Fortitudo et Honor
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Posts: 882 since Mar 2011
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This is a half truth. The plain fact is that oil is a commodity that's used for more than just energy and gasoline. We're not going to get rid of oil anytime soon, as it's used in fertilizer, pharma applications, plastics, etc.
I do agree that our dependence on foreign oil has enormous socio-political ramifications.....if we didn't need foreign oil, we could ignore the middle east and they'd go back to cutting their heads off in the desert living with camels and tents.
The greatest thing Bush could have done to combat the root cause of terrorism is to remove or minimize our involvement and interest in the middle east and that's to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
To that end, I agree with Obama. At some point, when/if we ever achieve truly *free* or neglibigly cheap energy, we can develop systems that fix hydrocarbons without having to harvest them from mother nature....till then, we're stuck.
But Obama isn't selling increasing domestic oil production, he's selling decreasing ALL oil dependency and that's where I disagree with him.....
Furthermore, he neglects the notion that "necessity is the mother of invention" and when we're ready for economically viable energy alternatives, they'll come. Dumping money at them prior (from the government) is very costly.
Once people start paying $5 to take a hot shower or we watch television with the same price concern that we used to use long distance calls ($.10/minute to watch your television set) then the necessity for energy alternatives will be more apparent.
As of right now, environmentalism is at best, a nebulous and contested motivator. When the price of our lifestyle gets to be beyond our tolerance and inhibitive, then and only then will the capitalist spirit produce suitable alternatives. We're already seeing that in play. We can produce the amount of oil we need here, we just can't do it as cheaply as we can by bying it from SW Asia. You can buy solar power systems for your house, but at the current price for electricity, it only becomes economically sound if it's subsidized.
When oil reaches say $200/barrel, then many forms of cleaner energy will be economically justified. But as I said, even then, we have to realize that we use oil for lubricants, plastics, fertilizers, drugs, etc, etc, etc.