Two multibillionaires have become the revealed archetypes for the newest form of exploiter: green. As the catch-basket name would imply, green means making earth's foilage healthier and more abundant. We are told this is to be accomplished by reducing our "carbon footprint" by cutting back on energy-producing processes that create greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But don't those plants breathe carbon dioxide, the chemical that the EPA, in December 2009, determined is dangerous? And what about water, the most abundant greenhouse gas on the planet: is it time to regulate water vapor?
These are a couple of the numerous Questions-Never-To-Be-Answered by the advocates of green. Two such champions are enough for us to get a glimpse behind the curtain.
In a recent Economist interview with Shai Agassi, the Israeli-born entrepeneur stated his glorious vision for the world of the electric car, complete with fueling stations that allow the vehicle to have "infinite range." He also states that the gas-powered car technology "has not undergone any innovation in a century." Such exaggerations are the bread and butter of money-men like Agassi. He also bombastically tosses out the claim that he can renovate a ten trillion dollar industry of "cars, spare parts, and everything else," without ever connecting this number to the switch to electric cars. But, maybe spare parts are not needed for phantoms.
Mr. Agassi is an extremely bright and successful man, and maybe he is a visionary after all. If so, can he answer the first Question-Never-To-Be-Answered: where does the electricity come from?
The other green man is T. Boone Pickens, he of the national media blitz urging us to follow his plan to eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil in 10 years. Pickens is a well known corporate raider from the 1980's, when he gobbled up oil companies and made his fortune off of fossil fuels. Now he's green, at least partially. His Pickens Plan would have created the largest wind farm in the country, supplying 4,000 megawatts of power to Texas homes. The initial plan to purchase General Electric wind turbines became a possible purchase of 2,000 turbines, and eventually led to a single purchase of 677 turbines. By July 2009, Mr. Pickens had abandoned his wind farm scheme, and recently turned his attention to his next money machine, natural gas. Once again, maybe Pickens has the answer and deserves to be rewarded for it, but many doubts remain.
So, the Question-Never-To-Be-Answered: how much power per dollar invested does a wind farm generate?
Don't hold your breath awaiting the answers to these questions from these men, or any other green advocates. The answers exist, but have more to do with lining the pockets of green oligarchs than advancing fanciful notions that more properly belong on the cover of Popular Mechanics.