Wednesday, October 06, 2004

and the new yorker, on, you guessed it, oil

lengthy and fairly worthwhile piece in the new yorker this week talking about energy independence and the oil question. author john cassidy goes to great lengths to touch on many facets of the issue without thoroughly investigating more than a few of them (coal gasification fairly easily achieved in nazi germany ? if i recall, i think daniel yergin might disagree).

cassidy concludes:

Given the public’s ignorance about energy issues, and the entrenched interests that dominate the industry, many analysts are skeptical about the prospects for change. Jaffe believes that it will take a repeat of what happened in the seventies to force meaningful reforms. Joseph Romm said, “If people cared about oil imports they would buy different cars. In response to 9/11, people started putting flags on their S.U.V.s and buying Hummers. That tells you something.”

Before any progress can be made, the political debate will have to move beyond the myth of energy independence. “Sooner or later, we are going to have a lot of hybrid cars, electric cars, and, perhaps, at some time in the future, we are going to have a hydrogen economy,” Robert Mabro told me. “But, until we get there, to talk about energy independence is foolish. The two candidates, with due respect, are lying to the people, or they don’t know what they are talking about.”

let's review: public ignorance and utter apathy about energy issues, even in the face of an event like 9/11. and yet mabro thinks the candidates are either lying or dont know what they're talking about. i think the likely answer is both; unfortunately, they're telling the american public exactly what they want to hear.

- LH


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