Figure 1: Fusion Funding Plan Projections, 1976
A lightning rod for what is wrong with the Republican Party

The following petition has been submitted to the White House web site:

Increase spending on Hydrogen Plasma/Fusion Energy Research by $100 Billion over ten years

Republicans think government can't do great things. Governments can manage resources effectively, and coordinate through economics of scale. Government works and proof is around us, every day.  Saying the government can't do great things is unpatriotic.   There is a long and respectful history of successful government investments in science. We've landed on the moon for Christ's sake!

In a Democracy, the relationship between the people and the government isn’t “us” versus “them.” We the people are the government.  We agree to live within social norms, and the government is our investment in the common good and our future.  

Government is all of us.

Petition Description
This petition is about fundamental Physics Research.  It is an opportunity to phase out carbon fuels for mankind.  It may increase the cost and size of government, but the result would reap benefits for generations.  The Description is as follows:

The Hydrogen Fusion Energy Research Program in the US needs a jumpstart.  Fusion energy has greater potential than all fossil fuels, nuclear fission and renewable energies combined. Renewable energy sources are limited by nature. With Hydrogen Nuclear Fusion, we are limited only by our imaginations.
Countries like South Korea, China, and the international ITER project are working to develop fusion energy. We can pioneer a new energy source with the goal of electrical power generation at multiple facilities.  The money is less than the moon program in modern dollars, less the cost of Hurricane Katrina or 4 aircraft carriers. Hydrogen fusion power provides safe, clean power.  This opportunity to develop technology can downsize the carbon fuel colossus that fuels our civilization and poisons our planet.

More information is available at http://FusionPetition.us and this site.

This petition demonstrates the fundamental failings of the Republican Party.

  • It’s Pro Science & Research
  • It’ll create jobs in the sciences and construction
  • It is about the Government “Picking a winner”
  • It increases the size of government
  • It generates power without CO2 emissions (which their oil company backers won’t appreciate).

Democracy is collaboration on a social scale.  All types of collaboration combine talent and resources to address common issues.  Collaboration at an industrial scale in high tech has been common for decades.  APIs are shared. Some libraries of knowledge and software are published as open source.  Large-scale collaboration is proven to be effective.  The greater the collaboration, the greater the achievement of everyone involved. National research programs are collaboration on efforts the country agrees are important, like defense, medicine and advanced energy research.

Conservatives will say we can't afford it. So what if it's less than the cost of Hurricane Katrina, or about the cost Hurricanes Sandy and Andrew combined. The Space Program of the 1960s cost about $150 Billion in current dollars. The United States Navy spent over $25 Billion on our twentieth active aircraft carrier.  Is it better to secure our future energy needs through basic research than military might? The amount in the petition is less spent on the moon project or the space shuttle, but over 7 times the budget of CERN. The ITER International Hydrogen Fusion Project is expected to cost in excess of $15 Billion.  Their achievement of first Plasma is targeted for 2020, start of Deuterium-tritium operation is 2027.  Research has great long-term social advantages and builds new industries. If Hydrogen fusion/plasma research is successful, by the 250th anniversary of the country in 2026 we will have a new energy source for future generations of all mankind.

This will achieve current research goals decades sooner
It is guaranteed that we won't have fusion unless we invest.

As discussed earlier, initial proposals for advancing fusion research date back to the late 70s. At that time, a committee proposed options to advance research based upon urgency of investments.  This is shown in the first graph.

The chart is in millions of 1973 dollars. The Years show estimates when a demo power plant would be available.  In this chart:

  • Logic I is described as “If this pace were continued, a practical fusion power system might never be built.”  
  • Logic II was “Moderately Expanding”
  • Logic III was “Aggressive”
  • Logic IV was “Accelerated”
  • Logic V was “Maximum Effective Effort.”

The second graph is updated and shows similar projections against actual funding.

Figure 2: Projected Fusion Budget vs Actual Spending

Figure 2 shows that the lack of research into fusion is the primary reason why fusion research was not achieved already.  By making a significant, long-term commitment to fusion, we will achieve research goals decades sooner than current plans, and start to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels.
The Naysayers
Conservative Politicians will react in any or all of the following ways:

  • They will ignore the petition.
  • They’ll claim it’s a distraction from their pressing self-induced financial issues.
  • They will claim there no reason for this research since there are plenty of fossil fuels which do not impact the environment. ‘nough said.
  • They will make some other outrageous claim that demonstrates Bobby Jindal’s comment that Republicans are the stupid party, or otherwise anti-science.
  • They will claim we can’t afford this, but we can’t afford NOT to do it.
  • They will say that the research does not guarantee success.  There are no guarantees in life. It’s like planning to take up long distance running and someone arguing you’d never finish a marathon.  You’ll never know for sure until you try running one, and you won’t finish unless you work to prepare for the event!
  • They’ll claim industry can do it alone.  Then why is it that there is only a handful of efforts to pursue fusion in over 30 years?
  • If the number of signatures goes above a statistical sample of the population, they will argue against “mob rule.”

The Republican Party does not have the intelligence to manage government funded Scientific Research, they are anti-science and anti long-term investments.  The reasons why they are against this type of project are the reasons why they should be voted out of office.  They don’t believe that American citizens can be controlling our own destiny. Leaving it to the market is like letting go of the steering wheel while travelling down the highway.  It’s great as long there are no turns in the road!

The long-term outcome of this research is energy without carbon dioxide emissions for generations of mankind.  This petition should be funded, and government should invest, facilitate, and coordinate the various research labs around the country already focusing on fusion research. The amount of the investment is significant to science and industry, but minor compared to government efforts.  There is already some promising research that could lead to fusion power sooner than we think, which means mankind could be even closer to phasing out carbon fuels.

Some politicians don’t believe that the Carbon Fuel Colossus exists.  Others refuse to admit it and to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer: there are those who suckle at the teat of the Carbon Fuel Colossus and will defend their mother at any cost to society and nation.

If we continued fusion research back in the 70s or 80s, we could have fusion by now. This is why investments in Research and Development make sense.  Now is the time to act!  We can change the agenda down in Washington with enough signatures for this petition. If you believe that $100 Billion over ten years is a sound investment for future generations, please go sign the petition and tell your friends about it.


Will Republicians ever believe in science research?

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