The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

100 per

Yesterday, the market price of oil approached $98.00 per barrel. Talking heads across the MSM spoke of this “crisis” and warned of dire consequences as the price continues to rise. Me? I’m pleased.

Before you label me uncaring about the US economy, the plight of commuters and poor people, the need for elderly to heat their homes in the Northeast, and all of the other legitimate negatives associated with rising oil prices, let me explain.

It’s apparent that the Congress and the Executive have neither the will nor the courage to move us rapidly toward alternative energy sources. They’ve pontificated about the need to do this for 30 years, but have done virtually nothing that really has an impact. Even though it's a serious environmental issue and an even more serious national security issue, the members of the House, the Senate, and the Executive are too enamored of campaign contributions from big auto and big oil—two entities that want change to occur very slowly.

So, maybe what we need is a market-driven initiative … and that can only happen once oil becomes very expensive. This morning, Wired Magazine reports:
If there are any lingering doubts as to whether the age of oil is nearing its end, the International Energy Agency has put them to rest and made it clear that only a massive and immediate investment in sustainable energy will prevent a global crisis.

The agency states in no uncertain terms in its annual World Energy Outlook that "alarming" growth in worldwide energy needs will within a generation threaten energy security, accelerate global climate change and possibly bring worldwide shortages and conflicts.

It's an unusually pessimistic view from an agency that has long said oil production, with trillions of dollars of investment, could meet rising energy needs. But the explosive growth of China and India has caused a seismic change in thinking at the IEA, which says we must move swiftly, boldly and decisively beyond fossil fuels if we are to avert a crisis.”

We do need “to move swiftly, boldly and decisively beyond fossil fuels,” but don’t hold your breadth with our current crop of national “leaders” (worse, it appears that Democratic and Republican candidates for 2008 have nothing new to add to the subject).

But the market just might respond. As gas approaches and then exceeds $4.00 per gallon, things will begin to happen. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, all electric vehicles (available right now but withheld from the market for reasons that are incomprehensible) will proliferate, not as oddities but as mainstream products with serious marketing campaigns and major sales impact.

Solar and wind-powered electrical power generation will become viable and major power companies will make real investments (not the token investments made so far) in these technologies.

Undoubtedly, there will be pain—a lot of pain. But sometimes, that’s the only way that change can really happen.

So the next time you hear someone lament the rising cost of oil, think of the old saying: “Do you really want the plague to continue just so the grave-diggers can keep their jobs?”