Monday, September 15, 2008

Invent, Baby, Invent

Thomas Friedman had another strong column on his recurring theme in today's New York Times. Title: "Making America Stupid."

Key graphs:

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”

Of course, we’re going to need oil for many years, but instead of exalting that — with “drill, baby, drill” — why not throw all our energy into innovating a whole new industry of clean power with the mantra “invent, baby, invent?” That is what a party committed to “change” would really be doing. As they say in Texas: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”


Heidi Price said...

ExaI agree with Tom Friedman completely. The "drill, drill, drill" chant of the McCain-never-let-Palin-leave-my-side-camp is exactly what's wrong with America.

No one wants to do the hard thing.... Fix the economy? No, lets continue the Bush policies which has resulted in debt that our children will be paying off for years to come.

Pursue Alternative Energy Sources?

Of course not. Let's just Drill. Drill Some More. And then Drill Some More. Drill. It's a quick, easy fix and so much easier to remember than "Exploring Alternative Energy Sources."

Paul and Heidi Adomshick said...

The problem with Friedman's article is that he is ignoring half of McCain's stated position on energy independence. McCain wants to drill, but he also wants to push for alternative energy. He has talked about an "all of the above" energy policy, which is the only way that we can become energy independent without ruining the economy. Just because you drill, doesn't mean you aren't looking to develop alternative sources. I just hope he doesn't sell out to the "Gang of 20" compromise. That proposal would be a "none of the above" option, since it puts so much of the fossil fuels off limits AND does nothing to promote nuclear power. Nuclear is the best alternative source that can realistically be implemented quickly and put a real dent into our dependence on foreign oil within a decade or less.

Paul and Heidi Adomshick said...

Some additional points about Friedman's article. Regarding nuclear power, he says, "McCain talks about how he would build dozens of nuclear power plants. Oh, really? They go for $10 billion a pop. Where is the money going to come from?"

Fascinating that Friedman doesn't ask where the money will come from for the alternative energy sources that he wants to pursue. I guess that they will just appear out of thin air, or will somehow pay for themselves. If they did, they would already be producing, because energy companies would love to have bargain-priced alternative energy sources.

All of the alternative energy sources (other than nuclear) that are regularly discussed have major drawbacks (primarily related to land usage):
Ethanol/biofuels - disrupt the food supplies and are already causing major food shortages in the third world. It takes land, lots of land, to get energy from biofuels.
Solar - it takes massive amounts of land and expensive raw materials to build and generate solar energy in the quantities that are needed.
Wind - same problems as solar, but with additional problems, like opposition from people (Ted Kennedy) who don't like the wind turbines ruining the view from their Hyannisport compounds.

It is easy to SAY that alternative energy and innovation is the solution, but it isn't practical as the primary way to get ourselves out of the energy crisis we are in. Alternative energy sources and innovation are only practical in conjunction with "drill, baby, drill."