There’s a lot of wrangling over green energy. I hear stupid things like Americans are “addicted” to oil vs. “Oh, there’s plenty of oil. It’s all just a communist conspiracy.
Here are a few things to consider.
- There is one inescapable fact about energy technology over the past 150 years: Technology trends inevitably toward less stinky. Coal stinks, prompting the original green energy technology: The internal combustion engine. No one’s ever gotten black lung from gasoline. No one ever got it from diesel. In the meantime, what coal is still burned is scrubbed down to CO2, which now can be pumped into the ground. As a result, the old technology stinks less. But electric cars stink even less. Yes, they move the pollution factor to electric grid, but it’s a lot easier to replace a handful of power plants with something cleaner than it is to replace several million vehicles.
- The term “oil addiction” lacks intelligence. A heroin addict has a choice. They might be psychologically or physically disadvantaged in exercising that choice, but the whole concept of rehab is built around that the idea that you go someplace to deal with the consequences of bad choices. Do you honestly think I’m going out of my way to burn gasoline? I drive a friggin’ Neon when I really want a Jeep Liberty. I want room. I get 32 mpg highway instead. When will I buy an electric car? When I can afford it. That’s not addiction. That’s necessity.
- Really, people, some of you need to quit offended when people bad mouth the oil companies. And no, your stock portfolio is not justification for excusing some of the oil companies’ dumber moves, like taking a massive dump in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, I own Exxon stock. If I’m forced to use the product, I’m going to take some of that money back. Eventually, I’ll dump Exxon, but for now, I’m making them pay for the privilege of being the only thing on the menu. “But isn’t that hypocrisy, Jim?” No. Hypocrisy is whining that wind power is a communist conspiracy (If you’re paranoid about communists in 2011, you really need to go look at a calendar. Joe McCarthy’s been dead for over half a century. Let’s keep him that way.) or not taking a bicycle on a 34-mile commute is being selfish (No, it’s not being stupid, especially in this climate). I really don’t care if Ted Williams one day is tooling down the road in a Prius only to blow past the former CEO of BP holding a cardboard sign saying “Will drill for food or money.” I don’t. Especially since that guy will never ever starve anyway. So who cares if they go under. Do you really miss Enron?
- Change happens. Get over it.