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Page added on June 22, 2010

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Stop Vilifying Oil

Candor does require that we admit, much as we might wish otherwise, there are no known technologies that can move us off petroleum for the next 20, or even 30 years.

While we may be able to find green sources of energy to power our homes and factories in the future, nuclear, solar or wind, as a fuel in transportation, there is really nothing that can remotely compete for the cost, affordability, efficiency and reliability of petroleum. That is why it has been the life blood of the industrial world for almost a century. Now we can use it more efficiently, we can stop wasting it on making plastic bottles and cans, and we should of course, extract it more safely. But even 30 years from now, in all likelihood, we will be using oil as a transport fuel for planes, trucks and some cars. That’s the reality. And if we do need this oil, we should also be careful about demonizing oil companies. They are, after all, engaged in a legal activity to provide a product that we consume–all of us–by the millions of barrel every day. So why blame the oil companies for providing the oil, rather than all of us, the consumers, who are being hooked on it. The existing technologies that we know of that are green have some limits on how widely they can be applied and they remain costly. We should keep funding them. But the only serious prospect for clean energy future would be to discourage the use of oil and coal which is even dirtier, by taxing both of them, Carbon Tax, and using the money to fund new technologies all together, ones that have the same quality that have made oil and coal so irresistible. That means new taxes and smart efficient-focused government spending. And that would take a lot of courage from the White House, Congress and from all of us to support it.


One Comment on "Stop Vilifying Oil"

  1. Edpeak on Wed, 23rd Jun 2010 10:36 am 

    “there is really nothing that can remotely compete for the cost, affordability, efficiency and reliability of petroleum.”

    Not so reliable with peak oil. Efficient? Hardly, internal combustion engines waste most of the energy on waste heat, not motion. Cost? Then you flunk Economics 101 or should way say, Accounting 101, since you’re choosing to count only some costs, but not the full costs we pay through oil spill cleanup, losses to gulf industries, health costs, not to mention the mind-boggling costs of having to adjust to a different climate regime, sea levels, and damage to sea life from ocean acidification..

    Candor does require that we admit that the oil and fossil fuel lobbyists are working overtime to make SURE that we have as few alternatives as possible.

    The truth is the presenters have no ability to be certain at all about what is possible in 20 much less 30 years. What we do know if our tax dollars subsidize the dirty air fouling and climate wrecking fossil fuel burning and those hard-earned dollars, those billions, should be taken back, and given instead to subsidize renewables, including giving back to taxpayers who install insulation, efficiency, as well as small scale renewables.

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