Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil (Part II)

Why a part II? (And, soon, a part III?)

First, it must be noted that when it comes to giving authoritarian regimes undue leverage and financing dictators -- and possibly some terrorists as well -- there's widespread agreement that these consequences of foreign oil dependence are bad. The concern over them differs in intensity and semantics, but the general idea holds.

Crystallizing the themes in the comments here, the opinions in the blogs and the ideas of columnists reveals a more fundamental battle: those who want us to conserve and find alternatives to oil vs. those who think we simply need to drill for more.

The London-based World Energy Council labels the two sides in the debate over oil resources the pessimists and the optimists.

In fact, both could probably be described as realists -- they just happen to rely on radically different estimates of how much oil the Earth has left to give.

The WEC describes the pessimists as being completely closed-minded about the possibility of big new oil discoveries. A more charitable description might be that they believe the well will eventually run dry and we all need to be ready. Of course, some think this will happen much sooner than others.

The optimists, on the other hand, are those who say there's always more oil -- we've just got to drill deeper. New technologies do indeed allow deeper drilling than ever before, and advances have also made it far more practical to extract oil from sand. (The latter has created quite a boom in the Canadian province of Alberta -- which, incidentally, only serves to make the system of representation in Canada's upper house even more disproportionate. But I digress.)

The most optimistic of the optimists say that natural resources are infinite. They offer new theories that oil is constantly being created under the earth's surface. One such theory: Subterranean bacteria are busily manufacturing oil all day, every day. At least one commentator (who might be described as conspiracy theory-inclined) suggests the reason no one knows about this is that the energy producers do not want us to know "the energy shortage is contrived."

Scientists respond: Fat chance.

Debaters, who wins this one?

By Emily Messner |  April 28, 2006; 2:26 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
Previous: Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil (Part I) | Next: Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil (Part III)

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The supply side fanatics are idiots. Of course certain resources are limited and finite.

Their mantra that all things exist in unlimited supply and we will never run out because "exciting new technology will always find more" is as stupid in practice as scientifically illiterate political activists in the "environmental cause" forces than say "magic new exciting alternative energy sources are "just around the corner".

We do indeed play out fisheries. Some never recover if we take too much. All the confident "high tech is the answer" people that were going to fix 3rd world water problems in the Sahel, Sudan, China, Bangladesh come back and say "whoops, too many fast breeding people...too little water!" The reason America is no longer the world's top silver producer is that the Comstock and other deposits are exhausted.

That said, it is nuts to say that we shouldn't try to produce more energy from limited reserves...or make the fatuous argument that refusal to do so can be rationalized by logic such as this:

(1)This supply or that supply will run out in 50 years, so we can't consider it - even if it is economically viable.
(2) We've blocked using this or that supply for 30 years, and if we try to use it now it will take too long - 5-10 more years to become useful.
(3) All sources of oil must be rejected because they don't solve all our energy needs - in toto by themselves - and will run out. But meanwhile, every little miniscule bit of "exciting alternative energy sources" helps out and must be done via crash gov't programs.
(4) It is unacceptable to use 1000 "pristine" acres of Alaskan marshland in ANWAR in a rigorously environmentally responsible way under full US regulations. But it is brilliant to cut down 1000 square miles of Amazonian rain forest with little or no environmental safeguards to plant in sugarcane monoculture so the equivalent in ethanol, beautiful glorious ethanol, can issue forth.
(5) Windmills that kill songbirds by the thousands are beautiful things, but anything that might vex the wonderful Caribou, the most common large land species from Siberia to Canada, or thwart people killing them for dogfood - is abhorrent. Particularly when those Indians may find jobs and stop killing Caribou in such masses that herds quintuple in size after hunting pressure lessens - as happened when Indians at Prudeau Bay found thousands of jobs..
(6) It makes sense to ban exploration and development off the Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast, Half of the Gulf yet to be explored for oil, in Alaska, and in "sensitive Federal lands out West"...and to ban nuclear plants and natural gas drilling and LNG importing for good measure. And to say coal is evil..Because...Because..If ONLY PEOPLE WOULD STOP DRIVING THE INFERNAL CARRIAGES OF SATAN...the SUVs...everything would be OK..
(7) The same Lefties that oppose Americans driving SUVs for environmental reasons have no objection to half the 3rd World coming to America "as their human right" and driving used SUVs or 15MPG pickup trucks.
(8) While nuclear is renewable now and will produce more fissile matter than it burns of two abundant elements in the earths crust, practically inexhaustable, with no CO2...it is ideologically a Bad Renewable, CO2-free, inexhaustible resource - according to the 1970s relics still in control of environmental activism. And fusion might be "bad" too, because it makes things radioactive from the neutrons it generates.

In a time of war and rising global chaos, where energy supplies may be unstable for decades in the ME, Caspian Sea Area, Africa, even Latin America...it is absolutely necessary to have BOTH conservation and production of LARGE, COMMERCIALLY VIABLE, RELIABLE energy sources.

Meaning the idiots in supply-side, Jesus wants me to drive SUVs as an expression of my freedom because "high tech" will always find cheap oil for my tank....and the idiots of the environmentalist activist cause groups, which have blocked supply for 35 years for their scientifically clueless "pie in the sky" alternates - need to be quashed, brutally, by the American people so pragmatic, clear thought and a National Strategy bringing us to success in affordable, stable energy can happen.

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 28, 2006 04:34 PM

If intelligence was sh*t, Chris, you would die from the effort of straining.

Posted by: | April 28, 2006 04:53 PM

Oil is bad to all living things. Therefore, we should use less of it until we don't have to use it at all.

IMHO it is important to dream the right dreams because strangelydreams do and can come true.

Once upon a time no could fly, but we dreamed.

Posted by: Richard Katz | April 28, 2006 05:56 PM

Hey if we drill "deep" enough we'll reach the earth core where all that lava stuff comes from... Girl there must be trillions and trillions of quads down there!

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fordoloid | April 28, 2006 06:15 PM

I'm for new nuclear plants to be built... around where Mr. Chris Ford's farm is. And nukular waste storage faciliies there too. Dozens of 'em.

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fordoloid | April 28, 2006 06:22 PM

Song birds are important unless they bring the flu. Then we must build more windmills all along our borders and coastlines and catch two birds with one ...

Gravitational energy from the daily tides. Now that's inexhaustible hydroenergy!

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fordoloid | April 28, 2006 06:30 PM

Chris Ford said: "In a time of war and rising global chaos, where energy supplies may be unstable for decades in the ME, Caspian Sea Area, Africa, even Latin America...it is absolutely necessary to have BOTH conservation and production of LARGE, COMMERCIALLY VIABLE, RELIABLE energy sources"

Amen, brother!

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | April 28, 2006 06:32 PM

The US uses a lot of the oil output of the world.

7,191 million barrels in 2002 compared with 1,935 million barrels for China.

That's a lot of per capital oil consumption by US Citizens. What do we use it all for?

2/3's goes to make fuel for cars, trucks and planes. We use the other 1/3 to make plastics and synthetic materials.

Ergo, we can save a bundle by making our transportation system more fuel efficient.

We get 17% of our oil from Saudi Arabia, 16% from our friends the Mexicans, 16% from our Canadian neighbors and 13% from venezuela (in 2002).

Who as the vast majority of the oil reserves? The mid eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq. 261,000 million barrels -Saudi Arab compared to say 77,800 for Venezuela, 15674 for Mexico, 4,500 for Canada. Russia has total reserve estimated at 60,000 million barrels by comparison.

Canada though as a bunch of tar sand that can be processed into oil if we would just invest the money to create the facilities to do this. Total value: 174,000 million barrels of oil. I always did like the Canadians, but back to the point.

2/3's of our oil imports are spent on vehicle fuel. WOW!

For political as well as environmental and cost issues we could easily find ways make our transportation system more fuel efficient per mile travels.

Source:
National Geographic "The End of Cheap Oil"
June 2004 Issue

Posted by: Richard Katz | April 28, 2006 08:05 PM

Mr Katz,

A reminder of the Cold Hard Numbers - We use 107 Quads. 40 of those Quads are Oil. 16 of those Quads are private vehicle transportation (not 2/3rds of our imports).

My amigo Presidente Hugo Chavez wants oil to be benchmarked at 50 a barrel by his fellow OPEC members.

I think that Fidel, Jr, has a great idea...better if it was 43-45 which our true friends in KSA, Kuwait might push and get..Because on top of the Albertan Tar sands, that would open up Venezuela's heavy bituminous crude reserves for use (reserves bigger than KSA's) and might mean America's own vast oil shale deposits and coal to - synthfuel is feasible.

That would of course, in America, until they are destroyed as a political force, be subject to BANANAS enviroweenies "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything SoHelpUsGod!".

Who of course have successfully blocked all nukes, all new LNG import sites, all new Coastal drilling, all new western and Alaskan exploration - and put the Great Lakes, East and West Coasts, Parklands, and Half the Gulf Coast off limits to even exploration.

(Meanwhile, the Chinese and Canadians are happily drilling away in the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, off the Pacific and Atlantic and off Florida in waters controlled by Cuba and the Bahamas. Finding new oil and natural gas sources..)

Later in this thread, I think I'll post a reality check on wind power. The only thing worth doing on hippies dreams of golden rays growing hemp and fueling their "solar-powered vehicles and cities" is snickering about their foolery. The idea of rain forest destruction for "wonderful Brazilian ethanol" and feeding Agribiz Fatcats in the US tax dollars to make a product 3X as expensive as gas is a stupidity even the scientifically and economically ignorant Lefties may come to appreciate...

But the collective cultural stupidity of pushing the "exciting alternate energy" of windpower as a solution to America's colossal needs is somthing that even suckers average Americans into believing it can be a huge thing....So later in this thread, a windpower reality check....

(Sweden just gave up the ghost...after 25 years of environmental fanatics saying ban all nuclear power, Sweden just went over 50% of it's electric coming from nuke because their plants run so well despite no new nukes in 20 years. Noting Finland is building new nukes, their Ministries have said "wind will never be a true largescale source" and are now back on track for planning for nukes again)

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 28, 2006 09:24 PM

Among the largest windmills now in operation in the US are 750-kilowatt (kW) models (e.g., the Zond Z-750). In theory, a 750-kilowatt windmill could produce 6,570,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in a year -- but only if wind conditions were always adequate (strong enough but not too strong) to run the windmill at its full rated capacity. In fact, wind conditions vary widely during each day, seasonally and depending upon weather conditions in the area.2 However, at best, windmills are expected to have "capacity factors" (i.e., percentage of theoretical output actually produced) in the range of 25% to 30%. For purposes of this analysis, the midpoint of 27.5% capacity factor will be used.3 Based on this generous assumption, one of the 750 kW windmills could be expected to produce 1,806,750 kWh of electricity each year.

Estimating the number of windmills that would be required to meet DOE's objective of 5% of total US electricity production in 2020 merely requires dividing the electricity output goal by the output assumed for the single 750 kW model windmill used in this illustration. Specifically:

239,100,000,000 kWh ÷ 1,806,750 kWh = 132,337 windmills.

The independent Federal Oversight government agency EIA says realistically, wind will only provide 1/4 of 1% of America's elecricity by 2020.

"EIA expects that wind will provide 12.09 billion kWh of electricity in 2020 (12,090,000,000 kWh), or .25% of the US total of 4,782 billion kWh. This estimate takes into account the fact that some states have established minimum shares of electricity sales that must be provided from "renewable" sources. As indicated earlier, DOE's announced objective is that wind should provide 5% of US electric generation or 239.1 billion kWh in the year 2020. Thus, DOE's objective for 2020 is nearly 20 times the amount of electricity that the independent EIA expects in its latest "Reference" case forecast for 2020."

The tax credit going with windmills is a reason the very wealthy are interested in windfarm schemes:

"a single 750 kW windmill entering service in 1998 and operating at a 27.5% annual average capacity factor over 10 years would produce about 18,067,500 kWh of electricity and earn a tax credit of $307,148."

Its so sweet for a multimillionaire. Invest a million in one, have laws that force utilities to buy windpower at 4-5X the cost of conventional power. Construction by an interest-free loan from taxpayers. A ten-year depreciation schedule. And that sweet 33% tax credit on initial investment paid for by Lesser Americans so a multimillionaire taxed at 20% can get a 33% credit...Oh, that's nice.

Of course windpower pork does not build the extra capacity that is needed whenever the wind isn't blowing much. particularly in high winter and summer's dog days. A chart showing what windmills are equivalent to also conveniently shows what must be built to ensure reliable capacity when the wind isn't blowing..at a construction factor of 40% of whatever windmill capacity is installed:

Table 2. Replacement Capacity of Windmills7

Generating Unit
Actual 1997output (kWh)7
Number of 750 kW windmills required to provide equivalent amount of electricity

Existing Generating Units

Seabrook (NH) 1120 MW, 1-unit nuclear plant
7,979,448,000
4,416

Brayton Point (MA) 1533 MW, 4-unit plant using coal,oil, & gas
8,936,579,000
4,946

Four Corners (NM) 2040 MW, 5-unit plant using coal (+ some gas)
13,660,969,000
7,562

Alamitos (CA) 1950 MW, 6-unit plant using gas (+some oil)
4,257,579,000
2,356

Prarie Island (MN) 1064-MW, 2-unit nuclear plant
7,162,427,000
3,964

Louisa (IA) 644 MW unit using coal (+ some gas & oil)
3,828,424,000
2,119

South Texas (TX) 2502 MW, 2- unit nuclear plant
19,821,525,000
10,971

Snake River (WA) Hydro Plants

Ice Harbor
Little Goose
Lower Granite
Lower Monumental
Total


2,918,442,000
3,966,529,000
4,022,615,000
4,023,082,000

14,930,668,000


1,615
2,195
2,226
2,227

8,263

Typical Planned Gas-Fired Generating Units

500 MW Gas-fired combined-cycle unit operating @ 65% capacity
6,738,461,500
3,730

250 MW Gas-fired combined-cycle unit operating @ 65% capacity
3,369,230,700
1,865

100 MW Gas-fired turbine peaking unit operating @ 10% capacity
87,600,000
48

http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=562&org_name=NTUF

factors which do not cover windpowers avian kill factor, construction of maintenance roads in areas covered, sprawl, aesthetics.

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 28, 2006 09:53 PM

We need to build more windmills in the US. One per family. Better yet one per person. With global warming heating up the atmosphere generating stronger winds all over the globe windmills are the perfect answer to our energy need.

Thermo dynamicists the world over concur!

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fordoloid | April 28, 2006 11:59 PM

Richard Katz

Don't let Chris Ford blow you smoke with his quads. Less than 3% of the power used in the power grid (to light the lights and heat our homes) comes from oil. In the US we use oil almost exclusively for transportation.

A barrel of oil would produce about 5.8X10 to the sixth power (5,800,000) BTU if burned. The US uses about 22 million (22 X10 to the sixth power) barrels of oil per day, or about 1.2 "Quads" (quadrillion BTU's). 40% of that is for passenger cars. We import about 60% of the 1.2 quads of oil we use. In January 2006 we imported from (in millions of barrels per day): Canada 1.8, Mexico 1.7, Saudi Arabia 1.3, Nigeria 1.1, Venezuela 1.2, Iraq .5, Kuwait .7 plus relatively trace amounts from UAE, etc.

So, we use 40% of 1.2 Quads, (or 0.48 Quads) of oil for passenger cars. We import about 60% of that, or .288 Quads. We import about 2.5 million barrels of oil a day from the Persian Gulf, or the equivalent of about 0.15-.17 Quads, depending on how you run the numbers.

That is, to be free of Persian Gulf oil we would need to decrease our oil use by about .15-.17 Quads, not much more than 10% of our oil use.

To be free of all imports is a much bigger goal, we would need to cut oil use by 60% of 1.2 Quads.

If we had the ingenuity of the Japanese to develop decent hybrids and a president who wasn't in bed with the oil industry things might be very different without really ruining our economy or way of life.

By the way, where do you think the hydrogen in hydrogen fuel cells comes from? They tell you water but that is way too expensive. It comes from hydrocarbons. OIL. Our president has managed to tout a new technology that uses huge amounts of power to make the cells and petroleum to get the hydrogen. What a great guy he is.

Posted by: Greenie | April 29, 2006 04:03 AM

Lies, half truths, and omissions. Hydrogen can also be produced by nuclear plants. Zero emissions during creation, using fuels cells for transport and/or pipelines, zero emissions for transport, byproduct of hydrogen use in vehicles is, you guessed it, zero emissions. After reprocessing, the extremely small amounts of nuke waste left over, long after we're all dead from old age, can be rocketed into our own sun, or if the greens can think of an end of life as we know it scenario against this, we can rocket the waste into another galaxy. Win, win, win for the environment, for the Earth, and for the infestation known as humans.

btw, as for the ingenuity of Japanese on hybrids, if the worldwide car manufacturers including the Japanese couldn't sell cars and make a profit, with the public preferring SUVs and the profits of SUVs subsidizing sales of compact and sub-compact jokes that not even hollywood greens and limousine liberals would be caught dead in unless heading to an EarthFirst rally, not to mention the very large tax credits subsidizing the hybrids, how very different would things be? Maybe that btu tax that Algore pushed would've saved the earth, right? How much would we be paying for gas, heating oil, natural gas (what else?) right now with that btu tax in place?

Posted by: Reality Check | April 29, 2006 05:37 AM

Greenie -

Once again your math is all wrong. The US used 107 Quads in 2004. 40 of which were oil. 16 of which, of the 40 Oil Quads used, were for private transportation.

Your "only 1.2 Quads" for private transportation, is a rectal pluck. Which makes all the numbers you derive from that nonsensical.

Take the time to understand the actual numbers. It will take you all of 30 minutes to an hour to do that.

And do try and take the time to understand oil is a global commodity. If a huge discovery is made in Russia, the price of every barrel in the world lowers the next day. If we attack Iran, the price of every barrel - be it in Texas or Brunei or Russia - goes up massively the next day. Your quote reflects a profound lack of understanding the people who yammer about "banning SUVs" to "drive the Saudis to their knees by making the US the one country not importing from them".

You say: "That is, to be free of Persian Gulf oil we would need to decrease our oil use by about .15-.17 Quads, not much more than 10% of our oil use" not only uses nonsensical numbers, but fails to understand the reality of cutting off Gulf oil that is 40% of the world total. The reality is most oil Asia uses is Gulf oil, along with Brunei and Indonesian sources and a little from Alaska that Hawaii can't absorb on X=Pacific tanker traffic. Europe gets 1/3rd of it's oil from the Gulf.

So, even if we achieve "energy independence" from the bad, bad Muslims...such energy independence is meaningless if other advanced nations still use every drop the Gulf pumps and we still import 60% of our oil....

Because, if Oil from the Gulf is cutoff, all the Canadian and Venezuelan and North Sea and Nigerian and Russian oil we buy goes up to 150-200 dollars a barrel as all the advanced nations bid up the price of oil outside the Gulf in a crisis.

For that matter, due to 9/16ths of the world's natural gas also being in Gulf Region too, that too would rise explosively if the Gulf was shut off and if we were "independent of ME gas" that would also be meaningless as we would be hammered with massive price hikes and shortages of nat gas as well.

The only oil we can really count on is the 30% we still make domestically. In the last Oil Embargo we made 70% of the oil on American land. But since 1973, the environmentalists banned most exploration for new oil and gas sources in America.

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 29, 2006 06:56 AM

You're making this way too complicated. Our goal as a nation should be 100% energy independent. We can do this with currently available technology, but it means giving up SUVs and light trucks, and shipping more goods by train than 18 wheelers.

We produce between 7 and 9 million barrels per day, but consume 20-22 million barrels per day. The goal should be to make our consumption equal to our domestic production.

I'm not in favor of drilling for oil in places like ANWR without first making vehicles more fuel efficient. For the sake of argument let's say ANWR is the mother lode of all time; all that will do is lead us to delay any conservation efforts.

We need to quit kicking the can down the road. Congress needs to mandate a CAFE standard of 50 MPG by 2010. No exceptions with passenger vehicles. New homes need to use geothermal engineering for heating and cooling.

The Honda Civic hybrid gets 48/50 MPG.

The benefits of pursuing this as a national strategy are many. We won't feel compelled to intervene militarily in other countries to ensure access to oil. There will be a significant reduction in the amount of greenhouse gasses. We will conserve a finite product for future generations.

Environmentally smart technologies can produce jobs; it could change the face of American manufacturing as we produce products not just for our consumption but for other nations. Think of India and China's growth; they will want those energy saving products to lower their own costs.

One recommendation I don't have is to give President Bush the authority to raise the CAFE standards. What he did with light trucks and SUVs was a joke.

Congress needs to develop a spine and make energy independence a national priority. They need to do it by conserving first and drilling later.

Posted by: Robert | April 29, 2006 07:59 AM

After reading the linked sites for this debate and some not linked, it's apparent the answer is use less oil. That is if choose to think more than a few years ahead (or elections), since it's a given oil will economically be depleted in 40 to 100 years.

So in todays Washington Post is this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/27/AR2006042702020.html?referrer=email&referrer=email&referrer=email

"Honor Guard of Two People or More Ordered for Marines' Caskets
Friday, April 28, 2006; Page A17


The fallen are not forgotten.

At least two Marines will accompany the caskets of Marines killed in Afghanistan or Iraq when their remains arrive in their home towns, the Marine Corps announced last week. Previously, only one Marine had to be on hand to "render appropriate honors" when a fallen service member was taken home."

It's patriotic to honor our fallen, no problem there. But to send two in place of one to honor a soldier who lost his life in an "Oil War" and cause the consumption of even more oil to transport the Marines, so more can die for oil is not well thought out.

Chris Ford,

If your so concerned about our energy situation, then why do you always vote for and defend conservative republican idiots who are making the energy problem worse? Case in point George Bush.

There's an old saying about Kudzu vines and it goes "there is only one thing worse than kudzu and that the man who planted it". Now "there's olny one thing worse that George Bush and that's the man who voted for him."

Posted by: Fuel for Thought | April 29, 2006 10:28 AM

Emily, I am struck by how this debate seems to be carried on by two specific identifiable groups with mindsets that mutually exclude any solution offered up by the other group.

There isn't going to be any magic bullet solution to this. I have said this until I am blue in the face. The solution to our energy needs is going to require a mix of alternatives that will stick in the craw of both of these groups, respectively. Those on the right are not going to be happy with the level of federal investments that are needed to rebuild our transportation infrastructure from one that panders to the desire of Americans to travel all about the country in these little individual cocoons we call automobiles, to one that recognizes that we have to sacrifice some of that freedom to the need for a mass transit system.

Those on the left are not going to warm to the idea that eventually, some of the areas where we have resisted drilling for new sources of energy, are going to have to be exploited.

Those on the right will continue to sneer at the notion that alternative sources of energy are going to be needed and will chafe at the level of government taxation and spending that will be required to develop the R & D necessary.

Those on the left are going to continue to resist any efforts to develp a safe nuclear alternative to energy production and any efforts to use coal as a substitute for natural gas.

This is the problem we face. Our media is insensitive to such reality grounded debate. They would rather play up the mutually exclusive arguments on both sides because it keeps their ratings up. Example: Politicians from Bush to Congressmen on both the left and right wheeze interminably about the goal of energy independence when the reality is that energy is inextricably tied to a global market. Independence is a pipe dream. Interdependence is the reality. Yet the media plays up this idiotic notion of energy independence as though it were something actually attainable. Why? Because it pits one mutually exclusive group against the other, inflaming conflict, thus ensuring ratings.

Remember what I said about pay me now or pay me later. We have alread missed the train. It left the station when Nixon was in office. When Reagan came along, he told us we could pay later. Well, now is later and we are going to have to pay through the nose.

Posted by: Jaxas | April 29, 2006 10:44 AM

All civilization is based on agriculture, the true energy-dependent Achilles' heel. Indeed, practically all useful forms of stored energy relate back to the sun as its driving source.

In mechanized farming, hatcheries, and livestock ranches, here and abroad, production involves huge inputs of liquid fuels and natural gas to provide the yields, the quality, and the extensive distribution systems we heavily rely on. The same for food packaging, making radical improvements in preserving the product and thus reducing food waste. Decades ago, there was a Scientific American study and report based on examining the contents of landfills in the U.S. versus Mexico. One counter-intuitive finding was that the amount of waste food per capita in Mexico was about three times as great as the U.S., a result of spoilage due to inefficient storage and lack of packaging.

Maintaining the convenience of commuting and leisure transportation seems to be the topmost interest of Americans. The issue of facing a crunch is actually much more serious than that; we need to dig below the surface and our analyses and planning, and look at what we require to eat.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 29, 2006 10:47 AM

Whether we find more oil now or later really doesn't matter; whatever resources we manage to exploit at some point become finite. Yes, we will likely need to make hard decisions about drilling in sensitive areas is worth the risk. More importantly, we need to realize that maintaining the status quo will not work for very much longer.
In previous points of history humankind had the excuse of ignorance. Currently and into the future, we can must relegate lack of knowledge to the rubbish bin; we know oil will run out and that we consume too much to sustain life at its present level. We cannot hope that science will save us, because it has, as much as any other factor, put us in the position we now find ourselves. The sooner we realize our predicament and act to alter it, the more leeway we can allow ourselves for the inevitable errors we will make.
We have already lived through the golden age. Now we have to figure out how to pay for it!

Posted by: DeeK | April 29, 2006 06:56 PM

there are finite amounts of oil available as a resource....


there are other resources that can replace it,

to really have a secure country, we need to be able to mantain our economy and our people....


Energy is a National Security Issue.


and we need to respond to it with a plan, not react to it when we are forced to.

Posted by: I think that's the most important point... | April 29, 2006 07:46 PM

has been given the ability to call for higher levels of fuel efficiency, mpgs, by congress...

he should act on it.


here' some suggestions:


1. establish incentives to improve city infrastructures, safety, livability, mass transport, high (3)passenger traffic lanes.

2. pass federal "aggessive driver laws" like they have in the Washington Metro area, accidents create energy waste.

3. minimize pollution as a habit, link pollution to energy measures and arable land, require that companies give back their $380 million dollar retirement bonuses and apply it to the cleanups as mandated, instead of having taxpayers pay for the cleanups.

4. start looking at packaging and garbage as a single issue, make recommedations for economic, and environmentally sound measures to apply....there are some densely populated cities that are lovely to live in and stroll in...

5. look at Wal-Mart as a destructive entity, see if it's good for national security....think about neighborhoods that have their own hardware, grocery, service centers.....Columbia MD, Reston VA

6. hire city people to work in the cities.

7. require intervention at all grade levels to reeducate and resolicalize marginalized citizens.

8. require colleges in metro areas to have juniors, seniors and graduate students to have field-work as part of the curriculuum...doctors, lawyers, nurses, chemists, accountants, computer people, teachers, coaches, and so on...

this is a form of intervention for both college students and marginalized, so that both segments of the population become familiar with each other...and therefore language, mores and more...

8. have a panel of engineers created for human ecology....the ecology of business and humanity working together to preserve and create business that serves humanity rather than the reverse....education will go a long ways towards resolving our present caste system....we're a _closed_ system....everything we do affects every other part....there's no point in letting the clueless monied run the effing planet into the ground....I don't like living in other peoples piss....and I'm pissed.

10. _require_ telecommuting.


11. encourage economically, the reopening of manufacturing in the cities.

12. talk about and enact a set of laws that require international companies with a small American component to be treated as foreign companies, and look at tarrif rate increases.

13. return customer service jobs to the United States, make them most available to rural, jobless former factory workers.

14. review things on a yearly basis, require non-partisanship, require that the public be educated and encouraged to participate.....as if it were "a war on terrorism" and have the effing media buy into it too....

15. look into the ethics of having a media company that puts out a partisan viewpoint while maitaining that it is non-partisan....and think about public beheadings...

.

Posted by: the president, for want of another more truthful word... | April 29, 2006 08:48 PM

handle independence when they have a scarcity of resources.

two prime examples

1. britain

2. japan

what are their models?

Posted by: look at how other countries | April 29, 2006 08:51 PM

Posted by: Jaxas

"Remember what I said about pay me now or pay me later. We have alread missed the train. It left the station when Nixon was in office. When Reagan came along, he told us we could pay later. Well, now is later and we are going to have to pay through the nose."

The energy crisis first hit with Nixon, but he did nothing about it. Ford did nothing. Carter tried, but to no avail. Most voters vote for what they want to hear, not for reality, especially when reality comes years in the future. It's amazing we have avoided this for over thirty years.

Sales for eight cylinder SUV's are up 25% this year. Until we elect someone, anyone and allow them to take hard steps to try and stabalize our energy shortage we have no chance. Hard economics are going to do it for us. Demand is going to exceed production on oil production this year or next. Look for double-digit inflation and gas shortages to follow.

Iraq was and is a war for oil, this was Cheney's stratagy for dealing with the problem and it's a complete failure. Iraq's oil production is 1/3 less than pre-invasion.

Everything helps, I just don't see the need to suck up every last drop of domestic oil so SUV soccer moms can shuttle Jr. around all day. Many very important products are made from oil other the fuel for transportation. It would be wise to save some reserves for the future, especially those in alaska. The reserves in alaska will only last three months if used for transportation, but for other fundamental uses could last for hundreds of years.

I beleive the Bush administration has known of oil demand exceeding production in 2006 or 2007 and has ignored it hoping to be the last great president. Iraq was a war to carry his administration past the last critical years of his term.

Fuel efficiency needs to be increased now and speed limits reduced again. New cars should have governors to prevent wastful speeding.

Posted by: | April 29, 2006 11:31 PM

for some time now...


friends with the Saudis and UAE and Kuwiati's too....it's family.

theirs not yours...


we're pursuing the oil and control, because it's what they planned, it's botched because they can't actually respond except in writing...


the action is being directed by non-combatants, if they were regular people, not plotters, they would have been fired a few weeks into the campaign...as soon as Bagdhad was taken and Saddam Hussein escaped with 9 BILLION IN CASH, while _completely surrounded_ by ground troops, infiltrated within his own ranks, watched by spy satellites, drone reconaissance, predator pigeons and seeing eye dawgs with cameras on their backs as well as AWACS, the Hubble Telescope, Roomba Discovery SE with back mounted television cameras and 1,300 camels trained in reconnaisance....


yet somehow, the sly dawg, maniac mutterer, and puisilliant putterer, slithered out of the grasp of the sharpest minds in antichrist-endum?.....with Pat Robertson praying for death...

just before the "Mission Accomplished" banner was put up...

ah me, do you think Saddam will make it to the final four on this episode of survior? or will he end up on Miami CSI?

Posted by: the administration has been kneedeep in oil | April 30, 2006 01:04 AM

There are three ways to look at this:

1) We maintain the status quo (i.e., waring our way to the bitter end). This option provides constant supply and drilling everywhere possible to feed and maintain the engine;

2) Institutionalize conservation, force alternatives into the mix, and withdraw from global strategic positioning to maintain oil flow. Obviously this would make lives of those living now progressively harder and only prolong the inevitable a little longer, say 150 years instead of 100.

3) Radically alter our society by taking milestone-type steps to devolve into a pre-modern type of industrialized society. Say goodbye forever to the middle class.

Forget option 3, human nature would prevent us embracing such a concept, although its goal will be the ultimate oucome of all the above scenarios.

Option 1 or 2:

Option 1 would involve multiple overlapping wars, eventual and final breakdown, upheaval of societies, and lots of other ugly things along the way. An offensive position would prevent growing powers from conering the oil supply, but at some time might eventually cause a world war like none can imagine.

Option 2 would cushion the blow over the course of a few generations, but you'd be a fool if you didn't believe every available domestic source would eventually be tapped and exhausted. As we grow weaker, emerging world powers would take what we do not persue. Additionally, our diminishing power and influence, resulting from withdrawal in the ME, could lead to all kinds of vulnerabilities, including invasion by those with access to oil. However, 200-300 years from now, things would not be much different if option 1 were taken, except we might be speaking some form of Chinese-English in the distant future.

It's too depressing to imagine any of the above. I say smoke em if you got em and God have mercy on my soul.

Posted by: | April 30, 2006 02:14 AM

Perhaps a compromise is possible, but first a trip down memory lane is in order. In the 1970's during a former oil crisis, the oil industry lobbied the government and our people about the necessity of drilling the north slope. Every possible argument and opportunity to needle the hypocrasy of the opposition was taken. Permission was granted and oil wells drilled. A funny thing happened on the way to the American consumer however. By the time the North Slope oil began to really flow, the benevolent oil industry behaved like, well, an industry. Due to ecomomies of transportation and the willingness to pay higher than market prices, the majority of the oil was shipped to asia (read that as Japan). But there was good news, the voodoo economic magicians of the Reagan adm. were able to run the sale of the oil against America's pathetic balance of trade deficit and declare that Reaganism was achieving progress!
Here's an idea; if the proponents of new Alaska drilling would agree to a 20 year visibility of oil product allocation and pricing program perhaps they could make the sale. The results would be visible on the internet and posted quarterly. The oil industry would be legally liable (per contract to the American people) for this work and would bear all the costs. Failure to perform this function would result in the size and type of fines levied currently on the securities industry.
The American government would establish a self-regulatory organization similar to the NASD. The organization would be staffed by a greater than 51% of industry outsiders. Their sole source of cash flow would be regulatory fines. These to be levied for anti-competitive practices in the marketplace.
Use these ideas as the foundation for an argument, and drilling rights may be granted. That is, if any members of the American congress could hear the floor discussion. The problem you see, is that if the American oil industry were forced to face regulation like this, the sound of the oil industry's collective rear-end slamming shut would be deafening.

Posted by: Mike M. | April 30, 2006 03:06 AM

All numbers aside, it seems to be a good idea to encourage less comsumption through higher CAFE standards and greater incentives to produce and to buy hybrids. These are good ideas for a variety of reasons:

1) Moving us toward less dependence on foreign sources of oil.

2) Reduction of emmissions that contribute to smog, air pollution, and very likely global warming

3) Providing citizens with more options for vehicles to buy that would save them money as individuals, families, and businesses

4)Reducing demand for oil in the global marketplace

I agree with the person that posted that we should work to reduce our comsumption first before we start drilling on lands that were set up by law as protected national parks or wildlife refuges. I'm not saying that we should never drill there under any circumstances but I just don't think we've reached those circumstances yet. Maybe I'm being insensitive to the plight of millions of Americans, but how much of an immediate crisis are we really in? Eventually demand coming from a prospering China and India may outstrip production or oil reserves may suddenly dry up, but that isn't going to happen overnight. OK, gas is very expensive, but give people a little time and they will make adjustments to save themselves money and allow themselves to get by.

I find myself in agreement with the person who has been saying that a lot of the extreme spike in gas prices has to do with uncertainty and instability in the Middle East and also the concern over more hurricanes coming this summer (e.g. buyers are willing to pay these exorbitant prices for future shipments now because they anticipate the distinct possibility of events that could drive prices up even higher down the road - terrorist attacks, war in Iran, hurricanes).

Long term gas prices are bound to rise due to the increasing economies in Asia and other areas of the world. It is something we will have to deal with so we might as well start dealing with it now.

If we are serious about implementing a steady, methodical, common-sense strategy, we can institute some serious measures to reduce our consumption as a nation at a faster pace than the increased demand that is developing. The sooner we start, the further along we will be when these trends really start to take hold.

Yes we should support increased research in extraction technologies and exploration for new sources, but to my way of thinking we should look first in areas that are not protected before we go into ANWAR.

Overall though, the centerpiece of the strategy should be reducing consumption. I don't really understand why this is perceived as a liberal or left approach to this issue. To my way of thinking it should be the essence of conservative thought. Emphasize conservation of resources and smart management of supplies. Do this by making it as easy as possible for people to make choices that conserve and reward them when they do make those choices.

Posted by: DK | April 30, 2006 03:19 AM

DeeK wrote:
"We cannot hope that science will save us, because it has, as much as any other factor, put us in the position we now find ourselves. [...] We have already lived through the golden age. Now we have to figure out how to pay for it!"

You could have said the same thing of any past age, yet science and technology keeps solving more problems, creating a few that it later solves, and things get better. Gas milage is way up compared to 30 years ago. Automobile safety is so much better that insurance companies raised rates because more people were surviving, and thus needed the cost of treatment, after accidents.

Don't blame science for our problems. When allowed to, science solves many problems. The problem is the profit motive of those in industry and the NEED to maximize profits over the health, safety and benefit to people that is the problem. Political decisions made through the heavy lobbying influence of those in industry is the other problem. The use of leaded gas is a good example. The fight to not regulate seatbelts is another. While science found lead could boost octane, it also found it damaged brain development in children. Seatbelts were developed for decades and use in high speed racing but was not installed by car manufacturers. It was not science that kept lead in gasoline or seatbelts out of cars for decades.

Science has the answers for our oil dependence in many forms. PHEV vehicles or regular hybrids are the obvious first answer. Ethanol, while not THE answer can be part of it. But like seatbelts, these and other technologies that science has provided will not see much support from industry or political leaders. I'm not sure what the answer is other than to say vote for those who put the citizen's interest over those of the narrow interests of lobbiests. That is how we got rid of lead and now have seatbelt requirements. But science is not the enemy. Blaming science is the mindset of the luddite.

Posted by: Sully | April 30, 2006 09:52 AM

It's rarely observed, but one major difference between U.S. oil resources and most international oil resources, is that in the U.S. they are overwhelmingly privately controlled and owned.

In contrast, in Canada as example, all mineral resources by law are owned by the provinces, including oil, potash, gold, etc. They can be leased to private producers but ownership stays with the provincial government. Look to Saudi, Iran, Iraq, Russia, et. al., and one finds a model more like Canada than the U.S. case of unfettered private ownership. To intensify the polarity, in the U.S. there has been a century-long trend to lease public-land energy resources at absurdly low give-away royalty rates, sometimes forgiven. Handing over the U.S. Naval Reserve in California to Occidental Petroleum (while under demoncratic-party governnance, and heavy Al Gore [aka, Occidental trust baby] influence was one of the latest in-our-faces examples.

There's a lesson buried in this. Credentialed historians, blow away the smoke for us; we have the domestic energy structure that the best corporate influence can buy. It didn't need to be this way.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 11:01 AM

It seems that we're easily led from the path of truth. Jaxas and On-the-Plantation are hitting close to the mark in this. We have to remember that all things are connected; here they are connected to "world leaders" and where they intend to lead us "masses" to. (Yeah, I know that's a grammatical no-no.) As a species who has control of at least some aspects of our existence, it behooves us to seek "leadership" that moves in consistent directions to achieve the most successful species-survival strategems.

What would such a strategem comprise? We must approach supplies of hydrocarbons as if they were finite until PROVEN otherwise. We must approach the planet's "carrying capacity" (its ability to support and sustain plant and animal life) as finite until PROVEN otherwise. We must approach human needs and goals as productive when they generate sustaining products and services and minimize wasteful practices, materials, and activities.

Currently, in this country, we do very little business - either public or private - according to these general principles. Some cities and towns, some states to some extent, and no aspect of the federal government exercise management in concert with the approaches I suggest. We can argue here in this and other columns whether one micro-analysis is better or more correct than another, but as long as we cannot agree that waste (war, agribusiness, commuter society, marketing-packaging, to name only a few examples) is detrimental to human-kind's long-term prospects, all argument in futile.

We have been and are becoming moreso our own worst enemy. While storms, earthquakes, volcanos, and meteors from space are great dangers, our own human-made threats pose far greater risk. It is far more likely that our present course of overheating the planet, warring with ever more destructive weapons, and profligate waste of precious resources will sooner end the progress of this civilization than any other reasons. Our founders wisely lay a path for us to collectively voice our ideas and share the responsibility for deciding the way to proceed. We throw it away, begging reflexive devotion to self-acclaimed leaders (see the election in Florida, November 2000) who with choice after choice show clearly that their interest is not the well-being of the general public.

I don't know what you think when you commence to ponder the various topics which Emily Messner has been posting here. I don't know if you wonder: "What will my sons and daughters use for energy in 20 years?" Do you wonder: "If populations continue to grow, people in extended circumstances continue to die of starvation and pestilence, and people and nations vie for 'ownership' of resources and markets, how will my children live?" How far ahead DO you look? Do you imagine that everyone else has what you have? Do you wonder what the daily workday is like for someone who earns $250,000,000 per year? (That's just under a million dolars a day, based on a 5-day work week with 10 holidays, by the way.)

I wonder about those things and plenty more. Like if the human race learns to work cooperatively across continents (rght now we can't do it across country), where will we go from here? Is it possible to bridge the galaxy? Will we thrive and expire on planet earth? I know that my little family have been struggling for decades and that the economy is oppressive for those of us near the bottom of it. I know that still, compared to some, my lot is far from the worst in the country. But we cannot seem to "get it together" for victims of Katrina's and Rita's devastation, for victims of selfish violence in Darfur. What are our priorities? What do we Americans represent? Do we live that, or is it merely words?

These thoughts have been troubling me, and reading the bitter, accusatory harping on this blog do not inspire me that most people in this shared experience of life see beyond their own dinner tables. And when they're seeing that, do they see their children grown and facing today's challenges grown worse. We seem to worry more about whether gay people marry than about the things that matter: poverty and hunger, healthcare, productive employment, long-term energy and pollution. If we could keep focused on these important issues, see a common need and ground, the compromises we need to make will not seem so hard.

What do you think of that?

Posted by: Jazzman | April 30, 2006 11:11 AM

Well Jazzman, all I can say is look at the priorities of the two political parties, decide which you are most alligned with, and vote accordingly. You might even want to participate in that party's policy making.

The other aspect is leadership, whatever party is in power. America leads and much of the world follows when we lead effectively and judicially. What I think you are expousing here is a frustration with the loss of that leadership, both inside America and internationally. We've all talked about different directions to go in to solve our energy needs in the future, but what's really frustrating is that no matter who has the better position or not, the administration has none. And it doesn't end with energy. Pick ANY topic of debate and you will find most without leadership from this administration. And the ones the administration provides leadership on, such as gay marriage and end-of-life issues, most people do not need or want leadership on.

Maybe we should instead be looking at the upcoming congressional elections and see which candidates running have good positions on energy. That is something this debate is lacking.

Posted by: Sully | April 30, 2006 01:26 PM

Jazzman,

There's a structural problem at the institutional level. Accusing victims of addiction to energy, and compulsive consumption by implication (while that may be), without recognizing how they have been channelled into those habits to serve the interests of greed and stupidity, does not give any clear thinking about remedies.

At the political level, we are headed toward the tyranny of more centralization, and even closer and more covert ties between government and major corporations; which will by not get us out of the thickets. I think the majority of Americans could figure it out, only if they could get open debates on their true issues (not just the media picks) and they could get corporate PAC money out of national policies.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 01:27 PM

Sully wrote:

"America leads and much of the world follows . . ."
____________

Would you care to provide one solid example of this assertion from within the past six years?

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 01:33 PM

I was speaking historically. I cannot think of any leadership in the past six years and that was my point.

Posted by: Sully | April 30, 2006 01:36 PM

Sully,

OK, I think I get it now. But I disagree with your basic premise regarding the right direction. America needs to get out of the global leadership business in order to work on domestic issues.

We cannot afford the (sucker's) role of global Goliath unassisted. The benefits do not equate with burdens, and we will not have the wealth to make up the difference. Also, it is strategically in the interests of our foes that we overstretch and be made to appear inept at the street level. The net effect of not following the lead of the public is to import problems from undemocratic places, to enrich their undemocratic rulers, and to reduce the wealth as well as the physical and social security of our own citizens and families.

We must starve the moronic beast -- the federal government. The functional substitute for essential services, except for national defense (and I mean defense) and limited parts of the federal judiciary, need to migrate to state and local levels, or perhaps regional compacts if they better serve the public good. In a word, radical decentralization.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 01:53 PM

Americans.


they've been trained to be consumers without thought....

you could easily create commercials where women with big hooters could say things like


we love a man that thinks economically, and the _average man_ would start buying economy models...


we can't destroy "big business" but we can invite them to see that if they pull out without cooperating


"they will be replaced"


WE have more resources than any other nation on earth,


the only thing we lack is cobalt, that's it

we no longer need rubber.


following "conventional wisdom" is what got us here,


and it's only through relentless screaming that a few of you have begun to wake up....

much o f "common knowledge" is coporate spew.

as far as starving the moronic beast,


I disagree, we must replace the _moronic_ beast with a thinking entity, composed of multiple viewpoints that serve the truth


what government was meant to be in this country.

you want a capable, honest government....require that.

if they have to serve in an honest fashion, because of being held to the same standards as you....they won't if they don't want to be examined...and I don't mean in the press....

something simple like auditing every two years, or background investigation of families....hire an illegal foreigner when you're a senator, lose your position and do the time....like that.

I've already spoken of how to do that....


the average intelligence in the United States is 100

you have to educate them.

you have to require the government to tell the truth and punish it if it doesn't.


purposeful disinformation, coming from a public place should be treated as a National Security Issue

you step away with some idiot plan of returning to Utopia that never existed...


gradually, if you work with education, and teaching individuals to think for themselves

decentralization could work, but not from where we are now...


living in a city where each burg fights with the other burgs and doesn't want to coorperate as a way of retaining local power and nepotism.....I can tell you that decentralization could turn out like Louisiana....little burgs that have their own brand of corruption that no one can cut through...and those that try become alligator food.

.

Posted by: you're goin g to have to re educate | April 30, 2006 02:28 PM

what used to make America a _model_ by returning to that model.


we also need to talk honestly about China, Russia, the Balkans and globalization as seperate entities working with each other rather than


WAL-MART


running the world, and it could happen, GNP means political clout.


if politics runs your country, and capitalism is king, plutocracy will occur.

Posted by: we can provide a sense of direction | April 30, 2006 02:32 PM

with peer review, some method of making them responsible to citizens, but citizens that have understanding of issues.

.

Posted by: a board of engineers as part of the government.. | April 30, 2006 02:34 PM

"At the political level, we are headed toward the tyranny of more centralization, and even closer and more covert ties between government and major corporations; which will by not get us out of the thickets."


get rid of outsourcing, allowing internationals to be treated as United States companies, return American factories to America or let them stay overseas and require that they pay tarrifs if they want to sell to "fat Americans."

The companies that don't come back will be replaced by American ones....


It's a process.

Posted by: you want to remove | April 30, 2006 02:39 PM

how they're being taken advantage of by their leaders and international coporations that have no interest in


citizens except as serfs.

Posted by: help Americans to understand | April 30, 2006 02:44 PM

goin . educate wrote:
"decentralization could work, but not from where we are now..."
_______

Thing is, the dynamics are such that breakdown into smaller and more coherent political interests in order to function effectively probably isn't discretionary. Simply the inevitable product of a failed and irresponsible central system.

I just hope it stops-out at regional levels of integration, and doesn't devolve further into tribes and clans.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 03:01 PM

UK - The Guardian and Observer have ended their "anti-nuke at all costs" stance. They call for the UK to establish a strategic oil reserve like the USA and Japan have done, hold up some North Sea oil as a strategic reserve, and build more nuclear and clean coal plants as son as possible.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1764542,00.html

**************************

Sully - "The problem is the profit motive of those in industry and the NEED to maximize profits over the health, safety and benefit to people that is the problem."

Oil firms get 9 cents profit on a gallon. State and Federal Government "get" a profit of 45 cents in profit (taxes) on a nationwide average. Though the government so many people trust over private enterprise to solve all our problems gets 5 times as much money - somehow the all-wise government agencies "here to help us" have yet to find a single oilfield or come up with power sources replacing oil with all that money.

The classic argument is the profit motive does indeed help to optimize the public health and safety through market forces...and the most dangerous industries globally - those most indifferent to health, safety are the state-run or communist enterprises. The results of privatizing state run mines and oil firms (from the 80s onward after socialist nations saw Thatcherism work - has usually been a sharply lowered accident rate and better employee health.

The other thing is that we know most of that 9 cents the oil companies get will go to new exploration or development of new energy source. I don't think anyone doubts if the government got it, it would be blown on non-energy spending or on politically popular alternate energy pork projects...If the Republicans are in, it would go for more tax cuts for the wealthy, or ethanol pork for multimillionaire agribiz owners. If Democrats were in - it would mean more money for doubling the number of bilingual special ed teachers, and "exciting windmills" (Sen Byrd has been so good on getting windmill pork that W. Virginia is the 1st State that has so many of them they are thought to ruin the landscape while providing less reliable energy than a single big coal plant)

*************************

On the plantation - "In contrast, in Canada as example, all mineral resources by law are owned by the provinces, including oil, potash, gold, etc. They can be leased to private producers but ownership stays with the provincial government."

If you go out West, or visit Alaska, you frequently get people saying "our coal, our oil" - meaning Montana's coal not the US's coal which is co-controlled by Massassachetts and 30 other States that seek to block Montanans from using it. Same up in Alaska, with even more vigor. Down South, Southwest - where 50% of the nation's refineries are, and most of our active oil and gas fields, there is considerable sentiment that if oil and gas become scarce and must be rationed, the states that make it should get 1st dibs - and states that make no energy, but block new exploration and production, like those on the East Coast - should be at the end of the line.

Down South, out West, this also ties into the military angle also being questioned - "Explain again why we not only provide most of the nation's energy but also the soldiers that are dying so Blue Staters can block new energy from the Gulf and Alaska far away from them and then get all the imported oil going to New England, DC, and NYC from the Arabs???"

************************

Jazzman - "But we cannot seem to "get it together" for victims of Katrina's and Rita's devastation, for victims of selfish violence in Darfur. What are our priorities?"

We have many priorities as a nation. Some are very high priorities - energy, trade, Iraq, immigration, dealing with Iran and the slow disintegration of Mexico. The war against Islamoids. Far lower priorities are the Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities of Darfur, and with 15-20 hurricanes in a season...conferring Specialist Victim privileges on the lifetime wards of the state caught in just one.

There is lots of intact, government-owned, unused slum housing in other cities the NOLA slum dwellers can move to. Detroit alone can house all the single mothers of NOLA with no homes or job prospects. By next August, the talk will be of dealing with the present season's damage and helping put present victims back on their feet rather than throw hundreds of billions more into rebuilding the subsea NOLA slum and continued focus on the intractable social problems of the New Orleans underclass other than telling them to find a husband, avoid parasitical dependency on the State by having kids out of Wedlock, and an apartment in a previously abandoned section of Cleveland may make more sense than living in a 500-trailer FEMA refugee park in a Mississippi swamp marsh.

Posted by: Chris Ford | April 30, 2006 03:13 PM

Sully, this leadership pretension, no more than an artifact for sure, is one of those illusions we as Americans must to expunge. Leadership means taking the initiating act. One should qualify that to exclude historically notable unintelligent acts. This has not been our way since Ronald Reagan; and I don't mean this as particular praise for Ronald Reagan, whom I recall as being especially callous towards the working middle of Americans, venturing into what is now a perfectly accepted and established tendency of government, courts, and large corporations.

There is no belittlement or lack of progress in our taking a dose of humility. Presently, delusions of global leadership, and unlimited debt-issuing ability, are ruining and distorting our domestic society and economy. Nevertheless, strong bilateral international relations are very greatly to be desired. On point to this debate, isn't it curious that no elected official has articulated any suggestion that we work closely with Japan (our technical masters in several critical areas involving efficient energy use) to develop solutions for our common types of energy needs?

Continuing as a self-absorbed over-centralized entity, overestimating our own capacity to organize or accomplish the sort of dream schemes that float around energy debates, is not going to work out for us. A stabilizing and correcting peer relationship is fine and sufficient; Japan ought to be a best friend in working on our energy solutions.

Posted by: On the plantation | April 30, 2006 05:30 PM

Japan's corporate viewpoint is actually enlightened...to a degree, they are certainly aware of environmental impact, as they have a limited amount of space to live within.

additionally,
they educate and work with their immediate neighbors, and build and create flow with the communities that they impact.

Posted by: that's not a bad idea... | April 30, 2006 07:13 PM

this simple example of why centralization is important...at least for setting guidelines....


huey long, in Louisiana.


and without the FBI the south would still have lynchings of black people as a way of enjoying summer.


I'm not saying dependence, I am saying

accountability, to the same degree that each of us is.

when they break a law, they take the brunt of it, they commit a felony, they can't hold office...

stealing over $50...

someone with a clearance loses it for a dui, felony conviction, spousal abuse, and so on...

.


government that isn't corrupt can go a long ways towards being a reasonable entity...


right now, government is corruption, how many leaders have families or friends that get subsidies that get subsidies?


how many rich ranchers get to graze their cattle on BLM land, I've heard Colorado is a welfare state....ranchers get subsidies that enable them to exist and in a fine fashion...

and as far as our marginalized, they need intervention, so we don't have to keep paying for them....


and that means _attention_ not money and not isolation....we need to end the creation of a criminal population as an _unnecessary_ event...

Posted by: I hear what you're saying but you really need to think about something... | April 30, 2006 07:21 PM

qualified by making them adhere to the same level of accountability as we would be...


not joining the National Guard and quitting to go work on someones' campaign before your enlistment is up....

how is it that Clinton was mocked about possibly smoking marijuana and this known alcoholic, coke addict got elected president without anyone bringing it up?


I am not saying people can't change, but heck brother Neil shoulda been charged with felony conspiracy charges, and I would like forensic accountants to go over the extended bush family monies....that would make some people faint wouldn't it?

.

Posted by: if you actually have lawmakers that are required to be | April 30, 2006 07:39 PM

The notion that there will be oil fields yet undiscovered is ridiculous. There is a finite amount of oil in the world, and we are using it up. Fact. We are the number one oil consuming nation in the world, and without SUVs, who knows where we would be. It is no secret that many states offer premiums for buying hybrids, California's almost 8,000$. I'm not urging you to buy a hybrid, but to think of simple ways to reduce oil consumtion, such as parking your car and WALKING into McDonalds for fries, a hamburger and a coke, instead of idling for 10 minutes and wasting that much gas.

Posted by: Vasili Koslov | April 30, 2006 09:15 PM

Vasili Koslov" "such as parking your car and WALKING into McDonalds for fries, a hamburger and a coke, instead of idling for 10 minutes and wasting that much gas."

We are a nation of Jabba the Huts, Wildabeasts, and fat pigs! But do not worry, because the finite amount of oil will be used up sooner or later, and at that time, we will begin involuntary crash dieting.

I think I may convert to Amish(ism?). They know how to survive and thrive in the brave new world that awaits all of us. Ho hoo ha ha haaaa!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | April 30, 2006 10:20 PM

You see, the PNAC knew this all along. Go with the flow, or better put, keep it flowing. Might as well have fun (and the fat burgers) while it lasts.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | April 30, 2006 10:49 PM

johnnyg in NE DC wrote:

"I think I may convert to Amish(ism?). They know how to survive . . ."
__________

You might enjoy the outstanding book, Better Off by Eric Brende.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 1, 2006 03:42 AM

Plantation wrote:
"Sully, this leadership pretension, no more than an artifact for sure, is one of those illusions we as Americans must to expunge. Leadership means taking the initiating act. One should qualify that to exclude historically notable unintelligent acts. This has not been our way since Ronald Reagan"

You forget the real coalition Bush-I put together to free Kuwait and the real coalition Clinton put together in the former Yugoslavia.

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 09:31 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
"The other thing is that we know most of that 9 cents [profit] the oil companies get will go to new exploration or development of new energy source."

That would be easier to believe if Exxon had not given Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 09:39 AM

Sully wrote:

"You forget the real coalition Bush-I put together to free Kuwait . . ."
______________

No, I was actually very conscious of that when I wrote my words. First, the first Iraq-war response was reactionary, not an initiative. Second, the proof that it was not a true initiative backed by solid leadership is obvious; he didn't finish the job. The rotten leftovers are what we've getting served up for supper every day.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 1, 2006 09:49 AM

on the plantation:

"No, I was actually very conscious of that when I wrote my words. First, the first Iraq-war response was reactionary, not an initiative. Second, the proof that it was not a true initiative backed by solid leadership is obvious; he didn't finish the job."


I reiterate: and you can find it as an article in the Times magazine, during the period that it occured in.

REMEMBER the current fiasco/regime STARTED?

probably not, it was actually more than a few years ago.

key player:
Bush Sr. is the former head of CIA, Congressman before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 30 years of his life making connections...that started in Cuba Bay of Pigs....trying to get his Uncles Cuban sugar plantation back, West Indies


George H.W. Bush Sr.:
sent April Gillespie to Iraq, who with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union....


Saddam invades Kuwait, we now have an "official reason" to be there....
looks like we'll establish a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi...our CIA trains them...CIA trained the 9/11 pilots...Saudis/UAE and one lonely lebanese.

Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the Brits...who's supporting us in Iraq?

Protecting the Kuwaiti's:
We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and

stop short of Bagdhad....you know why, WE'RE GOING BACK...that's why we stopped...


and now that we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait,
we put the country of Iraq in stasis with embargoes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...

THEN, the family needed to intervene....in this case the international riche, which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the gawdfathers only visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry Schiavo from being unhooked...as a grandstanding event...


so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..


and somehow, miracle of miracles, like the virgin mary turning up on your french toast:
Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loads of cash, $9 BILLION$ in CASH right? Anyone in dubyas extended family gotten riche lately?

the museums were emptied right? ha ha ha...that's rich.

as far as conspiracies go, we all know that's a media/nutcase thing right?

there never was a CIA/NORIEGA/BUSH Sr. connection right? He wasn't screaming as he was arrested that he had a deal with george....use and then use again...that's this families business...you get hurt, that's okay as long as his family stays in power

and the Chilean president wasn't asassinated in DC with full George H.W. Bush/CIA knowledge,

and where'd that white up George W. Bushes nose come from? Panama?

(it's a little sloppy but the beat is right.)

Posted by: I'm sorry you're mistaken or you're pandering... | May 1, 2006 01:49 PM

Here's a suggestion, that will entail both sides giving up something but might actually help the situation.
If the die-hard oil folks would agree to SIGNIFICANT increases in CAFE (not just the joke that Bush just came out with), drilling in some locations could be allowed, especially if price escalates to a certain point. I'm not ready to go into ANWAR yet, but some coastal drilling could be in the cards--but only if we use what we get wisely. We don't currently do that.

This price surge is one of the best things to happen in a long time--it shows signs of finally waking us up to the fact that there is no free lunch and there will be no easy way out. Now if we could just work TOGETHER, for the good of the COUNTRY and our CHILDREN'S FUTURE, instead of thinking about me, me, me...Our President sure doesn't set a favorable example in that regard. We need one who will.

Posted by: Michael Canny | May 2, 2006 09:31 AM

So the question is "Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil". Oil is a finite resource that is going to be economically depleted in the near future. So the answer is use less oil for now and few years from now the mandate will be use no oil.

From a global view it's not an oil shortage problem, it's an over population problem that is plundering non-renewable resources of all kinds (Emily, it would be nice to see over global population vs. global resources as a topic.). As human beings we have achieved high levels of technological development, but psychologically we haven't evolved any since our hunting gathering days in the stone-age. To be able to manage our resources we need to manage our population. To manage our population we need to get religion and cultural traditions updated to the realities of the 21st century.

On a related topic, Bill Frist wants to give us a $100 dollar rebate for gas????????????????? Talk about throw a starving dog a bone. But not increase CAFÉ standards. Or cut the Tax cuts to the oil companies. An oil company can pay someone $400,000,000 dollars, but can't find an alternative to oil?

As for the democrats, they've had to use the rove-republican tactics to survive. Think of it as someone going to a gun fight armed with a knife. After getting shot up, they've started carrying guns (playing politics and not policy). Who's the blame for that the Democrats or the voters? Until a majority of the voters seek to be informed and not led, I don't see any changes, but those forced by the hard knocks of economics.

Posted by: Jamal | May 2, 2006 11:41 AM

From todays New York Times "Editorial
The Circle of Crude
E-MailPrint Save

Published: May 2, 2006
The public derision of Republicans' idea for a $100 gasoline rebate has focused on the desperate political pandering embodied in the proposal. But there's another view that makes it seem even worse. Consider the China angle.

With the nation already deeply in debt -- and with Congress angling this week to cut taxes for affluent investors by more than $20 billion -- lawmakers would need to borrow $10 billion to make the rebates happen. Since more than 80 percent of the immense borrowing of the Bush years has been from foreigners, it's safe to assume that most of the rebates would be courtesy of foreign lenders, of which China has been one of the most willing.

It's the circle of crude: China's competition for the world's oil is pushing up prices. Congress piles on more debt to calm angry consumers with a rebate. The increased debt is a prescription for a weaker dollar, which in turn would make imports, including oil, even more expensive."

Posted by: Jamal | May 2, 2006 11:51 AM

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