Then why are conservatives so against renewable sources and anything that helps to promote them (including cap and trade)? You don't get Mr. Fusion without trying and FUNDING something *new*.
They aren't, they've just been categorized that way. We just know that when some truly great technology comes around, it is usually because of some inventor in his basement, trying to either make a name for him/herself or find a way to retire early (although most, after succeeding, claim they did it for the people, as if they should be ashamed for trying to make a buck). Cap and trade is nothing but a scheme for reallocation of money by gaming the system, with no appreciable impact (as has been shown in Europe). Energy companies know that fossil fuel energy costs continue to grow even without any government intervention. The fist one to finds something that, to the end consumer costs 50% less to go a mile, will win. IRAD monies drive this, and when companies struggle, IRAD budgets shrink.
Most of the argument against conservatives is that they see oil/coal/natural gas/nuclear as the *only* options available. You won't ever get the new technology if you don't spend money *now* to invest. Couple that with the fact that, at least for oil, we simply don't have anywhere near enough to even make a dent in our current needs.
Again, I don't see it like that, we've just been painted that way. My main issue is that we're (gov't) going to do something to our energy costs to cripple our economy (even more). Poor economies don't really lend themselves to technological development when everyone is just trying to stay afloat. And, I agree that it will take something big to replace hydrocarbons. More than likely, it will be more nuclear or (hopefully) fusion reactors (in 10-20 years) coupled with efficient energy storage (the lithium batteries in a prius carry about 10% of the energy that they'll need to, and cost way too much). But again, we've vilified nuclear energy as Chernobyl waiting to happen when it is in reality a very clean alternative to coal (save for waste disposal, which presents other issues but doesn't have to be a problem if stored properly - we will eventually find a way for conversion to something safer).
Now take into account that even if we have lots of natural gas, Cheney and company completely exempted those companies from having to disclose what it is they are actually pumping into the ground to push out the gas. We literally have no idea what they are pumping into the ground to break up the rock formations that are near peoples wells. Funny how cracked rock tends to allow stuff to seep through. The videos of flaming faucets are hard to assume as just a freak coincidence.
We know exactly what is in hydrofracking fluid. And, before any drilling company moved into our area, we were informed that it would be best if we had our water tested by a 3rd party (our choice). They do this not because they think something will happen, but because people's water supplies already have contaminants, and they don't want them coming with a pack of lawyers later on to blame them. Look at the date on this publication: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/XH0010.pdf
Conservatives have a long long history of supporting the big established companies and taking those companies word for it when they say its 'safe'. Are Democrats somewhat accountable on these issues? Sure, but one party has clearly been the leader in terms of saying the energy companies know best so just let them do what they want.
We can't put every business on the chopping block at the first cry of foul play. We should also be careful to differentiate between hype, hysteria, and the facts. And there is a difference between negligence and honest mistakes - these businesses stand to suffer a great deal for any of their mistakes. It just so happens that a lot rides on these types of businesses, unlike one that simply makes toys. Of course they will be ridiculed if something goes wrong, and we would be remissed if we didn't demand they do better. But, they do constantly improve. The gas companies know very well what the media and gov't will do to them if someone or something gets hurt, and I think you know that factors into their operations decisions.
The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen