Posted: 06/03/08 05:12, Edited: 06/03/08 05:19
by Dave Mindeman
I sometimes wonder if this country is simply incapable of overcoming its basic weakness -- inept energy policies.
President Bush, the one who stated that this country is "addicted to oil", opposes the climate bill. And he states that it is because of economic considerations.
I'm not sure anyone in Congress really understands this, but if you are going to address climate issues in any kind of effective manner it is going to affect the economy....but it doesn't necessarily have to be in a negative way. We have to think differently.
Let's look at this directly.
Car manufacturers are poised to lose billions of dollars this year. Why? Because they still have their lots full of SUV's. The resale value of an SUV has plummetted by over 50%. There are long waits for hybrid vehicles. One has to ask.... why can't the car manufacturers read the marketplace?
President Bush used this tidbit as a reason for opposition to the climate bill: Gasoline prices -- already at record highs in the United States-- could soar by as much as 53 cents a gallon by 2030.
Actually, if gasoline prices only went up 53 cents
over the next 22 years, I personally would be astounded. If we could make a fair trade of a 53 cent gas hike for a 66 per cent reduction in global emissions, we should snap it up....now.
But we know the reality is that without an overhaul of our energy policies, gas prices will go much higher than that over the next two decades.
We need to look at the hard truth.
For all the bluster about drilling in ANWR or offshore, the increase in production will have minimal effect on gas prices
. As noted:A Dept of Energy Report requested in December by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, found that oil production in the refuge "is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices."
Another point.... Although the current surge in oil prices make the move to off-shore drilling attractive right now, the costs of off-shore rigs is also escalating
. The daily rate that operators pay to rent a high-end, deep-water drilling rig is now $500,000 to $550,000. That?s up from a day rate of $450,000 to $500,000 a year ago-and more than double the price per day on the spot market just three years ago....Is an era of $700,000 day rates lurking just under the surface?
If oil prices dropped temporarily for one reason or another, would the oil industry simply abandon the expensive (as well as environmentally risky) offshore production?
Ethanol production, at least the way we are currently doing it now, is not a solution either. The energy consumption needed to produce ethanol from current sources is too high and the over utilization of prairie and rain forest land to increase ethanol sources is simply not acceptable. It is the same problem, economic interests trump environmental concerns.
We want to fix our environmental issues without making any sacrifices or altering our lifestyle. That is not possible. Our aging industrial capacity needs a complete overhaul. We need outside the box thinking and stop letting fossil fuel industrial giants buy doubts about scientific truth.
We need to invest heavily in wind power, solar power, and hydrogen cell technologies. Our manufacturing sector needs to lead the world in innovation not cling to misguided notions that more of the old methods are going to help.
We have been getting some indications that we may get a slight reprieve in the trajectory of global warming for the next few years. That is not a time to relax, it is an opportunity to act.
New ideas, new leadership, and new incentives for change are the best hope for the future.