Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I have to net this lovely little butterfly before the winds of truth blow it off to internet oblivion:

"Pederson's plan, as published in the Aug. 7 Republic, says nothing about increasing our supply of oil, focusing only on alternative energy. Unfortunately for Pederson, a Democrat running for the Senate, you can't just force people to stop using oil. It ignores practicality and common sense.

While alternative fuel is an important component of any energy plan, an energy plan without mentioning oil is not much of a plan at all. Kyl's approach, on the other hand, is much more realistic: invest in alternative energy in tandem with increasing oil supplies through domestic oil exploration."

Domestic oil production peaked in 1970. Just as predicted by geophysicist M. King Hubbert back in 1956.

"The United States passed its own oil peak -- about 11 million barrels a day -- in 1970, and since then production has dropped steadily. In 2004 it ran just above 5 million barrels a day (we get a tad more from natural-gas condensates). Yet we consume roughly 20 million barrels a day now. That means we have to import about two-thirds of our oil, and the ratio will continue to worsen." (James Howard Kunstler)

Spot the right-wing propaganda code-words: "increasing oil supplies through domestic oil exploration." I don't know why he doesn't come out and say that he's simply referring to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. It's so obvious. And isn't drilling the preserve a Republican family value?

There just ain't that much oil up there, but our desperation is such that many people insist we have no choice but to pump those preserves. Others say why bother?

"James Kendell, one of the authors of the study, [from the EIA] said the refuge would add to domestic production, but “when you’re talking of a world oil market of over 75 million barrels a day, adding 900,000 barrels by 2025 is a drop in the bucket.”

I could go on, as you well know.

The main concern is that the Kyl plan is no plan at all. Maybe if we used every drop of Alaskan oil; no, that's not enough, make that every drop of all our domestic oil, then maybe we'd be able to tool up for alternative and conservation-based energy strategies.


"Realistic" indeed. Any energy plan that includes "increasing oil supplies through domestic exploration" is no plan at all, but a short-lived fantasy.

The writer is also quite wrong in his assessment that " you can't just force people to stop using oil. It ignores practicality and common sense." Of course you can, when you run out of it, or when it simply becomes significantly more expensive. Nonetheless people will persist in dreaming that the present way of easy motoring will go on and on.

The writer of that letter is a dreamer. Peak oil, however, makes insomniacs of some of us others.

"I said "Far out, - What a day, a year, a laugh it is!"
You know, - Well you know you had it comin' to you,
Now there's not a lot I can do..."


Eli Blake said...

You don't have to force anyone to change their habits to conserve oil. Every other automobile producing nation in the world has much higher fuel efficiency standards than Americans.

And a few years ago, American auto manufacturers together with the oil industry, killed a Senate bill aimed at increasing fuel standards by a measly two mpg. They claimed it would hinder 'consumer choice.' Yeah, right. Show me one single driver anywhere in America who would not have purchased the vehicle they have now if they were told that the fuel mileage was two miles per gallon better than the sticker said. "Consumer choice" my butt.

Eli Blake said...

And while you are at it, don't forget that we HAD a comprehensive plan in the late 1970's (the Carter energy plan) that included higher fuel efficiency, alternative fuel and energy source research and funding, as well as new drilling (the original Alaska pipeline) that if it had been followed would have made us energy independent by the end of the last century.

But then Ronald Reagan gutted it, and threw out every piece of it except the Alaska pipeline, and so here we arrive today with our young people dying in the middle east fighting a war which isn't supposed to be about oil (but it is), while we all pay $3 a gallon for gas in the new pricing structure.