Last updated on: 9/9/2009 | Author:

John Whitehead, PhD Biography

Professor of Economics at Appalachian State University
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“It all depends on how the definition of ‘effective’ is applied in this context. According to, effective means ‘adequate to accomplish a purpose.’ If the purpose of alternative energy, such as wind and solar, is to provide a substitute for nonrenewable energy, such as oil and coal, then it can be effective. The problem facing proponents of alternative energy is that it is more costly to produce. If oil and coal were priced appropriately, incorporating all of the external costs of production and consumption such as air pollution and long-term climate change, then alternative energy would appear more competitive. However, potential supplies of wind and solar don’t appear to be large enough to completely replace oil and coal in the foreseeable future. If that is the purpose, then no, alternative energy can not effectively replace fossil fuels.”

Email to, Oct. 15, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Editor, Marine Resource Economics, 2007-present
  • Professor of Economics, Appalachian State University, 2006-present
  • Editorial Council, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2005-present
  • Member: American Economic Association, American Fisheries Society, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, North American Association of Fisheries Economists, North American Association of Sports Economists, Southern Economic Association
  • Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, 2004-2006
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 2001-2004
  • Adjunct Professor of Economics and Coastal Resource Management, East Carolina University, 2001-2006
  • Professor, Department of Economics, East Carolina University, 2000-2001
  • Director, Coastal and Marine Studies Program, East Carolina University, 1995-2000
  • Associate Professor, Department of Economics, East Carolina University, 1995-2000
  • PhD, Economics, University of Kentucky, 1990
  • MA, Economics, University of Kentucky, 1987
  • BA, Economics and Management, Centre College, 1985
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Should the US Implement a Carbon Cap and Trade System?