Neutralize the Arab Oil Weapon

It is increasingly urgent to find alternatives to fossil fuels and shift the advantage away from rogue regimes that threaten Israel and the West.

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
It is increasingly urgent to find alternatives to fossil fuels and shift the advantage away from rogue regimes that threaten Israel and the West. There may be something constructive that a group of motivated citizens can do to move us faster towards achieving energy independence. This opportunity is best undertaken by Americans, because the critical arena for seeking energy progress is located in the US. This article contains an Action Plan for your consideration. But first, some background.

The past century has seen the most astonishing technological progress in human history. In almost every field of technology - such as air transportation, information science, global communication, space travel, medical innovation, omnipresent computing, etc. - American ingenuity has dramatically transformed this nation, along with much of the world, as well. Except there has not been comparable progress in energy technology.

The 20th century began with American dependence on fossil fuels; i.e. oil, coal and natural gas (OCG). The 21st century now begins with America still overwhelmingly dependent on the same OCG. Even after the oil shock of 1973 we failed to heed that wake-up call to get serious about energy independence. There has been much talk about it, but during all that time our national leadership failed to create a coherent energy policy to achieve that goal.

Familiar Energy Alternatives are Not Solving the Problem

We all know about familiar alternatives to OCGs, such as nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal power, as well as coal conversion, ocean waves, the bio fuels of ethanol and methanol, hydrogen, hybrid cars, conservation, efficiency, etc. Despite all of those options, our dependence on imported oil and gas keeps on growing. Our government has failed to fully utilize even these opportunities, while Brazil has now achieved energy independence using ethanol from home-grown sugar cane., with an impressive leadership comprising its board, has proposed spending twelve billion dollars in a four-year crash program, beginning immediately, to fully utilize all currently available alternatives, to increase energy independence.

A Strong Difference of Opinion About Two Basic Questions

1. Is it possible that certain advanced energy technologies and inventions presently exist that could rapidly replace all OCG, including nuclear, with energy that is clean, safe, abundant, versatile and cheap? Some argue yes, while others insist not.

2. If such advanced energy technologies existed, then would they be allowed to freely and safely emerge into the marketplace? Again, some claim no, because it would threaten the powerful energy establishment. Others say yes and dismiss, out of hand, any suggestion that obstructions exist.

Trying to resolve these questions by prolonged and heated debate will only paralyze us, waste precious time and resolve nothing. These issues are highly complex, as well as controversial, and even the energy experts disagree. There needs to be a better approach - and there is, based on verifiable testing of working models. We should develop our own proposal to expand on a new, but limited, energy initiative (which includes verifiable testing) that was announced May 11 in the US House of Representatives and known as the "H-Prize Act of 2006". There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by our involvement.

An excerpt from that announcement states: "Scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs will be able to vie for a grand prize of $10 million, and smaller prizes reaching millions of dollars, under House-passed legislation to encourage research into hydrogen as an alternative fuel." This means that certain technology claims can eventually be put to the test and we can learn definitively whether or not they perform. But that could still be off in the future.
The good news is that this is a positive step that was long overdue. The bad news is that it applies only to hydrogen, which has serious limitations. It also ignores inventors with other systems that may be available right now. In 2003, the government committed $1.7 billion for a hydrogen research program. In early 2006, the Energy Department announced it would provide $119 million in funding for research into hydrogen fuel cells. A heavy bet is being placed on hydrogen while ignoring other possibilities. A small percentage of the nearly $2 billion already committed could fund additional reward money for other technologies, beyond hydrogen, as long as they achieved the desired results and are available now as working models, ready for evaluation.

Action Plan

It is time to form a Citizen Task Force to insist that our government promptly create a Public Opportunity Program for all energy inventors, not just for hydrogen technology. Our task force will examine the Congressional proposal and then formulate our own supplemental proposal. We will then carry our comprehensive energy message to elected officials, the media, environmental organizations, energy reform organizations, the business community and the general public. Almost every sector of society has a major stake in energy independence and lower costs. We will coordinate the operation working together from our homes via telephone and the Internet. Our objective is to spread our message rapidly and widely. Volunteers will contribute their spare time and a can-do spirit.

With fuel costs high, and rising, Americans are urgently seeking solutions. A window of opportunity exists for ordinary citizens, acting together, to possibly trigger an energy revolution and finally dethrone king oil. The task now is to enroll volunteers for our task force and begin operating.

Technical expertise is not required and volunteers will be adequately briefed by my associate, who has a background in this field and who will organize the entire project. Potential volunteers should e-mail me at Please indicate any relevant background. We will get back to you. Enough talk; it's time for action! "Let's en-roll!"