Energy and Fantasy

By August 13, 2008Energy, Global Warming

Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post dissects the energy policies of the two presidential candidates and finds them wanting. From “The Great Energy Confusion“:

No doubt Obama and McCain want to relieve Americans’ discomfort at the pump. The trouble is that Americans should feel discomforted. We want a return to cheap, secure oil; we want painless pathways to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. These are fantasies; they should not be indulged.

In 2006, coal, oil and natural gas provided 85 percent of U.S. energy. In 2025, regardless of what we do, they will almost certainly remain the leading energy sources. We will still import huge volumes of oil and face global disruptions. And any serious effort to curb oil use and greenhouse gases will require high energy prices — whether imposed by the market or taxes — to induce conservation and conversion to nonfossil fuels.

A serious column about the serious challenges facing the United States and the sometimes unserious responses.

Extrapolate from the politicking, pandering, wishful thinking and fantasies, and you get dangerous fantasies. The We Campaign is a reliable purveyor of fantasmalgorical proposals for the U.S. economy and in its latest e-mail pitch:

Repower America! This country has all it needs to make the switch to 100% renewable and clean electricity within ten years — except the policies to make it happen. I’m writing as the CEO of the We Campaign to ask you to take five minutes and call your member of Congress today. Even better, stop by their local office not far from your home and deliver the message in person before they get back to Washington after Labor Day….[snip]Last week, thousands of We Campaign members wrote letters to the editor in support of repowering America with 100% clean electricity in ten years. It was an amazing response and these letters are now showing up in papers and on websites across the country.

Now, we’d never belittle organized letters to the editor, but history tells us restructuring an entire economy and society in 10 years requires a more aggressive approach, a la Kolyma.

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