Posts Tagged ‘oil’

A fatal explosion at a coal mine.

A disastrous oil leak from a deep water off-shore drilling platform.

An explosion from a ruptured natural gas line in Texas.

What next?

I really think that these events (tragic as they are) should be a wake up call to America that our fossil fuel resources are getting more difficult, more expensive, and more dangerous to recover. I know that the reality of the situation is much more complicated, but we need to start shifting our infrastructure and economy to using more sustainable energy. And I’m not just saying flood the roads with electric cars, because where does the electricity come from that powers them?Coal burning power plants?  Right now, probably. Hydrogen fuel cell cars have the same issue. What power was used to produce the hydrogen in the first place?

Ethanol is no good for many reasons, but here’s one I think is ironic. The US government started subsidizing corn for ethanol production much more than soy beans. Farmers growing soy had no room for corn, so they stopped growing soy and started growing corn instead. Yea, rake in that money! But…the demand for soy was still there. Brazil stepped in and said, ” No problem! We’ve got tons of room to grow soy…just as soon as we cut down all this pesky rain forest getting in the way!” And so the world lost more of the most efficient carbon sinks around, tropical forests. An “alternative” fuel created to minimize carbon’s impact has in fact increased it. All while driving up the price of food and taking up valuable agricultural space that could be used for something else.

We need a fundamental shift from fossil fuels to to truly renewable sources. And when you think about it, most energy is ultimately solar energy (tidal is from the moon). Biomass gets energy directly from the sun, wind energy is just the difference in high and low zones created by heating from the sun, even fossil fuels are old plants and animals broken down into their individual elements (hydrocarbon).

I know that converting our entire grid to renewable sources will be tremendously expensive in the short term, but I believe we will be much better off as a country in the long term. Would you be willing to pay more to guarantee that your power came from renewable sources?

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I watched the last half of the Democratic National Convention last night. I saw the part where truck driver Republicans said they would vote Obama and Barack’s speach. Well…what now. We get to see the Republican Convention and endure days of them bashing all of Obama’s ideas. But I guess my question is: besides a few points, what reasonable person could say that what he said is bad. I know there are people out there who legitimately believe that everything Obama says is wrong just because it’s coming from him and not a republican. Someone in my Bible Study said that Obama stands for the opposite of everything he (the guy) believes in. Really? Lower taxes for the middle class. Holding big business accountable and taxing them. Trying to talk to countries before invading them. Yeah, that stuff is crap.

That last one really gets me. I know our foreign policy has seen better days but people freaked out when Obama said he would be willing to talk withanyone if there was a chance for peace.  “I want to have direct talks with countries like Iran and Syria because I don’t believe we can stabilize the region unless not just our friends but also our enemies are involved in these discussions.” Why is that a bad thing. Are things going to get better by ignoring the very people we should be trying to bring to the table. I remember watching Diane Sawyer inside North Korea meeting with some of their top military leaders and them saying, “I really wish Bush would stop calling us evil.” Yes, they may have done some bad things but calling them names from across an ocean is not going to make them want to stop. In fact it may spur them on to even more terrible action. I was once a student ambassador for the US and visited two countries. Understanding increases when you just speak with people. If I settled every argument like Bush, I would preemptively punch people in the throat before I confirmed that they had a  WMD in their pocket.

I also think we need to mind our own business. Yes, I know human atrocities abound throughout the world but there are still many happening in our own country that we have not dealt with because we are spending so much time and energy overseas. So Russia invades Georgia. That sucks but what does it have to do with America? Or how about this: Saddam invades Kuwait. What does that have to do with us? Oh yeah, I forgot. OIL. Kinda like how Saudi Arabia has a horrible human rights record but because we have a good business relationship with the royal family we overlook it. And China too. Well, we get so much of our stuff from China I guess it’s OK if they are terrible to their citizens. I guess it seems like I am arguing against myself. China’s human rights violations are not our problem. Why are we the worlds’ policeman?  I am getting off on a tangent here I know. Oh well. Maybe later I will publish my paper on foreign aid and how we should stop that too. Private organizations like World Vision do a much better job than the US Government. Anyway, I suppose I will end here before I go any farther. As always, I welcome your comments and arguments as long as they make sense and aren’t just insults.