I’m in the same boat as the rest of America. I’m fairly smart, read newspapers, magazines, blogs and listen to radio talk show hosts, although these are generally more entertainment, and just as extreme as newspapers. So I’m just about as informed as, again, the rest of us.
I support drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), off-shore, and (almost) anywhere else we have oil, for a lot of reasons I’ll try to explain, in hopes you’ll read this and actually think about it rather than just fast-forwarding to mad, or mindlessly applauding.
I propose we can believe neither the left nor the right, and this includes their hired guns; experts-left who predict unprecedented human-caused global warming and its attendant disasters, as well as experts-right saying we are entering a new ice age and the unprecedented size of the human population has absolutely no effect on global weather.
Obviously, huge populations of anything change their environment and its ecology, and that can change the weather (look at the Great Plains grasslands after the eradication of bison, the practice of plow-farming and the resultant Dust Bowl years) so I’m sure we have an effect on global weather. But our own examination of historical weather shows big swings in temperature throughout the past, evidenced by human records and nature’s as well, ie., tree-rings and ice core samples.
It’s unlikely we have figured this all out in the relatively short time we’ve been looking into it. I don’t say “studying” it because there is too much partisanship involved to call it that.
We are not going to get to a totally, or even largely, non-fossil fuel situation immediately, whether it’s 10 years or 50 years, we have to get through here to get to there. In the meantime we need energy.
The smart and practical thing to do is to whip the horses toward alternatives with tax subsidies, prizes, enterprise-zone-type rewards, looking around at what’s already working well elsewhere, and drill where we already know there’s oil easy-for-the-getting, there’s already a pipeline running at only half-capacity (which has not done dire damage to the ecosystem), and where the locals want us to drill.
Every job we create helps our country economically and socially. Every barrel of oil reduces the demand/price incrementally, and every dollar we spend doing this, now or over the next 50 years, stays here and lowers the income of countries who see us as an enemy, spending our petro-dollars against us.
Because it’s unlikely that we’ll ever become completely fossil-fuel free as the extreme greenies want us to be — as unlikely and undesirable as that Lucy-of-the-Far-Right, Rush’s, desire that we all keep consuming ever more fossil fuels as our God-given-right. The world still uses old technologies where they’re better, horses and oxen, wind and water, and to those we must add nuclear, and other yet-undiscovered energy sources. But we’ll likely always use fossil and that’s OK because new technology will make it cleaner-to-the-point-of-acceptability. So we should lock in our own oil (and natural gas) starting immediately.
If the sight of us drilling (carefully) our own oil doesn’t concern the oil cartel into further dropping prices to derail us from our self-sufficient course (they know we are the goose laying golden eggs for them) I’ll be very surprised. Our recent decline in oil use has already prompted them to lower their prices — just not enough. And even a reduced flow of dollars that buy arms for our enemies is too much.
Huge changes have historically been forced by crises, we were not going to change or luxurious splurging on fossil fuels till we had to. And now we do, so let’s get to it. Drilling won’t lower the prices fast enough or far enough to stop this alternative energy juggernaut whose time has come. But it will put us in a far better position for our future and it’ll cut the budget for the bad guys at the same time. It’s a win/win.
LAUREN OAKES is a longtime La Cañada resident who writes occasional columns, as the mood strikes. She can be reached at email@example.com.