I saw an interesting story on the local news last night. Not anything really new, but it highlighted for me the media's continuing efforts to promote the anti-fossil fuel agenda. Full of optimism and hope, the story was aimed at making anything appear possible. But in reality, it was just another anti-fossil fuels story based on false assumptions and ignorance of basic science.
Arnold Schwartzneger signed a bill sometime back to build hydrogen stations across California to support Hydrogen fuel cells for cars that would run electric motors. Great idea, huh? Good for the environment and will help our energy problems. Right? Wrong!
Only briefly did the story point out that the refueling stations, including proposed refueling stations that could be built at private homes, required Natural Gas to create the electricity to power the electrolysis to separate the Hydrogen from water. Laws of physics demand "at least" as much energy to produce the Hydrogen as will be returned from the Hydrogen when used in electric cars or to provide electricity to the home. So this added step doesn't help our energy problem at all, and in fact, this extra step and losses due to inefficiency actually would make our energy problems worse. Oh, and as for pollution, how does burning fossil fuels to power the electrolysis change anything for the environment, except of course having to burn more for the extra electrolysis step? Nuclear Power? Would take decades to build the plants sufficient to be effective.
I thought, why is this nation doing this? If we have to burn more Natural Gas, Diesel, Coal, or build nuclear power plants to provide the electricity to support the electrolysis to create the hydrogen, and the process of going from fossil fuels/nuclear to electricity to hydrogen and then back to electricity is nowhere near 100% efficient, how crazy is this plan? The only conclusion is that it is all being driven by politics.
In a perfect universe, the availability of cheap and clean energy would be wonderful. But this universe isn't perfect. The miracle of fossil fuels is about as close as humanity could hope for, at least until science and technology progress to the point where we can harness some form of energy at lower cost and better for the environment. But contrary to what environmentalists would admit, advancements in environmental technologies are cleaning up the environment from industrialization's early years across this nation. For example, anyone who visits Southern California knows that the air is far better now than 10-20 years ago. The environmental problems in the US are not getting worse, but getting better. The goal should be to get newer industrialized countries to implement those technologies so they can grow and improve life there with minimal impacts on the environment, instead of providing this distraction, driven by the lie of man-made Global Warming, that some miracle energy source is just around the corner that will save the planet, while they continue their grotesquely polluting ways until that happens. We'll soon see how well China covers up its huge pollution problems during the Olympics that began today.
But that is what exposes the real drive by the environmentalists and their political allies on the left, in that they show little concern with countries around the world that are polluting the planet, but focus all their attention on driving Americans out of their cars and into government transportation systems that give those same politicians even more power and control over our lives. I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks that this nation can abandon fossil fuels in our lifetimes needs to stop getting their science from the evening news or politicians, and check into reality.
Here is a great column describing some of the hurdles in Barrack Obama's plans for energy independence:
The Green Hornet