Saturday, July 30, 2005

Alternative Energy: Too Little, Too Late?

That's the overriding theme of this article/commentary by Senior Producer John W. Schoen. Schoen seems to have taken a page from James Howard Kunster's Long Emergency and argues that alternatives to oil, ranging from clean technologies like wind and solar power to "clean coal" technologies to nuclear power, as well as conservation measures, simply won't be able to replace oil quickly enough.

Schoen is certainly correct in pointing out that oil generally serves our transportation needs while the alternatives above power electrical generation, but, like so many MSM commentators, he's thinking well within the box about transitioning away from an economy dominated by oil, and arguments like his will definitely serve the drill-in-ANWR crowd as well as those "techno-utopians" who suggest that we should just throw up our hands until someone devises a technological miracle. What Schoen ignores is that techologies exist that allow us to cross the bridge between electrical generation and transportation -- plug-in hybrids come to mind.

While I'm happy to see this issues receiving space in mainstream coverage of energy issues, the mainstream media isn't doing a particularly stellar job of checking out some of the more promising innovations out there. And they wonder why they're losing readership to the blogosphere... Let's also not confuse "clean coal" and nuclear power with genuinely clean alternatives -- the MSM is also doing one hell of a job in helping these dirty industries greenwash themselves.

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