love a fall guy, don’t you?

You really DO have to have someone to blame, because you’re not too good at keeping track of which way the bulk of your fingers are pointing when you haphazardly direct the one adjacent to your thumb.

Putin is getting an awful good laugh at your expense and everyone else’s, and here you are crying awful loudly about a guy you paradoxically think knows nothing despite that you can’t even read what I’m writing half the time without a dictionary and even if you could you haven’t taken the slightest of first steps to verify the abundantly obvious experience I have which might indicate that you’re the one who is clearly mistaken.

But that’s confirmation bias, and that’s another post.

Whatever the case may be, if it isn’t the God’s honest truth, you can very much bet that I am your huckleberry. There is nothing you can do or say that will change the truth of this situation, and every minute you waste sitting on your thumbs is a minute no one will ever get back. If you’re the sort of pompous fool that regular Cleantechnica contributor Michael Barnard is — the sort of person who has a nonzero chance of having at least some semblance of the data necessary to prove that what I’m saying MIGHT not be the case despite that it very much looks like it is…

Well, I’d say you’ve got some work to do, and it doesn’t involve lobbing worthless insults at me and pretending that I’m going to go away just because my chances of being treated fairly aren’t much higher than a gnat making off with an elephant despite a hurricane happening to be right in the way.

I bought my lottery ticket yesterday. It provided me with $2 worth of amusement even though I all but know I won’t win. You’re not the one in good command of probability, in case you hadn’t figured that out.

Tesla is an organization which happens to be performing the worst kind of ecoterrorism: the close but no cigar type of effort.

Do you honestly think it matters that electric vehicles have a range of “400 miles, at least” and “can be charged as fast as the gas cars we used to buy”?

I drove 650.2 miles in a single day with a 2013 Nissan Leaf — actually on January 1–2, 2016 — without the Supercharger network and with hardly the best sort of infrastructure.

From the border of Canada all the way into California in a single day with a 75-mile EPA estimated range Nissan Leaf.

And you expect me to believe that the cars need more than four times that much battery capacity? That in a limited lithium ion production capacity world which has about a BILLION combustion vehicles to replace in short order the best way to do that is to make it quite literally impossible for the transition to take place because Elon Musk’s ego won’t allow it?

Because Elon thinks it necessary to not just be light years ahead of the competition but (light years)² ?

That he and Tesla “can’t” do it themselves because despite how many times he’s run his mouth about first principles he doesn’t even know the first thing about what they are?

Ok, suit yourself. It won’t be with any of the Aces, however, because you don’t have any of them.

This one was for those awake at 4:20am PST. Didn’t want to leave you out.



Brian Kent

I’m a sustainability advocate working to promote proliferation and understanding of electric vehicles and photovoltaic technology. Please send your questions!