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"Drill, Baby, Drill" debunked as "Burn, Baby, Burn the Planet"
Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter
When Republican Sarah Failin and her titular senior running mate McPain say "Drill, Baby, Drill," or, for that matter, the wiser and more honest Barack Obama is in favor of more offshore drilling, there is no possibility of energy independence through maximizing domestic petroleum. The main reason is not the many years' lead time for oil-field development:
Consumption would continue (assuming the economy still supports it), and imported oil would keep coming unabated. Why? Because the more efficient wells of such places as the Persian Gulf would keep providing more oil far more cheaply than any new wells the U.S. can drill. This would be true even though Arabs' wells are starting to peak in flow and decline. As long as we're consuming oil big time, the oil will get over to us. World trade is the holiest goal of the Republicans and Democrats.
Here's the clincher: Net energy return, or energy profit ratio, determines greatly the true, full cost (including cost hidden by subsidies) and availability to the "producer" and the more aptly named "consumer." And new wells drilled are approaching on average a net-energy loss. Moreover, the petroleum industry has been seeing fewer and fewer holes that actually pan out.
A program of mild reduction in oil consumption would work the same way as going for maximized drilling: cutting back on oil use will result in the more efficient, high net-energy fields being exploited still, such that the U.S. would continue getting oil from elsewhere at lower cost and comparatively greater profit for the chain of oil industry players.
Therefore, the correct approach to cutting oil imports and stop burning up the atmosphere with this toxic fossil fuel is to have a policy of completely avoiding oil consumption to the extent possible.
... This is the difference between petroleum-investment banker Matt Simmons' analysis and mine: we both see the potential for the oil market to bring about chaos such as speedy, widespread famine, as soon as panic-buying of escalating-in-cost oil results in hoarding. And my friend Matt is doing a great job of convincing more audiences than I ever had, concerning the realities of oil dependence in a peak-oil world. But he believes that after collapse there remains the necessary and inevitable job of repairing and rebuilding the whole energy infrastructure again. I do not believe it is possible or desirable. Goodbye to the Age of Oil. That means goodbye to cheap energy and materials that we took for granted as part of technological progress.
... The sooner we move on with redesigning society without all that cheap energy, plastics, pesticides, etc., that we guzzled, we will be saving lives and our unraveling climate -- not until then. Let it begin. Redesign, Baby, Redesign. Conserve, Baby, Conserve. Garden, Baby, Garden. Depave, Baby, Depave. Pedal, Baby, Pedal. Sail, Baby, Sail. Peace, Baby, Peace.
(12 October 2008)
Douglas has made some progress on energy initiative
Carl Etnier, Barre Montpelier (Vermont) Times
Energy is a big issue in this fall's election, as it has been in Vermont over this past biennium. Competing claims are flying. Democrats and Progressives decry what they call Gov. James Douglas' lack of vision on energy, dubbing him "Governor Does-less." Yet there's so much news of various happenings on the state energy front, that one reporter recently wondered whether all the activity was concentrated to this fall to help Douglas in the election. How much of this activity is hype, and how much is real?
I decided to look at one of the biggest bones of contention between the Legislature and Douglas, the omnibus energy bill, H.520. The Legislature passed it last year, Douglas vetoed it, and the Legislature was called back into a special session last summer, to override this and another veto.
... What does it all add up to? As far as I can tell, for the most significant parts of H.520 Douglas said he would implement, he did well in producing studies with the right sort of goals. The areas where he achieved the most significant concrete results were related to job training. In the other areas, developers are frustrated, jobs are not being created, and Vermont is left with less in-state, renewable power than we'd otherwise have.
Carl Etnier, director of Peak Oil Awareness, blogs at vtcommons.org/blog and hosts radio shows on WGDR, 91.1 FM Plainfield and WDEV 96.1 FM/550 AM, Waterbury. He can be reached at EnergyMattersVermont(at)yahoo.com.
(12 October 2008)
Bottled water firm steamed about Miami-Dade water ads
Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald
Radio commercials that touted Miami-Dade tap water have landed the county in legal hot water with Nestle.
In the radio ad, a talking faucet extols Miami-Dade's tap water as cheaper, purer and safer than bottled water.
It may have sounded innocuous to most listeners, but the 30-second spot left the nation's largest purveyor of bottled water boiling mad.
Nestle Waters North America, which makes nearly $4 billion a year selling Zephyrhills and other brands, is threatening to sue if the county doesn't kill commercials the company brands as false advertising.
''It's an attack on the integrity of the company,'' said Nestle spokesman Jim McClellan. ``It's an attack on the product we produce -- and it's blatantly wrong.''
With the ads ending a five-week run last month and no plans to revive it, the county considers the legal issues moot. But John Renfrow, director of the Water and Sewer Department, defended the county's right to tout its tap water. ''Basically, the message is that our water is fine,'' he said. ``It's wonderful. It's delicious. This is just one of many different spots we've done.''
Environmentalists blasted the threat against the state's largest utility -- believed to be a first -- as a warning shot from an industry worried about slow sales after years of gushing growth.
(13 October 2008)