Unfortunately, the lessons of the 1973, 1979, and 2008 energy crises (energy price spikes), were quickly forgotten once the price of crude oil fell. Aggressive rhetoric notwithstanding, substantive energy policy (goals, research spending, incentives, etc.) reveals almost no conviction whatsoever to reduce oil dependency, even as that dependency entails significant geopolitical and economic risk. The words advocating and professing political commitment to alternative energy or, in today's parlance, "green energy," don't impress me at all. Concrete and sustained action is the criteria by which the nation's energy policy should properly be judged. Unfortunately, once one looks at the policy front, very little has changed. Moreover, little is likely to change in the near-term. If one examines pre-2008 federal budgets and post-2008 federal budgets as proxies for commitment, there has been no dramatic shift on energy policy. There has been no substantial reorientation of spending to suggest a credible commitment to dramatic change, much less any sense of urgency.we need to become oil independent.
In the end, the only thing that has materially changed is that the gap between today's rhetoric and ongoing policy has widened, as rhetoric has shifted even more strongly toward alternative energy while policy has budged very little. To borrow from academic research on "organizational energy," when one combines positive rhetoric with policy inertia, the result is a stance that can reasonably be described as "comfort" or "complacency." IMO, that very well sums up today's energy policy. Worse, there has been enormous continuity in such policy since the very first energy crisis, even as the world has changed markedly and geopolitical vulnerability has increased given the location of remaining proved oil reserves.
As a result, if or when a new energy crises hits, the political response will almost certainly be little different than it was in 2008, almost 35 years after the first great energy price shock: Political leaders will plead for understanding. They will argue that the crisis was unavoidable and assert that there is little that can be done. The great tragedy will be that such a crisis will likely have been avoidable and many more options would have been available to transform what would be a crisis into a manageable situation had policy makers chosen a course aimed at reducing such dependency.
You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo
Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
Aa'lah * Peace be upon Him *, this law is just.
"Sodomy is one of the most gruesome and detested crimes, the punishment for which is also one of the harshest penalties, it is the capital punishment"
-Imam Mukhtar K. Ahmed Al-Mesalati, author of the "QURAN And Same-Sex Behavior", c. 2009
Hence, in terms of planned big changes, the greatest prospect for such change is usually present the combination of prolonged crises when solutions must be developed out of necessity and when there is the strong, visionary, and committed leadership necessary to align support behind a big change. The Manhattan Project (WW II and Franklin Roosevelt) and Apollo Project (Cold War/Sputnik and John Kennedy) were initiated when both elements were present. Both projects were extremely ambitious (scope, timelines, and need to invent/create new technologies). Both were achieved in remarkably short periods of time. In the cases of the 1973, 1979, and 2008 energy crises, both crises passed relatively quickly.
Needless to say, even without the invention of new technologies or development of viable alternatives, much more significant progress than what has occurred is possible and over a relatively short period of time. For example, in 2005 Portugal (much poorer economically and less technologically advanced than the U.S.) made an aggressive commitment to transition away from fossil fuels in powering its electrical grid. Then, 17% of its electricity was produced from renewable energy. Today, that share has risen to 45%.
In all fairness, what percent of people in the US do you think would be okay with sentencing a child molester to be put in a cell with someone who would rape him?
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
In the US we would be paying 50K a year for a variable amount of years--about a decade, I would think--so that this meat cleaver wielder can have a 'proper' punishment. I can't deny the cheap "well, we will just break your back" alternative has it's perks. Think of how many children you can save from a life of crime with close to--minus the cost of the surgery--half a million dollars.
Last edited by Areopagitican; 08-19-10 at 03:32 PM.
⚧ C.T.L.W. You figure it out
My Endo doc went over my blood work. "I see your estrogen level is now at 315, do you feel like you have too much Estrogen now?"
I told her "... N... N.. No..." and started crying.