The Scarecrow could be excused for his shallow thought process. After all, he didn't have a brain. But when our leaders and editors use the old "we should do something" as a statement of policy, it is hard to excuse.
In today's Detroit Free Press, columnist Tom Walsh wrote:
If the United States and other major economic powers were to switch from gasoline to hydrogen or another alternate fuel for cars and trucks, just imagine the geopolitical impact. Radical regimes in the Middle East would lose the only clout they have, as demand for oil falls along with its price.Well, yes, if we just switched fuels that would be great. But, as I have written several times, each alternative has a price that, so far, we haven't been willing to pay.
A hydrogen-based transportation system would require massive efforts to build a distribution infrastructure. It would also require new nuclear or clean-burning coal power generation plants to make enough energy to create the hydrogen gas which, incidentally, is a storage medium like a battery, not an energy source. Even Greenpeace co-founder, Patrick Moore, agrees with that (see June 13).
Meanwhile, Congress toys with dismantling Amtrak which is a mass-transportation alternative.
But, we gotta do something... something. If I only had a brain to figure out what.
But as Tom Walsh put it:
I don't have a clue what will ultimately emerge as the best replacement for gasoline.His solution:
Why not just put a lot of really smart people on the case, give them the money and resources they need, then light a fire under them and keep it lit until they find a way to kick the oil addiction?Tom, the answers are already out there. It's just that our "leaders" don't want to face the heat from a "fire under them". And, quite frankly, neither do most citizens if it means $5.00/gallon gasoline.
Current energy alternatives to oil products and where best used:
- nuclear power - regional/national (Chernobyl - not!)
- clean-burning coal - regional/national (millions of tons of that stuff in our back yard)
- tidal - regional/local
- solar - regional/local/homes (heat and light)
- wind - local/homes
- geothermal - commercial buildings/homes
- hydrogen - storage medium
- batteries - storage medium
- insulation - duh!
- triple-pane low-e glass - duh!
- skylights - duh!
- sweaters - duh!
- walking and bicycling - duh!