10/22/2007 03:42 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

By the Numbers

Occasionally, it helps when trying to figure out what is really going on to look at the numbers. So this post is just a sampling of four of the more revealing statistics that have crossed my desk in the past month. These facts and statistics, I think, tell a story very different from the conventional media depiction of nuclear and fossil fuel as the mainstays of the future, raising the question, "Who is fooling whom?"

Is the nuclear revival real?

The Department of Energy increased the percentage of investments in new nuclear plants that the American taxpayer will guarantee from 67 percent to 80 percent after Wall Street said that it was not interested in investing in nukes if private capital had to come up with one-third of the money.

Have we seen the end of the scandals that have plagued the Bush Administration?

Well, the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior has concluded that after an orgy of oil and gas leasing by the Administration, the "Interior Department's program to collect billions of dollars annually from oil and gas companies that drill on federal lands is troubled by mismanagement, ethical lapses and fears of retaliation against whistle-blowers, the department's chief independent investigator has concluded."

The Inspector has warned that the Department may lose $10 billion in revenue from a single error in the leasing process.

Is energy conservation, as Vice-President Cheney says, just a form of personal virtue, or is it the basis for an energy policy?

On August 30 the managers of California's electricity grid warned that a State Two Electrical Emergency was likely that afternoon because of unusually hot weather. Grid managers expected demand of 49,500 megawatts; instead it peaked at 47,643, because consumers used efficiency to save more than 1000 megawatts. The emergency was never declared. A graph of CAISO's system demand tells the story.

August 30, CAISO System Demand Chart.

How feasible is it to decarbonize our economy fast, for the long-term?

Well, the California Public Utilities Commission has proposed that by 2020, in only 13 years, all new residential homes built in California would use zero net energy -- no utility bill or carbon footprint at all.