Oh, how I love that "green" now equals "green" in the business world. Al Gore had a little to do with this, sure. Rising gasoline prices, yeah that too. But do you want to know who is responsible for the giant step towards green fuel technology? Europe and Japan.
But there may be another green that ultimately saves our country and world. More on that later, but here's a hint. This green glows.
First, let's thank California for leading the charge in renewable energy in the United States. Without the state's horrible mismanagement of energy policy, thank you Gray Davis, the U.S. would never have turned to this abundant and now semi-affordable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.).
But without German and Japan leading the charge a decade ago, California would never have been the first state to issue tax relief for those who use renewable energy sources. Now don't get me wrong. California is still mismanaging its energy in wake of constant yearly growth. The state has become a black hole along the western electrical grid that runs from Canada to Mexico. It has stopped building fossil fuel generating stations in the state (which is good) only to replace them with more expensive, less yielding renewable energy systems (which is not good).
But ultimately, California has opened the eyes of many - including the federal government - to the need to incorporate the business world into the mix. Make it profitable for them, they'll do anything.
So now EVERYBODY is going green. It's nice to see Bil Gates and Steve Jobs hugging the trees next to me. But there is one thing that nobody like to talk about that is just beyond the brim of perception.
The return of nuclear power. Enter Germany and Japan - and Europe as a whole. Nuclear power now generates more than one-third of Germany's electricity, even after the country took steps to end reliance on the fuel source. Japan? It has 55 reactors in a country roughly the size of - you guessed it - California! In the U.S.? More than a quarter of our energy comes from those ominous towers filling the air with non-pollutant steam. No waste product, aside from some very dangerous and volatile spent fuel.
I spoke to some officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and they said if you take all the spent fuel in the U.S. and stacked it four-feet high, it would cover five yards of a football field. That's dangerous in one place, but honestly, if you store it in our super-safe nuclear sites (Three-mile Island aside), it has no effect on global warming, air pollution, soil erosion and other issues related to our great Earth. Most of the electric generation stations in the U.S. are based on natural gas. Have you seen what those costs are lately? The rest are pretty much fueled by coal. By lungs cringe knowing that.
I know what you're saying. Chernobyl! My response? It was 21 years ago. Three Mile Island? 1979!
Green is green is green. We have to look at nuclear power AND renewable energies to stop our reliance on fossil fuel. It's working in Europe and Japan. Why not here?