Monday, June 13, 2005

Energy Independence vs. Energy Illiteracy

Americans overwhelmingly want a new direction for U.S. energy policy in the United States and believe dependence on imported oil is a very serious problem.

These and other findings were part of a survey of attitudes on the environment conducted last month for the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies by Global Strategy Group.

Dan Esty, director of the Yale Center of Environmental Law and Policy, was delighted by the large consensus across all regions.

"In a country where everything is so deeply divided, we have a staggeringly high percentage of people aligning for change," Esty said.

More than two-thirds say the federal government isn't doing enough, while 63 percent want President Bush to do more.

Just over half of those polled in the nationwide survey believe the environment in the United States is getting worse. Among Democrats, 70 percent take this pessimistic stance, as do a majority of independents and 33 percent of Republicans.

Party distinctions disappear on the seriousness of America's dependence on imported oil, with 94 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of independents and 93 percent of Democrats expressing concern.

Asked the best way to address this problem, 93 percent want the government to require the auto industry to improve gas mileage, an opinion that showed no gender or political gap.

This puts the electorate squarely at odds with Congress, which recently rejected a proposal to make SUVs and minivans more fuel efficient.

"This is a wake-up call to Washington. The political class appears to be out of touch with their constituents," Esty said.

Across the board, people favored more solar power facilities, wind-turbine farms and increased funding for renewable energy research.

To quote the conclusion of the excellent "End of Oil" by Paul Roberts which I just finished reading:

"Each year that we fail to commit to serious energy research and development or fail to begin slowing the growth of energy demand through fuel efficiency, each year that we allow the markets to continue treating carbon as cost-free, is another year in which our already unstable energy economy moves so much closer to the point of no return."

It's time to stop dropping the ball.

It's time to go gas optional.

Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy Environmental Poll

The nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 was randomly selected and the telephone poll was conducted from May 15-22. The survey has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.



Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

And the cognitive dissonance continues:

92% considered dependence on imported oil to be serious or very serious.

89% considered the high price of gasoline to be serious or very serious.

Only 19% supported a pollution fee on gasoline, and a mere 15% supported a general increase in the gasoline tax.

It takes a lot of ignorance to hold such contradictory opinions.

9:00 am, June 14, 2005  
Blogger Csiza Andor said...

I agree! It will take a long time and almoust inimaginable hard working and educating to change the so called "american way of life" of energy consumption.

12:44 pm, June 14, 2005  
Blogger pau salmon said...

I'll have to agree with you as well. Figures are very illustrative. Well done!

11:18 am, June 21, 2005  
Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

If you liked that, Dorothy, drop by The Ergosphere sometime.

2:28 pm, June 22, 2005  
Blogger tojon2 said...

From the desk of John Endresen, Worthy Citizen:

With all the discontent there is in the world now, the next President in 2008 will have to be the ultimate diplomat. The problem with the middle east now is that they produce the oil and therefore the money flows in there direction. With money you can direct the idealism of the nations, even those who are your biggest clients.

The way to diminish their power is through technology. Technology sells and begets more technology. If we could take half of the money that was spent, and will be spent on the Iraq war and put it into technology to develop the resources we have such as Bio-Deisel, Fuel Cells, Hybred Cars, More Refineries, Alternitive fuel stations along our interstate system and reduce our demand for petroleum products then we could reduce the money going to the middle east therefore taking away their power base. Just think of the technology in the audio and video industries since the 1950's and 1960's and how it has advanced as demand has increased. Some of the best audio and video systems are available at a very reasonable price now and will continue to get better. As they get better more technology will be developed. The same can happen to take the energy markets away from those nations that oppose or want to destroy our way of life.

Africa can benifit from technology by having their nations adopt a birth control system so that children are not born that will die due to no jobs and no food. We can help them with technology, but to give them money and food products, only makes the administrations of those nations more rich and corrupt as they sell off the food and keep the money for themselves.

African countries need to reform their governments first. Until they adopt free market economies, get rid of corruption and stop trying to starve their opposition, they're condemned to poverty. They also need to be encouraged to stop engaging in the unprotected activities that put them at such a high risk of contracting and spreading AIDS since there isn't a cure or vaccine yet.

This country can't produce enough Bio-Diesel right now to replace petroleum diesel or gasoline, but I suppose it could help a bit. Hopefully researchers can get fuel cells to work effeciently, but again, it will take a long time to develop, and producing enough hydrogen and being able to contain it in a cost-effective manner won't be easy.

Without technology and the free use of it nothing can happen. Look at the actual cost of petroleum, all the lives lost, our military is not even one percent of the carnage. Oil already costs to much. We can't just stick our heads in the sand and let things happen. We must drive things to happen, as voters and as activists telling our representatives what needs to be done and diplomaticly convincing those who oppose us..

Until we become energy self-sufficient, we will continue to dance to the tune of the Middle-East fiddlers. For our national security, we must find a way to break the economic yoke the Oil Producing countries have placed around our neck. To accomplish that, I believe we must work together. It means compromise, build bridges not walls. The end result is energy independence and that trumps egos and nitpicking politics. Once the goal is accomplished, we can renew our political battles if we desire to do so.

I would offer a few ideas that would hopefully be palatable enough for both sides of the aisle to support.

• Form a joint private/government corporation, in the vein of TVA in the late fourties and fifties, to manage and coordinate energy production. It should also have a sunset clause that terminates the temporary bureaucracy by dissolving the corporation or returning the assets to the private sector when the energy independence goal is attained.
• Pass tax legislation to make it financially viable to extract petroleum from oil shale. With an estimated 2.1 trillion barrels of oil sitting in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, there is no reason we can’t find a way around the environmental and transportation issues associated with that process. Even a modest extraction program would provide decades of independence from Middle East supplies while we develop and perfect other energy sources.
• Pass legislation requiring the auto industry to improve CAFÉ numbers. It wouldn’t be popular with many on the right, but with reasonable tax incentives, it’s attainable and should be a point of compromise for us to consider.
• Pass tax incentives for homes and businesses to encourage the use of geothermal heating and cooling in place of using liquid petroleum products for non-mobile heat and power requirements. Leave the liquid fuels for cars and trucks. After having a geothermal unit in our home, I would never again want a house with a gas or oil furnace.
• Ease restrictions on nuclear power plant development. Technology has progressed to the point that safety is no longer the issue it once was and all we really need is salesmanship by our leaders and I was glad to see President Bush make that point in his recent speech.
• Fund a chain of alternate fuel stations across the country as part of the interstate highway system. If people can find a way to refuel their non-gasoline powered cars on long trips, they wouldn’t hesitate to use them for that purpose.

Please feel free to contact me.


John Endresen

1:36 pm, July 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why isn't the light reactor at mit where they split a lazer beam concentrate it and split it again, so on and so on focused on a central point , which produces enough energy to power the world for 15 seconds, being funded to get rid of the old fuels or the cold fusion reactor at prinston?????????????
we need to just stop trying to tell the world what to do and expand our horizons?

9:22 pm, September 30, 2005  

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