Thursday, February 02, 2006

Back and Forth on Energy Independence

According to this article, the Bush Administration is already backpedaling on the President's SOTU energy proposals:

[President Bush] pledged to ``move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.''

Not exactly, though, it turns out.

''This was purely an example,'' Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.

Asked why the president used the words ''the Middle East'' when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that ''every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.'' The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble.

Wow, that was fast! There was barely any time for political commentators to disregard his energy proposals as unfeasible.

Reducing the entire American socioeconomic system's dependence on oil is, I believe, a critical requirement this country is going to have to deal with in the coming decades. It seems likely that both parties are going to ignore enrgy policyi n the next two election cycles, though. The administration already has lackeys out toning down the President's stated energy goals, before ink on the first round of SOTU editorials has dried, for goodness sake.

The politicians and business leaders of America are not going to act on energy until it's too late. By too late, I mean when a global supplier of crude is disrupted due to terror, war, belligerent governments, et al., and there are lines of angry drivers queuing to pump gas into their vehicles at $5.80 a gallon, inflation is rampant due to cascading energy costs, interest rates have been hiked up to control said inflation, and the economy is on the absolute skids. Only then will the average American start researching things like ethanol, or hydrogen economy.

But bloggers can keep energy policy ideas alive in the blogosphere, and perform the role of connectors, mavens and salespeople, compelling discussion towards a solution to a serious problem that no one wants to acknowledge.

Update: Here is an example of a nation that could potentially disrupt the world oil market and cause the crisis described above. Hugo Chavez is a major backer of Iran, by the way, and could add to the oil disruption mayhem if he so chose.

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