By Farron Cousins

November 30th, 2012  9:30am

Coming up on this week’s Ring of Fire, Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will be discussing the United States’ lack of action on climate change and true energy independence.  One of the biggest problems plaguing our energy problems in America is that we are too dependent on fossil fuels – fuels that are expensive, dirty, and oftentimes deadly.

Meanwhile, clean, renewable energy sources abound all around us, and yet the efforts to capture that energy have fallen flat.

Below is an excerpt of this week’s discussion, where Bobby Kennedy tells us what our oil addiction is really doing to the planet:

I can tell you this, one of the companies that we started, Vantage Point that is the firm, the venture capitol firm that I’m involved with. We started a company called Bright Source. Bright Source produces solar power from a solar thermal plant, which is not PVs, but it’s a way to harness solar energy. We are building today the biggest power plant in America. It’s 2.7 gigawatts. It’s about three times the size of a nuclear power plant. A nuclear power costs fifteen billion dollars a gigawatt to construct.

Our plant cost only three billion a gigawatt and then a coal plant costs about three billion, a gas plant cost about three billion, but once you build, once we build our plant it’s free energy forever, because the photons are hitting the earth every day for free, and all we have to do is build the infrastructure that harvests them, puts them in the line and gets them to the public.

So once you build that coal plant now you got to go cut down the Appalachian mountains, ship them across the country in rail yards, warp the rails destroy the roads, burn the coal, poison every fresh water fish in the country with mercury, kill sixty thousand people a year from respiratory illness, and ten million asthma attacks, a million lost work days, and a flat in the Appalachian.

Once you build an oil plant, now you’ve got to go over to Saudi Arabia punch holes in the ground, bring up the oil, genuflect to the sheiks who despise democracy and are hated by their own people, refine the oil expensively, ship it across the Atlantic with a military escort, get in periodic wars that cost trillions of dollars to defend our oil infrastructure, and spill it all over the gulf, spill it all over Valdez, then burn it and poison everybody. So the big costs happen after you build the plant. With our plant which costs the exact same as a coal or an oil plant, once you build it, its free energy forever and that’s what we ought to be doing.

For the full interview, tune into Ring of Fire this Saturday.  Find a station or listen online at

Farron Cousins is the Executive Editor of The Trial Lawyer Magazine, a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog, and the producer of Ring of Fire.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced