Sun. May 26th, 2024

The Hydrogen Future According to Dubya’s Government

Fuel Cells Promise New U.S. Jobs: Up To 675,000 Jobs by 2035, DOE Concludes

Bush and McCain hype hydrogen.  This is an interesting idea.  But it could be an “idea lite”: sounds great, but is it also less filling?  Considering that if you can keep people fixated on some idyllic future shangrila, you may keep them distracted from today’s ugly realities.

Is 675,000 a significant number of jobs created in 27 years?  Compared to how many lost as we lose ground in the global scramble, with the help of our own multinationals?  According to an Obama spokesperson, 159,000 Americans lost their jobs last month.  Somehow, I don’t think very many of those people will be comforted by this rosy forecast.

What kind of jobs will they be?   Will manufacturing be done here, or outsourced?  Will we have people qualified to do them, or will this be another situation where we’ll be providing visas for hi-tech specialists who will work for lower wages than US talent?

Do they have “burger flippers” in a modern fuel cell industry? 

Will our public and private investments in this technology enable the US to be be in a leadership position, or just part of the global pack with a protectionist “Buy American” restriction keeping foreign competition out?

I guess my questions are, is this a real “win” for American industry, and is it ultimately significant?  What the hell does it mean in real-life, concrete terms to Mr. and Mrs. America and their little tykes?

Remember the major investment in fuel cell technology George touted a couple of years ago? 

“$1.75 Billion for Hydrogen Fuel Cells Over Next Decade” 

Toyota would spend twice that much in half the time, just to design a new vehicle platform.  And that included $1.25 billion already committed to projects at the time of the announcement

To put all this in context, the last I heard, the Department of Energy itself wasn’t even planning on weighing in on the business case for hydrogen until 2015.  Sort of puts a damper on this projected brilliant future.

Is this just positioning, or worse, more posturing by a government that seems more effective in churning out press releases and photo ops than substantive progress?

Mr. McCain: If you’re going to announce news, make sure it IS news, and give us the meaty details so we’ll know it means something.  Otherwise, it’s just more Bush-gas.

The complete story can be read at:

Decide for yourself.

May the Higher Power of your choice smile on you today.