Friday, November 25, 2005

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due, However Painful

It seems I spoke too soon and before doing my proper research when I said that none of our leaders are speaking out about Peak Oil. On October 17th 2005, seven Republican members of the House, led by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), brought the issue to the House floor. I’m just happy that I realized my mistake on my own rather that having it pointed out to me by one of my Bush loving stalkers, admitting a mistake is one thing but being forced to concede any point to a right-wing nut-job is an indignity I hope to forever avoid.

Following the lead of these forward thinking Republican Congressman, The Peak Oil Caucus was formed and a bi-partisan resolution was filed in the House on October 24th which reads in part, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the 'Man on the Moon' project to address the inevitable challenges of 'Peak Oil.'”

I must give credit where credit is due and Congressman Bartlett deserves some kudos for bringing the issue to the floor of the People’s House where it belongs. Yes, it should have been done long ago, but at least with Republicans bringing it up, our GOP controlled House may actually listen. The Democrats who signed on after the path was cleared, no doubt tell themselves this is precisely the reason they weren’t the ones leading the way. There may be some truth in that, but it certainly shouldn’t elevate them any in our esteem.

Now I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t find some fault with Republicans “doing good”, so here is the other side of the story. In a speech to the House in April of this year, Rep. Bartlett talked a bit about conservation and clean energy sources such as solar and wind, but he clearly favored exploring the nuclear and agricultural options most. The nuclear option, well let’s just say there are many unresolved problems surrounding nuclear energy production. Bartlett also stresses the importance of investing in agricultural solutions including soy diesel, methanol and ethanol. Although this is certainly a step in the right direction, growing our way out of an energy crisis may not be feasible considering how much energy is required for our current form of farming which is still oil based (oil to get the water to the crops and petroleum based pesticides). In an effort to reduce the cost of growing fuel, bio-diesel farmers would likely opt for the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) route, and we simply do not yet know the full implications of this technology. Genetically modifying organisms in pursuit of fuel is certainly less frightening than when done with the food we eat, but one will most likely affect the other and the effects on the delicate balance of nature, of which humans are a part, are not fully known.

It is a complicated problem and will no doubt require great minds and great investment in new technologies to solve. At a time when there is so much rancor in Washington DC, I applaud Republicans who are willing to break ranks with their party and move away from violence as a solution to our energy needs and toward self reliant and self sustaining energy sources. As with most things, there are many different ways to go about finding a solution and Democrats better get in on the conversation before Republicans define the course of action. A philosophical chasm exists between a conservative and liberal approach to this crisis.

Republicans tend to favor solutions that will make money for those at the top regardless of the environmental impact and Democrats tend to favor more eco-friendly solutions that will not consolidate the power of controlling energy in a few hands. The Dems are late to the game and they have some ground to make up. There should be a focus on reducing our energy consumption, diversifying our sources of energy and incentives for individuals to provide for their own personal energy needs rather than focusing solely on a huge system of harnessing energy and delivering it to individuals that is centrally controlled.

Because the reality of Peak Oil is still not yet a mainstream topic, there is time for liberals to change to focus of the debate. Getting off of the war train is the first step, but Democrats need to simultaneously be honing a message of energy independence and a broad based solution that takes into consideration our long-term goals. A multi faceted approach to energy production carries with it huge benefits to our political and economic stability. I agree with Rep. Bartlett, the same level of money and commitment must be made to energy independence as was made to the “Man on the Moon” project, but how that money gets spent will make all the difference. The topic has been raised, now the debate must begin and our Democratic leaders need to fight to win. Whether we, the people, prosper from our national effort depends on how any new system is structured. Republicans will fight tooth and nail for a top down solution, leaving the power in the hands of big business and liberals must counter this with a vision of true independence; independence from foreign oil and freedom from reliance on energy companies who have exploited and ripped us off for years. If the Democrats can’t sell that to the American people, they may as well pack up and head home now.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

(from Macbeth: V.v)
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
- William Shakespeare

The fact is, this current government and all the governing bodies for that matter, have been "idiots" and their "struts and frets in their hour on stage" have been nothing more than "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

Can we actually find a substitute for OIL? And, is this really the answer?

The truth is, globally, we do not need a substitute for oil, we need a wake-up call - to what we, the Homo-sapients of planet Earth, are going to do, with the IDEA of a world without it - because this is what it is, for now.

Unfortunately, the discovery of petroleum led us into the 'modern civilization', we call ourselves, in today's world.

When I think of a civilization, that I admire, I think of Athens, Greece during the high civilization. Democracy it was called and it was practiced for the good of the public, not JUST the super rich.

First, we discard the "Trickle Down Theory of Reaganomics," "Supply-sided economics."

Back to basics.

Next, we must figure out how to make our governments, local, city, state, federal, pay us subsidies, for energy self-reliance.

And, taxes on the people who are practicing "NEGATIVE EXTREMISM".

I can already hear the private jet airplane owners, screaming about being average, again.

The Father of Modern Economics had his theories corrupted (surprise, surprise, surprise) and Greenspan injected his own theories, based on his mentor, Ayn Rand.

Until the tap root of this problem is dealt with, we're doomed, as a nation primarily composed as a mass of idiots.

The average American citizen does not understand our economics and does not want to.

Understandably, it is about as exciting and stimulating to read, and understand, as the US Tax Codes.

"Keynes's Tract on Monetary Reform - developed many years later, after his studies with ALFRED MARSHALL and ARTHUR PIGOU (whose scholarship on the quantity theory of money, while at King’s College, clearly influenced him). Keynes left Cambridge and went to Britain where he worked with the civil service.

ARTHUR C. PIGOU, was a British economist. His book, The Economics of Welfare, developed Alfred Marshall’s concept of EXTERNALATIES.

A simple way to understand this concept is to look at the action of POLLUTION, and EDUCATION. Pigou argued that the existence of externalities was sufficient justification for government intervention. For example, if someone was creating a negative externality, such as pollution, Pigou advocated a tax to DISCOURAGE the activity because too much of the activity was being engaged in, thus generating the negative externality. However, to ENCOURAGE the activity, education, for example, Pigou advocated a subsidy.

These are called Pigovian taxes and subsidies.

Pigou's analysis was accepted until 1960. At this time, Ronald Coase’s theorem changed the economic landscape.

RONALD COASE, whose theorem earned him the 1991 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences, stated that interested parties would bargain PRIVATELY to correct any EXTERNALITY . . .”

Does the word "privatization" ring any bells, folks?

In order to ford the river of our future, we must all become somewhat literate in economics and how the current policies are killing US, and the entire planet with our 5% of the population and 25% of the abuse of the Earth's resources, and allowing the negative externalities to continue, that are anything BUT energy self-reliant, at this point in time.

Its all about the money.

9:36 AM  

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