Saturday, September 06, 2008

Energy Schmenergy

O the plans! O the ruin! O my brakes are failing! O this blog sucks!

So little to say, so much to not care about.

The Straight Dope on Energy Policy in the Midst of Electioneering

On the Media, that bastion of media critique which airs while I ought to be at church, says great things. Why just last week, they said great things about energy independence. An excerpt from the oh-so-short piece follows in transcript form:

DAVID FIDERER: An example I wrote about in Huffington Post was John Harwood, who writes for The New York Times and is also a political correspondent for CNBC, talked about how the Democrats now are talking about building new nuclear plants because gasoline is selling at four dollars a gallon.

BOB GARFIELD: And there is no relationship between the price of oil at the pumps and nuclear anything, correct?

DAVID FIDERER: That’s correct. Nuclear is used for generating electricity. Oil is used in the United States primarily for transportation. And there’s no viable way of converting nuclear energy into fuel for transportation.

BOB GARFIELD: Now, since both John McCain and Barack Obama and every other national politician are talking about energy independence, can we just establish a few things about that premise?


BOB GARFIELD: Like given the way petroleum deposits are distributed on Earth, is it reasonable to imagine the U.S. being fully independent of foreign oil, ever?

DAVID FIDERER: Not if we consume oil at anything close to the rate we have for the last 50 years. If we consumed oil at the rate we did in 1965, we would still be importing 40 percent of our oil.

BOB GARFIELD: Another contentious issue is that of offshore oil reserves.


BOB GARFIELD: The Republicans want to start [LAUGHS] drilling tomorrow, and they portray those against more drilling as tree huggers willing to put our nation’s energy security at risk to save a few whales. At least that’s how the media has been framing the controversy.

DAVID FIDERER: Even if all the oil reserves were there that the most optimistic oil person says is off the coast of California or Florida, it still wouldn't have a major impact on the price of oil. It still would take at best five years to bring production to market and it still wouldn't change our dependence on foreign oil in any major way.

Let's review:

1. Nuclear energy, with plenty of long-term problems not discussed here, does nothing to curb our dependence on foreign oil (unless we all drove electric vehicles, which we don't, because we love blowing things up and NASCAR and driving up rugged mountaintops).

2. Unless we create a time machine, or harness the power of Einstein-Rosen bridges, we will never become dependent of foreign oil unless we drastically change the way we consume and produce energy.

2-a. Absolute best case scenario if we allowed offshore drilling? The price of gas would finally drop by 2013. Best. Case. Scenario.

This is why politicians are stupid, and stupid politicians are running for president.

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