Environment

What's the Plan?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorNov 13, 2012 7:54 PM

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Every president since Richard Nixon has sought the holy grail of energy independence. The last eight presidents have all promised to get us there, as Jon Stewart pointed out in 2010. We all laughed along. Well, guess what? It now looks like it might actually happen. But here's the first bit of shocking news on this front, as reported in the NYT:

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

Holy Peak Oil! How did that happen? Or this:

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become "all but self-sufficient" in meeting its energy needs in about two decades "” a "dramatic reversal of the trend" in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

I guess the new golden age of oil is real. I don't see any point in denying it. Or this:

The report also predicted that global energy demand would grow between 35 and 46 percent from 2010 to 2035, depending on whether policies that have been proposed are put in place. Most of that growth will come from China, India and the Middle East, where the consuming class is growing rapidly. The consequences are "potentially far-reaching" for global energy markets and trade, the report said.

Yes, I can see the thought bubble forming over your head: The consequences for the world's climate are also far reaching. I agree. The Guardian has the depressing quotes from IEA economist Fatih Birol, including this:

I don't see much reason to be hopeful that we will see reductions in carbon dioxide.

So now what? You gonna try and get China, India et al to put the brakes on their economic growth? Good luck with that. So what's the plan that addresses climate change while allowing the aforementioned countries to continue to develop?

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