I listened intently to the President’s state of the union speech last night. There was lots of applause from the democrats, some applause from the republicans, and little applause from me. I liked his ideas on education. His words on energy and manufacturing were in the most part hollow and repetitive. The one aspect I did applaud him for was that we must be more efficient in energy usage.
In a decade, I think President Obama will be remembered more for improving the efficiency of the vehicle fleet and buildings than he will be remembered for any “sputnik moment” of reaching for the moon in new energy technologies. The laws of gravity can be overcome by brute force, the laws of thermodynamics cannot.
The real question for us is where can the US open up good paying manufacturing jobs? I am certain the President sincerely wants to accomplish this. He now knows that Solyndra, Fisker, and Bloom Energy won’t create these jobs. He now knows that shale oil and shale gas do create these jobs and he is all for increased production of oil and gas.
I think the President will be well remembered for helping GM and Chrysler and getting the part of the auto industry that uses internal combustion engines back on a solid footing and saving good paying jobs. I think he will be remembered for lowering carbon emissions because of efficiency and substitution of natural gas for coal in power generation more than for any breakthrough green technology.
The President hinted he will use Executive Orders to impose CO2 cap and trade if congress does not act. I think he should look to how badly Europe is doing before he slides down this slippery slope. The President faces a world where the US is shrinking in the fraction of economic output to global output. This is not his doing. This is simply a fact. I looked at some data on steel production since 1900 of the US versus the world. In 1945 the US accounted for 52 million tons out of 101 million tons globally. In 2009 we accounted for 63 million ton out of 1,240 million tons globally.
The truth is the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will in large measure be determined by China, India, and other growing economies and not by an Executive Order issued by the President of the US on a piece of recycled paper.
The President can set an example and can use his office to help Americans become less wasteful of energy. He can set this example also by becoming less wasteful of taxpayers’ money. He can travel less in Air Force 1, he can travel less in Limo 1, but mostly he can appoint a real secretary of energy to replace Chu.
He can also ask Al Gore why Bloom Energy gave those high paying manufacturing jobs in Silicon Valley to Mexican welders who were paid $2.66 an hour in Pesos. Perhaps Al Gore and Bloom Energy can also explain to the President how their 45.2% efficient box that uses shale natural gas receives a 30% investment tax credit from the IRS when it is powered by dirty fossil fuels, is inefficient, is dirty, and becomes laden with hazardous Hydrogen Sulfide. Al Gore won’t have to explain to the President why the power generated from the Bloom Box is expensive, the President already know that anything to do with Oil Jazeera Gore is bloated and looks like it has swallowed the Qatari equivalent of Orson Wells. Get the pun on Wells!