Tom Friedman’s Energy

by Clifford D. May

My frustration with Tom Friedman is that he doesn’t challenge himself. As a hunter, he’s too willing to shoot the slowest rabbit.  I guess I mean to say that even when I agree with him, I often find his arguments facile.

Take his column today on energy (requires registration and an endowment or something like that).

He says that West Texas is “the Saudi Arabia of wind.” Well, no not exactly: Saudi Arabia produces oil which can be used to power the internal combustion engines of cars and trucks. By contrast, you can’t drive up to a windmill and say: “Fill ‘er up.” Now of course, Friedman goes on to say that wind can be used to produce electricity, and electricity could be used for transportation — if we had plug-in hybrid cars. But that’s like saying” “I’d have a sandwich if I only had two slices of bread – and some meat and lettuce and tomatoes to go between them.”If and when we have reliable plug-in hybrids priced competitively (and I agree we should be encouraging such a development) they will be able to utilize electricity and it won’t matter whether the source of that electricity is wind, coal, or nuclear power plants.  And how come he isn’t worried about all the baby birds windmills kill? 

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