Hybridfest 2008, weekend of July 19, Dane Co. Fair

Saturday, May 31, 2008

From the Web site of Hybridfest:
Yes, Hybridfest is about hybrid cars, but it is also a place for discussion of important issues such as climate change, air quality, and the need for sustainable transportation. Car dealers, environmental groups, vendors, and others will be on hand to make Hybridfest a memorable experience.

+ Hybrid Owners Car Showcase – This year's goal: 200 Hybrids on site!

+ Hybrid vehicle test drives

+ Interesting exhibitors

+ Hybrid-related and environmental speakers Learn more

"GasHole" to be shown in Madison, June 3

Friday, May 30, 2008

"GasHole" narrated by Peter Gallagher coming to The Point Ultra Screen in
Madison on June 3rd!

Times Reporter & current Research Director of Oilwatchdog.org

My name is Scott D. Roberts and my partner, Jeremy Wagener and I are the
writer, producer and directors of the new documentary, "GasHole," narrated
by Peter Gallagher. (www.gasholemovie.com) This timely, hot-button film takes an intense look at oil prices and the future of alternative fuels. The film has a special screening event at The Point Ultra Screen on Tuesday, June 3rd, at 7:00 pm with a Q & A session with the filmmakers to follow the screening. Tickets
are $10.00 for general & $8.00 for Seniors/Students. Tickets can be
purchased in advance at www.Marcustheatres.com

Please pass along this information so that Madison will be a success on
our tour!

Here is our latest review from "Fox in the Morning."

Here is a review from The Lincoln Journal Star.

To see the trailer, view PR Photos, TV appearances, and radio interviews,
please visit www.gasholemovie.com.

Thanks for your time.

Scott D. Roberts
The Film Racket

Citing energy costs, Dow raises prices

Thursday, May 29, 2008

From an Associated Press story that appeared in numerous newspapers, including The New York Times:

The Dow Chemical Company, the chemical giant, said Wednesday that it would raise its prices by up to 20 percent almost immediately to offset the soaring cost of energy, and the company’s chief executive criticized Washington for failing to develop a sound energy policy.

“For years, Washington has failed to address the issue of rising energy costs and, as a result, the country now faces a true energy crisis, one that is causing serious harm to America’s manufacturing sector and all consumers of energy,” Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chemical’s chairman and chief executive, said in a written statement. . . .
Of course, addressing the issue of rising energy costs usually means opening more U.S. lands and offshore sites to oil drilling. However, another AP article about North Sea oil provides some insight into the limits of trying to reverse the inevitable depletion of world oil supplies:

LONDON, England (AP) -- Britain is granting licenses for two new North Sea oil fields as part of an attempt to encourage major oil producers to help stabilize the world's energy markets.

John Hutton, Britain's business and enterprise secretary, authorized two new oil field developments and said Wednesday he plans to help companies extract reserves from previously unprofitable parts of around 30 existing fields. . . .

Hutton's ministry says the two new fields have an estimated total output of 50 million barrels and additional daily production in the existing fields could produce up to 20,000 extra barrels per day.
The U.S. uses about 20 million barrels of oil each day, meaning the "total output" would only satisfy the U.S. oil addiction for two and a half days!

Visit Peak Oil Group at Farmers Market,
May 31

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Madison Peak Oil Group will have a table top display at the Farmers Market from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the corner of South Hamilton, North Caroll, and West Main.

Feel free to stop to say hello, talk about peak oil, complain about the price of gasoline, and sign up for news from the Madison Peak Oil Group.

Energy watchdog warns of oil-production crunch

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From an article by Neil King Jr. and Peter Fritsch in The Wall Street Journal:

The world's premier energy monitor is preparing a sharp downward revision of its oil-supply forecast, a shift that reflects deepening pessimism over whether oil companies can keep abreast of booming demand.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency is in the middle of its first attempt to comprehensively assess the condition of the world's top 400 oil fields. Its findings won't be released until November, but the bottom line is already clear: Future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought. . . .

For several years, the IEA has predicted that supplies of crude and other liquid fuels will arc gently upward to keep pace with rising demand, topping 116 million barrels a day by 2030, up from around 87 million barrels a day currently. Now, the agency is worried that aging oil fields and diminished investment mean that companies could struggle to surpass 100 million barrels a day over the next two decades.

The decision to rigorously survey supply -- instead of just demand, as in the past --reflects an increasing fear within the agency and elsewhere that oil-producing regions aren't on track to meet future needs.

"The oil investments required may be much, much higher than what people assume," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist and the leader of the study, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "This is a dangerous situation. . . ."

The IEA's study marks a big change in the agency's efforts to peer into the future. In the past, the IEA focused mainly on assessing future demand, and then looked at how much non-OPEC countries were likely to produce to meet that demand. Any gap, it was assumed, would then be met by big OPEC producers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran or Kuwait.
Grist began its summary of the article with a bit of humor:
Predictions that global oil supply will keep up with demand may be just plain wrong, says some peak oil preaching wacko the world's leading energy monitor.

Peak oil pushes some to survivalist approach; maybe there's a better way

Sunday, May 25, 2008

From an Associated Press story by Samanta Gross published by several media outlets including the Wisconsin State Journal:

BUSKIRK, N.Y. (AP) -- A few years ago, Kathleen Breault was just another suburban grandma, driving countless hours every week, stopping for lunch at McDonald's, buying clothes at the mall, watching TV in the evenings.

That was before Breault heard an author talk about the bleak future of the world's oil supply. Now, she's preparing for the world as we know it to disappear.

Breault cut her driving time in half. She switched to a diet of locally grown foods near her upstate New York home and lost 70 pounds. She sliced up her credit cards, banished her television and swore off plane travel. She began relying on a wood-burning stove.
"I was panic-stricken," the 50-year-old recalled, her voice shaking. "Devastated. Depressed. Afraid. Vulnerable. Weak. Alone. Just terrible."

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.
A post titled Why the Survivalists Have Got It Wrong takes the survivalist approach to task:

For me, peak oil is our personal and collective call to power. This is the time when we truly find out what we can do when we collectively apply our genius and brilliance. I don’t believe that our collective response to crisis will be violence and disintegration, I believe our collective adaptability, creativity and ingenuity will come to the fore. The irony is that these survivalists who have the insight into the urgency of peak oil and who decide, in response, to head for the hills, are, ironically, most needed in the places where the rest of the people are, sharing their skills and their insights.

Just what is our relationship to gasoline?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A letter from Hans Noeldner, an active participant in the Madison Peak Oil Group, appeared in The Capital Times:

Dear Editor: Even as Americans feel pain at the pump, even as presidential candidates struggle to outdo each other railing against exorbitant oil profits, some pundits claim that prices "need" to be higher to convince us to break our addiction to oil and slash our greenhouse gas emissions.

Just what is our relationship to gasoline? And what would we like it to be?

We the people are responsible for restraining our own consumption and emissions to fair and sustainable levels, and for directing our government to enact prudent collective restraints via regulations, taxes, penalties, etc.

I choose to believe this. I would like you to choose this worldview too.

Citizens will not see gas as cheap no matter what the pump price is. Why? Because we will see the costs written in blood on gas pump handles, the costs written on the sky with global warming, the costs written on the landscape with earth-suffocating pavement, and the costs written on humanity with isolation and obesity and the destruction of healthy self-locomotion. Citizens will not need dollars and cents to communicate these "externalities" to us.

Citizens will avoid touching gas pump handles as much as possible. We will also point out the costs in blood and greenhouse gases and such to our families, friends, neighbors and fellow congregants.

True, right now most people are reluctant to acknowledge direct connections to their own behaviors. They say that the "little bit" they use doesn't matter. They say that if they burn less oil, someone else will just burn more. And they insist on "rights" to consume as much as they can personally afford.

Citizens will keep on standing for connections and responsibilities. And the people will join us.

Hans Noeldner


MGE customers triple green energy commitment

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A press release issued by Madison Gas and Electric:

Madison, Wis., March 27, 2008—Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) customers have tripled their commitment to green energy since the introduction of the company's Green Power Tomorrow program in early January. More than 10,000 customers have signed up to pay a small premium on their electric bill in order to offset the carbon emissions normally produced by their electricity.

MGE's new Green Power Tomorrow program offers renewable energy from a recently constructed wind farm in northern Iowa, two wind farms in Wisconsin and solar power from several projects in the Madison area. The company's wind power portfolio is scheduled to increase by eight times this year.

Interest in the renewable energy program remains high and the company is continuing to enroll customers. MGE was one of the first Wisconsin utilities to offer a green pricing program to customers. In 1999, the company brought online a new wind farm in Kewaunee County and subscribed its entire capacity of green energy in less than four months.

MGE generates and distributes electricity to 136,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 140,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE's roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.

Tour of solar heating in homes and businesses, Madison area, June 14

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hot Water Products, Cardinal Solar, Advantage Plumbing, Hydronic Solutions announced a tour on June 14th of local homes and businesses that have gone solar.

Here are the details from Cardinal's Web site:

A free bus tour of homes and businesses that harvest the sun’s energy to provide heat and hot water. Viewing of entire system by bus tour only.
Saturday June 14th from 10:00am – 4:00pm. Bus tour begins at 11:00am & 1:30pm.
Advantage Plumbing / 2881 Larue Field Ln., Sun Prairie, WI
Please rsvp before tour day to 608-837-9367 as seating is limited.

• Reduce energy cost and be a more efficient energy user
• Reduce carbon emissions in and around your home
• Improve the comfort of your home

Reject backlash against biofuels

Monday, May 19, 2008

From an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal:

In 1995, before the ethanol boom began, American farmers produced 162million metric tons of corn for food and export.

By 2007, ethanol production was taking 62 million metric tons of corn. So the corn left for food and export was — 308 million metric tons.

That's right, 308 million metric tons — 82 percent more than before the ethanol boom, thanks to higher yields and more land in cornfields.

But how can that be true when, according to the backlash against biofuels, a scarcity of corn — caused by America's diversion of corn into ethanol production — is to blame for world food shortages and skyrocketing prices?

It is true because the backlash against biofuels is based on myth, misrepresentation and myopia, adding up to a failure of reason.

That's why Wisconsin, and all of America, should stay on course with the development of biofuels.
Several posts follow the editorial on the State Journal's Web page, including one that says in part:

Problem: Reduce Pollution – a noble pursuit.

How Ethanol fails: When you factor in the carbon output of producing the crop (planting, fertilizing, cultivating, harvesting), transporting the crop to the ethanol production facility, actually producing the ethanol, transporting (via truck or train, since ethanol cannot be sent through a pipeline) the ethanol to a refinery to be blended with gasoline, and then transporting the finished product to a filling station for consumption, you have produced so much more additional pollution that you have significantly negated any potential gain in pollution reduction.

Gas Tax Pain

Friday, May 16, 2008

From a new Fossil Fuel Watch by Michael Vickerman:

Could there be more convincing proof of America’s debilitating addiction to oil than the recent calls to institute a gasoline tax holiday issued by two of the three presidential aspirants still in the race?

Imagine what would happen if a candidate for public office endorsed a repeal of cigarette taxes. Articulating such a position would instantly disqualify that candidate from serious consideration by rank and file voters. Indeed, it would stop a candidacy faster than you can say “macaca.”

Yet, while Sens. John McCain or Hillary Clinton, both advocates of suspending the 18.4 cents/gallon gasoline tax, have been excoriated in editorials for espousing such patent flim-flam, they don’t seem to have lost any ground with the voting public.

While the McCain-Clinton gas tax suspension proposal may have a set a new low in the public discussion of energy, it can’t be dismissed as mere election-year pandering. Instead, this proposal reveals a dark truth about ourselves: we Americans are psychologically unprepared to accept the energy reality we now inhabit, which is that oil is neither cheap nor plentiful (relative to demand). The same holds true for natural gas.

The factors converging to create global energy insecurity—diminishing output from supergiant fields, rapid demand growth in the world’s most populous nations, civil unrest in oil-exporting nations, etc.—cannot be held at bay with political stunts.

Whether its citizens like it or not, the United States will, going forward, consume a smaller portion of the Earth’s remaining petroleum than at any time before during the Automobile Age.

Details released on nation's premier energy education event in Custer, Wisconsin

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Join the MREA and RENEW for the 19th annual Energy Fair June 20-22, 2008. The Fair will be held at MREA's headquarters, the ReNew the Earth Institute, located at 7558 Deer Road in Custer, WI. See the Travel and Accommodations page for directions and other information.

General Energy Fair Information
Since 1990, the Energy Fair has shown fairgoers how to change the world while having fun. Each summer the Fair transforms rural central Wisconsin into the global hot spot for renewable energy education. The Energy Fair is the world's largest renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living educational event of its kind. Please join us this year!

The Energy Fair features hundreds of workshops and exhibits all emphasizing clean energy & sustainable living and is fun for the whole family. In 2007, the Energy Fair hosted over 19,500 attendees. We hope to see you in 2008!

Running on empty: Cars that never need gas

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From the Web site of the Sierra Club:

There are hybrids. There are electric cars that plug into a wall and get their juice from whatever mix the electric company is offering. And then there are electic cars that are charged by solar panels on the roof of one's house. They never need gas, and the power is free after the set-up cost.

We wondered: How tough is it to do this? Are electric cars hard to find? Is it difficult to get a rooftop solar collector set up? Here are the stories of vehicles that run on empty.

Darrell Dickey: A New Car -- And Fuel for Life

Darrell Dickey regularly commutes to work 24 miles, one way, by bike. But when it's too cold or wet for the bike, or when he and his family travel long distances from their home in Davis, California, he drives a battery-powered electric vehicle that he charges with photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on his garage roof.

"Five years ago, I spent about $45,000 and got a brand new car (the RAv4EV) and the solar system," he says. "We're still driving the car every day, and the solar system will continue to make fuel for whatever EV we drive in the future. For $45,000 we bought a new car and fuel for the rest or our lives."

In 1996, Dickey was invited to test-drive the GM "Impact", which he then leased for two years. (The Impact later became the EV1, the first modern electric vehicle.) "We loved that car and hated to give it back," he says. But the Toyota Rav4EV had just become available for purchase, so he bought the electric vehicle he is driving today.

Dickey says the inspiration to drive electric comes from having a child. "It would embarrass me to have to explain to my daughter why we continued to import and burn oil when we knew the consequences," he says. "Having no tune-ups and no trips to the gas station ever is just icing."

By installing a solar system atop his garage, Dickey took the next step in driving a totally clean car. "Now," he says, "I can deflect the comments that my 'electric' car is just a 'coal-burning' car. EVs are the ultimate flex-fuel vehicle. You can make electricity out of just about anything: sun, wind, natural gas, coal—even gasoline! Your fuel can be totally domestic, or in my case, totally local."

Asked how long it will take for the PV system to pay for itself, Dickey replies: "If we think of everything in terms of what it costs us in the short-term, we're screwed. It's the same argument people use against the Prius: When will it pay back in gas savings? But that only accounts for the money paid at the pump. What of the billions of dollars that leave our economy for oil, or the billions of our tax dollars that go toward tax incentives for oil companies? What of the cost of the military and the lives lost to protect our oil?"

But the short answer for the solar pay-back, he says, was "the instant I turned my system on." Dickey had been paying $75 a month for electricity. He took a loan out to buy the PV system, and pays $70 a month toward that loan. "My electricity and gasoline bills are now zero, and next year when my loan is paid off, this investment will be paying me probably for the rest of my life. My PV system covers the power for my home and my car. It displaces $90 worth of electricity and over $100 worth of gasoline every month. So my estimate of how long until the system pays for itself is no time at all!"

Transit ridership up across U.S.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A news summary posted on Grist:

Transit ridership has jumped across the U.S. as folks get tired of paying at the pump. From January to March, transit ridership jumped 10 percent in Boston, 8 percent in both Los Angeles and Denver, and 7.2 percent in the Twin Cities. In Philadelphia, transit ridership in March 2008 was up 11 percent from March 2007; in April, ridership in south Florida was an impressive 28 percent above the year before. "Nobody believed that people would actually give up their cars to ride public transportation," says Joseph Giulietti of south Florida's transportation authority. "But in the last year, and last several months in particular, we have seen exactly that." In addition, motorcycles and scooters are selling like fuel-efficient hotcakes, and vanpools and bikes are increasingly popular. Says Clark Williams-Derry of the nonprofit Sightline Institute, "It's almost like we hit a point where, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore,' and that point was about $3.50 a gallon."

Legislative committee to study renewable fuels

Monday, May 12, 2008

From a press release issued by State Senator Keitlow and State Rep. Suder:

(Madison) The Joint Legislative Council has announced the creation of a study committee to look into the economic and environmental impact of the development and use of renewable fuels in Wisconsin. Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) were named co-chairs of the non-partisan study group, which will be made up of legislators, citizens and industry experts.

“There is a lot of outdated and inaccurate data out there about bio-diesel, ethanol and renewable fuels in general. It seems every time the legislature looks into making renewable fuel policy that can benefit our state’s economy, that misinformation gets in the way,” said Kreitlow. “This committee will give us an
opportunity to take a fresh look at the issue from all sides, and give the legislature up to date and current information about the current status of renewable fuels. This way, when the legislature considers renewable fuel policies in the future, we can make decisions based on relevant facts, rather than old rumors. And where genuine barriers are found to renewable fuels’ efficiency, price or environmental impact, we can fairly assess what needs to be done to address those concerns.”

Kreitlow and Suder requested the creation of the study committee to examine the often controversial issues surrounding bio-fuel. The group will seek voices from all perspectives to help determine the best course

Wisconsin truckers slow down; association asks for lower speed limit

Friday, May 09, 2008

From an article by Rick Romell in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The trucking industry's largest lobbying group called Thursday for a nationwide 65 mph speed limit, heavier trailers and other steps to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and save billions of gallons of fuel.

And Green Bay-based Schneider National Inc., one of the country's biggest trucking firms, went even further: The company on Thursday cut the top cruising speed on its 10,600 tractors to 60 mph.

"We encourage others in the industry to make this commitment with us," Schneider President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Lofgren said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., announcing the industry initiative.

Schneider's additional efforts aside, the proposals by the American Trucking Associations could potentially eliminate 900 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 10 years, the organization said.

What I Do: Energy consultant shrinks carbon footprint

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Wisconsin State Journal profiled Larry Walker, an active participant in the Madison Peak Oil Group:

With the cost of heating and cooling homes and businesses increasing at a rapid rate and the concern of availability of resources in the future, I got concerned, involved and decided to do something about it. I started Walker Energy Systems in October and I visit clients to conduct energy audits, solar assessments and energy-strategy consultations.With the cost of heating and cooling homes and businesses increasing at a rapid rate and the concern of availability of resources in the future, I got concerned, involved and decided to do something about it. I started Walker Energy Systems in October and I visit clients to conduct energy audits, solar assessments and energy-strategy consultations.

I left my career with a local software development firm at the end of 2006 and enrolled in the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's solar photovoltaic assessment certification program. I received my certification in September after I completed the assessment training classes, passed their certification exam and practice assessments. I'm in the process of completing the solar thermal (hot water) assessor's training. The MREA is one of only two groups in the U.S. that train and certify solar assessors.

GOP group wants curbs on ethanol due to increases in food prices; others point to oil prices

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

From a story by Thomas Content and Joel Dresang in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Twenty-four Republican senators, including likely presidential nominee John McCain, on Monday called for a halt to the expansion of ethanol production as a response to rising food prices.

The senators urged the Environmental Protection Agency to restructure rules that would require greater production of ethanol from corn by 2022.

"This subsidized (ethanol) program - paid for by taxpayer dollars - has contributed to pain at the cash register, at the dining room table, and a devastating food crisis throughout the world," McCain said in a statement.

Critics of the proposal said that too much attention was being placed on ethanol as a reason for rising food prices, and that not enough attention was being placed on the role that rising crude oil prices - which surged to $120 a barrel Monday - have played in driving up the cost of food.

"It's the wrong medicine for the problem," Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen said. "If we hadn't had the significant increase in renewable fuels that we've seen in the last five years, we would have higher gas prices today, not lower ones."

Experts give tips on holding down driving costs

Monday, May 05, 2008

From an Associated Press article by Eileen Powell:

When David Champion is behind the wheel of a car, he accelerates slowly and brakes gingerly. He tries to drive, he says, as if there were a cup of coffee on the dashboard that would shower him with scalding liquid if he were overzealous with the accelerator or the brake.

The driving habits adopted by Champion, director of automobile testing for Consumer Reports, have as much to do with saving money as they do with safety. . . .

Here, for example, is what a family that drives 12,500 miles per year in a vehicle with a fuel economy of 20.1 miles per gallon could save in the six specific areas:

• Keeping tires properly inflated, which can improve gas mileage by about 3 percent, for a savings of 20 gallons of gas a year, or up to $65.

• Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil, for a gain of 1 percent to 2 percent and annual savings of $40.

• Cutting the number of miles traveled by 5 percent through combining trips, walking or taking mass transit, for $100.

• Eliminating jackrabbit starts, speeding and rapid braking at highway speeds for as much as 80 gallons a year, or $260.

• More-sensible driving around town for about 30 gallons, or $100.

• Clearing 100 pounds of junk from the trunk to save 12 gallons, or $40.

People who take all those steps could potentially cut their gas costs by $605 a year.

Dumb as we wanna be

Friday, May 02, 2008

From an op-ed by Thomas Friedman in The New York Times:
It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy.

Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.

No, no, no, we’ll just get the money by taxing Big Oil, says Mrs. Clinton. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars — burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?

The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.”

Good for Barack Obama for resisting this shameful pandering.

But here’s what’s scary: our problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy then you want to raise taxes on the things you want to discourage — gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars — and you want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage — new, renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite.

Are you sitting down?

Few Americans know it, but for almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. The bickering has been so poisonous that when Congress passed the 2007 energy bill last December, it failed to extend any stimulus for wind and solar energy production. Oil and gas kept all their credits, but those for wind and solar have been left to expire this December. I am not making this up. At a time when we should be throwing everything into clean power innovation, we are squabbling over pennies.

These credits are critical because they ensure that if oil prices slip back down again — which often happens — investments in wind and solar would still be profitable. That’s how you launch a new energy technology and help it achieve scale, so it can compete without subsidies.

The Democrats wanted the wind and solar credits to be paid for by taking away tax credits from the oil industry. President Bush said he would veto that. Neither side would back down, and Mr. Bush — showing not one iota of leadership — refused to get all the adults together in a room and work out a compromise. Stalemate. Meanwhile, Germany has a 20-year solar incentive program; Japan 12 years. Ours, at best, run two years.

Living on the banks of denial

Thursday, May 01, 2008

From a commentary on the Oilism site of Chris Neldner:

How long have we been living on the banks of denial? And it slightly depressed me today to discover that I wrote an article by that very title back in September 2005, which I could have written today:

Energy will continue to get more and more expensive. In a short while, you won’t be able to afford to fill the tank on an SUV. You will learn to like wearing sweaters, and living without A/C. If you live in a big city or a suburb, you will probably have to move. If you’re in one of the red-hot real estate markets in the US, the value of your property will take a couple of sickening drops. Your money and investments will devalue. You will find it increasingly difficult to buy—or even get—food. Water will get scarcer, more expensive, and harder to clean.
I really can’t blame the media for their reluctance to face up to peak oil. It’s an unpleasant concept and it immediately strikes fear into one’s heart.

I have often reflected on how coming to grips with peak oil is much like the process of grieving, as identified by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. In peaker terms, I’d describe it like this:

Denial: “There’s plenty of oil out there, and we can drill our way out of this.”
Anger: “Why aren’t those bastards drilling our way out of this?”
Bargaining: “Well maybe ANWR, the continental offshore, the tar sands, and slightly more efficient cars will fix it.”
Depression: “Oh man, we’re screwed, it’s too big a problem for me, I might as well give up.”
Acceptance: “I’m ready for the second half of the Age of Oil and I’m going to find a way forward.”