Fossil Fuels Have No Future
By Randy Auxier
Anheuser-Busch recently put in a serious order for a fleet of hydrogen powered tractor-trailers.
Their very expensive deal includes the cost of constructing hydrogen fueling stations along their standard truck routes. I’ll bet they will let others use those fueling stations, for a price, and that in the future we may well see stations popping up under a brand such as “A-BHydrogen” or “AugieHydro” (even granting that the company is now owned by a Belgian conglomerate).
A word or two about our beloved brewers. A-B has always been involved in businesses other than beer –from selling soap in the 1850s, to running theme parks (until recently). And they have always been innovators, seeing where business will go in the future. A passage from Wikipedia:
“Adolphus Busch was the first American brewer to use pasteurization to keep beer fresh; the first to use mechanical refrigeration and refrigerated railroad cars, which he introduced in 1876; and the first to bottle beer extensively. By 1877, the company owned a fleet of 40 refrigerated railroad cars to transport beer.”
These are far-seeing moves. Refrigerated rail cars of 1877, please meet your great-great-great grandchildren of 2018: a fleet of hydrogen powered trucks. But to have such descendants, you’ll have to invest in some fueling stations. It won’t be cheap. The answer by the can-do minds at AB? “That sounds like an opportunity.”
The reason is simple. It is. While most businesses are trying to balance the ledgers so that they can pay for the last trillion barrels of oil we might squeeze out of the earth (at the cost of untold destruction to the environment, poisoning of watersheds, fracking-induced earthquakes, and and immoral oil wars), the good people at Anheuser-Busch have decided to opt out of that mess and, well, they’re gonna sell beer.
And here we come to my point. In the long run, as our beloved brewers well know, we will soon run our world on something other than fossil fuels. When the rest of us arrive in that future, Anheuser-Busch will be there waiting . . . at a fueling station . . . that sells beer. And they will prosper. And we will happily pay because by then it will be cheaper than fossil fuels.
Maybe you are saying “what is a hydrogen station?” This is how it works: https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/how-do-hydrogen-fuel-cells-work#.Wv5f8chOk_U Yes, it takes electricity to do this and it isn’t a panacea. But it is an important start. Hydrogen vehicles emit only steam. This is very clean compared to what we do now, and eventually you will be conveyed in such vehicles, whether you want to or not. The future is coming.
But there are people who don’t want you to think about that future. They want to sell you the last trillion barrels of dirty gasoline. And they want to charge you an ever-increasing price for it. And they own Brendan Kelly and Mike Bost. Who are these people? It is the massive conglomerate, from oil companies, to coal producers, to shipping companies, to the OPEC cartel who want your unquestioning obedience to their ugly business. They get that obedience from Kelly and Bost. You won’t hear them talking about a better future without dependency on fossil fuels. They have taken the money these corporations and billionaires dangle before them, and they have pledged support for the dirtiest future they can secure for their masters.
So Bost and Kelly will have no mercy on the earth and on the poor in undeveloped countries, those who are being drawn into our endless oil wars. They know it’s wrong, but they pretend it is necessary. I think their consciences ought to bother them, as mine does me, when I get behind the wheel. I am implicated in this mess just like everyone else, but I want something else for myself and for my neighbors. I want to do something about this mess we inherited, and I think it can be done without upsetting your life or asking you to sacrifice anything, except a vote. There is a hydrogen station coming to your neighborhood, and I want to have it soon.
Let’s just talk about the future. Fossil fuels don’t have one. Why don’t we all just try be Busch-like: far-seeing, future-oriented, business-minded? This doesn’t have to be about hugging trees or caring for poor people in oil-rich countries. This can just as easily be about common sense and our common interests. The future is coming. We need alternatives. Hydrogen is one. Someone is going to make that move to the future. It can be us, in the 12th District of Illinois. We already have a partner in Anheuser-Busch. Bost and Kelly won’t lift a finger to get us there. They’ll even try to stop it.
So, it is no surprise that Brendan Kelly and Mike Bost will not sign the pledge I have signed, refusing money from the oil and coal industries. But I am with Anheuser-Busch and anyone else who actually understands what will happen in the next fifty years. And we could be building a lot more than hydrogen stations for expensive trucks made eslewhere: we could be making expensive trucks. I wonder whether the Nikola Corporation (https://nikolamotor.com/) has ever met with anyone in our District. I want to go to that company and tell them about southern Illinois. If you elect me, I will go get that conversation.
What is the “lot more”? I want a conversation with the people at Alstom, which is based in France but has offices all over the US. They make rail cars for commuter rails. They recently tested something pretty exciting. Watch this one-minute video:
One day in the future, southern Illinois will have commuter rails that run on hydrogen. The question is whether anyone will get on the path to that future and show some leadership. Rest assured, Kelly and Bost won’t do it. Bost won’t do anything at all, as he has proven, and Kelly might, if he feels up to it, sue some pharmaceutical companies. That’s his vision for the future: endless law suits. I want you to have trains. I want you to have cleaner ways to power your life, and I want you to have this before anyone else in this country gets there. Thinking about the future is good for business.
I don’t just want these trains running in southern Illinois, I want us to make these trains in southern Illinois. It can be done. They have to be made somewhere. I will go to Alstom with some investors. Perhaps Anheuser-Busch will be interested in these hydrogen trains and will go with me for that meeting. After all, they were the ones who saw the future of refrigerated rail cars.
Bost and Kelly won’t be going this direction. They won’t be going any direction except the path best paved by the fossil fuel industries, the corporate money, and party pecking order. They also won’t do it because they have no vision for our future. They never talk about it at all. I see possibilities for us here in southern Illinois. Elect me and I will get our District ahead. You are welcome to have a beer with me and discuss it.