Peak Oil News: John McCain's Energy Follies

Sunday, September 07, 2008

John McCain's Energy Follies

The industries that create energy — coal, wind, nuclear, ethanol, and, of course, oil and gas — all clamored to be heard at the Republican convention. At cocktail receptions and in hundreds of ads, each claimed to welcome the challenge of creating a cleaner, greener energy future.

A lot of that was corporate boilerplate. But one advertisement, from Chevron, seemed strikingly on point. “It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil,” it said. “We’ll use the next trillion in 30.” This nicely framed a big part of the energy challenge. It was also a reminder of why John McCain is proving, so far, to be such a disappointment on issues he once seemed to understand better than almost anyone else in his party.

The world is consuming oil at a ferocious pace because of runaway demand in India and China and because America — the world’s largest consumer — is only beginning to confront its addiction. This cannot go on forever. Even the conservative United States Geological Survey predicts that oil production will peak by midcentury, meaning that future prices will make today’s $3.70 gas look like chump change.

Emissions from fossil fuels — not just oil but the coal and natural gas used in power plants — are the main drivers of global warming. Mainstream scientists have warned that unless they are sharply reduced the planet will face rising sea levels, prolonged droughts, widespread famine and other frightening consequences.

Global problems obviously require a global response. As the world’s most profligate user of energy, and as one of its most technologically gifted nations, the United States can and should lead the way by developing more efficient vehicles and by expanding carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar power.

The John McCain of a few years ago understood this. He sponsored a bill with John Kerry that would have aggressively raised fuel economy standards, and another that would have put a stiff price on carbon emissions to encourage investment in cleaner technologies.

Unfortunately, that John McCain has receded from view just in time for the presidential campaign. He has dropped his opposition to offshore drilling, pandered shamelessly by urging a gas tax holiday, and missed several crucial votes on bills extending credits for wind and solar power.

And while his acceptance speech promised “the most ambitious national project in decades,” including efforts to improve energy efficiency, increasing oil production remains the centerpiece of his strategy.

These positions divert public attention from an unavoidable truth: a nation that uses one-quarter of the world’s oil while owning only 3 percent of its reserves cannot drill its way to happiness or self-sufficiency. And they trivialize the very hard work that lies ahead.

Mr. McCain’s choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate raises even more worrisome questions. Her strategy is drill here, drill there, drill now.

She would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a heartbeat — something Mr. McCain continues to oppose. She has sued the Bush administration for declaring the polar bear a threatened species, fearing it would interfere with oil exploration in Alaskan waters. She has questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change. Governor Palin’s views are alarmingly out of touch with reality. No less alarming was Mr. McCain’s decision to welcome them into his campaign.


At 1:21 PM, September 08, 2008, Blogger Matt Finnell said...

I couldn't quite believe it myself when I heard the crowd at the Republican National Convention last week, whipped up into a frenzy over the idea of opening our precious coasts to new drilling.

Click here to see and hear it for yourself.

In the last few days, 10,000 of us have urged our representatives and senators in Congress to say no to new offshore drilling, no to putting our beautiful coasts at risk of devastating spills, and no to the false hope of a quick-and-dirty fix to our energy problems. That's a fantastic accomplishment in such a short time.

But frankly, we need to do more to make ourselves heard over the din of "drill, baby, drill" -- especially when Big Oil's propaganda machine can so easily amplify their call on Capitol Hill.

As soon as the next few days, Congress will vote on whether to pass an energy policy paid for by Big Oil or one that puts us on a path toward a clean, sustainable energy future. Tell Congress to put a stop to the Big Oil agenda right now.

Take Action

We're raising the voice of people from all over the country to expose Big Oil's self-serving agenda, which includes:

* Saying NO to clean energy and energy efficiency tax credits,
* Saying YES to $13.5 billion in tax giveaways to the oil industry, and
* Saying YES to new drilling off our coasts.

Let's face facts. Big Oil's agenda is not about saving us money at the pump. It's about making them more money any way they can.

As outrageous as that is, we cannot win without Congress hearing from more Americans like you.

Click here to tell Congress to pass a sensible energy policy.

"Drill, baby, drill" is no solution to our energy problems, not by a long shot. Help us stand up to Big Oil today.

At 11:05 PM, September 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen this:

Peak Oil Crisis News

it's a (new?) peak oil related news collection that updates in real time - has been open on my desktop a lot in the past few days

At 2:54 PM, September 24, 2008, Blogger Chus said...

Hot news!: McCain suspends campaign


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