Biden's misdirected priorities on climate change
The Environmental Protection Agency's MPGe ratings for electric vehicles are so remarkable that it would lead you to think that replacement of petroleum-powered vehicles with electric vehicles could significantly mitigate the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, real-world equivalent mileage figures for E.V.s are only about a third to a half of the MPGe figures established by the EPA (search "EV mileage fraud" for details). Bottom line: E.V.s are competitive with hybrid vehicles but not a superior alternative.
In spite of this, the Biden administration plans to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on charging stations. This policy is wasteful and misdirected. Instead, a "Manhattan Project"–style crash program is needed to explore safer, more efficient energy sources . Progress has been made in new designs that could improve nuclear power plant efficiency and safety, but more research is needed. Moreover, all potential new energy sources need to be on the table for consideration.
What is really needed is a breakthrough. This may not be possible unless energy research is given sufficient priority.
Instead of battling the petroleum industry with the objective of ending the use of fossil fuels, our government should be incentivizing companies to conduct research to find cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources. The same could be said of NASA. The logical goal of NASA at this point in history should be finding new energy sources that could revolutionize propulsion systems for space exploration.
The Artemis 1 moon mission would seem to inspire a sense of awe in reflecting on accomplishments in the field of science and technology, but it is worthy of consideration that the Artemis 1 launch vehicle uses the same liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen rocket propulsion technology that was employed fifty years ago by the Saturn V launch vehicle. In reality, there has been no progress in this field in fifty years. By contrast, technology in other fields has advanced quite remarkably. The smartphone, which replaced the long outmoded rotary dial phone, is but one example. These advances would seem to evidence that energy research has not been given the priority it deserves.
Without breakthroughs in this field, future efforts to combat climate change will in all likelihood result in the landscape of this country and the world being covered with solar panels and wind turbines. The beauty of nature will be obscured. I don't think this is the future that we want.
Jordan Bybee is a retired aerospace engineer.
Image via Pxhere.