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Brent Eubanks

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A rant to share [May. 22nd, 2008|10:41 am]
Brent Eubanks
I got pissed off by the Republican whining at today's R^2 post, so I was inspired to rant for a bit. I figured that as long as I went to the effort, I might as well share it.

Lots of you [in the context of the original post] like to talk about domestic energy supplies, and the damn dirty hippies that are keeping the oil companies from poking holes in every nook and cranny of the country looking for oil.

But what are you really talking about? Yes, there are (potential) resources that are currently off limits. But we are currently importing more than half of our oil, and no amount of domestic development is going to change that basic picture. Do you really think it is worth destroying our national natural treasures so that we can cut our imports to merely 40% of our usage for a few years? Do you really think that is going to change the geopolitical or economic reality that we are mortgaging our future to the oil exporting countries?

Also, it's pretty clear that in the absence of a high price signal, consumption increases exponentially. As long as oil (or energy generally) is cheap enough to waste, we'll find ever-more creative ways to do so. And simple math tells you that you cannot meet exponentially increasing demand with supply side solutions, except in the very short term. If you had your way (or had had it historically, long enough ago that ANWR and the California coast were presently developed and online), what would you have accomplished? You would destroy the high price signal that is the only thing that appears to be able to restrain consumption even a little bit. What good would that do? We could party hearty for a few more years, maybe stretch out the short-sighted hedonism of the '90s for another decade or two. And for what? When it's over, we're back where we started, except with more carbon in the atmosphere and even less potential domestic energy security.

Fossil fuel resources are non-renewable (doh!). That means the only way -- the only way -- to achieve domestic energy security is to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on them. There are certainly better ways to do this than to line the pockets of the middle east with our cash, but it's obvious that our culture and the political "leadership" that it supports lacks the foresight and will to anticipate limits and enforce them on ourselves in advance.

So instead we will learn to conserve because economic realities force us to do so. If it doesn't break us economically, the end result will be a positive shift in American culture and attitudes, towards accepting the reality of living on a finite planet. In the meantime, the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels will be a long and slow one, and we may in fact need to develop all of our remaining domestic supplies in order to carry us through that time. But to do so now, when SUVs are still status symbols and 30 MPG is considered good mileage, would be ludicrous and stupid. Developing these remaining resources just to bring down the price of gas is absolutely equivalent (and equivalently stupid) to releasing the SPR for the same purpose. Same dumb idea, different timescale.

There may come a time when it is both rational and necessary to destroy ANWR to get the oil we need to survive. But we're not there yet, by a long shot, as evidenced by our continued attempts to perpetuate an unsustainable way of life. In the meantime, all you arch "conservatives" (gods, what a misnomer) should thank your neighborhood dirty hippie for obstructing the wanton development of these resources, so that we have them in the future when things really start to pinch.

[User Picture]From: galactic_dev
2008-05-22 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'll see if I can get Obama to name you as the head of the Department of the Interior.
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[User Picture]From: a_steep_hill
2008-05-22 09:49 pm (UTC)
What, do you hate me now or something?


Heck, I'd take the job on the condition that I'm allowed to hit people with a big stick when they do stupid shit. Of course, my arm would get real tired, real fast.
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[User Picture]From: akaba
2008-05-23 03:27 am (UTC)
Well said! I hope you posted that somewhere many people will read it.
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