Last year I predicted that Social Insecurity would be a candidate for the “Great Thud of Non-Event 2005”. Not exactly a bold prediction, but it turned out to be correct.
This year’s is an absolute slam-dunk: “Independence from Mid-East Oil”. There is simply no doubt in my mind that the administration and Congress will make absolutely no progress on this front this year, or any year in which the Republicans maintain power.
Cos very kindly pointed to this article from the New York Times about the web of internal conflicts, doublespeak and outright contradictions regarding energy policy. It’s a rat-a-tat-tat litany of how fast we are tied to oil, and indeed our worst enemies.
To summarize the obstacles to Bush’s… “vision”, or whatever it is:
2. Oil is oil: Prices go up or down based on the commodity market, regardless of who’s oil we’re buying.
3. If we stop buying oil from Iran, how do we diplomatically keep them from going nuclear? “And on 4th down, they’ll drop back to punt…”
4. Sen. John Cornyn is right: Ethanol’s a boondoggle. ? (The scientist in the NPR story linked says it takes more fossil fuel to make the stuff than it replaces in energy.) (SEE UPDATE, BELOW.)
5. AND HERE’S THE KICKER: “The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.” You expected exactly what?
And — to further abuse Eastern religious terms, here are two moments of Zen (or something):
But when asked why Mr. Bush had not called on the public to sacrifice to reduce oil consumption, Samuel W. Bodman, the energy secretary, said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that “many Americans believe they’re already sacrificing by paying the prices they’re paying for gasoline and heating oil and natural gas.”
Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, even seemed to contradict the president’s alarms about high energy prices. “America runs on energy that is both abundant and available at prices we can afford to pay,” Mr. Barton said in a statement.
The sounds of trees falling in the woods, unheard.
UPDATE TO #4, above: Esteemed commenter stomv points to this article regarding a UC Berkeley study which says that there is some environmental gain to ethanol over fossil fuels — “But it isnât a huge victoryâyou wouldnât go out and rebuild our economy around corn-based ethanol,” says researcher Dan Kammen. And we agree that the subsidies that the corn industry has been getting do indeed fit the term “boondoggle”.
So here’s the question: Do you trust this administration to move ethanol from boondoggleosity to actual usefulness? Do they have a good track record with that?