Questions Debate Moderators Need To Ask Presidential Candidates About America’s Energy Plans – OpEd


To stimulate conversations at the family dinner table prior to the Presidential Debates June 27th hosted by CNN, and September 10th hosted by ABC, and the Vice Presidential Debate by CBS or FOX, about the many sides of renewable electricity from weather conditions, and the products and fuels from fossil fuels that are demanded by the materialistic lifestyles and economies around the world, here are a few questions to help initiate and stimulate those conversations.

1. We had a zero-emissions society before the 1800’s!  The elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is that we’ve become a very materialistic society over the last 200 years, and the world has populated from 1 to 8 billion because of more than 6,000 useful products and different fuels for planes, ships, trucks, cars, militaries, and the space program made from crude oil that did not exist before the 1800’s. We also know that wind turbines and solar panels only generate electricity but are incapable of manufacturing any products or fuels. The question is: Since all hospitals, airports, communication systems, militaries, planes, trains, and vehicles are based on the products made from fossil fuels, what is your plan to avoid a transition to lifestyles that existed before the 1800’s?

2. There is a difference between Electricity and Products: As we transition to cleaner electricity, there is a lost reality that the primary usage of that black cruddy looking crude oil is NOT for the generation of electricity, but to manufacture derivatives and fuels which are the ingredients of every product and fuel needed by economies and lifestyles to exist and prosper, i.e., all the products that did not exist before the 1800’s. Eradicating the world of crude oil usage would ground the 20,000 commercial aircraft, and ground more than  50,000 military aircraft in the world and leave the 50,000 merchant ships tied up at docks and discontinue the military and space programs! Ridding the world of crude oil, without a “replacement” that can continue to support the supply chain of the more than 6,000 products now demanded by the 8 billion on this planet could result in the loss of billions of lives from starvation, diseases, and weather-related fatalities. The question is: Knowing that all electricity came about AFTER the discovery of oil, and that there is a vast distinction between ELECTRICTY and PRODUCTS, how do you plan to support a supply chain of the products and fuels demanded by our materialistic society and economy, as America reduces its dependency on crude oil?

3. Clean Energy Exploitations: Most of the exotic minerals and metals needed to go “green” with EV’s, wind turbines, and solar panels, are controlled by China and Africa that have minimal labor and environmental laws, that result in environmental degradation and humanity abuses to their people and their lands that support “clean” energy in wealthier countries like America. The question is: Do you believe it is ethical and moral for America to continue subsidies to go “green” as it provides financial encouragement for China and Africa to CONTINUE exploiting “their” poor with yellow, brown, and black skin, and financially supports the environmental degradation to “their” landscapes, just to support clean EV batteries, wind turbines and solar panels in Americas backyards”?

4. Society needs continuous uninterruptable supplies of electricity. Hospitals, airports, military sites, data centers, computers, and telemetry all need continuous uninterruptable supplies of electric power, but wind turbines and solar panels only generate electricity under favorable weather conditions.  The question is: With the ongoing efforts to shutter coal fired power plants, natural gas power plants, and nuclear power plants, how do you plan to support the needs for continuous uninterruptable supplies of electricity?

5. Decomissioning and waste recycling: For the “green” movement, lithium and cobalt mining involves unimaginable horrors that are never discussed by environmentalists nor by government leaders. The sites for the mining of materials required to build wind, solar, and EV batteries are under minimal to nonexistent labor, wage, environmental, reclamation, and worker health and safety regulations. The mere extraction of those exotic minerals presents social challenges, human rights abuses, and environmental degradations worldwide, but are of no significance to the wealthy countries benefiting from those “green” materials.  The question is: With the inevitable millions of tons of wind turbine blade waste, solar panel waste, and spent EV batteries, projected to be produced EVERY YEAR are you in support of an urgent need to establish decommissioning, restoration, and recycling standards just like we have for decommissioned mines, oil refineries, or nuclear sites in America?

6. We’ve become a materialistic society: OUR needs for smaller and faster electronics, and for bigger and faster planes, ships, and launches into outer space are the only reasons that crude oil is needed.  The question is: How will electricity generated from wind and solar be able to support the materialistic demands of humanity, OR, before we chastise “big oil” for impacting climate change, should we ask ourselves “How dare WE to continuously demand the products and fuels made from oil that makes OUR life more comfortable”?

7. Energy national security: Following the OPEC oil embargo 50 years ago in 1973, the Department of Energy (D.O.E) was established to lessen our dependence on foreign locations for America’s energy independence. The D.O.E.  has remained silent while California: The 4th largest economy in the world has increased imported crude oil from 5 percent in 1992 to almost 60 percent today of total consumption. Today California’s 9 International airports, 41 military airports, and 3 of the largest shipping ports in the world, are all controlled by foreign oil. In addition, as the USA continues to transition to “green” EV batteries, and electricity from wind and solar, China’s stranglehold monopoly on the global supply of rare earth minerals and metals for the “green” movement is a clear and potential “embargo” danger to the American and World economies. PS: 50 years after its formation, the D.O.E. now has 14,000 employees and a 2024 budget of $52 Billion dollars!  The question is: What is the plan to avoid a “GREEN” energy embargo by China that may impact our a “GREEN” National Security?

The above questions should stimulate energy literacy conversations at the family dinner table prior to the upcoming Presidential Debates June 27th and September 10th, and the Vice-Presidential Debate, about the many sides of renewable electricity, and the fossil fuels that support the products and fuels demanded by the materialistic lifestyles and economies around the world.

Ronald Stein

Ronald Stein, Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.

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