Things I wish I had time to write more about

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Fossil Fuel Free by 2018?
By Don,

I read with great interest about the challenge that former VP and current Apple board member Al Gore tossed out yesterday. He challenged the USA to completely shift its entire electricity production to renewable energy sources and eliminate the dependence upon oil and coal. Challenging the auto industry to have all electric cars in 10 years and power those vehicles with electricity powered by hydro, wind, solar and geothermal energy is not only a very ambitious plan, but it is an achievable plan that will provide immense benefits to our country. Oilman T. Boone Pickens (don’t you love that name!) also proposed a far-reaching plan to build massive wind energy capacity and has launched a big advertising campaign.

I have some experience in the wind industry as I started a wind energy company in the seventies and did a comprehensive study of the wind industry in the USA in the ’30s and ’40s while I was at Goddard College. Probably a bit ahead of the times, I worked in that industry for fifteen years and know first-hand that the potential for electrical generation by wind energy is simply HUGE. There is no technological barrier to Al Gore’s plan, the technology to harness renewable energy exists now, the technology to produce electric cars exists now and it really does only take a massive commitment on the part of the people to get it done.

The benefits are significant. We are now importing 70% of the oil we utilize and the world’s oil supplies are rapidly diminishing, prices are escalating (and they are not EVER going to come down) and the competition for this scarce resource is and will continue to be the source of conflict around the world. The escalating price of fossil fuels is hurting our economy, it is making it more expensive to commute to work, it is making home heating this winter an emergency situation and is causing the loss of jobs. Contrast that with the massive effort to completely convert to renewable energy. We would be creating thousands of new jobs, new industries and would be buying energy security for our country. Not only that, but we will be significantly reducing the carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. No longer will the USA be the barrier in the battle against global warming, but instead, we will be the leader.

I was pleased that both presidential candidates supported this goal. Now we have to get into the details of how this can be done. This must be a much higher priority than an erroneous war in Iraq that is consuming our resources, both human and financial! The country currently relies on coal for about half of its electric power (49 percent), followed by natural gas (22 percent), nuclear (19 percent) and hydropower (6 percent), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Renewable power accounts for 2.5 percent, although it’s growing rapidly in many states, especially California.

This is really the answer to $4 gasoline today and $10 gasoline tomorrow. We need to shift the prevailing paradigm and realize that with a united effort and an intelligent goal we can once again claim true independence. Al Gore’s plan is more than a remedy for global warming and diminishing fossil fuels, it is a blueprint for a massive economic development program for our country.


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Something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Something depressing.

Something expensive, but worthwhile (especially since we supposedly can’t spend any money on domestic issues until we get a new president, according to my AAAS updates).



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