Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I don't want to seem like a fan of Tom Evslin's (just an admiring reader), but he has another great post over at AlwaysOn:

Can Anyone say “Nuclear”?
Having grown up in a NY Times home (at least on most Sundays), it pains me how poor the thinking often is on the editorial page.

The premise in a recent Sunday editorial "Energy Impasse," which first cites Iran’s nuclear backsliding and the difficulty of getting the world to confront bad behavior from a major oil producer, is impeccable:

"America cannot win President Bush's much-vaunted war on terrorism as long as it is sending billions of dollars abroad for oil purchases every day. It cannot establish democracy in the Middle East because governments rich in oil revenue do not want democracy. And it will never have the geopolitical leverage it needs as long as it is dependent on unstable foreign sources for fuel."


But the prescription doesn’t fit the diagnosis. After disavowing any further drilling in Alaska, the Times suggests: "A much better answer would be a national commitment to more efficient vehicles and to the rapid deployment of new energy sources like biofuels."

Yeah. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

If the editorial writers would read the news pages more carefully or even pay more attention to columnist Thomas Friedman, they would realize that the world’s appetite for energy is going to continue to accelerate even if we all start going to work on roller skates. Biomass, at best, will meet only a tiny fraction of that need – there just aren’t enough acres available to plant with the right crops. In fact, the Times also ran a story on how food prices are increasing because of the use of corn to produce ethanol which the editorial writers might have missed.

The hard truth is that the United States cannot afford continued unilateral nuclear (power) disarmament. France gets the majority of its power from nukes (give praise where it’s due); North Korea has some claim that it needs nuclear power even if they can’t be trusted with it; the Germans are reconsidering their plans to decommission existing nukes and forswear new ones; the Chinese are not hesitating to build nukes as well as dam rivers. The Iranians don’t need nukes with all their oil but want them (or the by-products) so badly that they’re building them anyway no matter what anyone thinks. And, in the United States, nuclear power is so politically incorrect that it isn’t even MENTIONED in a NY Times article about energy independence.

Not that the Times is alone in sticking its head in non-nuclear sand. Michael Moe blogging on AlwayOn tells of super-VC John Doerr saying that the real issue is "How do we create a sensible long-term energy plan?"

OK. And the answer?

"Alternative energy such as wind, solar, and hydro are key to this as are fuel cells and biomass." In just 15 short years, the post says, wind farms can go from providing energy for 1.6 million homes today to 16 million homes. Gee. (full post)

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