Yeah, I’ve been out of touch for a little while. First, my extremely nasty bug wiped me out. Then, when I started coming back, I found my energies channeled into other areas of writing — which I have been/shall be posting on other fora. And no, I won’t be posting links to them — they are utterly un-Wizbangish and I would actually deny a couple of them.
Today’s Boston Globe has a fascinating column from reliable moonbat Derrick Z. Jackson. What’s fascinating about it is that Jackson correctly identifies a major problem confronting the US, and correctly diagnoses the primary cause. But then his inner moonbat kicked in, and he prescribed precisely the worst possible solution.
Yes, Mr. Jackson, the price of energy in general and gasoline in particular is skyrocketing, and yes, a large portion of the blame is our dependence on foreign oil, and yes, the turmoil sweeping the Middle East is exacerbating the situation terribly. But your proposed answers? Good lord. “High-speed rail” and “commuter rail tunnels” will do very little to reduce our energy dependence. And jacking up fuel efficiency standards on cars to as high as 62MPG? Insane.
Liberals are obsessed with high-mileage hybrid and electric cars as the panacea for energy consumption. But what they don’t seem to grasp is that these cars don’t generally consume less energy — they just shift the energy source away from the gas tank. The plug-in cars simply draw their energy from our electric grid — and that energy has to come from some place.
We have a multitude of types of power plants that feed into our grid. Natural gas, oil, coal, wood, nuclear, hydroelectric, even some solar and wind are all tapped for electric generation. Currently, our grid is pretty much near its maximum capacity.
And there are few new plants coming online any time soon — thanks in part to the Obama administration and their supporters.
Nuclear? Forget it. The environmentalists have convulsions and go into frothing fits at the mere mention.
Coal? We got tons and tons and tons of the stuff, and the technology to burn it more cleanly has gotten better and better. However, Obama vowed while campaigning that his administration would “bankrupt” anyone who tried to build a new coal plant.
Wood? Even nastier than coal, and it KILLS TREES!!!!!
Oil? Dependence on oil is what got us into this mess anyway.
Natural gas? It’s usually found with oil, and drilling for it is usually treated like oil for development. Plus, it’s far, far more explosive and dangerous to refine, store, and transport.
Hydroelectric? Cue the environmentalists who have hysterics over disrupting the natural flow of rivers.
Solar and wind? Way to unreliable and low-capacity.
The “long-term” solutions to the energy crisis, generally, have a common element: they actually cost us in the short term. They need more research and development (meaning: money, time, and resources) until they become even close to as efficient and productive as the established forms of energy. One doesn’t treat a famine-stricken region by telling them that you’re going to build them a new Whole Foods store in a year or two — you’d help them a hell of a lot more if tossed up a McDonald’s and gave out gift cards. (OK, it’s not a great metaphor, but you get the point.) Yes, the Whole Foods stuff is a lot healthier for them, but it’s more expensive and a long time coming. Waiting for the Whole Foods will kill a lot more starving people than the health risks associated with Big Macs.
We have several major problems right now — a major economic slump, and skyrocketing energy prices. And we have one very simple short-term solution that would address both quite nicely. We could “toss up a McDonald’s” by simply unleashing government restraints on increased domestic energy development — permitting more oil development offshore and in places like Alaska; authorizing new power plants to be built; and loosening the regulations that constrain such things, like those Obama boasted he would use to punish any company that dared to even consider building a coal-fueled power plant.
All it would take would be for the rabid ideologues to look past their ideology and see the benefits of reducing the costs of energy — and only the costs artificially created by government intervention. It would work wonders on our immediate needs.
That’s all it would take, and that’s the one thing that the Obama administration simply can’t bring itself to do.