Green Piece

The simple musings of a man who thought he knew everything . . .

Monday, February 20, 2006

Environmental Pipe Dreams

I patiently listened to President Bush's environmental hat tips during the State of the Union and I understood why he did it. I have no problem with throwing the environmentalists a bone so that they can go back into the woods, lick some frogs and leave the grown-ups alone for a while. But it's starting to get out of hand.

Deb Riechmann reports that The President is still talking about these new alternative sources of energy as though it was the real deal. Now, there is no harm in trying to inspire entrepreneurs out there to achieve the technologically impossible. At one time the light bulb was technologically impossible. However, it is not realistic that any time soon we are going to be running cars on "switchgrass". It's not a matter of wanting it really badly, it is a matter of energy. Oil contains a ton of potential energy - switchgrass does not.

The real problem is that there is an opportunity cost at stake here. While we are spending time and money on ideas that are not feasible we are losing some real opportunities to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The most direct way to do this is to tap into our own reserves. I'm not going to spend much time on this, but that Alaskan National Wilderness Reserves are sitting there waiting for us to use them. Short term problem solved.

What about the medium and long term solutions? Well, many scientists and economists believe that oil is the long-term solution, but for the sake of argument let's say it's not. No problem, there is another very feasible option eagerly waiting for us to use it's potential. Remember when I said that switchgrass does not contain the needed potential energy? Well, that's not entirely true. You see, there is one way that a lot of energy can be extracted from ordinary materials and that is by splitting the atoms of the material. This is known in scientific circles as the nuc-u-lar option. While it's not very practical to try to split the atoms in switchgrass, I think you get the point. Nuclear energy could be used to run the country. We have heard a lot about hydrogen fuel cells, but what most people don't know is that you can't just take some hydrogen and get energy from it. They hydrogen has to be "charged". In a sense a hydrogen fuel cell is just a really good battery. So, unless you have a really cheap way to charge the cell (nuc-u-lar for example?) then hydrogen fuel cells don't do you any good. However, using these fuel cells we could literally run all of our cars on nuclear energy.

The most perplexing aspect of Bush's attempts to appease the environmentalists is that time and again they slap him in the face for attempting to meet them in the middle. Here he is giving some semblence of credibility to the left's pet energy projects and they respond by criticizing his support for SUVs.

If the left really believed in these moonbat ideas they would jump at the chance of having a Republican president on their side. This should be proof to those who would try to reason with the libs that their pet projects are merely vehicles that they use to get more political power.


  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger Mark Lancaster said…

    Well Jason, I really don't know much about the potential in alternative energy resources. I hope we have elected some good leaders who are well read on the subject and can make appropriate decisions on how best to resolve our dependencies for energy abroad. I am glad to see you posting to your blog again. You always have interesting ideas.

    I was reading an email the other day that had a couple of quotes from a congressman (Republican) in Indiana (Mike Pence). I found the quotes interesting, so I went and found his website. The quotes were taken from a speech Mike made at the 2006 CPAC Convention.

    He was certainly proud of some of the accomplishments of Bush and the Republican party, but he also had some fairly harsh criticism over some of what he sees as failures of the party. I'd be curious to get your feedback on what Mike said. You can find the entire speech at

    Keep up the good work!

  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Jason Green said…

    To your comments I think that the problem is not that our elected leaders are not well read on the subject - it is whether or not they have the will to do what is right. Namely, not spend our money on pipe dreams.

    Regarding Mike Pence, I am blogging on it. The speech was awesome!!


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