Monday, August 09, 2004

trading oil for CAFE ?

wrapping up paul roberts 'the end of oil' on a worthwhile note - roberts posits that the inability of congress to move forward on CAFE standards is, in fact, a product of the environmental movements obsession with ANWR. roberts reports that a number of senators claim to have one environmental vote to give each session, and offer it up to greens on ANWR or CAFE standards. furthermore, Bush and the GOP, recognizing this conundrum (and the value of ANWR to enviros base) keep the ANWR issue alive not because drilling there is actually of meaningful economic value, but because they can hold ANWR hostage to ensure that CAFE standards never change.

and that is where the real money is folks. improving CAFE standards from current (circa 1988) takes money directly out of the pockets of big oil (and in the short term, the auto industry). and we all know where their money goes when left in pocket . . .

ironically, i believe many environmentalists would actually accept the implicit deal offered here (ANWR for CAFE standards). certainly they would do so were it packaged with aggressive efficiency/conservation efforts nationwide. but the PR damage from a defeat on ANWR that couldnt be directly linked to victory on CAFE standards might be too great . . .

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