A conspiracy of physics

John Stossel, writing in the Washington Examiner, interviews Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future.  I encourage you to read the the article, but here are a few choice quotes:

“Nine out of 10 units of power that we consume are produced by hydrocarbons — coal, oil and natural gas. Any transition away from those sources is going to be a decades-long, maybe even a century-long process.

Bryce used to be a left-liberal, but then: “I educated myself about math and physics. I’m a liberal who was mugged by the laws of thermodynamics.”

He covers the under-reported issue of energy sprawl, and its negative effect on the environment:  one nuke plant in Texas takes up roughly the space of Manhattan, and to produce the same amount of wind power would require an area the size of Rhode Island.

Yet the media rave about Denmark, which gets some power from wind. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says, “If only we could be as energy smart as Denmark.”

Friedman doesn’t fundamentally understand what he’s talking about,” Bryce said.

Bryce’s book shows that Denmark uses eight times more coal and 25 times more oil than wind.

If wind and solar power were practical, entrepreneurs would invest in it. There would be no need for government to take money from taxpayers and give it to people pushing green products.

energy production from every solar panel and windmill in America is less than the production from one coal mine and much less than natural gas production from Oklahoma alone.

My favorite, even beating out that quip about Friedman, is on the electric car, which “will always be the next big thing.”

There have been impressive headlines about electric cars from my brilliant colleagues in the media. The Washington Post said, “Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they’re within reach of the average family.”

That was in 1915.

In 1959, The New York Times said, “Electric is the car of the tomorrow.”

In 1979, The Washington Post said, “GM has an electric car breakthrough in batteries, now makes them commercially practical.”

I’m still waiting.

“The problem is very simple,” Bryce said. “It’s not political will. It’s simple physics. Gasoline has 80 times the energy density of the best lithium ion batteries. There’s no conspiracy here of big oil or big auto. It’s a conspiracy of physics.”

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