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The Energy Dilemma

James A. Cunningham, Ph.D.

May 2015

Introduction. The Dilemma

In our many industrialized economies around the world, no commodity of greater
importance than energy can be named. And yet a problem dealing with energy of
appalling consequences may now face the human race. If global warming is indeed
strongly driven by the combustion of fossil fuels, then massive essentially
unwelcome changes must soon occur, especially within the existing fossil-fuels
industry. This essay explores this critical subject.
According to Scientific American, the combustion of coal, natural gas and oil
accounted for 87 percent of the world's primary energy source-material in 2012.
We have barely made a dent in its reduction, indeed, its use is still rising.
However, we presents an argument that due to a saturation effect, the global
temperature increase of about 1C seen since around 1920, has leveled off.
However, this position is not supported by the community of climate scientists. See
quote below from the IPCC
Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further
warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate
system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and
irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate
change would require substantial and sustained reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can
limit climate change risks. From the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate (IPCC) change. 2014

The debate offered here is not presented by arguing for or defending todays well
known Left / Right polarization on the subject of energy. However, it may be
appropriate to briefly summarize these general positions at the outset. The first
paragraph is quoted from the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The Political Right
"The United States should adopt a free-market energy policy that opens access to
our resources, removes onerous and duplicative regulatory roadblocks, and
removes subsidies for all energy sources and technologies. Allowing the market to
determine our energy future will power America with affordable, reliable energy
and be a tremendous boon to our nations economy. Congress and the
Administration should increase access to publicly held lands and federal waters,
allow states to manage the environmental review and permitting on those lands,

and position America to trade energy resources and technologies more freely with
other nations. Congress should also eliminate market-distorting grants, loans, loan
guarantees, and preferential tax treatment and mandates and prevent any federal
agency from imposing regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and other
environmental regulations that come at a huge cost to American families and yield
little if any environmental benefit."
The Political Left
The Democrats largely accept the CO2 driven theory of global warming and thus
are supportive of most alternative energy methods. They generally favor greater
efficiency for autos and electric power for them. Energy sources such as wind and
solar power are supported, but they are fearful of nuclear power and appear
ambivalent about the fossil fuel industry. Fracking technology may contaminate
ground water and may even cause earth quakes, and thus needs sensible regulation.
All sources and uses of energy must not degrade the environment. The Left favors
a national plan for all energy resources and subsidized alternative energy research
and production, but the details of such a plane are not clear.

Opening Statement
Energy may be the most important commodity in all of human history. It enables
our rapid means of transportation, and our various means of high speed
communication at great distance; it allows our numbers to grow; it winnows
minerals, water, oil, coal and gas from the ground; it powers our diagnostic devices
and the tools of science; it automates our factories; it brings us fresh water and
takes away our waste and filters the air; it harvests our grain; it provides
entertainment and gives us music; it illuminates the dark and takes away the cold;
it allows us to fly; it desalinates sea water; it welds together our cars and our tall
buildings; energy preserves our food and then cooks it; it took us to the moon;
energy enables making films without the need of film.
Without abundant energy our wellbeing shrinks away, and we die early. The world
needs more energy, not less.
For confirmation of these last two points, see the charts below

The Sources and Methods of Energy

Carbon Based Fuels
Fossil Fuels
Many Americans are near the point of hysteria about CO2 and its contribution to
global warming. So what about alternative energy methods? In this area, the Right
prefers to let market forces work. And of course they probably will, no matter what
you or I say, and carbon fuels will remain king of Energy Mountain. But cannot we
make other good arguments for wider use of alternative energy sources? And then

A higher order use

Donning my very-long-term hat, I submit that burning fossil fuels is a waste of a
finite and precious resource. Any carbon based fuel combined with energy can be
chemically synthesized into a myriad of highly useful products: pharmaceuticals,
paint, plastic, lubricants, adhesives, rubber, detergents, roofing, cosmetics,
tableware, gaskets, solvents, containers, macadam roads, filters, insecticides,
hormones, insulation, fibers, toys, inks, oil colors, and so forth..
On the other hand, considerable gasoline is necessary, due to its extraordinary
energy density, for powering certain machines such as farm equipment and various
heavy earth moving and mining equipment.
Ideally, electricity should be mainly generated using renewable methods: hydro,
geothermal, nuclear, wind, solar, breeder and fission reactors, and biomass
Autos could be, in time, powered using batteries, gasoline and batteries as in
hybrids, compressed natural gas or hydrogen, or liquid butane and propane under
pressure. Near term, hybrids may be more viable.

Our reserves

Some claim America has enough coal, oil and natural gas for several hundred
years into the future. Lets look at the numbers and see if we can confirm that
position. The US Dept. of Energy lists all fossil fuel reserves and their energy per
unit volume or unit weight when burned. In terms of total energy stored, below are
the US Reserves:
Coal..5X1018 BTU
Petroleum .. 2X1020 BTU
Natural gas. .3.5X1017 BTU
If you have something against the British, you can convert BTUs to kWh by
multiplying by 0.000293 or to joules by multiplying by 1055.
What if we said to hell with global warming, and all forms of alternative energy?
We have plenty of fossil fuels. Let market forces work. Assume Ted Cruz is elected
President in 2016 and Huckabee is VP and they also have control of Congress.
Convinced global warming is probably little more than a liberal conspiracy
anyway, and most government controls are linked to Satin himself, we most likely
would turn to our domestic fossil fuels and let ye old market forces go to work.
Now we can calculate how long our fossil fuels will last.
The total energy consumed in the US in 2010 was about 1.2 X1017 BTU. Assume
we maintain this rate. Lets add together all the reserves listed above and assume
we get all our energy from these sources. Assume we only need 85% of our
hydrocarbons for fuel. The rest for various synthetics products. It will be all be
depleted in about 1500-years. But this assumes we dont discover new reserves or
start using more energy. Thus, we have two bad assumptions. But still, most people
have it right. We do have enormous supplies of fossil fuels.
The new horizontal drilling and franking technology has done wonders for our
fossil fuel reserves. See graph below

The above graph shows oil reserves declining at about 1.2% per year until about
2008 when fracking was accelerated. If this decline had continued, oil reserves
would have dropped by factor of 25 in another 300 years, and that would have
been the end of US-based petroleum.
Coal reserves in the US are very large and reported in two ways. (1) The
recoverable reserves at producing mines at about 19X109 short tons, and (2) a
grand total value including sites not yet developed, this value being 480X109 short
tons. Production rates are now only about 109 short tons per year, an amount which
is only about 0.2% of the larger reserve number. Thus, the rate of decline in total
coal reserves is currently negligible.
The percent use of various means of energy consumption in the US may be seen in
the graph below. The changes in slope following about 2008 include more use of
gas instead of coal for generation of electric power and improved mileage for

The US remains the major user of petroleum in the world. But Asia is very close.
See chart below. The trend remains upward.


The future use of fossil fuels depends strongly on what we conclude about CO2 and
Global Warming. Thus, before we go further with the subject of energy, this is a
good place to discuss global warming as driven by CO2. The good news is the
earths temperature rise may be leveling off, that is, no longer rising. This may be
seen below in a plot of temperature vs time starting in 1970.
But some insist such curves are cherry picked, and the temperature is still rising.
Many dismiss the idea of leveling completely.
So who or what do you believe? Lets start with data showing a leveling off of

Here, a composite ocean-land temperature has not risen since about 1998 some 16
Below is another chart showing temperature leveling. It also suggests that this
happened despite the rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Below this
plot, is shown a chart from the IPCC which seems to be carefully designed to deny
any leveling. It also shows their horror story computer models which are usually
wrong. Thank goodness,

There is a reasonable scientific reason why the temperature should level off. It has
to do with saturation. A term you rarely here since it might affect climate science
research funding. In the wrong direction.
The leveling theory goes as follows: the infrared radiation rising up from the
warmed earth and being partially blocked from escape to space by CO2, has already
saturated. That is, the four narrow wave-length bands that CO2 can absorb have


been already blocked at a lower concentration. This phenomena is described in the

law of Lambert-Beer.
The absorption A of light as it passes through a liquid or gas for a distance d
containing an absorbing substance of concentration c, follows the law of LambertBeer. The higher the concentration or the greater the distance, the more light is
absorbed. Or the less is transmitted.


Transmission T = II0
Intensity of the light going to the flow cell
Intensity of the light that has passed the flow cell
Extinction coefficient: how strong does a specific substance absorb light?
concentration of the substance

length of the beam path through the cell, or cell length

Similarly the Transmission is given by:

Below is typical behavior.

Thus, the light-energy may be completely absorbed or blocked by a long path

length of sufficient concentration. This would be a state of saturation. As IR light
travels upward from the earth, the four bands of certain wavelengths are absorbed


by the CO2 in the air. The concentration is low, about 300 t0 400 ppm but the path
length is very long, some 8 miles.
However, complicating the picture for CO2 is the fact that in time it re-emits the
absorbed upwards traveling IR radiation in all directions. Thus, its behavior to
Beers law is as not as simple as that presented above. But I could find no
consensus in the literature on this subject.
In any case, a saturation effect may be seen in the plot below of actual data. Let us
hope that further increases in CO2 in the atmosphere generate little or no additional
temperature increases.
The plot below of data from our atmosphere shows that concentrations of CO2
above about 385 ppm have little or no effect on temperature.

But I cannot prove the data in the above plot were not also cherry picked, as they

Reactions around the world on burning fossil fuels.

If the dark predictions of the IPCC were widely accepted around the world, than
use of fossil fuels should be in free fall. That burning fossil fuels produces CO2 is
very simple chemistry. Lets burn some octane, for example. We get two
greenhouse gasesCO2 and water vapor. We get nothing else.

2C8H18 + 25O2 16CO2 + 18H2O

So, have countries around the world cut the use of fossil fuel hydrocarbons? Below
is a list from The World Bank on the percent fossils fuels used to produce energy:
Israel 97, Australia 95, Netherlands 91, Russia 91, Turkey 90, China 88, UK 85,
Italy 84, US 84, Germany 81, Canada 74, India 72, Switzerland 51, France 49,
Sweden 32.
In most of these countries with the lower values, this probably does not actually
represent a forced change. They have simply already been using lots of hydro,
nuclear, or mass transit. But some exceptions exist. For example, Germany in 2014
produced 30% of its electric power from wind, solar and biomass technologies.
Still, the effort to cut use of fossil use around the work has been small. If the IPCC
is right, we are in big trouble.
The chart below shows world CO2 emissions soaring since 1990. Indeed, those few
countries who have cut back a bit since about 2008 have more or less wasted their
efforts considering the remarkable increases in China. This resulting from their
program to ramp up their electric power capacity with new coal fired plants. They
could not have picked a more Sea Oh Tooey method.

We point out that the primary greenhouse gas is water vapor. Its concentration
varies widely of course but near the earths surface its concentration is typically 50

times that of CO2. Bur of course water vapor freezes out at higher altitudes where
it reaches zero concentration. CO2 does not.
The operating sources of CO2 emissions in the US are given below in a chart
prepared by the EPA in 2013. Alternative methods, including mainly nuclear
power, could take the 31% for electricity to zero within fifteen years.

Coal can be chemically converted to various gaseous fuels and even gasoline. This
was successfully accomplished over 70-years ago in Germany in reaction to the
growing war. By 1939, using a refined version of the famous Fischer-Tropsch
process, Ruhrchemie A.G. was delivering 15-million barrels of synthetic petroleum
annually, the product derived from available coal.
The process first involved reacting coal with steam producing carbon monoxide
and hydrogen. These products were then transformed under pressure and high
temperature using catalysts to a mixture of alcohols, esters, hydrocarbons and other
products. This mixture could then be fractionally distilled, just as crude oil is today,
into gasoline and other useful products,
Pilot operations for such processes have been set up in the US many times, but it
has always been difficult to compete with crude oil that for some 100-years
remained hovering around $20 a barrel. But those days are over.


Today a grand opportunity presents itself. Saving the coal industry employment
and approaching energy independence in fuel. Not to mention the glorious
opportunity and relief of exiting the chaotic Middle East. An opportunity enhanced
by a large reduction in the burning of fossil fuels, and increased reliance on
domestic sources. The US still imports about 21% if its crude oil.

Cutting Fossil Fuel Consumption

If the CO2 linkage to global warming is a real threat, then the US should allay its
fears and significantly reduce, not eliminate, the burning of fossil fuels. We
implement breeder reactors, new fail-safe fission reactors, wind turbines, solar,
new electric-driven mass transit, hybrid and full-electric and hydrogen powered
cars. Become energy independent. Say absolutely goodbye to the forever chaotic
Middle East and never return. Import petroleum if needed from Canada, Norway,
S. America, and Mexico. Synthesize gasoline and gas from coal. Lead the world in
this transition. And create a long term future.

Alternative Energy Methods

Wind Turbines in Comparison
We should be optimistic about wind turbines and continue the subsidies.
Let us consider first where wind stood in implementation in 2014 in the US
relative to other methods of producing electric power: coal 39%, natural gas 19%,
nuclear 19%, hydro 6%, wind turbine 4.4%, biomass 1.7%, geothermal 0.4%, solar
photovoltaic 0.4%, solar thermal 0.02%. Note that wind is 4.4%. Not bad.
Number five from the top, and far more successful than solar.
Wind also does well in comparing cost. Below are median costs of producing
electric power in 2011 in $/MWhr from the DOE: hydro 20, coal 40-50, natural gas
50-70, wind turbine 60, nuclear 60, geothermal 60-100, biomass 70, fuel cells 150,
solar thermal 200, and solar photovoltaic 280. Wind blew the pants off solar. The
average price of residential electric power in 2015 was $120.
Ice damage in the winter is a problem for this technology. Yet wind farms are
established all over the US. Windy Texas leads the nation, then Iowa and

Oklahoma. Texas has 12 times as many wind turbines as California. But of course,
Texas has all that hot air from its politicians who help deice the equipment in the
But we in California do have some near perpetually windy places. And of course
we dont allow snow, ice or bugs in our state. Except maybe a little snow in the
high mountains for snow bunnies and to feed our rivers in the spring. See below a
big wind farm in California next to a big freeway. There, nobody cares about the

Many regions exist in the U.S. where ice is less of a problem for expansion of wind
turbines. See map below.
Some claim the turbines kill too many birds. But the percent killed of all birds is
roughly 0.002%. Some claim that cats kill far more than that. But these are
probably only in those states who have flying cats, like those reported in the Red


Solar Power
The future for solar cells is not particularly encouraging. In 1961, Shockley
showed that the maximum efficiency for a single crystal pn junction solar cell is
33.7%. This is referred to as the Shockley-Queisser limit. And this is for a device
that is ideally designed. Cells with multiple layers, each tailored to specific wave
length of sunlight might reach a maximum of 49% for 3-layer device. But the best
that has ever been achieved for such a cell is 45%, reported by the group Saitek &
Fraunhofer in 2014. Such multilayer cells are very expensive to manufacture.
All solar cells use a pn junction in a semiconductor,
These limits combined with the fact that full-sun is a small fraction of the total year
or 24-hour day, suggests no matter where you may live, solar cells will often
compete poorly against wind, which may be at work in some locals virtually
around the clock, seven days a week.

Hydroelectric opportunities in the US may not be exhausted as many believe.
Below is a quotation from U.S. Department of the Interior, July 2005 on
Hydroelectric Power


The hydropower resource assessment by the Department of Energys Hydropower

Program has identified 5,677 sites in the United States with acceptable
undeveloped hydropower potential. These sites have a modeled undeveloped
capacity of about 30,000 MW. This represents about 40 percent of the existing
conventional hydropower capacity.
Shown below also from the same reference are possible opportunities for new
hydroelectric facilities. The location in the upper left is for the massive Columbia

On the other hand, strong objections often arise regarding new dams since they
disrupt river flows which may destroy fish habitat and generate other negative
environmental changes and damage.

Nuclear Fission
In what may be humankinds darkest, most bumbling and poorly executed new
technology is our horrendous record of electric power generation using nuclearfission power. Following two outlandish human-error and stupidity-driven
meltdowns, the world is now sorely afraid of nuclear power. Many would like to
see it all shut down. Who can blame them, just look at what we have done.
Not even considering the fact that meltdown proof reactor designs are well known
and could have been constructed in the first place, Russian technicians in 1986
turned several valves in the wrong direction at the wrong time and launched their
nuclear plant into melt down followed by a horrendous explosion of hydrogen gas.
Now some 360 sq. miles there are contaminated, radioactive and virtually
The Russians are currently building a colossal concrete tomb for the whole sorry
mess. See below.

The exception to such failures are of course the French, who have been eminently
successful with nuclear power and have become electrical-energy independent. The
country generates about 75% of its electric power with nuclear and about 15% with
No nuclear plant has ever been damaged by an earthquake. Yet many believe such
a disaster is eminent, this contributing to the negative view of the technology.
In the US, fear often trumps science. Many of us have even become afraid of
vaccinations. Remarkably, in this age of continuous outpourings of science-based
marvels, 65% of Republicans believe the Devil exits. Some 21% of Americans
believe in witches.
The other nuclear accident, to use a kinder term, occurred in Japan at the
Fukushima site in 2011, where four reactors were constructed at a Tsunami prone
beach. As if that were not questionable enough, the backup power for the critical
cooling water pumps were installed in a basement below grade. That at least two
reactors melted down when the big wave eventually arrived could have been
predicted by a 5th grader. Now over 100 square miles around the site are
uninhabitable, except for one stubborn old man with a few not so healthy looking
farm animals. See below,


But the real tragedy now for the US is we are afraid to build breeder-reactors
which could run for 500 years and consume no fossil fuels and emit no CO2 nor
anything else. Theses retractors solve both the fuel availability and radioactive
waste problem. But peanut farmer extraordinaire Jimmy Carter shut down their
development in 1983 because he was afraid that the plutonium, that is a key part of
most breeder processes, would somehow get away and some nut would make an
atomic bomb with it.
Based on fear not science, the Democrats shut down the partially completed
nuclear-waste storage site at Yucca Mt., Nevada in 2010.
Like many areas in our society the problem of energy is not one of innovation but
more of politics, engineering, ignorance and fear. Especially fear.

Nuclear Fusion
I must admit that I am not an expert in this field. But I do think, however, I know
enough to be dangerous. I dont think it can be done. In order to get there, a
small sun needs to be assembled inside a building on earth. We have been working
on this technology for 65-years, spent over $30 billion, and so far have barely
made a dent towards a viable sustained reaction where we get more energy out than
we put in.
Most everyone knows that the sun derives its energy from the fusion of hydrogen
into helium. That is, making a two-proton atom from two one-proton atoms. The
process ending up with a loss of mass--thus yielding great energy. Mass is
converted into energy, you know, via E=mc2.

But the process does not occur at the surface of the sun where the temperature is
only 5800K. This is much too cold. We need to go the center of the sun where the
temperature is 100 million K and the gravity is a colossal 1011 .atmospheres. A zone
where protons who all have a repelling positive charge, can be forced to combine.
Here on earth, we cannot simulate these conditions, so in one of many methods
under study, we fire several hundred powerful lasers at a spec of material under a
powerful magnetic field. A few protons combine and the scientists get all excited,
and ask for more government funding, which even recalcitrant Republicans will
approve if all these science -types will just promise to shut the fuck up about
But if we somehow do create a sustained region of plasma at 100 million K, it
would emit enormous amounts of x-rays and neutrons. This intense radiation may
quickly degrade and weaken the shielding, and the big bad radiation-wolf would
huff and puff and blow the house down.
Sorry, I dont think fusion is going to succeed, aside from hydrogen bombs, which
are useless except for scaring people, or if that doesnt work, killing millions of
them and destroying their cities. Like we did anyway in Iraq and Vietnam with
conventional weapons.

Tides, Waves and Geothermal

Energy from these sources has been theorized for many years but has not seen
significant growth, and does not warrant further discussion here

Mass Transit
According to the US Transportation Data Book, 2012, the energy consumed per
mile per passenger in BTU as a function of mode of transportation is:
Bus.19,143; Car. 3193; Air. 2434; Rail.2452; BART.3500
Thus, as is well known, mass transit by rail, especially the use of electric driven
trains is one of the more efficient ways of transporting people. By most any

measure, the US trails the rest of the industrialized nations in the construction of
and use of high speed rail transport of people.
See below a chart prepared by National Geographic, 2009

Of the 17 counties listed, the US is dead last in use of mass transit.

Although not a primary source of energy, the world battery market is rapidly
growing and expected to be over $70 billion this year. Yet further improving
batteries is a formidable problem. We have been working on batteries for 225
years. Still, they tend to degrade a little with each recharge, many have a short life,
they are expensive and they are completely outclassed in energy density by
gasoline which is truly amazing in that regard
The fundamental science of storage batteries does not suggest an easy path for
Lets begin our discussion with the well-known lead-acid storage battery invented
in 1859, and a device that has been in commercial use for over 100-years. It has a
reasonably long-life, typically 5 to 12 years, depending largely on the number of
charge cycles. Like all batteries it has two electrodes, one where upon use,

electrons exit and another where electrons return. The battery is recharged in
reverse. The electrodes are immersed in a liquid electrolyte where ions move back
and forth usually reacting at the solid electrode surfaces, converting the metal to an
oxide or a sulfate, or at the other pole converting the compound back to the pure
But if you equipped a new 300-mile range Tesla with lead-acid-batteries you would
fill the whole car volume and blow out the tires.
The energy stored in a battery is given by simple thermodynamic expression:
G = - E0 n F

Where G is the change in Gibbs free energy in Joules. E0 is the standard electrode
potential in volts, n is the amount of material in moles, and F is the Faraday
constant in Coulombs per mole.

Considering the list below, a reasonable battery may be formed by using a metal at
the top of the list for the cathode and one near the bottom for the anode.


Li e Li+

Eo = 3.04 volts

Ca - 2e Ca++

Eo = 2.87

Zn - 2e Zn++

Eo = 0.76

Cd - 2e Cd++

Eo = 0.4

Pb + SO4- - - 2e PbSO4

Eo= 0.36

Cu+ + 1e Cu

E0 = 0.52

Lead Oxide
PbO2 + SO4- - + 4H+ + 2e PbSO4 + 2H2O

Eo = 1.69

Ag+ + e Ag

Eo = 0.79


The well-known lead-sulfuric acid battery is depicted below.

Positive Pole, Reduction reaction, V= 1.69

PbO2 + SO42- + 4H+ +2e PbSO4 +2H2O
Negative pole, Oxidation reaction, V= 0.3588
Pb +SO42- PbSO4 + 2e
Overall voltage 2.1 volts

The lithium-ion batteries are more complex. Graphite (carbon) is most commonly
used for the anode, and lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) is the more common cathode
material. The battery voltage is about 3.6 volts providing a very robust
performance. In a lithium-ion battery, the lithium ion is the positive ion that travels
from anode to cathode. Since Li reacts strongly with water the electrolyte is
typically a combination of lithium salts, in an organic solvent, such as ether.
Virtually all batteries gradually degrade upon repeated recharging. See chart below.
The reason is usually due to nonconductive films forming on the electrode surfaces


A critical criterion for many batteries is energy density. Below is shown that
Li-based batteries lead the pack.

On the other hand, no battery comes even close to the remarkable energy density of
gasoline; See table below.


The costs shown above include depreciation of the batteries.

Oil Imports From the Middle East

Enough is enough..
The British and French followed by the United States have been heavily interfering
in the politics and functioning of Middle Eastern countries since the beginning of
the 20th century. Following WW2 the US gradually became dependent on their
exported petroleum, especially from Saudi Arabia. But the supplies were never
stable. Terrorists attacks from the region against the West began in the early
1980s, and then escalated into the horror of 9/11/2001. The US then promptly went
to war against two Middle Eastern countries, one of tribal nature and one run by a
despot. The conflict was started and justified by a variety of reasons: an emotional
need for retaliation; a hubris driven desire to implant democracy in the belief it
would then flourish and spread throughout the entire region like a new morning at
sunrise; and finally, a largely fabricated fear of new terrorist attacks using weapons
of mass destruction. Today, after 14-years of war and 60,000 dead and wounded
Americans, we find an embryonic democracy hanging on by a thread and the chaos
of disorganized wars expanding across more than one half of the entire dominion.
of nations. Thus, our efforts have not been successful.
We should get out of the Middle East. Completely exit. Pull out our troops, shut
down our embassies and our military bases. Bring back our US-based contractors.
Buy no oil. Fly no drones.

Many in the Middle East do not want our democracy. [1] Nor our priority assigned
to science, nor our reverence for freedom and equality. Many embrace their
mullahs, imams and clerics; their sacred Koran; their tribal chiefs and strong-man
leaders. Many prefer their largely oil and agriculture based economies, their
theocracies, their Kingdoms and religious police states; their unique codes of
morality including the wide spread subordination of women [2]; and with some
exceptions, their anathema for religious tolerance. [3] Various minorities seek
power with militant religious sects, and fight to reestablish institutions that have
been in place for many hundreds of years. We in the West cannot fully comprehend
such a society, yet we should acknowledge their rights of self-determination, and
then leave them alone.
But still our young people are sent to their countries in efforts towards their
stabilization, and they are maimed or killed, while drifting in the desert air are the
crude and brutish shouts of Death to America. [4]
History shows that no foreign nation can bring peace to these lands. So we make
our exit, and the primary recruiting tool for Islamic Extremists vanishes. We should
get out and then stay out. The Great Satan collects his people and his great
machines of war and comes home.
And we never again trade our blood for their oil.
1. According to Pew Research, of six Middle Eastern countries, 64% on average of the
population had a favorable view of democracy, yet 67% in six counties survived preferred
Sharia Law. The two are not compatible.
2. Pew Research asked men in Middle Eastern countries if women should have equal rights
with men. An average of 66% in six Middle Eastern counties said yes. In the US, the
number is 97%.
3. According to Pew Research (2010) the average percent of those of the Muslim faith of 13
Middle Eastern countries was 96%. Ten of eleven ME counties surveyed held that
religious blasphemy is a criminal offence.
4. In a 2014 survey of Middle Eastern countries, Pew Research found that only 30% of
respondents held a favorable view of the United States.

Even though the world has been warned by climate scientists that the continued
outpouring of carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels will further heat our
planet and flood our coastal cities, and the consequences will be catastrophic,
programs around the world to convert to alternative sources of energy have been

little more than token efforts. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere continues
to rise. We point out, however, that the frightening conclusions of the IPCC may be
exaggerated and further increase in CO2 may not be as strongly felt as those in the
past. But major resistances to change may continue from the huge petroleum, gas
and coal industries themselves, where market forces are in their favor, and where
their powerful financial and political power is always at work maintaining the
status quo.
Furthermore, the world is not ready to give up its fossil fuels. Virtually all energy
alternatives are higher in cost, and have their own set of negatives and risks. The
extent to which consumption of these is reduced by government action is a very
difficult problem. Market forces will not reduce them at all,
The reserves of fossil fuels in the US and the West are still very large and could
probably maintain the present rates of consumption for hundreds of years.
Nevertheless, hydrocarbons are a finite quantity resource and a case may be made
for longer term preservation of these extremely valuable starting materials.
Probably the more powerful and efficient alternative energy source is based on
nuclear fission. But this technology has been tragically weakened, if not
demonized, through human incompetence.
In any case, the best of luck.
Jim Cunningham

Jim received his Ph.D. in chemistry and physics from the University of Texas in 1961. He then
spent over 45-years in the field of silicon integrated circuits as an engineer, corporate executive
and consultant. Jim has published 18 technical papers in the field and has 46 U.S. Patents in his
name. He is now a retired Northern California science curmudgeon.