Archive for September 26, 2006

American Energy

“America’s dependence on imported
oil is undermining the country’s
national security by tying the U.S.
economy to unstable and undemocratic
nations, thus increasing the risk of military
conflict in political hotspots around the globe. ”

This comes from a WorldWatch / Center for American Progress report issued here.

Now there’s several problems here OPEC consists of a basket of countries including Indonesia (democratic and quickly growing), Nigeria (again democratic and really a pretty good country), Qatar which began to move to democracy in 1999, Venezula which while socialist is still a democracy, United Arab Emirates not quite a democracy, but a rather nice place to be with a good open press etc., Iran which while controversial is democratic to a certian extent, Iraq which is now a democracy, Kuwait which isn’t democratic at all, but we’ve invaded countries to defend, Saudia Arabia not democratic, and Algeria which isn’t a democracy and not that great of a place right now. In addition to this U.S. energy also comes from Russia and Canada etc. Hence really this comment plays more to Arab-phobia than reality similar to the Dubai Port World Deal which should have gone through (Dubai is 70% immigrant and hardly extremist in the least). In addition to this, it reminds of the Chinese folly of closing their economy to the world, we shouldn’t be opposed to importing energy and by the logic this paper is using the U.S. should close itself off from undemocratic governments, China is arguably a non-democratic country with an increasingly precarious political situation (over 60k riots last year), Vietnam again undemocratic, there’s a lot of examples of imports from other countries outside of energy that come from countries with bad track records etc. While I recognize this report is intended to pander to national security interests in the interest of procurring greater funding for alternative energy (and when you get down to it much scientific research is conducted by pitching it to DARPA) I’m more interested in seeing a report on renewable energy that doesn’t play on theoretical paranoias, and also one that acknowledges we need the rest of the world. We can not exist with out the world and to play on localist politics and a growing sense of protectionist government in the interests of pitching a well meaning cause doesn’t just annoy me, but sours me on the entire enterprise to begin with. I might add the report’s bet on rising energy prices (much like recent bets on natural gas) has gone bust. Oil is back down and alternative energy must learn to compete with the big boys before it can make itself economical again.

p.s. if you do want to pitch alternative energy I might advise playing with it first. While people might not like the economics of it, having a solar panel to help around the house or with other projects is a lot of fun. I have a couple solar kits now and am hoping to make a nice solar pump for my fish tank in the near future.

September 26, 2006 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment


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