Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

By Ozzie Zehner | Go to book overview

5. The Hydrogen Zombie

Ignorance is the undead’s strongest ally, knowl-
edge their deadliest enemy.—Max Brooks, The
Zombie Survival Guide

By the close of the first decade of the twentyfirst century, the hydrogen dream might have seemed dead to any casual observer that happened to pass its rotting corpse on the side of the street. The financial foundations upon which the hydrogen economy stood had been reduced to a shadow. Numerous governments had slashed, yanked, and all but completely eliminated hydrogen funding. Corporations that hastily filled their pockets bringing hydrogen fuel cells to market eventually witnessed their balance sheets tumbling in flames just as quickly. Finally, after the crash and burn of the hydrogen economy, credit crises and financial upheavals swept away the smoldering ashes left behind. But soon after the fatality, something curious started to occur. Citizens beheld the New York Times dedicating a full-spread feature to the hydrogen economy and witnessed CBS News claiming that General Motors’ new hydrogen fuel-cell car was “a terrific drive with almost no environmental impact.”1

-105-

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Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Figures ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction- Unraveling the Spectacle xv
  • Part I - Seductive Futures 1
  • 1- Solar Cells and Other Fairy Tales 3
  • 2- Wind Power’s Flurry of Limitations 31
  • 3- Biofuels and the Politics of Big Corn 61
  • 4- The Nuclear-Military-Industrial Risk Complex 81
  • 5- The Hydrogen Zombie 105
  • 6- Conjuring Clean Coal 121
  • 7- Hydropower, Hybrids, and Other Hydras 133
  • Part II - From Here to There 147
  • 8- The Alternative-Energy Fetish 149
  • 9- The First Step 171
  • Part III - The Future of Environmentalism 185
  • 10- Women’s Rights 187
  • 11- Improving Consumption 223
  • 12- The Architecture of Community 263
  • 13- Efficiency Culture 301
  • 14- Asking Questions 331
  • Epilogue- A Grander Narrative? 343
  • Resources for Future Environmentalists 349
  • Notes 355
  • Index 415
  • In the Our Sustainable Future Series 438
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