Energy

Energy Independence, Past and Future

And the lies you can expect from the White House hopefuls

|

The end of President Bush's time in office is still 14 months away, but already, I can guarantee two things. First, the next president will be elected on a promise to lead the nation to energy independence. Second, the promise won't be kept.

Neither of those predictions requires a supernatural ability to see into the future. As it happens, every major contender, Republican as well as Democratic, has vowed to liberate us from the cruel grip of imported oil. Take any candidate's statements on the subject, sneak them into a speech by any other candidate, and no one would notice the difference. Even the candidates.

To take two random samples, here's Mitt Romney: "The United States must become energy independent… Our decisions and destiny cannot be bound to the whims of oil-producing states."

And here's Hillary Clinton: "We've got to get serious about ending our dependence on foreign oil. We could create millions of new jobs through new energy." Or was it the other way around?

Both parties like the idea of energy independence because it suggests a steely determination to protect our security, combat global warming, reduce the cost of driving and strengthen domestic industries. Liberals also enjoy the notion for its aura of sticking it to Big Oil. Conservatives see it as part of the war on Islamofascism.

As a marketing idea, it's pure gold. Only as policy does it turn to straw.

If energy independence were truly feasible, it probably would have been achieved back in the 1970s, after President Richard Nixon embraced it. In 1973, we imported about a third of the oil we used, compared with 60 percent today. Domestic production was at its peak. OPEC was in the process of turning the energy world upside down by quadrupling the price of oil.

But the idea withered on the vine—because of the brutal reality that even at a steep price, imported oil was cheap compared to doing without. That remains true today. And though global warming calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the most likely replacements for oil are a poor fit for that role.

The chief attraction of energy independence is that we could fill up our cars and operate our economy without caring what happens in Iran, Venezuela or Russia. As if. So long as we use a significant amount of oil, regardless of where it's produced, we remain aboard the cost roller coaster. When the price of Middle Eastern oil soars, it takes the price of domestic crude along for the ride.

It's enchanting to imagine swearing off foreign oil in favor of ethanol made from wholesome Illinois corn, or fuels derived from West Virginia coal. But even if all the corn grown in this country went toward ethanol, it would cut our gasoline consumption by no more than 12 percent. In cost terms, ethanol can thrive only with lavish federal subsidies. In climate terms, the switch offers small benefits at best.

So why does ethanol get treated like the prettiest girl at the prom? Because our leaders' motive is pandering to American farmers and corporations, not making sound energy policy. If you want to know the main reason the federal government subsidizes ethanol, I've got two words for you: Iowa caucuses.

As for coal, schemes to turn it into liquid fuel for use in cars and planes have been around for half a century—including a dismal failure launched during President Jimmy Carter's administration. Besides being expensive, reports a recent article in Scientific American, "liquid coal produces more than twice the global warming emissions as regular gasoline and almost double those of ordinary diesel."

That minor flaw might be fixed—but only by raising the cost even more. Of the other potential alternative fuels, none looks capable of competing without massive government help.

Reducing our consumption of oil would be a good thing, if only because it would reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. But replacing oil with alternatives that also pollute is an exercise in missing the point. And as ethanol demonstrates, a drive for energy independence is likely to veer off into wasteful handouts to powerful interests.

A better approach would be a carbon tax, which would simultaneously promote conservation, curb emissions and give an impartial boost to environmentally friendly alternatives. But selling a carbon tax to the American people would be a tough assignment.

And why bother? Energy independence is a mirage, but it sells itself.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

NEXT: Leaky Gitmo

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This country has never been serious about cutting back on oil consumption.

  2. This country has never been serious about cutting back on oil consumption.

    “This country” is a collection of INDIVIDUALS with different needs and wants. Collectivist talk does not serve any purpose except pontification. The only way people will ‘cut back’ on consuming something that they find convenient for their needs is through frank, direct (and crass) coercion, by political means. I am sure that more than one environmentalist will accept this “means to an end” stance even if its morally and ethically repugnant.

  3. So I get to the end of the article to discover Reason is now endorsing a Carbon Tax? Unbelievable, I guess the ‘debate’ is over, huh?

  4. Of course the real punch-line here is that “energy independence” is absolutely worthless. Even if we did manage to magically free ourselves from imported oil it wouldn’t free us from “foreign entanglements” because we are so interconnected with the rest of the world in all other economic areas that oil disruptions to them would cripple us just the same.

    The modern world is vastly interconnected in ways invisible to most people. If on of of Taiwan’s volcanoes went Mt Pinatubo, it would cripple the U.S. economy just as badly as an oil embargo. So many of the world’s products contain components manufacture in Taiwan that the sudden interruption of goods from Taiwan would send the world economy into a near death spiral. 80% of the worlds speciality nuts and bolts, for example, are manufactured there. That might seem trivial but try building anything without them.

    Autarky is an old and foolish dream. We like to imagine that if we could just get rid of the other, the foreign, that we could control our own lives. Well, we can’t and we shouldn’t. Trying humanity together by trade and interdependence has brought us far more benefit that harm.

  5. Lamar,

    This country has never been serious about cutting back on oil consumption.

    That’s because this country has never been serious about creating more poverty and suffering. Oil isn’t a luxury. We use it do things. We use most of it to perform critical tax.

    The reason you can sit at a keyboard and post instead of spending your day standing by a well hauling up water to keep your meager crops and family alive is that we create and utilize a lot of energy.

  6. The only way people will ‘cut back’ on consuming something that they find convenient for their needs is through frank, direct (and crass) coercion, by political means.

    Or if the market drives the price way up.

    $3/gallon is still very cheap for how important gasoline is to the American way of life. Even if you drive the biggest of SUVs that averages 13 mpg, and even assuming you drive a more than average 1500 miles/month, that is still only ~$350. $350/month is not all that hard to part with for most Americans. Trading down to a sedan that gets 26 mpg saves only $175/month.

  7. Shannon Love:

    Here come the attacks. I never said we need to stop using oil, or that we need to all drive mopeds. But the fact that we still sell more SUVs than anywhere in the world shows that we just aren’t serious about cutting back on oil.

    Conservatives won’t get serious because their money is tied up in how we do things now. Liberals won’t do it because alternative fuels might harm the Western Spotted Dick Fish or something. We just won’t do it until it hits us in our wallets. And as many of us know, we are so far in debt that by the time we feel the sting, it will be too late.

  8. When we bomb Iran they will mine the Straights of Hormooz, or sink a ship there. $0% of the worlds oil goes through there. I wonder what oil prices will be like.

  9. 60% of the worlds oil.

  10. “But replacing oil with alternatives that also pollute is an exercise in missing the point”

    Not if the point is to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. And if it comes down to a choice between the two, economic freedom is what I would side with. In the scope of what is in our immediate interests, and preventing further violence and bloodshed, as opposed to the overblown hysteria of the inch-wise rise in sea levels and the dubious claims of increased coastal hurricanes, the former seems the more rational worry at hand to attend to.

  11. When we bomb Iran they will mine the Straights of Hormooz, or sink a ship there.

    Which would be a great way to get us a whole bunch of allies in pursuing regime change.

    The French and what-not are fine letting us swing in the wind as long as their ass isn’t in the crack. Iranian assaults on world oil supplies would do that just fine.

    Plus, wasn’t I reading that Iran is a net oil importer? Wouldn’t mining Hormuz be cutting off their nose to spite their face?

    Not that the mullahs, etc.

  12. Plus, wasn’t I reading that Iran is a net oil importer? Wouldn’t mining Hormuz be cutting off their nose to spite their face?

    Gasoline, not oil, I believe.

  13. One problem with oil is that our military cost to protect the flow of oil to the US is not included in the price of gas. I read a report the other day that said that this cost was over $100/barrel of oil. If that cost was reflected in the price of gas other energy sources would become competitive very quickly.

  14. “A better approach would be a carbon tax, which would simultaneously promote conservation, curb emissions and give an impartial boost to environmentally friendly alternatives. But selling a carbon tax to the American people would be a tough assignment.”

    And increasing the cost of a gallon of gas by 100% – 200% isn’t kinda like a carbon tax and giving government money to alternative fuel industries and tax credits to individuals doesn’t boost environmentally friendly alternatives.

    No, so I guess we need a carbon tax on top of this.

  15. Yes, Iran is a gasoline importer, although it’s mostly because of their own gasoline subsidy, gas is around 10 cents a litre there so it’s cheaper for them to buy it then make it.

    Also, worthless article, there’s been better on the same subject on Reason so I didn’t see the point, still no mention of biodesiel and Rape Seed as in the last article.

    Reason supports a Carbon Tax. I realized that over a year ago.

    Although I’m still not convinced on the “Theory vs. Practice” on a Carbon Tax, please don’t have more articles to remind us of it, we remember.

  16. Lamar,

    You’re just flat out wrong. From 1970 to 2007 the Oil consumption as a percentage of GDP has declined by half. Further, even though we love our SUVs we have managed to double our average MPG since the 1970s.

    The reality is that the U.S. curbs its energy use whenever energy becomes more expensive. Geez, who would have thunk? If oil remains at 90 bucks a barrel Americans will stop driving SUVs and start driving Prius’s. As a matter of fact considering the auto sales of the domestic MFGS that seems to have already begun to happen.

    The demand for gasoline is somewhat inelastic. Yet, given a long enough time people will change their behavior. They will however only change their behavior in response to higher prices.

    If we were to plot the average fuel economy for a car in the US we would find that it remained relatively dismal up until the 1973 oil embargo, then it bean to increase, and it increased rapidly again after the Iranian hostage crisis. Then, fuel economy plateaued in the late 80s as the world moved into an oil glut and remained there for the next decade.

    Regardless of what the government does over the next decade, if supplies continue to be tight and prices continue to rise at a rate faster than inflation we should expect average fuel economy to continue to rise in the US.

    Regards

    Joe Dokes

  17. Energy independence is a pretty good goal to have, though, is it not? Even if we can’t get 100%, can we get 90%, 80%?

    If we had taken the same amount of $$$ we have frittered away on the Iraq war and put it towards R&D into such areas as a) better batteries b) higher efficiencies in use of energy c) distributed power d) generation of biofuels from waste cellulose, e) better, stronger but lighter composites for use in automobiles, f) nuclear power plants

    …are you REALLY going to think that we’d be worse off?

    The problem with this article is that it simply throws its hands in the air and says “oh, we can never become energy independent, so let’s not even try to improve matters.”

    Feh. No wonder the US is sliding down the trash heap of history.

  18. Why can’t we just the US’s military supremacy to invade an oil-rich country, Westernize its people, and step up oil production until a better solution is found?

  19. just ^use the

    uggh

  20. grumpy realist: yes. Enough with the hand-wringing: let’s do something even if it’s not perfect.

    I’ve seen dozens of articles by economically literate columnists saying that a carbon tax would be ideal, but Americans would never accept it. True statement, perhaps, but a bit pointless.

    Why not do something that actually does have political appeal — like cap and trade? Same result: less carbon emissions. Same tax incidence. Far less scary to voters who like the word “trade” better than the word “tax.” Also, easier to plan and adjust. It’s easier to estimate how much carbon we want in the atmosphere, and fix that as the maximum, than to assign a tax to carbon and try to figure out what effect that will have on people’s energy choices. We don’t have to wait for new technology: we can do this, at least, right now.

  21. Grumpy Realist,

    The taxpayer and private industry has shoveled tons of money into alternative energy research.

    The problem is not lack of money the problem is tough physics and the fact that petroleum is a very good, very cheap fuel and therefore difficult to replace.

  22. src,

    Every time I hear people like you say

    Enough with the hand-wringing: let’s do something even if it’s not perfect.

    I feel like puking or drinking heavily maybe both.

    What we end with when people have that attitude is things like this

    The biofuel scam–and it’s a ‘beaut’

    When it comes to navigating a way out of the nation’s energy crisis, you have to wonder whether the fix is already in.

    The government has picked the winner–even as senior policy makers issue bland pronouncements about finding new technologies to help break our energy dependence on foreign oil. Between now and 2012, biofuel subsidies will total more than $92 billion, according to a recent report conducted under the auspices of the Global Subsidiaries Initiative.

    Cap and trade just provides more opportunities for rent seekers to get rich off taxpayer funded scams.

    Chances are some of these scams will end up using more energy and causing more environmental destruction then petroleum usage would.

  23. Cap and trade just provides more opportunities for rent seekers to get rich off taxpayer funded scams.

    Bingo.

  24. Yes, so hydrocarbons are a lovely fuel and difficult to replace. So what? Does that mean we shouldn’t be trying to go gangbusters on energy efficiency, distributed power, etc.?

    Look–I lived in Japan for YEARS. I KNOW what can be done with energy-sipping technology. If we actually were pricing petroleum to include what it actually costs us (such as our Excellent Adventure in Iraq, cosying up to the Saudis, etc.), you’d find the US very quickly discovering reasons to go to much more efficient cars, electronics, etc. But we have this stupid idea that we “deserve” cheap oil, aren’t doing a thing to collect a knowledge base of energy-frugal technology, and are going to get HARD when any sort of oil shock–whether from Peak Oil or Iran mining the Straits of Hormuz suddenly sends oil to $200/bbl or higher.

    We’re covering our eyes, closing our ears, and hoping madly that no oil price jumps will occur. Having technology to improve efficiency would at least allow us to hedge our supplies better!

    This is a HELL of a way to run a railroad.

  25. Taxing the hell out of imported energy would be the most straight forward means to shifting domestic energy use toward domestic energy sources. Would it be worth it….?

    Meanwhile, we should be looking at the feasibility of taxing carbon emissions and figuring out if we can do it in a practical enough manner to effect more good than harm.

  26. our military cost to protect the flow of oil to the US is not included in the price of gas. I read a report the other day that said that this cost was over $100/barrel of oil.

    Order of magnitude calculation:

    Top 5 oil producers in mid-east ||
    millions of bbl/day production:
    (info from 2004)

    Saudi arabia 10.3
    Iran 4.1
    Uae 2.8
    Kuwait 2.5
    iraq 2.0

    total 21.7 mil bbl/day =>
    7.9 billion barrel/year

    total defense spending 2004: 437 billion (including iraq/afganistan supplementals)

    437 / 8 = 54 dollars / barrel

    so definitely less than $100 per barrel

  27. TJIT:
    Sorry for inducing any excessive nausea or intoxication.

    I’m actually with you on the damage of subsidies (esp. for corn ethanol, which is, as you point out, pretty inefficient). But I think you’ve misunderstood what cap and trade is.

    The point of cap and trade is that, like a carbon tax, it doesn’t subsidize anyone.
    Here’s how it works according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
    It just sets a limit on carbon emissions, and then requires anyone who wants to pollute more to buy credits from other power plants.

    There are reasons to prefer a carbon tax to cap-and-trade, but they’re not your reasons. This article explains some of the debating points.

  28. The point of cap and trade is that, like a carbon tax, it doesn’t subsidize anyone.

    A tax that isn’t wealth transfer? Please, in your next tall tale, feature a princess. And a pony. With wings.

  29. The primary cause of global warming is the amount of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere, yes? So, what programs exist now to remove these gasses from the atmosphere? If I can’t think anyone working on a direct solution pulling the panes out of the greenhouse, it’s surely just a sign of how much I don’t care about this, and not that the discourse about global warming focuses on a set of narratives cribbed from antihumanitarians and from economic isolationists and from other nasty people.

    Barring the global warming angle, and barring the economic isolationism angle, there’s, uh, no problem whatsoever with oil. Leave it alone, let prices rise as supply problems mount, and let the signaling purpose of market prices work without distortion.

  30. As a marketing idea, it’s pure gold. Only as policy does it turn to straw.

    Steve,

    it’s a marketing idea that you say the candidates all share undifferentiably — so in competitive terms it is pure dirt. The candidates will mostly pull out their corn bona fides when they see someone else bring it up.

  31. As long as oil is cheap we shold use it. We are currently looking for alternatives and we should continue but to say we need huge government programs subsidizing other energy sources is ridiculous. If we are paying twice as much for energy the Chinese will blow us away.

  32. The point of cap and trade is that, like a carbon tax, it doesn’t subsidize anyone.

    Arrant nonsense. It is a subsidy of whoever is deemed to have surplus carbon credits that they sell.

  33. “Lamar,

    You’re just flat out wrong. From 1970 to 2007 the Oil consumption as a percentage of GDP has declined by half. Further, even though we love our SUVs we have managed to double our average MPG since the 1970s.”

    Please, spew some more meaningless statistics. You said it yourself: until we get hit in the wallet, we don’t do shit. Maybe the government imposes fuel efficiency….is that your idea of getting serious? Getting so desperate that we beg the government to tell us what to do? The very thing you see as “serious” is what I see as evidence that everyday folks don’t give a crap.

    Now, please, you were saying something about how our love for SUVs really means that we’re serious about cutting back on oil. Why not cite statistics from 1978 as a percentage of GDP (because GDP hides consumption while per capita shows who uses what).

  34. Yes, free market solutions will be best. The way to accelerate that? Stop subsidizing security for private companies. Whether it’s $100/barrel or $54/barrel is irrelevant, if private companies who produce energy from the Middle East had to provide their own security, they would price it into their product, and it would rapidly make a wide range of alternatives more attractive. I work for one of the largest computer companies in the world. As far as I know, no government provides my company with free security – at least not on the scale the US Military provides energy production and transport companies.

  35. Is it not patently obvious that the price of oil is higher than it would be if the US weren’t a bull in the Mideast china shop?

    Charging military involvement in the Mideast as a subsidy to oil companies or the oil economy is simply wrong.

  36. All righty. I see I made a language goof. Cap-and-trade does subsidize whoever pollutes the least. It’s a tax. It transfers wealth. What do you expect from a tax?

    The point I was trying to make was that it’s not an industry-specific subsidy. When a senator decides to subsidize ethanol or liquid coal or some particular “green” energy source, there’s a lot of scope for rent-seeking & corruption. When you tax carbon (directly or indirectly) the transfer goes to those who produce less CO2.

  37. How about deregulating nuclear power and allowing companies to work on some new reactor designs, especially stuff like fast breeder reactors, which had promise until the American people decided that they didn’t want to come close to understanding the nature of the technology and decided to rely on Ralph Nader over nuclear engineers for information..
    Although a fission reactor probably wouldn’t find a home in your car, or , well, your home, it could be the replacement for a coal or oil power plant.
    Want progress? Make it easier for private organizations to conduct nuclear fusion research.

  38. MikeP:
    If we sat down for coffee, we’d probably more agree than disagree. I completely agree that we need to stop being the bull in the Mideast China shop – and every other China shop. Even the most liberal of presidential candidates says $30/barrel is just “risk” priced into the market – risk resulting from our failed Mideast policies. Maybe “subsidize” is the wrong word. But let’s make sure everyone is paying the true cost of doing business. So from foreign policy/military standpoint, you are right, better policies might equal cheaper oil. Maybe the real cost of producing and moving oil from unstable countries without US military presence around, however, would more than counterbalance that. An interesting discussion . . .

  39. A better approach would be a carbon tax, which would simultaneously promote conservation, curb emissions and give an impartial boost to environmentally friendly alternatives. But selling a carbon tax to the American people would be a tough assignment.

    Wrong, a carbon tax would stifle the development alternative fuels or energy sources. Don’t believe me? Europe has effectively had a carbon tax for decades (to fund their mass transit systems) and they haven’t been developing alternatives have they? Nope, and the reason, that evidently Reason can’t understand, is what government gives in tax incentives it can take away. Carbon taxes and other anti-consumer measures do nothing but artificially inflate prices and those higher prices do not reflect replacement costs. What entrepreneur is going to risk millions (if not billions) to develop alternatives if the government can render the investment valueless with the stroke of a pork-laden pen?

    The only realistic solutions are:
    – allow exploration in all areas of the United States to increase domestic supply
    – expedite construction of new refineries and end all regional boutique fuels
    – expedite construction of nuclear power plants (and before the NIMBYs complain, there’s one 12 miles from me and I’d be happy to have them expand)
    – end all subsidies for alternative fuels / energies (the subsidies merely serve to lock-in current inefficient technology)
    ——> in particular, kill the ethanol boondoggle that is contributing to higher gas prices

    Or, in short, get the government out and let the markets work.

  40. @Francisco Torres: “This country” is a collection of INDIVIDUALS with different needs and wants? The only way people will ‘cut back’ on consuming something that they find convenient for their needs is through frank, direct (and crass) coercion, by political means.”

    I do believe that “direct (and crass) coercion, by political means” is exactly what global “warming” is all about.

    @grumpy realist: “If we had taken the same amount of $$$ we have frittered away on the Iraq war and put it towards R&D?”

    You have a point, to a point. If you’re suggesting that government money be spent on R&D then, I think, you’re wrong. The mapping of the human genome is a good illustration (https://www.reason.com/news/show/123273.html). Private money is more effectively utilized than government money.

    Check this out to see how personal ingenuity and discovery has, perhaps, more potential to change our energy future than government funded research:

    http://www.popsci.com/popsci/flat/bown/2007/innovator_2.html

  41. hmm energy independence. Sounds to me that the only way to really do this would be to have energy sources not dependent on global commodities. So no Coal, Oil, NatGas, nor Nuke fuels. Even Photovoltaic power is still too dependent on silicon to escape scrutiny, but it is much bettah since it lasts and can be recycled. Wind, wave, geothermal have similar problems to PV in that the metals involved are subject ot international market prices. Reworking the grid to be smarter and more distributed, also is subject international metals markets. Of those the better that can be done are the fuelless recyclable options, of those the best that can be done are the ones which also minimze fresh water use. NUke Power uses 20% more water per Watt than Coal. PV, Wind, and wave power seem to be the best sources of resource minimizing energy. Solar thermal has a big role when used as home water heaters as the same water was going tobe used anyway; Solar thermal as a grid source is promising, but still uses much water But to that end the best way is to simply learn to waste less energy. It makes the choices easier, as one’s wealth quotient is less dependent on energy.

    I am discussing homes and non-mobile energy sources as homes and buildings are responsible for most of our long term energy usage. Once built a structure lasts decades before it is replaced, whereas an auto is replaced often within a decade. The relative lack of turnover for buildings means their longterm impact is a more important thing to scrutinize if one wants to seriously discuss energy independence. England has, by fiat, declared that all new buildings be carbon neutral by 2015; which likely also means that the remodel market will become more oriented to making older homes also more carbon neutral. Getting the much larger U.S. market to go down a similar road without the use of fiat is much much harder.

    My continued libertarian suggestion is for the U.S. government and all it’s activities to go carbon-neutral by a similar date, and to set standards for state and local governments, as well as consumers to do so if they so choose. This would be paid for by halting all corporate welfare, particularly in the fossil fuel industry and the agricultural industries. By ‘Carbon-neutral’ the government first seeks to minimize it’s carbon output, and by extension internationally subject fossil fuel prices, and then purchase certified carbon credits for the output it cannot eliminate. These credits function as an indirect NGO directed, non-pork-barrel subsidy for carbon-fee alternative energy market. Meaning no need for a dedicated big-govt subsidy system. Once the government is fully Carbon free there is no longer and subsidy, nor any need.

    Since fossil fuel will still be cheap for a while, much manufacturing will be shifted overseas. Meaning we would still be indirectly dependent on fossil energy. To prevent this, a Carbon-Tariff on all imports not-otherwise certified to be Carbon Neutral would be implemented. That Tariff would go to purchase enough certified carbon-credits to make the import carbon neutral. Once all imports are carbon neutral anyway, the tariff goes away. That’s probably enough government activity on the subject. After that it’s all about personal repsonsibility.

    These don’t really change the current tax/funding structure, whcihwont happen anyway until gerrymandering goes away. These may also introduce economic shocks if implemented in full immediately; so introducing them in 5% increments each year for 20 years (or more if going cabon-negative is desirable) would minimize the shock while making it’s changes predictable, and we could start earlier than the outside-the-election-cycle-time of 2015.

    Realistic biofuels would benefit from eliminating the tinkering of the Farm Bill. More realistically we will need safe walkable-bikeable communities, hybrid electric (biodisel?) busses, & trains

    Biodiesel itself through Palm Oil is already an international commodity and does not really liberate us from such. And it has envirnmental problems of its own.

    Given a Global Electrical Grid, even electricity for all those flying electric cars of the future becomes a commodity. http://www.terrawatts.com/

    While we would benefit I think by freeing ourselves from international fossil commodity fuels, ultimately, we are going to either have a global energy market anyway, or civilization will stagnate and die.

  42. Couldn’t agree more.
    I also think, if we’re trying to keep it “all about personal responsibility,” then it might be a good idea if cars, appliances, buildings, and so on, disclosed their energy efficiency and carbon emissions according to a uniform set of standards.

    I’d be willing to guess a lot of people would make the “greener” (and, often, cheaper) spending choice if they had a basis for comparison.

  43. WOW how easy ideas get out of control. And double WOW if people actually read each other’s blogs they’d notice that most agree with each on principle just not on the details. Wonder why nothing get’s done. No one is willing to compromise and just go with someone elses idea for a while. May it fail, may it waste money, but there is no trying.

    Like some said, we don’t have to have it perfect. Can we try something else though? Obviously what we are doing is not working.

    And to begin we do need to start separating energy dependency and the environment. Yes at many levels they go hand in hand. But why do solutions for both have to intricately be tied to each other. If we come up with two separate solutions for each they have to meet somewhere down the road to a comprehensive policy.

    I equate fear for trying a not so perfect solution to fear of marriage (this only works w/o the religious stuff.) WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL, give it a shot. You may be out some money in the end but stop being such a pissant and take a damn shot.

  44. Peak oil-not. New discoveries in Williston Basin North Dakota with 300 to 600 billion barrels in the Bakken and Red River formations.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.