Al Gore is one man and he is dwarfed by the rich oil men around him. That aside, I'm not sure why Americans are so upset at the notion of advancing technology. It's a very backwards way of thinking to cling to the past so determinedly that you ignore alternatives. The USA used to be leaders in solar and wind technologies. No longer. The advantage the USA had in these technologies has left the country for China and Germany. How do we expect to compete if we can no longer lead? Whether or not you believe that global warming is a problem, surely people can readily admit that having alternate fuels which aren't controlled by foreign interests is a good idea? Just on the basis of maintaining military strength alone? Perhaps there is a reason the US military is running more and more vehicles on biofuel? Who cares about the global warming implications. It's more about access to supply and eliminating vulnerabilities.
I don’t know anyone who is, “upset at the notion of advancing technology” but there is a world a difference between wanting cheap, clean, renewable energy and having to deal with the realities of obtaining it.
Wind and solar power are neat ideas and sound great on their face but they’re just not realistically viable options yet for use on a grand scale – and to make them so will require associated technologies that simply don’t yet exist. Perhaps someday when we discover some `super efficient magnet’ for use in the generators... or some `wonder crystal’ that increases the efficiency of solar panels by a factor of 10,000...
But right now you could cover the state of Kansas with windmills and still not generate enough power to light Las Vegas. You could laminate the deserts in Arizona with solar panels and still not generate enough power to heat Chicago in the winter...
And then what do you do when the wind stops and the sun goes down? There is no battery technology that can even come close to storing & releasing the massive amounts of energy involved... So any of these types of systems require alternate generation backup systems that can come online in real-time to pick up the load...
Electric cars. Sure, that works... to an extent. It’s okay to have a 150 mile range when you have a 100 mile round-trip commute... but what do you do when you want to go to grandma’s house 200 miles away... get a mid-trip motel room so you can take a nap while the car is recharging? And speaking of recharging vehicle batteries... our current power grid can’t even keep up with the summer’s air conditioning loads...
Biofuels? Sure it sounds great when Daryl Hannah comes on TV and explains how she fuels her truck with Biodiesel made from recycled frying oil and how it’s free... but it’s only free because it’s currently considered garbage. If people started doing it on a large scale, it would immediately become like any other supply & demand equation and the “garbage” would suddenly be priced accordingly... not to mention that there probably aren’t enough McDonalds French Fry machines in the world to supply the fuel needs of Rhode Island...
Grow Biofuels? Okay, but that too comes with its own array of unintended consequences, most notably is that the land used for growing the fuel isn’t being used to grow food... and we’ve already got a situation where the water tables are being depleted at an alarming rate to irrigate our food crops.
When I was a kid, the big fear was that we were all going to starve because the food supply wouldn’t keep up with the population growth. Now the geniuses have decided that we’ll just grow our fuel... Brilliant! We’ll make ethanol from corn — burn the food and save the fossilized dinosaur crap!
Energy independence. Hey, I’m all for it... but the answer (at least in the near term) isn’t to completely change and rebuild our entire energy infrastructure from the ground up. The way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is simply to tap into our own supplies of domestic oil. If your tire goes flat, you fix the hole & put air in it. You don’t reinvent the wheel!
And speaking of domestic oil production; the obvious outcry will be, `but look at the disaster in the gulf’
. Yes, it is a horrendous situation that makes me sick to my stomach and want to weep just to think about it... but it is an exception to the rule, a one-off out of the tens of thousands of wells out there. Does that justify it? No, not by a long shot! Accidents happen... but when the consequences are so potentially catastrophic as this, the backup systems and fail-safes MUST be adequate & redundant to the extent that they can ABSOLUTELY handle it. I don’t yet know why the system failed but that is the root of the answer... find out... and fix it so that it never, ever happens again.
And while we’re on oil drilling safety; the primary reason that the disaster in the gulf is so difficult to deal with is that it’s 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. If it was on land, it probably would have been shut off within hours... but thanks to the so-called “environmentalists”, we can’t drill anywhere! A perfect example is ANWR, where the permafrost would keep an oil spill from seeping into the ground and it would be relatively easy to clean up every last drop... but we can’t drill there because the tree-huggers say that, it would spoil the pristine view”
. For who? The polar bears?
As for our military using Biofuels, I’m not sure... but I think they’ve just done a little dabbling with it at the request of and to appease some green
congressmen... You’ll note that our carriers & subs are running on nuclear power.
And speaking of nuclear power; now there’s a clean, effective, efficient and relatively cheap method of producing electricity... but we haven’t been able to build a reactor in this country for 30 years, ever since Jane Fonda scared the hell out of everybody with her movie, “The China Syndrome”. Of course the real-world “proof” that nuclear reactors were inherently unsafe was Chernobyl, where the Russian reactor that they built out of recycled coffee cans blew up. Meanwhile France gets over 75% of their electricity from Nuclear power... as The United States of America
experiences summer brownouts! What’s wrong with this picture?!