I like to think that I care about the environment. I think driving a Hummer and mega trucks is sinful and people who own such vehicles share a great personal responsibility for all our attempts to conquer the oil patch by way of wars in Iraq. I think we should stop mowing highway medians, plant trees in every yard, put solar cells on every roof below the Mason-Dixon Line and grant wind power companies an absolute right of eminent domain. No zoning ordinance should be allowed to prohibit the installation of any wind machine or solar panel. But I have no problem with drilling.
Here is the deal. It is 8:30 p.m. and I am at my computer and my printer is on and there is a radio playing here and a television going downstairs. My son is practicing his guitar WHILE he is watching TV. There is a light on in the TV room, one light in my office and one on in the hallway and one on in the kitchen and the stairwell to the basement, where my wife is working on her computer, and her printer is on, and she has on her overhead light. The HVAC (geothermal) is not working tonight because the weather is perfect, but the sump pump is working and later tonight there will be humidifiers working in the bedrooms. There is a refrigerator working and a freezer working and the phones are plugged in. There are two lights on in the barn. This is pretty much minimalist lighting for a house this big. I make a couple of tours of the house every evening to turn off unused lights. I do my part, but I do not wish to live in the dark.
So I have no problem with drilling. As long as we need oil, we will need to get it someplace, and if it is available off our shores we should get it. (OK, I draw the line at ANWAR and other protected places. That does not seem exactly rational to me, but I never promised to be entirely rational. )
Same with nukes. They are a necessary evil, but if you want to have electricity and you don’t want to burn coal, you need nukes. The Dog knows how they will manage the nuclear waste mess 100 years from now. If there was any trust in the world and common sense you could wrap the waste in big leak proof canisters and lay them out in the desert for an eternity. But we have to worry about protecting fools and keeping that stuff out of the hands of evil doers, so storage and disposal of that stuff is dangerous and expensive and nearly impossible because of all the NIMBYs.
It is true there is no such thing as clean coal. It is also true that the template for evil, petty, greedy shitheads of the world was made in the coal industry. There is no more crapulous set of corporate greed heads on earth. They would starve their mothers and work their children to death in the mines if it were proven to them to be cost effective. But we are responsible for that. We have grown fat and prosperous off the energy made from coal, which was dug out over the last three centuries at great environmental cost, and greater human cost. But we got the convenience of coke fired blast furnaces and warmer homes and kerosene lamps and synthetic plastics and all that. Try living without it.
When you cry for convenience you have to pay the piper. I’m just saying nice job Barack Obama. We need a rational approach to energy demands and now we have one.