More Energy Disasters

Photo courtesy of AP

By Michael R. Fox Ph.D.

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, while on its way to destroying much of the habitat of the Gulf, is also illuminating the positively juvenile understanding of what energy is, how our nation needs that energy, the difficult processes by which this nation gets its energy, and the obstructive forces involved.

Sadly, Carolyn Browner, a major energy advisor to Obama and past Naderite lawyer, typifies the administration’s non-existent understanding of energy and its importance to the USeconomy.

More recently Obama stated that the disaster in the Gulf is also making the case for wider use of so-called green energy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The major efforts to solve the disaster in the Gulf by this administration–nearly all of whom are lawyers–is to threaten lawsuits, send the” criminals” to prison and create all sorts of other legal havoc.

Now isn’t that helpful. Suing people is not the way to solve a difficult engineering problem, yet it is the best that a roomful of leftwing lawyers can produce. And we are supposed to find comfort in that. Even the Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a Nobelist in laser physics, still looks like a deer in the headlights with what is not a physics problem, but a major engineering problem.

No one in the president’s cabinet or in his circle of czars appears to have any oil field experience, or experience with pumping a barrel of oil, let alone know how to make a single kilowatt-hr of electricity, but boy do they know how to sue people. How inspiring. They also seem to have a minimal level of understanding of what energy is, and its benefits to our nation, our prosperity, and our national security. This is frightening to millions of people.

While Carolyn Browner claims that the federal government has been in charge of the gulf disaster from the beginning, where in the backrooms of the federal government have these oil disaster experts been all these years?

Meanwhile another fiasco continues to develop in the administration. President Obama stated recently that the oil disaster in the gulf is making the case for expanding green energy sources. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet there is the persistent 40-year myth that wind and solar energy can produce reliable cost effective electrical energy.

These energy sources have not done so for more than 40 years and freshmen engineering students can explain why. Or even more simply let’s check with some European nations who have traveled farther down the road of wind and solar power. We can learn from the mistakes of others. Even better, some European economists have produced much better analyses of these energy sources than those in the Administration.

Spain, after a vigorous wind energy program, now has some of the highest energy costs in Europe, somewhat more than 20 cents per kWh. Such high energy costs have had a terrible adverse impact on the economics of their nation.

Some industries have closed and others have moved out of the country. For each of these vaunted “green jobs” created in Spain, more than double that number of regular jobs has been lost.

Worse, most of those green jobs are temporary jobs, related to the installation of the windmills. Obama’s repeated use of Spain as a good example of energy policy has turned into a major embarrassment that shows his lack of understanding of energy sources, as it should.

Obama then offered the nation of Denmark as the poster child of wind energy, but they also have some of the highest energy costs in Europe, along with Spain.

A closer look at the Danish situation also shows another major flaw in dependence upon wind energy, namely the need for more reliable non-wind sources of energy as backup to the thousands of Danish windmills. When the wind doesn’t blow, backup sources are needed.

Denmark uses coal-fired plants, but even with their increased use of wind power, not a single coal plant in Denmark has been closed.

There is still not a demonstrated need to limit man-made CO2 emissions (for lack of evidence), alleged to have an adverse impact on our climate. There is no need to shut down fossil fuel energy sources, no need to ration energy, no need to increase energy costs, no need for weak and intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar, and certainly no need to cripple our nation.  These are observations, which truly knowledgeable scientists and engineers have been making for nearly 20 years, and to which the “warmers” have never directly responded.

Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter and a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and now lives in Eastern Washington. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level. His interest in the communications of science has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows. He can be reached via email at




  1. If the destruction in the gulf doesn’t drive you to consider a clean-energy based industrial society, what will? How much destruction must occur before you rethink fossil fuels and nuclear energy? The one word always missing from your articles is “toxicity”. Toxicity is the concept that you must examine. Hom much mercury, NOx, SOx, and other toxins can our biosphere support (that are man released) before bioaccumilation builds up those toxins to the point of biological collapse? Even now, its recommended you only eat a few servings of fish per week. Why? Mercury poisoning. In your next article why don’t you (Dr. Fox) address the issue that really matters: toxicity. How much can we sustain, under your status quo, before we completely trash the place? How much poision do you think we can release under your scenario? If we’re not thinking about clean energy, then we’re not thinking at all.

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