Can Sarah Palin Become an Energy Security Specialist?
So it looks like Sarah Palin has declared that she'll be taking on energy security as her primary mission if McCain wins the election.
If that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy, I don't know what will. After all, this is the same person who told Investor's Business Daily that she believes we CAN drill our way out of the mess we're in today.
If the mindless chants of "Drill Baby Drill" didn't strike fear into those with a basic understanding of science and reality, certainly the thought of a pro-oil, anti-renewable bureaucrat taking on U.S. energy security will. Eh, what's another 4 years of failed energy policy, anyway?
Let's go ahead and drill in protected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf. Let's drill in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge. In about a decade we'll have enough oil coming online to keep us going for just a little longer. And maybe we could even lower gas prices by as much as three cents a gallon!!!
While we're at it, let's reject alternatives to oil too. As Palin says, "alternative energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop."
I guess she's never had the opportunity to drive any one of the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) that exists right now (not 10 years from now), and can deliver more than 100 mpg. I'm not even running for Vice President, and I've already driven these things a few times. Certainly if she had any interest in even investigating alternatives, she would have. But clearly, that is of no interest to her. Therefore, neither is energy security!
The fact is, we could cut foreign oil by as much as 8 million barrels per day if all the cars on the road were hybrids, and half were PHEVs by 2025. That's a step in the right direction when it comes to energy security. Not drilling for another short-term fix that'll leave our kids in the same vulnerable position we're in right now.
Another Bad Idea
My friends, this is not a legacy I'm comfortable with. Nor is one that stems from a call for clean coal. Another really bad idea Palin supports.
Clean coal is a myth. There's no such thing. Even with carbon sequestration, you still have mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. You still have to transport coal, which requires diesel. Hardwood forests are destroyed, thousands of miles of waterways are poisoned and tops of mountains are completely erased. Talk about a massive loss of natural capital!
And if you think the supply angle justifies clean coal, think again.
While coal advocates will scream from the missing mountaintops that we have a 250-year supply, they neglect to mention that that particular estimate is based on a USGS study from the 1970s. Today, however, the USGS believes that only about five percent of those reserves are recoverable with today's technology and prices. And that's also based on today's consumption rate. If we end up using more coal, which some suspect could be possible with the integration of "clean coal" technology (not to mention the continued depletion of natural gas), the rate of consumption could be much higher.
And as with any fossil fuel, the quicker your run out, the more expensive it becomes. Renewables on the other hand — well, they will always be infinite and free.
Point is, this idea that we have to continue to cater to an outdated way of thinking when it comes to energy is no longer acceptable The fundamentals of supply and demand dictate the long-term economic superiority of renewables. There's simply no debating it. So there's no excuse for anything less than a full-scale integration of renewable energy from this point forward.
And any politician that thinks we CAN drill our way out of this mess, and secure our energy infrastructure without renewables is unqualified to hold any office, and should be held accountable for any decisions that further cripple our energy economy.
In the two minutes it took you to read this, the global community consumed about 100,000 barrels of oil, and emitted about 65 million pounds of CO2 emissions. That's not energy security. That's irresponsibility.
We cannot drill our way out of this mess. And we can't afford to allow this mentality to persist. Our environment, our economy and our freedom simply can't take anymore of this nonsense.
To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth...