09 June 2008

Energy


Two thoughts about our energy crisis:

1. Congress is responsible for us being entirely at the mercy of our enemies for oil (in other words, $4/gallon oil). American oil companies can't drill in Alaska. They can't drill off our coasts. (And yet, China and Cuba can.) It's estimated that we could be completely self-sufficient for oil if not for the environmental groups screaming that drilling for oil would destroy the planet.

Now, obviously oil isn't the best form of energy for the environment. Cars and planes and busses that run on gasoline pollute the air. But at this point in time it's our most efficient method for getting from point A to B. Until new technology catches up to internal combustion engines, this is where we have to be.

This brings me to my second thought:

2. Nuclear. It's time we stopped being petrified of the ghosts of Cherynobl and Three Mile Island. France is almost entirely powered by nuclear. If the French can do it, why on earth can't we? Yes, the disposal of nuclear waste is an issue, but so far a 100% clean form of energy does not exist. And nuclear waste can be safely stored. When the perpetual motion machine is invented, I'm all for going for that. Until then, nuclear it is.

And for transportation, let's go electric. Electric powered by nuclear is the best option we have right now, in my opinion. And the electric car is almost here. The whack-job environmentalists who have got us into this mess have a choice with three options. Either a.) let us drill for oil on our own soil, b.) let us go nuclear or c.) knock us back to the Stone Age, technologically.

It seems that far too many of these people are bent on Option C.

So here we are. I have zero confidence that either Obama or McCain will pursue a nuclear/electric course, so who knows where we'll end up in a few years?

Gotta love politics.

8 comments:

Matty Gibb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matty Gibb said...

I think I'm getting closer and closer to becoming a "whack job environmentalist." I'm not really a fan of drilling for more American oil. I don't know how much I feel sorry for people with $4-$5 gas. Hopefully it will get people to carpool, take public transportation, walk, and be more efficient in errands and such. That will reduce our use of oil, and we can hear less on TV and the radio about how the oil barons want to kill us.

You're exactly right about nuclear. It's being used very successfully in certain parts of the world, and we need to quit being afraid of it. It's a good source of energy, and frankly it's the only "clean" solution we know of that could approach the scale of coal and gas. Of course, the idea of electric cars is no solution. Electricity has to be generated, mostly by coal. So nuclear is actually your answer to both questions, since electric cars are easily within reach. Then we can argue about what to do with the waste.

Matty Gibb said...

Oh, I forgot to say...you left out one of the options. We can keep doing what we're doing and keep paying higher gas prices. For a few decades, at least.

Brandon said...

Obviously oil is a temporary solution, but we've got to have something while we set up a few hundred nuclear plants, right? And I'd rather we avoid being at the mercy of countries that hate us. Self-sufficiency for now and forever is the goal, IMO.

And you're right about the choice to do nothing, but in the long run, that's Stone Age option C.

Matty Gibb said...

Here's the thing: say we drill for oil in America and the price of gas goes back down below $3. Then we've lost our incentive to invest in research to figure out what we are going to do in the absence of oil. That's the main reason the high prices can actually do us a favor. If prices go back down, then we go back to procrastinating on our search for something else. When prices increased in the 1970's, research was done on alternative fuels. They actually already had all of the ideas we still talk about, like biofuels, fuel cells, electric cars, and so on. But when gas prices went back down, the investments in research stopped, and 30-40 years later, no progress had been made. Imagine if scientists would have been seriously devoted to getting us off oil for almost 40 years now. We'd have some actual progress to show. So the low gas prices, while convenient for now, are actually hurting more than helping.

Anonymous said...

I live near Three Mile Island and let me say this, at times it can be a scary location to live.

Do you live near a large nuclear facility? If so, then you obviously have no qualms with nuclear energy.

But if not, take sometime to truly contemplate what it would be like to live near such a facility and the possible problems that could arise.

Brandon said...

G: So your point is that we, the American people, are stupid? I have to agree. It's sad that we won't pursue alternative energy solutions unless the specter of death is staring us right in the face.

Anon: I admit I don't know a whole lot about the Three Mile Island accident, but according to Wikipedia, at least, there were zero deaths or injuries attributed to the accident, whether to workers at the plant or people who lived nearby.

Other things I've read have said Chernobyl became a problem because the Russians completely ignored the standard safety protocol.

So sure, build a nuclear plant in my city. That wouldn't scare me in the least.

Josh said...

When we were in Cali, we stopped in a town called Barstow and the gas was $5 bucks a gallon