Friday, May 06, 2005

Pop quiz:

Who said this?
A. Greenpeace activist?
B. M. King Hubbert?
C. Club of Rome member?

The world has not prepared for the future. During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history. ...

Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth. We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden.

One choice is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years.

Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste.

We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.

Answer: Jimmy Carter, in his prescient, but failed effort to chart a new energy policy. We will, in retrospect, look back on the Carter administration as one of the greatest lost opportunities in human history.

Now, who said this?

This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country. That's exactly what I've been saying to the American people -- 10 years ago if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. And -- but we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in.

Of course, that one was easy. It was a recent statement by George W Bush, who seems to be gradually and dimly waking up to the fact that a serious problem is brewing and that it may break down upon us during his watch. Of course, Bush's reaction is to look for someone to blame for the mess.

The Bush administration is beginning to make some grudging moves toward conservation. After years of resistance from automakers, NHTSA raised the the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard of 20.7 miles per gallon in 2004 to 21 mpg for the model year 2005, 21.6 mpg for 2006, and 22.2 mpg for 2007. The NHTSA estimated the increase would save 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline over the 25-year life of the affected vehicles from the three model years--about 9,400 barrels per day during the 25-year period.

The White House claims its new standards will save 340,000 bpd when applied to the 2008 through 2016 model years. However, the Transportation Department has yet to issue new fuel standards past the 2007 model year. But the futility of this measure is clear when you consider that last year alone, U.S. crude oil production dropped by over 100,000 bpd.

Meanwhile the House voted to approve some $8.1 billion in tax breaks for the energy industry, in spite of record profits--during the first quarter of this year, Exxon Mobil's profits jumped 44 percent. Royal Dutch/Shell'sprofits were up 42 percent while Marathon Oil's profits were up 26 percent.

The administration has moved from its early distain for conservation, but now that it seems to have realized that there is a problem, it is stuck--a deer in the headlights--with no idea how to face something of this magnitude.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Do you support Bush? I think he is corrupt. And I know energy companies are rolling in record profits. Not only that, but they have already recieved a lot of tax breaks. Besides that i believe any energy bill pushed worth by Dubya will only give more subsidies to energy/oil companies. I think the way alternative energy is financed ought to change so anyone can profit when trying to start a business, or alternative energy project.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Hi Thomas,

Sorry to take so long to reply to your comments--been

Yes, I think that necessity is the mother of
invention, but I think that there is a gestation
period. If we hit peak oil in the next year or two
there may be no full grown alternative ready to step
in and fill the gap.

I'm not so sure that corruption is the problem with
the Bush adinistration or that they're just so
godawful incompetent. I think he's the worst
administration since James Buchanan who delivered us
into the Civil War--and he's still got three years
left to wreak more havoc!

Glad to hear that you're interested in renewables! Nice blog you've got going too!



Post a Comment

<< Home