Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Oil, the Deciding FactorHere's the thing about oil. We can't function without it. Period. We can raise fuel efficiency standards, which the Democrats have done, (although Detroit has until 2020 to comply with the new law passed in December) but as of today, June 18th, 2008, our economy, and the world's economy runs on oil. And it will be so for the next decade, unless oil prices remain high, and the world is motivated to develop alternative means of transport. No matter how much we wish for an end to fossil fuels, the real fact remains that our nation was built on cheap oil. We commute from those remote suburbs, our food is transported by trucks, and all of those cheap appliances that we purchase for our kitchens, are produced in China, and must be transported all the way from Asia to your local Wal-Mart. There is a big movement to go local, but as of today, it is cheaper to pay these outrageous fuel costs, than buy from a small local farmer a couple hours away. It doesn't make sense, but trust me, I purchase a massive amount of food for my business, and local products from small producers are always more expensive. I think it has something to do with farm subsidies, the big Ag companies always get the breaks. That needs to change.
So today the debate has turned from foreign oil, to domestic oil. Why should we be dependant on foreign oil rather than drill on our own shores? Good question. There are environmental issues to be taken into consideration. I know that offshore drilling is bad for the environment, if the sea floor cracks, and there is a massive oil spill, the damage to the marine environment is huge. There are other studies that find that certain species of fish die off from the chemicals used in drilling, and others multiply. There are too many risks involved in offshore drilling. The ethanol solution is obviously not a solution at all, if you look at the Midwest right now, a good percentage of the corn crop is underwater, and that factor alone may raise gas prices even more, since gasoline is composed of 10 percent ethanol. Our railroads, which could move products much less expensively than our trucking industry, are in a huge state of neglect. Oh and trying to get a freight train past the Mississippi River today is impossible, once you get to Iowa, and those flooded corn fields, the train stops, unable to deliver anything east of the flood states.
I think we might be f-ed.
There is no easy solution for the energy problems that face us. We have been wasteful, we have built our nation on cheap foreign oil, and today, we are looking at a problem that not only threatens our comfortable way of life, but threatens real lives, if we don't pay those high prices for transport. And unfortunately, both Presidential candidates have no good solution to this problem. Windfall taxes on Exxon Mobile and BP will not produce cheaper means of transportation, even though blaming them for our current predicament is satisfying. Obama plays to the left with a popular blame game, but it will not provide a solution to our dilemma. McCain plays to the right, with more drilling, even though it will not solve our immediate problem.
I think we all have played a big part in this oil and environmental mess, and even though the big oil companies have proffitted exponentially, the blame lies with each of us.
Oh crap...the weather just suddenly turned to shit, so I better get to the point quickly.
While we are working on other alternatives to fossil fuel, we are unfortunately bound ball and chain, to the evil oil. There needs to be a two fold approach to the energy solution. As a nation, and as individuals, we need to re-think our priorities. Our greatest needs are the shipping of goods. Without goods, trade stops, jobs disappear, people go hungry. There are essential industries that rely on gas to provide food, medicine, and all of the things that humans cannot live without. Those industries should receive tax credits. The railroads, and public transportation should be our number one priority, with easier mass transit, we will not have to rely on autos to get us to work. Tax credits for solar heating should be re-instated, leaving clean natural gas available for public transportation. As individuals, we should all look closer at our oil usage, and since we will not do it voluntarily, there should be more tax on gas sold in cities where there is plenty of public transportation, making it easier for us to do the right thing, and take the subway.
Yikes!! the storm is really loud now, so I've got to run.
Technorati Tags: energy policy, McCain, Obama
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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