Reading this has gotten me into a tizzy! The New York Times reviews a book called Gusher of Lies in which Robert Bryce completely discounts our need for energy independence and pokes holes in all the potential energy solutions people are working on. We'll be dependent on oil for the next 30-50 years, he says, and who cares anyway? Ethanol and Wind Power are too expensive and so they don't offer real solutions. And I partially agree with this: Ethanol gives us less energy than gasoline, wastes a TON of water, takes up quite a bit of agricultural land, and emits more pollutants in the air. Solar power's too unpredictable since we can't store it.
Ok, but isn't he missing the point entirely? The fact remains that we'll be out of fossil fuels soon. Who cares? I'd say everyone will at that point if we haven't come up with solutions. We need to develop these energy technologies and transform the way our society is structured. Admittedly, electric cars and bio-diesel aren't enough! But abandoning them altogether is ridiculous. We need to work to find ways of storing solar power or electricity (which Bryce does advocate, I believe.) We need to build communities where cars are not a necessity. We need to transform our economy into one that doesn't depend on robot-like consumption of goods designed to be discarded. We need to make wind power cheaper and better.
Who cares? Robert Bryce will care when we've run out of places to put our waste and start storing it in his backyard. He'll care when the price of oil (which he claims is the same as it's always been in real dollars) skyrockets because of scarcity and only the extremely wealthy can afford to get anywhere or do anything. He'll care when our oil dependence starts dictating foreign policy and folks start dying. Oh wait... that's already happened.
Has anyone read the whole book? I've read only an excerpt and reviews because my thesis is the be all and end all at present. It's going on the list, though.