Recorded back in June but now just posted on the TED site, this 17-minute talk by Lisa Margonelli of the New America Foundation Energy Policy Initiative. really does a great job at drilling down on what it's going to take to actually start moving away from oil in the United States. Some of it will be familiar to energy watchers, but there's good stuff throughout:On the title hook first: Margonelli argues that while it's very cathartic to haul oil industry execs into Congress and grill them with questions, characterizing them as "greedy bastards" as we have done going all the way back to John D Rockefeller, doing so it really a distraction. Ultimately it just keeps us from spending time on actually enacting laws that change the way the oil industry works and from really developing ways to reduce the amount of oil we use.
Margonelli says (100% correctly in my opinion) that we can't continue to delude ourselves into thinking that we can create a greener society without actually reducing oil usage--which despite establishing drilling moratoriums as we have after each past oil spill, haven't actually reduced the amount of oil we use at all. Rather we just import more oil.
Furthermore, rather than actually reducing oil usage, when we talk about energy policy we instead always focus on something over the horizon that just tweaks what we are already doing: "We talk about energy independence; we talk about hydrogen cars; we talk about some biofuel that hasn't been invented yet--cognitive dissonance is part and parcel of the way we deal with oil."