Our energy crisis in a nutshell

News & Politics

Maybe it's that oil is at the $75 mark that has folks whittlin' down the principle problem facing our energy grid and consumption habits to its barest, clearest points. Credit to David Moberg at In These Times for this lucid one paragraph summary of our looming massive energy predicament:

The United States needs to reduce, even eliminate, the need for all oil as a fuel, not just foreign oil. As long as the U.S. economy depends on oil, it will be subject to the prices set by a world market vulnerable to disruptions. Since the ’70s, the United States has proclaimed a goal of energy independence. Implicitly this addresses the Middle East, even though the country gets only 10 percent of its oil from the region. But politicians pay less attention to becoming independent of big energy companies and vulnerable, centralized technologies, from oil pipelines to nuclear power plants.
There you have it. I'm also a fan of James Howard Kunstler's summation of the narrow scope of political imagination on this issue:
The right wing thinks we can still drill our way out of this, if only the nature freaks would allow them to. The "green" folks thinks that we can devote crops to the production of gasoline substitutes, even though a scarcity of fossil fuel-based fertilizers will sharply cut crop yields for human food. Nobody, it seems, can imagine an American life not centered on cars. ... Can we bust out of this narrow tunnel of fantasy? Can we imagine living differently?
Kunstler often speaks of the need to make other arrangements. Check out the Post Carbon Institute -- that's an outfit that's thinking way out of the box.

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