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Energy for Dummies

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here’s a question: Why do we even talk about fossil fuels anymore? Why do we care? Seriously. Why do we wring our hands over the price of oil? Why do we destroy entire mountain ecosystems in a fool’s errand for coal? For that matter, why do we keep irradiating ourselves with fissionable materials? Why do we give even so much as the time of day to any source of energy that involves splitting atoms or carbon-loading the atmosphere when the entire country and most of the rest of the world could do everything it needs to without depositing so much as a single thimble of anything into the air?

I have to ask because I absolutely do not get it. At all. I am utterly baffled. Truly. I’m constantly reading about incredible and incredibly workable ideas to generate power without pollution. Big, here-now, ready-to-go, here-you-are solutions that could do it all. Like Concentrated Solar Power, which could power 90% of the entire world, provide all the drinking water it could want, and here at home keep the U.S. lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids from now until the end of time using a patch of desert scrub just 92 miles square. Right here. Right now. Today. No more oil. No more OPEC. No more emissions. No more carbon. No more apocalypse. End of story.

Are we mentally ill? Does our country have some sort of weird collective death wish? Are we just not as bright as textbooks have led us to believe? Really, I’m not kidding. I’m dead serious. What is the deal here? Because I hear about stuff like this all the time and cannot for the life of me figure out why we are all not rushing headlong towards it with the kind of unabated zeal usually reserved for Springsteen concerts and business conventions in Vegas. Instead, everything stays buried on some obscure CNN web page which, even more perversely, ends with news that the evil space aliens who have apparently taken over the bodies of our leaders in Congress might, in this age of frankly terrifying climate change, actually strip solar and wind energy tax credits, and requirements that utilities provide a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources from the new Energy Bill. Huh?????

Why don’t we see what is so wrong with this picture?

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