For the most part I have been trying to ignore the campaigns. Or at least the news on the campaigns. That has degenerated into a tit-for-tat sound bites. Every now and then one of the news shows actually discusses something of substance. Last night one covered Romney's remarks on energy policy. Being in coal country he, of course, hammered the notion that we have another 200 years worth of coal if only the Feds would get off the industry's back and let them give us unlimited energy. Lie number one--those bastards won't give us anything. I correct myself--they will give us polluted water, polluted air, and polluted land and more dead miners. They will take the profits and leave us to clean up the mess and console the survivors. If we demand 'clean' coal the cost will have to be absorbed somewhere along the line most likely somewhere between the mine and the final electric consumer. Unless, of course, we want to scrap the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and a whole lot of other environmental legislation. So that is Lie Number Two--it won't be cheap energy. Lie Number Three--relying on coal won't make us energy independent. Our transportation system runs on oil. And transforming solid fuel (coal) to liquid of whatever kind won't be cheap either because resources and energy is required to make that transformation. By the way, that 200 years worth of coal he cited--that depends on a number of factors. One that we don't increase our current consumption. Two that we really do have that much reserve in the ground. And three--how easily accessible is that coal; or are we already through the easily mined supplies and going for the more difficult deposits (as we are with oil.) Maha deals with this story also and does so very nicely--as usual.
Here is a pair of absolutely right on political cartoons found on NPR.