Okay, you probably don’t need any more reasons why U.S. energy policy is so lame. But don’t complain to me, complain to Greenwire (subs. req’d), which reported on a Forbes panel of three
Stooges former Republican energy secretaries who seem to revel in their ignornance of all things energy [sound effects added]:
Former South Carolina Gov. James Edwards, who served as Reagan’s Energy secretary from 1981 to 1982, was the most pessimistic, predicting that the Democrats would preside over an era of energy doom and gloom. A foolish pursuit of carbon emissions controls and fear of nuclear power would result in much higher electricity costs, job losses and some parts of the country left in the dark, he warned.
An era of energy doom and gloom? What the heck does he call the Bush administration? Massive power outages, huge energy price spikes, Detroit on the verge of bankruptcy, a war in the Persian Gulf, soaring electricity costs, job losses?
“Now listen, grape-head. I’ll explain this so even you can understand it.” The one thing we know for certain — pursuit of nuclear power would inevitably raise electricity costs. Indeed, in Florida, utilities are allowed to jack up rates years long before the plant is built. It looks like the lucky customers of Progress Energy will get to each pay more than $100 a year for years and years and years before they even get one kilowatt-hour from these plants (see “Nuclear power, Part 2: The price is not right“).
Herrington, who served as secretary under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush from 1985 to 1989, expressed skepticism about Obama and the Democratic Congress supporting new nuclear power. He was especially critical of Obama’s call for “safe” nuclear power.
” ‘Safe’ is the code word for no nuclear,” Herrington said.
Oh, a wise guy? Does Herrington even realize what he is saying — claiming that anybody who talks about safety is secretly a nuclear opponent. What is this, the former Soviet Union? This nuclear McCarthyism is a terrific way to get another accident — and yet it is a widespread view in the GOP (see McCain calls concern about nuclear safety and waste “blah, blah, blah.”).
For the three GOP stooges “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk” is apparently replaced by “nuclear, nuclear, nuclear.”
“Cap and trade doesn’t work,” Edwards said. “It hasn’t worked in Europe, and it won’t work here.”
Certainly! It worked here for us to limit sulfur dioxide emissions from utilities far faster and far cheaper then conservative like Edwards claimed. And since Europe’s real 5-year carbon cap only kicked in this year, it is absurdly premature to say that it hasn’t worked, especially since it looks like Europe will actually meet its Kyoto obligations (see “15 EU countries on track to meet Kyoto targets“).
But here is where the Three Stooges make clear they have taken one too many blows to the head:
The three said they favored the recent energy policy proposal offered by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, especially his call to divert the nation’s natural gas reserves to fueling transportation. Pickens has suggested building massive wind farms in the Midwest to replace the electricity now generated by natural gas.
Diverting the nation’s natural gas reserves to fuel transportation remains arguably the dumbest energy idea ever proposed in a major multi-million ad campaign — and its pointlessness from an energy or environmental perspective is surpassed only by its political and practical impossibility (see “Memo to T. Boone Pickens: Your energy plan is half-brilliant, half-dumb“). It is safe to say that anybody who endorses such a plan understands neither energy nor the environment nor practical considerations (see “Pickens’ natural gas plan makes no sense and will never happen“).
An overemphasis on renewable energy sources like wind and solar to the detriment of coal-fired, natural gas-fired and nuclear power means much of the United States can expect to be left “cold, hungry and in the dark,” Edwards said.
Cold, hungry, and in the dark? That is like, so, 1970s. The only ones who are in the dark are these stooges. In fact, I’d say these guy have done as much as any three unelected people on the face of the earth to kill U.S. leadership in renewable power.
President Reagan cut the renewable energy R&D budget 85% after he took office and eliminated the wind investment tax credit in 1986. This was pretty much the death of most of the US wind industry. Same for the solar industry. Same for energy efficiency. See “Who got us in this energy mess? Start with Ronald Reagan.” And yet, thanks to the rest of the world wind and solar in the two fastest growing forms of power, generating whole new industries, though not in this country, thanks to Moe, Larry, and Curly, here.
And there’s even more comical whining, particular from
Abraham, who led DOE from 2001 to 2005, said he resigned, in part, because he grew tired of wrestling with “the flavor-of-the-month problem.” He described being forced by lawmakers, special interests and even Bush administration officials to fund research for hybrid cars, only to be shifted back to favoring clean diesel technology, then to funding hydrogen-powered engines and finally back to hybrids.
“What kind of nonsense is this?“ He is complaining about his own Administration’s inability to develop a strategy — and yet the Bushies managed to focus on the one sure loser, hydrogen cars, and flush over a billion dollars of taxpayer money down the toilet (see “The car of the perpetual future” — The Economist agrees with Climate Progress on hydrogen).
The other former secretaries agreed, telling stories about being pressured to finance R&D into new energy schemes ranging from synthetic fuels to switchgrass to shale oil, only to see all their projects end in failure.
Yes, well, you have to pressure Republicans to do bloody anything, since left to their own devices, they’d have shut down the whole department in the mid-1990s. But, in any case, somebody should tell them that the switchgrass project has not ended in failure.
The result, Abraham said, was “a little bit of research on a lot of things” but no real progress.
“What does he think I am, an imbecile?“ Yes, thanks to his incompetence, or perhaps his boss’s incompetence, or maybe the GOP Congress, he accomplished nothing!
Mindful that cap-and-trade legislation for greenhouse gases is probably inevitable, Abraham and others urged the next Energy secretary to put his or her full support behind nuclear power. All said they are concerned that the incoming Obama administration will give lukewarm support to nuclear power, even though it is an essential ingredient if the nation is to meet future energy demand.
“Obama has to decide if he’s going to take the ‘Nixon goes to China’ route here,” and throw his weight behind new nuclear generation, Abraham said.
These stooges knew nothing — and still know nothing — about energy efficiency or renewables. They spent much of their 10 years gutting such programs, slashing R&D or eliminating deployment effort. All they know is nuclear, nuclear, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, Boop! Oof! And they don’t even know that.
Wise guys? I think not. “We’re not ordinary people. Huh huh. We’re morons.“
Thank goodness some serious, smart people will finally get to run things.